Carrying a suitcase over a sandy beach may not sound like much fun but for the winners of an online contest run by the Israeli Tourism Ministry and the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, it is worth the effort. After all, it’s not every day visitors to Israel get to stay in a lifeguard tower that has been converted into a five-star hotel.
The international campaign #TAKEME2TELAVIV invites tourists to enjoy a unique experience in the city.
And really, what is more unique than staying a night in a converted lifeguard hut that is now a luxury suite replete with butler, room service and perfect views of the Mediterranean Sea?
The Tourism Ministry and municipality — in cooperation with hotels.com — launched the international contest in February by calling on would-be visitors to upload a photo of themselves, wearing beach gear that they would bring with them, and taken against the background of their hometown, carrying a sign that reads #TAKEME2TELAVIV.
Brown Hotels Urban Collection lead designer Aline Langlieb and graffiti artist Edgar Rafael transformed the lifeguard tower into a one-of-a-kind seashore hotel suite, complete with luxurious space and amenities.
Fifteen couples were chosen as winners and from March 14 to April 4, they’ll take turns staying in the pop-up suite on Frishman Beach. The winners get free flights to Israel, one night in the lifeguard tower hotel and two nights in a Brown Collection Hotel.
German bloggers Sandra Lechner and Izabella Meczykowska from the website Beach Inspector are the city’s first guests at the first pop-up hotel of its kind in the world.
“As with other areas, so it is with tourism in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo – it was and always will be creative and groundbreaking. This lifeguard tower is an amazing opportunity to come and enjoy the city and our wonderful beach. I am sure that the guests in the lifeguard tower will share their impressions of the city with their friends all over the world,” said Mayor Ron Huldai at the official opening of the beachfront digs on March 14.
The goal of this joint initiative is to showcase Israel as a leading tourist destination in the winter and “shoulder” seasons.
According to Amir Halevi, the Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism there has been huge interest in the lifeguard tower campaign, which has received more than 300 million views and more than a million clicks since the campaign began. “Creativity is the name of the game in the world of marketing,” he said.
The temporary lifeguard hotel in Tel Aviv will be taken down in two weeks.
But for tourists who missed out on the Tel Aviv contest, there’s no need to fret.
Halevi said the Tourism Ministry is planning a similar pop-hotel for Jerusalem’s Old City.
Meanwhile, Israel’s incoming tourism figures rose some 20 percent in the first months of 2017 as compared to the same timeframe in 2016.
“The dramatic increase teaches us that Israel is seen as an attractive and varied tourism destination,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.