Acclimating to the outside world in style

A stay at Shalom Hotel & Relax in Tel Aviv is a lovely way to acclimate to the world once again as we evolve from the pandemic. Highly recommended.

THE ROOFTOP patio of the Shalom Hotel & Relax in Tel Aviv.  (photo credit: NATHAN DVIR)
THE ROOFTOP patio of the Shalom Hotel & Relax in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: NATHAN DVIR)
Wouldn’t you like to get away and really break loose from the past 14 months of lockdown/isolation/pandemic panic/worry/Zoom/remote everything but control? Maybe even forget about our recent global shared history and most everything that came with it. It might not seem possible. Indulge me for a moment and let’s share a fantasy, made possible by the Shalom Hotel & Relax in Tel Aviv.
Listen and hear the sound of the ocean rocking against the shore. There is a gentle breeze even though it is warm and very typically sunny. Walk down a crisp white walkway past a wide porch with chairs and tables. Sound good so far? Stop! You must produce a “Green Pass” if you want to continue. No problem you can do that. Maybe with a little fumbling, but no problem, just need to download the Ramzor app.
“Would you like a glass of wine? Yes? Red or white?”
Have you ever been offered a glass of wine while fumbling for documentation? This must be a fantasy and so far, I like it.
Documentation is produced. Sit, relax and enjoy the wine before going up to the room. The area is ever so inviting with plush chairs, low tables and soft music (not Muzak). Walls have marvelous drawings, sketches and posters covering them. Make a note to yourself to check them out more carefully. Clearly, a lot of care has gone into the design and curation here.
You are ready to go to your room now.
The room has all the charm and attention to detail, design, light and comfort as the lounging and dining areas. Two wonderful Michael Argov drawings are in the room. There is espresso, coffee, tea, pretty macaroons, Israeli wine, Wi-Fi, full Internet entertainment and information options. The bed is sumptuous. Lighting is strategically and intelligently placed. Big windows reveal Tel Aviv’s rooftops and skyscrapers that seem to go on forever. The bathroom is modern, clean and luxurious. In fact, the shower is delightful.
Stash your stuff, grab what you need and go have some fun. A walk on the beach down to the old Tel Aviv port is perfect. Bicycles are available for the asking if you’d like to cycle around. Make sure to be back in time for happy hour with a nice selection of drinks and yummy light snacks. Do not forget your 7:15 p.m. massage. This is pretty nice.
When you arrive for that massage the sun is beginning to sink down into the Mediterranean. The charming rooftop provides an ideal setting to watch that sinking sun and drink in the golden early evening light. With a variety of comfy seating and reclining options you might be tempted to stay awhile.
Back in the room after dinner and pretty tuckered out, it is a great treat to climb into that bed and find it as sumptuous as it looks. You sleep well. In fact, better than you’ve ever slept before in a hotel.
Breakfast time! The renowned Israeli breakfast is served in a most elegant fashion. A wide variety of salads, cheeses, fish, pastries, breads, fruit and vegetables are plated on a buffet for the taking and is constantly replenished. Very good coffee of your choice is offered and served, as well as teas.
The friendly staff is busy making everyone comfortable and happy. “How would you like your eggs prepared?” They are prepared and served to order. “Oh, you don’t care for eggs, perhaps you’d like a Belgian waffle.” Everything is fresh, enticing and delicious.
As you look around the dining area, marveling at the art, it feels a bit like a museum. Ronli at the desk tells you that, indeed, it is a Michael Argov collection acquired by the hotel.
Argov grew and matured as an artist along with the state. Born in Vienna in 1920, Argov came to Israel in 1932, finished agricultural school, then moved on to kibbutz, the Palmah and back to his parents in Tel Aviv. In the seaside city, he reignited his love of art and began his career. He studied locally before moving his studies to Paris.
 In ’48, Argov returned home to defend the new state serving as an intelligence officer before returning to Paris for a 10-year stint to further his studies. His line is tender, firm and sure revealing various influences he encountered. The collection of Argov’s work is a treasure.
The past 14 months have been at best, a challenge. We are fortunate and blessed that we are returning to “normal” life. Normal feels a bit like a fantasy, but a stay at the Shalom Hotel & Relax is not.
The Shalom Hotel & Relax on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv reopened March 11 after being closed for almost a year. All the employees (they really are like a family) were on leave without pay the entire time. They are palpably happy to be back.
Very Israeli in outlook and operation, Shalom generally caters to foreign tourists featuring Israeli products and sensibility. There are special weekday rates as well as special rates for club members.
A stay at Shalom is a lovely way to acclimate to the world once again as we evolve from the pandemic. Highly recommended.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.