With the utmost respect

The Rothschild Hotel, the newest addition to Tel Aviv’s trove of boutique hotels, presents a vision and new standards of design.

With the utmost respect (photo credit: amit giron)
With the utmost respect
(photo credit: amit giron)
With its tranquil atmosphere, luxurious features and its guiding principle, the Rothschild Hotel, the new boutique accommodation on Tel Aviv’s most prestigious street, is much more than just another small hotel. Located on Rothschild Boulevard in a historic house that was built by Baron Rothschild’s chief agronomist, this hotel combines old-world elegance and refinement with modern-day comfort.
When the building was put on the market, after serving for many years as the premises of an investment company, Anat and Avi Ifrach fell in love with the building and decided to create a hotel that was a time capsule of sorts. The new owners vowed to honor the memory of the baron in every choice they made.
“As soon as we saw the building, we knew we had to do everything right,” says Anat. ‘We honor Baron Rothschild’s vision in many ways. For example, the building materials we chose were stone, iron, brass, silver, leather, glass and wood rather than using manmade materials. We use sustainable materials and ecological features, thinking not of now but of the future, like he did. We use amenities that are made by a company that employs disabled people, and we use features designed by local upcoming designers whom we found in students’ exhibitions. And we honor the baron’s memory in the design and the artwork in the rooms.”
Upon entering the hotel, one first sees the reception area, where every detail is modern but hints at the past, subtly evoking the grandeur of glorious old hotels. There is a small seating area to the right, with lush leather armchairs and designed lights. To the left is the dining/bar area, where breakfast and light meals are served to the hotel guests, as well as other patrons.
We were greeted with a complimentary drink and a look around. The interior radiates quiet elegance, yet is eclectic enough to keep up with modern fusion design.
“This is a concept hotel,” says Ifrach. “We celebrate Baron Rothschild’s spirit, his vision. He was not only a benefactor, but he was also a businessman who was instrumental in the developing economy, which later became the State of Israel. We were guided by the history of the building, which was built a year after the baron visited Israel for the last time. In those days, traveling here five times was no small feat. We wanted to take his ideas and translate them into today. For us, this is also an idealistic project.”
Entering our room – a tworoom suite, to be exact – we were amazed by the details. For example, the artwork on the wall over the sofa was painted on the original doors of the building. The old doors had to be replaced, so Ifrach gave them to five local artists, who painted scenes on them from old photos taken at the baron’s settlements at the end of the 19th century.
There was a leather-covered desk, table lamps made from wine bottles from the baron’s vineyards, a grayish-black hand-tiled floor, specially designed “crumbled” ceiling lights, a wide-screen TV, a large porch with a wooden floor, a hot tub and a bird’s-eye view of Rothschild Boulevard.
We discovered other special touches as well. The bathrobes and towels were thicker than we had ever seen before (thicker than in any other hotel in Israel, in fact), the sheets and pillows were the best money could buy, and the espresso machine was eco-friendly.
There are six types of rooms in the hotel, and Anat says she takes great pleasure in deciding which room will be assigned to which guest: “I try to accommodate special needs and requests. Sometimes, even if the guests pay for a less expensive room, I try to upgrade them if I can. For instance, the beds in the regular rooms are queen size, but recently a pair of tourists from abroad wrote to say that they were very tall, so I immediately made sure they got the bigger beds,” she recounts.
“I want my guests to be as comfortable as possible. I make a point of greeting each guest personally. I feel that they are my personal guests. I also want them to know my city and love it as I do, so I recommend routes – historical, cultural, depending on their interests,” she says.
The focus on design is obvious in every aspect of the hotel. One of the striking features is the staircase, or rather the light sculpture in the center of it. The fixture – designed by Ifrach and young designer Aviad Pettel – accentuates the staircase. At the time the house was built, the staircase was a very important feature, thus the original architecture of the building is still being respected.
Respect seems to be the watchword of the Rothschild Hotel – respect for the baron and what he stood for, respect for history, for the materials, for the environment and, above all, respect for the guests.
Another area in which respect is evident is the breakfast. The food is presented beautifully, the ingredients are fresh and tasty, the coffee is delicious, and the prices are very reasonable (for hotel guests, breakfast is included in the price of the room). Light meals and tapas are served between noon and midnight, as well as drinks from the wellstocked bar (open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight). There are private lounges between floors, and the rooms can be used for private business meetings.
In every respect, we loved the Rothschild Hotel.The writer was a guest of the hotel.
96 Rothschild Boulevard. For reservations and more information, go to www.rothschild-hotel.co.il or call (03) 957-8888.