The scene is a rooftop bar/lounge/restaurant open all around with a stunning view of the city below and an expansive vista.
A flamenco guitarist, percussionist and female singer are doing seductive bossa nova versions of songs like Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and patrons are whooping it up while downing cocktails with unique names like Acai on the Roof, TNT and Pink Rose.
Tel Aviv or Eilat? Nope, how about Ra’anana, that mild-mannered Sharon city off of a busy road, which has a reputation for going until closing down at sunset? Perhaps that’s true but not at the Prima Millenium, located in the heart of the city’s expansive hi-tech district and a stone’s throw away from the small office where a little-known startup called Waze took its first steps.
The 17-floor hotel, which opened in 2017, was originally geared for businessmen arriving for the week at one of the dozens of companies in the area. As such, it features a plethora of services, from diverse meeting spaces and an executive business lounge to a conference center with a 500-people capacity.
However, as Prima Millenium general manager Gil Amram told a group of visiting journalists last month at the rooftop lounge event, it soon became apparent that not only business people were interested in coming to Ra’anana.
“We were told we were crazy to open a hotel in Ra’anana. Who would want to come here?” he said.
“Today, five years later, I’m still surprised by its success and by the variety of people who come to stay here. There are guests who come to use Ra’anana as a convenient base to tour the Sharon area”
Indeed, at the sumptuous hotel buffet the following morning, guests included a family from Copenhagen, who were in town for a family bar mitzvah. Another group sampling the delicate smoked salmon and expansive offerings of eggs, salads and pastries was a South African family who was leaving the country the next day and decided that Ra’anana was the most convenient starting point to get to Ben-Gurion Airport.
“Today, five years later, I’m still surprised by its success and by the variety of people who come to stay here. There are guests who come to use Ra’anana as a convenient base to tour the Sharon area”Gil Amram
Speaking English at the hotel
Spoken English at the hotel was a common occurrence. Ra’anana Mayor Chaim Broyde also spoke at the event and recalled that the city was founded by immigrants from the United States as Ahuza Alef New York. The main street is still called Rehov Ahuza.
The first mayor of Ra’anana who was born in the city, Broyde touted the many cultural attractions of the city and its environs, including the pristine Ra’anana Park and the historic Karaite Synagogue.
They’re a short ride from the hotel, which is situated in a complex of offices and businesses, and offers ample free parking – already a boost over its Tel Aviv competitors. With a four-star superior rating, the Prima offers guests who are over 18 free access to the adjacent Holmes Place Health Wellness Club (accessible via a sky corridor), which offers a semi-heated indoor Olympic swimming pool, fully equipped gyms, a variety of activities and spa facilities.
The rooms are spacious and feature all the accoutrements one would expect, along with a great view.
The hotel’s main attraction, however, may be the 12th-floor Cock Tail rooftop lounge, which is open every day from 6 p.m. to both guests and the general population. Amram called it one of the most popular nightspots in the Sharon area. And based on the quality of the cocktails, as well as its extensive meat-based menu featuring enormous burgers, it’s easy to understand why.
The next time you want an overnight in the center of the country but don’t want to venture into the gridlock of Tel Aviv, Ra’anana and the Prima Millenium is the secret of the Sharon.
The writer was a guest of the hotel.