Growing up along the seashore of Tel Aviv, I have the sweetest childhood memories roaming around the beach. After living in Europe and the States I now live in hilly Jerusalem and I miss my childhood haunts, so I decided that even though the whole area had been converted into luxury hotels I should try to relive the experience of my childhood days.
I came by the perfect excuse when I learned that David Intercontinental Hotel was chosen for the 10th time as the best hotel in Tel Aviv by the World Travel Awards for 2021. The Wall Street Journal named the award “the Oscar of tourism.” Selected from hotels in 160 countries, it is located but a few meters from my childhood home.
In the course of my travels, I have been to numerous first-class hotels in Israel and worldwide but the experience I had at the David Intercontinental was truly unique.
Surrounded by stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, the “Soho” of Neve Zedek and historic old Jaffa, the hotel rises over 25 floors and offers 555 rooms and 39 suites. It also has 12 conference rooms and ballrooms. The impressive grand ballroom accommodates up to 2,500 guests. The staff at their business lounge Club Intercontinental was most accommodating. The hotel is totally renovated and very well maintained.
The location of the hotel couldn’t be better: the famous market “Shuk HaCarmel" is but a minute walking distance, a market offering many original flavors and scents of foods I grew up on. I can only imagine how excited tourists will be to experience the ‘real Israel’ when the skies open again. For now, Israelis take advantage of the opportunity to stay at the hotel.
The panoramic view of the sea from my room was breathtaking. It was a rainy and cloudy weekend, but the atmosphere inside couldn’t have been warmer. The staff paid attention to even minute details.
We didn’t have to leave our beloved pet Fluffy behind with a dog sitter. Our being able to stroll on the beach with Fluffy made nine-year-old Meirav extremely happy. Fluffy even got the welcome mat in the form of a special dog treat upon arrival.
We chose to enjoy all the amenities David Intercontinental has to offer. Friday night dinner was truly Israeli gourmet. Even though I am a longtime vegetarian, I was introduced to more varieties of salads and fish than I can remember, while my omnivore family feasted on the meat side. For breakfast we had a large variety of cheeses, eggs, salads and pastries and the chef’s delicious spinach lasagne. To ease the pain in my back, I enjoyed the signature fusion massage at the hotel’s spa. Our stay in Tel Aviv left us with a taste for more.
My sentimental journey was inextricably connected to my first stay at the David Intercontinental next to where I grew up.
As I strolled on the seashore, I recalled these beautiful lines from Dylan Thomas’s childhood poem, Fern Hill:
“Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eye....”
The writer is a journalist and director of TLC in Potomac, Maryland. She currently resides in Jerusalem.