Unique boutique

Atlas Hotel has been forging brand of smaller buildings, more personal experiences for years.

DANNY LIPMAN, one of the directors of Atlas Hotels, stands on the roof of the Shalom & Relax Hotel in Tel Aviv (photo credit: ROCKY BAIER)
DANNY LIPMAN, one of the directors of Atlas Hotels, stands on the roof of the Shalom & Relax Hotel in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: ROCKY BAIER)
Every morning when Danny Lipman wakes up, he tries to think of a new way to please guests at his hotels, trying not only to satisfy them, but make them happy.
“When I was young and trained to be a hotel employee, I knew I aimed to make my guests satisfied and treat them respectfully,” said Lipman, the managing director of Atlas Hotels. “But this is not enough anymore. Today you have to create more excitement, you have to work on many more senses of the guest. You have to make them happy, not satisfied. This is what a boutique experience can do.”
Lipman is one of two owners of Atlas Hotels, a chain of 16 hotels that specializes in boutique hotels. Along with Leslie Adler, he helped pioneer the boutique hotel trend in Israel. Boutique hotels now top the hotel ranking charts in Israel, earning spots next to traditional hotels.
Adler had hotels in mind since he was six, when he decided that was what he wanted for his career. Lipman, on the other hand, first stepped into the lobby of a hotel when he was 24, when Adler interviewed him to work at Atlas.
Atlas opened its most recent hotel, Fabric, in late June, continuing with the chain’s tradition of telling a story and carrying out a unique theme in each of their hotels.
“In the new hotel, the story is that the hotel is built in a district which is still known as the fabric supply area,” Lipman said. “Almost all of the shops used to be – and some still are – selling fabric. The building itself used to be an industrial building creating all types of materials.”
Boutique hotels are known for their quirkiness, small size and an experience that can only be found at each unique location.
Atlas does this with each place, starting with Cinema, which opened more than 40 years ago. The hotel is built into one of the first movie theaters in Tel Aviv, and its movie- theater theme is carried through by the building design and décor, including original projectors that were used to show movies.
For the Atlas owners, every new location is a chance to tell a new story.
“[Designing a hotel] starts from what location we have, what building we have,” Lipman said. “We are checking with any history or historical story about the building. We start building the story from there.”
This is a departure from past hotel norms, which measured success mainly on location.
“People [used to] consider the success of the hotel or the demand of the hotel by the distance of the seashore,” Lipman said. “Nowadays this has changed, because many of the tourists... don’t like to feel like tourists. They are looking for the more authentic, where things happen and the trendy places.”
Atlas focuses a lot of time on dining experiences as well.
“It comes down to the very small details such as tailored breakfast,” Lipman said. “We give a lot of effort and investment in giving the best experience.”
Within the walls of the hotel, staff make the hotel run and provide personalized service.
“All our managers are people who have grown up in the company over a long period of years,” Lipman said. “They’re all people of our extended family who have grown up in the family.”
Adler agreed, and added, “This is our philosophy,” Adler said. “We invest in training staff and picking the best people from the company to be in the new jobs. When we open a new hotel, they are already trained and know what to do and they deliver our spirit to the new place.”
The manager of the Shalom & Relax Hotel, Eti Krichevsky, said she loves her job.
“Actually, here is the best place that I work ever,” she said, “the people who come in here, the workers, everything.”
Lipman said the theme and hospitality of the hotel were simply extensions of her personality.
“Look at her. If you look at her you see the hotel,” he said. “Very simple.”
Another manager, Regis Halimi, joked he was a baby in the family, having only worked at the hotel for 14 years.
“Is that considered a long time? Yes, but there are many other people that work for the group for longer,” Halimi said. “Fourteen years is in the middle. I know a lot of other GMs who work for the group for 20, 25 years.”
As the hotel market changes, the owners of Atlas try to change with it, trying to “over-deliver” with each new addition, because everything that’s different eventually becomes routine.