Lydia Weitzman discovers a refreshing new aspect to staying at the Carlton
Relax in the light-filled lobby
Think "leading business hotel in Israel" and you might be forgiven for coming up with the David Intercontinental, the King David or even the Sheraton Tel Aviv. All great hotels, beautifully appointed and offering special services to the business traveller. But beating all those to first place to win the coveted title at the World Travel Awards, after three consecutive years of nomination, is the Carlton Tel Aviv. Hardly surprising, given that the hotel has recently completed a top-to-toe renovation programme, transforming it almost beyond recognition.
And the first, most obvious change hits you as you walk into this self-defined boutique hotel. The entrance, once from Hayarkon Street, has been oh-so-cleverly moved around to the beachfront. In fact, it is the only hotel on the Tel Aviv boardwalk that is accessible from the sea side. The lobby, too, has benefited from a complete renovation, with its impressive waterfall centerpiece, a bright, contemporary interior design in the reception and lounge and breathtaking sea views.
The expansive decking outside the lobby area, facing the beach, offers guests the opportunity to enjoy an al-fresco Israeli breakfast at Carlton-on-the-Beach, overlooking the Tel Aviv marina and fanned by the cool Mediterranean sea breezes. And, if you want to walk off the calories, it's a step away from the Tel Aviv boardwalk that takes you southwards to Jaffa or northwards to the buzzy Tel Aviv port.
All 268 rooms and suites in the hotel have been redesigned and refurbished to international standards. Guests can choose their view - Tel Aviv cityscape, the Jaffa port or the endless Mediterranean Sea - and all rooms have balconies and, as befits a business hotel, large work desks and wireless Internet access, as well as a flat-screen TV with multiple channels.
The hotel's Royal Lounge, with spectacular views from its 14th-floor perch, has been completely redesigned and another business lounge, Amatis, has been added on the restaurant floor.