Tel Aviv


There are sound reasons why the Hilton Tel Aviv remains the hotel of choice for many in search of luxury accommodation in Israel's most vibrant beach-side city. Since it opened in 1965, when it was the first hotel of its genre built by an international chain, it has remained at the top of its game.

Back then, the architectural imperatives of its creators were to dominate the seafront on the exclusive north side of the city and create air-conditioned luxury free of intrusion from the Middle Eastern sun.

Times change: north Tel Aviv now has a rival in the regenerated south for the title "best" side of the city, and sunlight is now seen as vital to the ambience of a seafront property. The hotel may not be able to move, but it solved the problem of absent views and natural light: in a mid-1990 refurbishment, Hilton spent $70m removing walls at lobby level and replacing them with floor-to-ceiling glass, thus opening up the public rooms to dramatic views and the searing blue of sky and sea. And on the location issue, its proximity to the Tel Aviv Port and the chicest beach restaurant in the city are other potent reasons to stay there.

More recently, the owners have instigated a new refurbishment programme that will see major upgrading of all 582 guest rooms and suites, with bathrooms extended to create stand-alone showers as well as new, larger bath tubs and more generous living and storage space.

In the public areas, sushi restaurant Yakimoto, serves some of the best Japanese food in the universe, though its lobby location detracts somewhat from the atmosphere. Breakfast is above-average Israeli, with pleasant service, and for those who wish to be active there's a gym with views, as well as the pool which remains a top location for people watching.

Rates: Doubles from: $340 per night
Tel: 00972 3 520 2222

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