Building a five-star hotel on the south end of Tel Aviv’s beachfront was a gutsy – but ultimately smart — move by the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in 1999. Far from the luxury hotel cluster in the north, the David InterContinental Tel Aviv now finds itself at the nexus of all that’s hip and trendy –so much so, that its newly renovated premium top-floor rooms and suites are fetching up to $3,500 per night.
InterContinental selected the 555-room David Tel Aviv, the London Park Lane and the Paris Le Grand from among its 180 properties to launch a new Insider Experience campaign showcasing the hospitality group’s “dedication to a more authentic and exclusive luxury experience.”
This is critical in an age when neighborhood boutique hotels are luring away clients from large chains.
“We aimed to show the eclectic mix of the Insider Experiences being curated across our hotels which focus on fashion, culture, arts and food, with Tel Aviv being a great example of that,” says Guillermo Quintero, brand marketing communications manager-Europe for the InterContinental Hotels Group.
The hotel’s PR manager, Naama Ben-Dror, and her assistant, Limor Alster, recently took ISRAEL21c on an exclusive tour of rooms where well-off tourists and celebrities are willing to pay a premium for amenities like a bathtub with a sea view, a private kitchen for a personal chef, an in-room sauna and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The windows afford amazing views of the Mediterranean across the street, and highlight the hotel’s position at the crossroads of cool: Old Jaffa, Neve Tzedek, the Carmel Market, Sheinkin Street, Nachalat Binyamin, Rothschild Boulevard and the Tachana.
“This is where everyone wants to be,” says Ben-Dror.
When he visited Israel, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson stayed in the 126-square-meter ultra-deluxe Tel Aviv Suite (then called the Presidential Suite) on the hotel’s 25th floor. Extras include airport transportation and 24-hour butler service. For guests bringing kids and/or personal staff, there’s an adjoining Club Premium room with twin beds.
Two Royal Suites feature guest bathrooms, living and dining areas, and connecting deluxe rooms as well. These are just a notch lower than the Tel Aviv Suite.
Guests including Martha Stewart and Vanessa Williams have opted for the Mediterranean Suites, renovated in 2011. Here you can bathe while watching the sea or the TV embedded in the bathroom wall.
Whichever room they book, guests sleep on premium Aminach mattresses and get a “pillow menu” to choose from.
Last fall’s redecoration, led by Ara Design International in London using locally sourced furnishings and light fixtures, incorporates sea tones such as sand and aquamarine. “The colors bring the outside in,” says Ben-Dror.
As part of the Insider Experience campaign, the InterContinental has created “Senses of Tel Aviv” tours available on request, including culinary, architecture, art and nightlife experiences led by experts.Using the “#ICshowandtel” hashtag on Instagram, guests can search and add insider tips and things to do in the city.
The David InterContinental also is unusually accessible for people with disabilities, offering 10 rooms designed for guests in wheelchairs, and amenities for people with visual and hearing impairment. At the suggestion of a repeat guest with an autistic child, Ben-Dror is looking into ideas to make autistic travelers more at home, such as a digital brochure to prepare them for their stay.
Unique to the David among the InterContinental properties is its new Health & Harmony “superfoods” menu resulting from General Manager David Cohen’s desire to bring in the “Forks over Knives” whole-food trend, a first for an Israeli chain hotel.
“We might be exporting this concept to InterContinental hotels abroad, as we’ve starting seeing interest at the brand level,” says Ben-Dror.
We tasted several of Chef Alon Hirtenstein’s starters, such as quinoa and acorn squash with cranberries, hazelnuts and seasonal fruits dressed in olive oil and lemon juice; and pan-roasted Maggie tomatoes with arugula-walnut salad.
More luxury rooms in Israel
Here’s a small sampling of other uber-expensive accommodations available in Israel, with average prices for a weeknight stay.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem’s Noble Suite, 150 square meters, $5,000
Ritz Carlton Herzliya’s Presidential Suite, 180 square meters, $3,950
Beresheet Mitzpeh Ramon’s Presidential Villa, 200 square meters, $3,487
Dan Tel Aviv Presidential Suite, 130 square meters, $3,050
King David Jerusalem’s Deluxe Suite, 98 square meters, $2,700