Think of luxury hotels in Israel, and properties like Jerusalem’s King David spring to mind. With all due respect to that venerable venue, in this listing we are going to look at the freshest faces in the luxury hospitality market, from north to south.

Tourism is bigger than ever in Israel, and to meet increased demand many hoteliers plan additional properties. Watch for luxury hotels opening in 2020 such as the Six Senses Saharut in the southern Negev and Sir Herbert in Tel Aviv.

WALDORF ASTORIA, Jerusalem

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem hotel. Photo by FLASH90

The 226-room Waldorf opened in 2014 as the only internationally branded luxury hotel on a street that also hosts the five-star King David, Mamilla and David’s Citadel hotels. Order a slice of the hotel chain’s legendary Red Velvet cake to savor in the jaw-dropping lobby, dominated by a special Waldorf Astoria clock designed by Avraham Aborgil with four faces adorned with Hebrew, Arabic, Roman and European numerals.

Address:26-28 Gershon Agron St.
Amenities: Three kosher restaurants (one seasonal), lobby bar, conference and event facilities including 700-square-meter Grand Ballroom, personal concierge, rooftop garden terrace
Parking: Valet
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THE ORIENT, Jerusalem

Overview of the Orient Hotel in Jerusalem’s German Colony. Photo: courtesy

Opened in 2017, the stunning Orient Jerusalem is well situated in the historic restaurant-studded German Colony with close proximity to the Old City, First Station entertainment hub, Natural History Museum, Liberty Bell Park, Mesila walking path and much more. The Orient has 243 rooms and suites decorated in an eclectic combination of old and new styles.

Address: Emek Refa’im St 3, Jerusalem
Amenities: Three kosher restaurants, indoor swimming pool, outdoor rooftop swimming pool and bar, spa, fitness club, business lounge and meeting rooms
Parking: Paid underground lot or valet
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CRAMIM WINE& SPA, Kiryat Anavim

They take their wine seriously at Cramim spa hotel in the Jerusalem hills. Photo: courtesy

Opened in 2012 in pastoral wine country on a kibbutz west of Jerusalem, Cramim is surrounded by vineyards, boutique wineries, monasteries, fountains, and hiking trails. Most of the 156 suites and rooms have balconies or terraces overlooking the Jerusalem hills.

Address: Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim
Amenities: Kosher restaurant, wine bar, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa, fitness center
Parking: Free, on premises
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ALMA HOTEL & LOUNGE, Tel Aviv

The Alma lures guests with its chef restaurant. Photo by Itay Sikolsky
The Alma lures guests with its chef restaurant. Photo by Itay Sikolsky

Opened in 2012 near Rothschild Boulevard, the Alma occupies a former six-unit apartment house built in 1925. Its 15 suites (one wheelchair accessible) are decorated individually with one-off antiques, hand-loomed textiles, Turkish rugs and contemporary furniture, 3D TV and bathrooms boasting walk-in jet showers or deep soaking tubs.

Address:23 Yavne St., Tel Aviv
Amenities: Yavne 23 chef restaurant (kosher dairy/fish)
Parking: dedicated spaces available in nearby lots
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BERESHEET HOTEL& RESORT, Mitzpeh Ramon

Beresheet Resort at the edge of the Ramon Crater. Photo: courtesy

The opening of this breathtaking property in 2011 put the Negev town of Mitzpeh Ramon on the map of upscale tourism. Situated at the edge of the one-of-a-kind Ramon Crater across 12.5 acres, the hotel boasts 111 one- or two-story private-entrance villas and suites. Thirty-nine of the ground-floor rooms open to personal infinity pools, while the upper-floor rooms open to balconies.

Address: 1 Derekh Beresheet, Mitzpeh Ramon
Amenities: Outdoor pool (voted “Coolest Pool in the World” by Travel Agent Central magazine in 2018), indoor heated pool, fitness center, spa, tennis courts, kosher restaurant
Parking: free, onsite
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THE RITZ-CARLTON, Herzliya

Photo of Ritz-Carlton Herzliya by Ian Barin

Opened in 2013, the Ritz-Carlton has 115 rooms and 82 suites decorated in a color palette inspired by the Mediterranean coastline on which it sits. Local touches include turndown chocolates flavored with olive oil and za’atar and the Rooftop Bar’s signature tahini martini. Israeli chef Yonatan Roshfeld partnered with the hotel to create the Herbert Samuel Restaurant, winner of the World Luxury Restaurant Award for 2019 in the category of luxury kosher cuisine.

Address: 4HaShunit St., Herzliya
Amenities: 24-hour rooftop heated pool and fitness center, spa, kosher restaurant, two bars and lounges
Parking: Paid or valet
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THE JAFFA, Jaffa

Lobby of The Jaffa hotel. Photo: courtesy

The Jaffa opened in 2018 within the walls of the 19th century French Hospital complex. In the lobby you can see the remains of a 12-century Crusader-era wall uncovered during more than two decades of renovations. The hotel offers 120 rooms and suites from which you can go explore the port, flea market and other attractions in this highly popular Tel Aviv district on the beach.

