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Known in the community primarily for its annual pride parade, Tel Aviv is a destination that has a lot more to offer. Tel Aviv has a thriving LGBT scene, and given the high number of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the city, there is a much more accepting and open atmosphere than you may expect from Israel.
Tel Aviv is set on the western coast of Israel, with beach running almost the full length of the city. This coastal position and the year-round sunshine gives the high-tech city an almost Californian vibe.
Is Tel Aviv beginning to sound like an ideal gaycation? Whether you plan to visit over Pride month or simply need some winter sun, this series of articles outlines our five reasons why you should consider Tel Aviv.
In this first article we look at where to stay.
1. Boutique accommodation
Forget budget hotels where the paper-thin walls make you feel like you’re in the same room as the couple you can overhear having dreadfully loud sex. Tel Aviv, even more so than other cities, seems to boast a higher proportion of boutique hotels, offering luxurious in-room amenities, design, and spaces that feel like a home away from home.
Besides the Hilton – if you’re going purely to enjoy the Hilton Beach (the gay beach) just metres away – we would recommend any of the following:
Yam Hotel is located a stone’s throw from the beach (and about 10 minutes’ walk from Hilton Beach), and offers compact, light and beach-themed rooms throughout – yes, there is a surfboard in every room.
Although the rooms are not vast, the imaginative use of storage space, and the balconies (in most rooms) gives a surprisingly spacious feel. The hotel offers complimentary beach bags to guests (including towels and bottles of water), complimentary bike rental and a ‘happy hour’ every afternoon including complimentary drinks (including bubbles) and nibbles.
The only downside is the lack of bottled water or welcome gift (e.g., fruit) in rooms for guests – however, this is a small price to pay for such an ideal location.
For an unforgettable experience set in Art Deco elegance, this five-star hotel boasts true luxury for its guests. Located just off Rothschild Boulvard, this centrally located hotel is the perfect place to explore Tel Aviv.
The Norman boasts several restaurants and bars (most notably Dinings, a Japanese Izakaya-style bar with the head chef previously from Nobu), and The Library Bar (a 1940s style cocktail bar). Other amenities include a spa, gym, yoga classes and a rooftop infinity pool.
Should you need to leave the hotel, the nearest beach is 15 minutes’ walk away and Hilton Beach is 10-15 minutes in a taxi.
Hotel Montefiore embodies the essence of unparallelled luxury, intimacy and exquisite style in a picturesque, meticulously restored eclectic architecture in the heart of Tel Aviv, just steps from Rothschild Boulevard.
Previously a private residence, the hotel opened in 2008. Primarily known with locals for its superb restaurant serving artisanal food, there are only 12 rooms, each dressed in elegant dark wood furnishings. This hotel is a true boutique, so don’t forget to marvel at the Art Deco details as you’re sipping your classic cocktail.
Distinctive among luxury boutique hotels in Tel Aviv, the White Villa is a peaceful hideaway in the heart of the White City that blends luxury sophistication with an old-world charm. Set in a 1940s Le Corbusier-inspired house, White Villa has been thoughtfully restored by an Italian designer.
Rooms carefully balance a minimalist mindset with a calming atmosphere. In-room amenities include an espresso machine, an invigorating rain shower and plush Egyptian cotton bed linen. The loft apartments boast superb natural light and a perfect reason to enjoy a gourmet breakfast in your room.
Set in an original Bauhaus structure, at the iconic Dizengoff Square, The Cinema Hotel has been transformed from what was the Esther Cinema – one of the first movie theaters in Tel Aviv – to a boutique hotel with a unique design. Original projectors, movie posters and other cinema memorabilia proliferate the hotel.
For movie buffs, classical movies are screened in the hotel lobby and popcorn is served – all to heighten the nostalgic and unique atmosphere.
All 83 hotel rooms and suites feature multi-channel cable TV, coffee/tea facilities, refrigerator, safe, and of course free wi-fi.
The Cinema Hotel features a beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking Dizengoff Square, and a business lounge serving complimentary afternoon and evening refreshments and snacks.
Stay tuned for part 2, where we discuss relaxation, restaurants and bars, and everything you need to know about the gay beach!
For more information about Tel Aviv, visit the Think Israel website.