Tel Aviv-Jaffa 2010

Eye-opener

November 9, 2010

The Children's Museum is really a misnomer for this campus in the heart of Holon. Like so many of Israel's new-style museums, this is neither a museum nor are all its sections exclusively aimed at children.

In this unique complex, there are displays for children of all ages and for adults as well.

Let's start with the pavillion that is really for young children - and even here there are separate paths for two-and-a-half to four years, four to seven years, five to eight and eight to 12 years. The younger children have to be accompanied by adults.

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Take sides

November 9, 2010

Until a couple of years ago, there was only one answer to visitors inquiring where to stay in Tel Aviv - to paraphrase Bill Clinton: "It's all about the beach, stupid!"

Indeed, magnificent hotels at all price points line the swathe of sands which runs the length of this city, correctly described as "Manhattan by the Med" - a metropolis that unusually enjoys all the lazy beach life of a resort during its downtime - Fridays, Saturdays and pretty well every night, with visitors getting the beach and its bars to themselves during the Tel Aviv working week.

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Polished service

November 9, 2010

Tel Aviv - you love it or hate it. It's hot, frenetic, even wild. It's certainly unholy. But it has an energy and beauty all of its own and for that reason, tourists and business people flock there in ever increasing droves. And the eager hoteliers strive to match the pace of the city with upgrades, renovations and improvements, in a bid to stay ahead of the game.

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Boutique chic

November 9, 2010

For many of us the word "boutique" conjures up a picture of Carnaby Street, '60s music and weird clothing. In recent years, however, the description has been appropriated by the hotel industry. According to Leslie Adler, the managing director of the Atlas chain, the first such hotel appeared in New York in the 1980s. And today it has become one of the trendiest items in tourism.

The three defining features of this new type of hotel are size - generally fewer than 100 rooms and often much smaller; the lack of a dining room (though many offer breakfast) and a "concept".

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Sea change

November 9, 2010

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.

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The Suite life

November 9, 2010

Perfectly situated, close to the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, but right on the doorstep of the idyllic stretches of wide open Mediterranean coast, stands Tel Aviv's elaborate West all Suites Resort. Tipped to be one of the finest among Tel Aviv hotels, the West all Suites Resort is in a class of its own; with each of its 200 suites being a luxurious haven.

Boasting an enormous modern fitness centre, complete with two saunas - wet and dry - and the very latest in fitness machines, the West all Suites Resort provides guests with the finest hospitality experience.

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Time for a new look

November 9, 2010

In the first quarter of 2011, Tel Aviv's beachfront hotel skyline is going to be transformed with the debut of the Herod's Tel Aviv, a fascinating themed hotel that is set to become the five-star luxury flagship of the Fattal Hotel chain.

According to Raffi Sadeh, general manager of Fattal Hotels (www.fattal.co.il) the venerable Leonardo Plaza Tel Aviv (formerly the Moriah Plaza), will temporarily close later this year, in order to undergo a series of sweeping renovations.

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Tide turns

November 9, 2010

In the past, Jaffa's been described as "hardly changed since the day when Jonah set sail on his flight from the wrath of the Almighty". It was a nicer way of saying "seedy and neglected and in desperate need of much repair".

But you can't say that now.

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Path to peace

November 9, 2010

The Tel Aviv promenade is probably the best known beach front in Israel. Facing the Mediterranean Sea, it's a year-round tourist attraction. Israelis, for reasons known only to themselves, assume that come October the sea is "closed" and are loth to bathe there (unless they're Russian immigrants, of course, but that's another story).

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Vintage port

November 9, 2010

Tel Aviv Port is one of Israel's most attractive locations in every sense of the word. Not only does the former port turned leisure, shopping and entertainment centre attract thousands of visitors daily, it also recently won a highly prestigious award for its architecture at the European Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona.

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