The Carlton Tel Aviv: A tailor-made experience

With notable guests such as Mike Pence, Larry King and Nicolas Sarkozy, there is definitely something special about this hotel

  The Carlton Hotel is the perfect high-end hotel for your next business trip (photo credit: CARLTON TEL AVIV)
The Carlton Hotel is the perfect high-end hotel for your next business trip
(photo credit: CARLTON TEL AVIV)

The first images that come to mind when thinking of a business hotel like the Carlton are of a cold, corporate environment, more attuned to facilitating traveling three-piece-suit working men and women.

The Carlton Tel Aviv, however, is nothing of the sort.

From the moment we stepped foot into the hotel, we were greeted by welcoming staff and smiling faces. I must admit that whatever I was expecting from such a hotel was far from what I encountered throughout our stay.

With notable guests such as Mike Pence, Larry King and Nicolas Sarkozy, there was definitely something special about this place.

The Carlton prides itself on many things, but most of all, its staff, and it’s easy to see why.

 The Carlton Hotel is the perfect high-end hotel for your next business trip (credit: CARLTON TEL AVIV) The Carlton Hotel is the perfect high-end hotel for your next business trip (credit: CARLTON TEL AVIV)

Ruben, the concierge I spoke with, was a shining, living example of how the hotel treats its workers, and, in turn, how they treat their patrons.

Apart from the amusing requests that Ruben has received recently – one even involving him trying to import a piece of specialized training equipment from abroad – he told me that working in the Carlton, for him, is like coming to a second home.

Although it does sound like a cliché, he spoke with such enthusiasm and pride I did not doubt him for a moment, even if he has worked there for “only” five years. While most hotels struggle to keep workers for prolonged periods of time, more so after the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Carlton staff seem to be on a different level, clearly showing it is doing something right in managing the staff.

While touring the hotel ground and facilities with Ronit Shoham, Carlton’s marketing communications manager, she remarked on how they take pride in their professional and hospitable staff, a point I kept noticing again and again throughout my stay.

During my investigation of the inner workings of the hotel with Shoham, I noticed that when she initially told me that they “provide the best experience for companies, diplomatic missions and businesses,” she was not just reading me a piece of promotional material.

The hotel has rooms, halls, and even entire floors dedicated to the need of the corporate and diplomatic world. What’s truly impressive is not the amount and variance of these rooms, but the amount of modularity the Carlton offers those who use them.

Each location is not just provided but also customized to fit the needs of whoever is using it, whatever they may be. Want a different layout? The Carlton will change it; special decorations? They’ll have them made. Meals to be provided during a long conference? They’ll make it themselves to fit your palate, and the list goes on.

I managed to take a peek at a conference hall used by, what I would assume judging from the attire to be an Israeli hi-tech company. They were watching a video of themselves playing various instruments in a makeshift band during a conference, the very same one they were in now, with the instruments taking place center stage below the projection.

The main questions that popped into my head were: “What is going on here?” and “Did the Carlton really supply them with musical instruments, a video camera and a projector just for this bit?”

The facilities were regularly used not just by local companies, but by the likes of Forbes and a prominent American airline, who even house their air staff at the hotel while passing through Israel.

VARIOUS DIPLOMATIC missions, embassies and even Israeli government offices use the amenities offered by the hotel routinely.

Even during the dreaded COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, the Carlton was one of the only hotels still open, thanks to an agreement made with the Israeli government to house diplomatic and security missions that had to still stay in Israel.

Yossi Navi, the general manager of the Carlton, talked with me over a cup of coffee with a combination of accomplishment and grief about the dark days of COVID lockdowns for hotels.

While the ability to house diplomatic missions kept the hotel afloat and the workers on the job, they were operating at a very minimal capacity with most of the staff having to stay at home, something that bothered Navi.

Again, I saw the impressive care with which the hotel treats its workers, that even such a show of trust and responsibility towards the Carlton left its general manager concerned for the worker’s wellbeing.

“While the [COVID-19] lockdowns were a challenging time for all hotels, we managed to fully get back to our feet again,” Navi told me.

"While the [COVID-19] lockdowns were a challenging time for all hotels, we managed to fully get back to our feet again”

Yossi Navi

During the talk, Navi exclaimed that not only did they get back to full operational capacity but are looking to further expand the services provided by the hotel and “make a stay at the Carlton even better than it was before.”

And quite the stay it was; our room was nestled on the 14th floor of the hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As a Jerusalem man myself, the view left me in awe and at a loss for words, a rare occurrence for a reporter.

Our room was, luckily enough, right next to the executive lounge, which offers yet another space one could hold a last-minute meeting, get some work done, or relax after a long day in the Tel Aviv sun, even offering a variety of food and beverages to help accommodate those using its services.

The breakfast offered by the Carlton was excellent on its own, but a nice touch was moving the restaurant from where it is held to a separate building, right on the shore next to the beach and marina, providing a great view to go with a hearty breakfast to get your day started right.

Unfortunately, this wonderful weekend had to, as do all things, come to an end, but I could not recommend the Carlton more after my experience, if you’re just looking for a high-end hotel to stay in Tel Aviv and especially if a business trip brings you to our shores.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.