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The Sharon Hotel, Herzliya Pituach: pooled pleasures for the business traveller and for families on holiday
Dozens of diplomats can't be wrong. Cafés in Herzliya often resemble the United Nations, with members of numerous overseas delegations who have chosen to make this town their home sipping drinks and chatting. It is easy to see what attracts them - wide boulevards, beautiful beaches, a stunning marina and an upscale shopping centre. And with a range of good-quality hotels, tourists can also enjoy the town. "Here, visitors can get everything they can find in Tel Aviv, but quieter," says Talia Yedid–Levy, marketing director at the Sharon Hotel.
The 173-room Sharon is in Herzliya Pituach, the most upscale neighbourhood of this upscale town. There you can enjoy the lush green gardens and the view of the beach, leading straight off the hotel grounds. There is a large seawater swimming pool, as well as an indoor pool. The Sharon is popular with business travellers, as it is close to the many high-tech companies in and around Herzliya. But during the holiday seasons, it fills up with families. Youngsters are kept busy with a kids' club, children's pool, playground and table tennis table.
As well as conventional hotels Herzliya Pituach also offers stylish self-catering options, including two all-suite hotels run by the Okeanos chain. The 42-suite Okeanos-on-the Sea, which as the name suggests is right on the shore, is fully self-catering, while the 26-suite Okeanos Ba'marina, which is next to the marina, offers breakfast.
Both hotels offer "junior suites" for two people, which include a sleeping area, living area, kitchenette and bathroom; suites with a bedroom and living room which sleep up to four and suites with two bedrooms and a living room for up to six. The kitchenettes have fridges, microwaves and food preparation areas.
"The hotels are very good for business travellers who have work to do and want a larger space than the usual hotel room to do it, for families who want the convenience of being able to prepare food and for elderly travellers who want quiet," says Mario Columbo, manager of both hotels. Because of the tranquillity, he says, "though the hotels are full all year round, if you come in they seem absolutely empty".
Of course, the Tel Aviv area has many other retreats aside from Herzliya. One of the most impressive is the Kfar Maccabiah hotel in Ramat Gan, the city to the east of Tel Aviv.
"The wonderful thing about Kfar Maccabiah is that we're in the middle of the city, but in 22 acres of greenery, meaning we're a really relaxing place but just two minutes from Israel's main roads," says Yochi Ben Dor, the hotel's marketing manager. Guests at the hotel have even more open space than the 22 acres to enjoy - it borders the Ramat Gan National Park, Israel's second largest urban park.
Kfar Maccabiah is a 260-room hotel with facilities that exceed the expectations even of the biggest hotel connoisseur. Kfar Maccabiah is the HQ of the international sports organisation Maccabi World Union and its sports club, home to the Maccabiah Games, is available for use by hotel guests.
The club boasts five swimming pools, (two are indoor and heated); courts for tennis, squash, basketball, handball and table tennis; football fields; a pampering spa; a spa bath and wet-and-dry saunas. Guests can take part in classes, including aerobics and spinning.
Guests can use Kfar Maccabiah as a base for Tel Aviv, making the short journey daily for meetings or sightseeing - or stay put and take full advantage of the sports facilities and grounds. All you need is on-site - business facilities, meeting rooms, a shop, a restaurant and a synagogue.