JC Stays: The David Kempinski, Tel Aviv, Israel

After a decade of anticipation, we were among the first to check in - and to check out this long-awaited Tel Aviv hotel


Suite 2525 bedroom, Day04, Kempinski Tel Aviv

A decade in the making, The David Kempinski Tel Aviv is ensuring no-one misses its long-awaited entrance on HaYarkon Street. The gleaming glass tower sits opposite the boardwalk between Jerusalem and Bograshov beaches, a 34-storey skyscraper which will forever alter the Tel Aviv shore-side skyline.

It’s testament to the ambition of the Kempinski group, which has been in the hotel business since 1897. And despite being the European group’s first property in Israel, it’s aiming to re-define Tel Aviv’s hospitality scene.

Sumptuously furnished Royal and Presidential Suites, plus the enormous David Penthouse sitting astride three floors (with a grand piano, sauna and private rooftop pool not to mention multiple bedrooms), make the hotel a perfect choice for any kind of dignitary, pop star or millionaire.

For the rest of us, there are 56 suites and 194 bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, many which also have impressive sea views, plus five-star facilities such as a heated infinity pool, a rooftop bar and the Horizon Lounge on the 22nd floor (reserved for selected deluxe rooms and suite-level guests).

And with a ballroom, gym, spa and beauty salon in the basement, the Kempinski is ready to host serious functions, a potential new rival to its more established seaside competitors The Dan, The Hilton and The Royal Beach. But is it actually any good?

My deluxe room on the 12th floor certainly impresses. Designed to “mirror understated sophistication in the heart of the city”, the suite features a super comfortable double bed with cosy bedding, two sofas, plenty of wardrobe space, plus a large marble bathroom with both shower room and separate bathtub for a leisurely soak.

Most new hotels in Tel Aviv have small, boxy rooms where it’s impossible even to properly unpack, so this 37-square-metre space feels both indulgent and relaxing. The entire left side of my room faces the Mediterranean, so I was able to wake up, crack open my blackout curtains and watch people frolic on the beach outside, all while still lying in my cosy bed. Magical.

Moving from floor to floor was an equally memorable experience. A panel of great glass elevators on the city side of the building gives guests a bird’s eye view of Tel Aviv.

As you rise ever higher, crumbling architecture from days gone by and solar power panels on rickety old apartment buildings are juxtaposed with high-rise towers and the new builds that are popping up all over Tel Aviv.

As I glided ever higher, I spotted the historic Trumpeldor Cemetery and my own rented apartment, which felt a million miles away from this quiet, refined space.

With five places to eat and drink at the hotel, we headed to the kosher (dairy) Sereia restaurant for dinner. Big bouquets of flowers and impressive chandeliers set an elegant tone, helping to make the restaurant a bright and charming destination.

Before ordering, my friend and I were given a guided tour of the day’s fresh fish haul, which sat in its ice bath in the centre of the restaurant. I settled on a starter of yellowtail crudo with grilled cauliflower, followed by a main course of tuna steak with buttery potatoes in a pepper and brandy sauce, while my friend chose wild sea bass fillet a la plancha with raisins and pine nuts.

A home-baked bread basket came with the interesting addition of seaweed butter, while a wine-list featuring Israeli wines from the Golan Heights, Galilee and Judean Hills complimented our rich and delicious food.

As you’d expect, service throughout the hotel was good — the bellboy was keen to take my case, the restaurant manager extremely welcoming, while waiting staff checked if we had allergies, which was a nice touch. Clearly the hotel is striving to be a five-star property that measures up to international standards; the prices are certainly up there with the best of them.

Yet perhaps The Kempinski’s biggest selling point is in fact not its service but its serene atmosphere. Beautiful interiors in hues of blue, brown and grey create a calming colour palette and despite sitting at the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling beach scene, the hotel’s elevated physical position keeps you well away from the chaos of the city below.

If you’re looking for an immersive Middle-Eastern experience or a stay with as much energy and buzz as the White City itself, the Kempinski Tel Aviv is not for you. But a brand-new luxury oasis where you can restore and relax after a busy day in the city? If that’s what you’re seeking, the David Kempinski Tel Aviv may well be your perfect choice.


Rooms at the David Kempinski Tel Aviv cost from around £440 per night.

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