Address: 2 Louis Pasteur St.
Amenities: Italian restaurant, L. Raphael Beauty Spa, The Chapel meeting/reception/party space
Parking: Valet, underground parking garage
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SETAI, TEL AVIV

Rooftop infinity pool at the Setai Tel Aviv. Photo by Asaf Pinchuk

A six-minute walk north of The Jaffa, Setai Tel Aviv sits at the seam of the blended city, near the iconic Jaffa Clock Tower. Like The Jaffa, Setai opened in 2018 after more than 20 years of preservation work led by the Israel Antiquities Authority to maintain the building’s original Ottoman-era character. Stone and marble corridors connect the property’s five buildings, housing 139 rooms of different sizes.

Address: 22 David Raziel St., Jaffa
Amenities: Spa, rooftop infinity pool, chef restaurant, bar, lounge
Parking: Valet
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ROYAL BEACH, TEL AVIV

This five-year-old, 230-room hotel is located on the beach boardwalk close to Carmel Market and Nachalat Binyamin Street. A DigiArt exhibition throughout the property presents more than 600 works by up-and-coming Israeli arts working in digital media, including photography, videos, animation and more.

Address: 19 Yarkon St., Tel Aviv
Amenities: Kosher chef restaurant, cocktail bar, spa, fitness center, business lounge, outdoor pool, wading pool
Parking: paid underground lot
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SETAI, SEA OF GALILEE

The Setai Sea of Galilee Hotel. Photo: courtesy

The Setai Sea of Galilee, which claims to have the largest spa complex in Israel, opened in mid-2017. Situated on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), the pastoral hotel includes 110 rooms and villas. Ground-floor villas have private infinity pools while second-floor villas have outdoor hot tubs. Guest-room balconies afford views of the Golan Heights to the northeast and the city of Tiberias across the sea.

Address: Tza’alon Beach near Ein Gev
Amenities: Outdoor infinity swimming pool, spa with indoor pool, fitness center, kosher chef restaurant, wading pool, children’s club, free bicycles
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DAN CAESAREA RESORT, CAESAREA

A happy yellow Jeep takes Dan Caesarea guests to nearby attractions. Photo: courtesy

The iconic Dan Caesarea Hotel, built by Baron Rothschild for jetsetters of the 1960s, was completely transformed in 2019 into what is, for all intents and purposes, a new resort hotel. Contemporary art is displayed throughout the 116-room, 15-acre complex and in its Gordon Gallery. All rooms have balconies overlooking landscaped gardens and the Mediterranean. Order a picnic basket to take to the next-door 18-hole golf course or to the beach. There’s a free Jeep shuttle to the beach, port, archeological park and other attractions.

Address: 1 Rothschild St., Caesarea
Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool with billiard table, pool bar, cocktail bar, spa, fitness center, kosher restaurant, wading pool, children’s play area and activities, sports courts, mini-golf, bicycles
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MILOS, DEAD SEA

Deluxe rooms at the Milos Dead Sea have terraces and private pools at the beachfront. Photo: courtesy

Several new hotels are planned for the Dead Sea in coming years. Meanwhile, the new kid on the popular Ein Bokek beachfront is the Milos, opened in 2017 on the site of a previous hotel. Billed as a “luxury village” reminiscent of Greece, the 162-room property includes 16 suites with private pools, some with landscaped terraces.

Address: Ein Bokek beach, Dead Sea
Amenities: Infinity pool merging into the sea line (and a variety of other pools including freshwater, saltwater and healing sulfur), kosher dining hall and poolside cafeteria, spa, solarium, fitness room, children’s and youth gaming room
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KEDEM HOTEL, Tirat Carmel

Opened in 2019, the 61-room Kedem Hotel overlooking the Carmel Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea puts the focus on health and relaxation. From the natural building materials to the kosher vegetarian cuisine to the yoga, meditation and breathing workshops, this resort is for adults and children 12 and over.

Address:14 Ezra Laniado St. (Monheim Park), Tirat Carmel
Amenities: Vegetarian/fish dining room and bar, lobby café, fitness classes, spa, infinity pool, herb garden, hiking trail
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ARIA HOTEL, Eilat

Beachside concert at the Aria Hotel, Eilat. Photo by Hadar Yacov

On the premises of the former U Suites in Eilat, Astral Hotels opened the 246-suite Aria in late 2018as a luxurious family destination. With direct private access to the beach and a variety of spacious suites — including a honeymoon suite with outdoor double Jacuzzi on a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Eilat – Aria has the added attraction of an outdoor stage and a dance bar for after-hours entertainment.

Address: 9 Derech Mitzrayim, Eilat
Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool and toddler pool, children’s club and playroom, spa, dance bar, business lounge, event halls
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ROYAL SHANGRI-LA, Eilat

Close to the Coral Beach Nature Reserve on top of a mountain, the Royal Shangri-La opened in 2019as a breakoff from the Orchid Hotel with which it shares a campus. Unusual touches are incorporated from the moment you arrive at the outdoor courtyard reception area. In the hospitality lounge, the famous Israeli breakfast buffet is open all day, transforming from breakfast to brunch to European-style dinner. The property features 53 upgraded rooms and two villas with private swimming pools.

Address: North Beach, Eilat
Amenities: Outdoor swimming pools including infinity pool, children’s playground, billiards, table tennis, bicycles, in-room spa treatments
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