The Best Hotels In Tel Aviv

#1 The Lighthouse

Opened last October by Leon Avigad, one of the founders of Brown Hotels, the 100-room Lighthouse is a decided step up for the boutique chain, with interiors in its restored Brutalist former office tower by the Argentinian/Israeli architect Nestor Sandbank, who softened the office-y toughness of the place with wooden floors and plenty of wood panelling in the rooms. Up top is the clubby Haiku Skybar, which offers bottle service while overlooking Tel Aviv all night. A dozen of the rooms have greened-in terraces with their own hot tubs, and if that’s not enough, the hotel’s lush spa is downstairs, so there are remedies for that rager. The only detail that beats all of that is the Lighthouse’s stellar location, on Ben Yehuda, two blocks from Jerusalem beach.

#2 The Norman

Smack in the middle of nightlife mecca Nahalat Binyamin, which encompasses the lower reaches of Rothschild Boulevard, stands the luxurious Norman Hotel, carved out of two vintage 1920s buildings. The hoteliers have added a rooftop pool and two restaurants, one of which is the well-known Japanese-tapas-style Dinings, and have put in a delightful citrus garden between the buildings. In the red-hot center of Tel Aviv’s food and club scene, you could while away whole days and never leave the neighborhood except, arguably, to trundle down to the beach.

#3 The Jaffa

The old town of Jaffa’s many antique charms have been picked up and dusted off in the last decade, which has not just created a roiling nightlife and culinary scene but has also spurred on the hoteliers to put in some prime properties. The Jaffa was the brainchild of developer Aby Rosen, who, with British architect John Pawson, took an abandoned hospital at the foot of the old town and provided Jaffa with a very elegant 120-room hotel that is operated under Marriott’s Luxury Collection. Although the older building is from the 19th century, the grand vaulted nave in the lobby, the checkerboard marble floor, the leaded glass windows, and the stately Corinthian columns and pilasters hark back to a Crusader cathedral. Neither the Crusaders, nor the authorities of the hospital back in its day, had an outdoor pool, a fine Italian restaurant or even Golda’s Deli, named for the iconic premier Golda Meir, at their disposal. But at the Jaffa, you can.

#4 The Drisco

The Drisco brothers were a couple of enterprising 19th-century Christian émigrés to the Holy Land who eschewed farming and instead built a hotel just outside Jaffa that they, in the hope of attracting well-heeled Christian pilgrims at their first point of landing, called The Jerusalem Hotel, in the mid-1860s. (It closed in 1940.) After a decade-long restoration, the reborn, 42-room Drisco lies between the Old Jaffa and Neve Tzedek districts, in what’s called the old American-German colony. The spa, by Daria, is luxe, and beckons. Contrary to what you might think, the hotel’s destination restaurant, George and John, is not named for two of the Fab Four, rather for George and John Drisco, the original hoteliers.

#5 The Setai Tel Aviv

If Jaffa’s hotness as a destination can be measured in luxurious lodgings, the 120-room Setai sets the punctuation on the trend, anchoring the south side of Yossi Carmel Square a scant hundred yards from the beach. The Setai is set slightly at the edge of old Jaffa for two reasons—first, it came relatively late in Ottoman rule, and second, it was the Ottomans’ prison. Yep, that’s right. But any similarity between then and now is just about the grander bits of architecture, which are, despite their former use, grand. Developed by Ralph Nakash, of the entrepreneurial Nakash brothers, the glamorous Setai is a stone’s throw from the roiling nightlife and the beach.

#6 The Vera

The Vera’s motto is locavore, as in, we are local, so that you should be, too. The 39 modern, plush rooms take that down to the nitty-gritty level of local furniture and fabric-makers’ products, as well as lighting fixtures by local designers. A former maternity ward in the 1940s, the hotel opened just this year and is attracting a burgeoning younger crowd to its rooftop events. On Lilienblum, just west of the bottom of Rothschild and south of the Great Synagogue in Neve Tzedek, its location could not be finer for stepping out at night.

#7 The Rothschild 71

The Rothschild, named for its address, sits at night like a great white frigate on lower Rothschild Boulevard. Designed with just 29 suites, done in the Bauhaus style ubiquitous in pre- and postwar Tel Aviv, and dating from 1934, the lodgings are capacious and understatedly luxe. The hotel’s Italian restaurant, Cantina, which has a fine terrace that spills out toward the street on the ground floor, is a draw for local politicians and the glitterati, who have taken the place by storm. The Rothschild has resolved the great dichotomy of urban lodging. It’s both cozy and right in the middle of the action in Neve Tzedek.