Pioneers set up a small farming community in 1924 and called it Herzliya, after the founder of modern Zionism. Today, foreign diplomats clamour for housing there, high-tech companies compete for office space, and hotel companies try to outdo each other in the luxury stakes.
In this city just north of Tel Aviv, plans are always being drawn up for posh new hotels. The veteran seaside favourites such as the Dan Accadia Herzliya Hotel and the Daniel Hotel Herzliya have been joined by newcomers with ambitious ideas.
It is easy to see what makes the city so attractive. It is a well-kept place with clean streets, good shopping and a great seafront. The city has a reputation as a base for Israelis and tourists wanting easy access to Tel Aviv. It is — but there is also plenty to do locally. A major draw is also the open areas. They include the large Herzliya Park with its large grassy areas, man-made lake, and a playground.
Historical offerings include the Tel Michal archaeological site that overlooks the marina. The Apollonia National Park contains a partly excavated Crusader city, where archaeologists have revealed water cisterns, wine presses, remains of a fortress and a villa.
The marina is one of the largest and most developed on the Med, where visitors can rent yachts, go surfing and try kayaking.
Such is the pull of the city that Leonardo DiCaprio is rumoured to be investing in one of the newest hotels due to open there, a project of the Hagag Group. The Fattal chain recently raised its game with Herods Herzliya, and the international Ritz-Carlton brand has invested in Herzliya
The 12-storey Ritz-Carlton Herzliya has a genteel atmosphere, and is designed to make the most of its location overlooking the marina. Wherever the designers could give guests a view of the Mediterranean, they did — whether from public spaces or from terraces outside guest rooms.
As well as regular rooms and suites at the hotel, there are apartments that are sold as holiday homes part of the year and which double up as hotel suites the rest of the time.
Buyers want the best of both worlds during their months in residence — all the benefits of staying in a hotel, including maid service, room service and access to the pool and breakfast, plus home comforts. Hotel guests who use the flats benefit from a full kitchen complete with oven, hob and dishwasher.
The hotel’s restaurant, Herbert Samuel at The Ritz-Carlton, is impressing reviewers with its meat and fish menu, as well as its signature dishes of tomato salad and chestnut gnocchi. It won Timeout Magazine Israel’s Best Kosher Restaurant award in 2014, shortly after the hotel opened, and again in 2015. In 2016 it won the Best Kosher Restaurant of category of the World Luxury Restaurant Awards.
For many businesspeople, it is a business hotel, close enough to Tel Aviv for meetings but far enough to provide a bit of quiet. For couples it is a romantic getaway that has everything on site — a spa, a fitness centre, and a 12th-floor rooftop with a swimming pool and a bar. It also works well for families, with its kids’ club and seaside location. The hotel covers a lot of bases, and succeeds in bringing an American-style service ethos to a thriving Israeli resort.