Everyone like a good story, and while no Tel Aviv properties are located in haunted houses or ancient urban palaces, some tell a small tale, for piquant "extra value".
The Sharon Hotel, Herzliya, which opened in December 1948, the year Israel declared its independence, was planned to operate during the spring and summer only, the idea being to have it staffed and managed by a northern Dead Sea hotel.
However, since the Dead Sea hotel was located in an area that was no longer under Israeli control when the War of Independence ended, its managers moved to the Sharon, which began to operate all through the year - adding an outdoor swimming pool some years later and opening up its lawn area for the pleasure of guests.
Even before the Sharon's pool was inaugurated, its Herzliya neighbor, the Dan Accadia, with its spacious lawns, outdoor pool and cinema hall, was drawing guests with a concept built on an experience that was in fact, Israel's first resort hotel. The hotel's need for trained staff gave rise to the Tadmor Hotel in Herzliya, part of a complex that also includes the Tadmor School of Hospitality.
In Ramat Gan too, the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel developed as part of a concept first built around huts and a dining room set up on the grounds of the headquarters of the Maccabiah Games, Israel's Jewish Olympics, to house and feed Jewish athletes every four years, that come to Israel to compete in the games.
In Tel Aviv, which saw Sheraton as its first international brand, in the early 1960s, the Sheraton brand was moved to a new seafront property not far away, built on the site of the Red House, where efforts in pre-State Israel had been coordinated to smuggle in illegal Jewish immigrants. It h later served as headquarters of Israel's fire Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and as headquarters of the supreme command of the Israel Defense Forces.
famous visitors in the hotels
The Dan Tel Aviv, just south of the current Sheraton, which was developed in the 1950s from the old Kate Dan, a small pre-State seaside hotel, and on land adjacent to it, was the first property in the city planned to accommodate the needs and pleasures of upmarket tourism. The only seafront hotel in the city not developed as a high-rise, it owes its horizontal configuration to the fact that municipality rejected the owners' original high-rise plans.
Not far from the Dan, the former Yamit Hotel, on part of the property named the Orchard Park Plaza Tel Aviv, opened in the late 1980s as Tel Aviv's first apartment hotel. Elsewhere in Tel Aviv, where many small hotel have been launched in recent years, some interesting properties have developed in Bauhaus heritage buildings, with all the attention to rigid preservation standards hotel development of this sort entailed.
The Cinema Hotel was created out of the old Esther Cinema, with original cinematic elements left by the Atlas Chain, which manages it, as part of the concept – an old-time Tel Aviv cinema hall experience. The Rothschild, Alma, and Norman, all elegantly appointed Tel Aviv "City" properties, are located in Bauhaus buildings as well.
Jaffa, with a history going back thousands of years, lends itself to hotel stories, since most of the properties there have been converted from longstanding buildings. The Atlas Chain's Market Hotel, located in Jaffa's flea market area, opened a few years ago, over the ruins of a Byzantine chapel, and parts of the original building are visible via a glass floor near the entrance.
the view from old Jaffa
Two other Jaffa "story" hotels are opening later this year: Work is being completed on Starwood's W Tel Aviv, the former School of the Sisterhood of St Joseph and the 19th-century French Hospital, while the Orchid Chain's Setai Hotel is being completed on the site of – and incorporating - one of Jaffa's oldest buildings, constructed in the 17th century by the Ottoman Turks and used over the years as a jail, prison and execution facility.
After the establishment of the State of Israel, it was converted into a police station and detention center. The most notorious detainee held there was Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann.
These are but some of the little stories that are part of the history and lore of the Tel Aviv region's hotel industry, but the most important story of all – the one you'll recall again and again after you visit our amazing area and sample its joys – remains to be told.