Israel was hit hard by the pandemic, but its hotel industry has roared back to life.
From the nation’s southern desert to its forest-filled north — along with Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in between — Israel is in the midst of a hotel building boom.
Here are the most notable newcomers and recently refreshed places to check in and check out.
David Kempinski, Tel Aviv
In a nation late to global luxury brands, the new David Kempinski marks a major milestone.
Just opened, the 250-room, 34-floor tower is set directly across from the Mediterranean in the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling seafront boardwalk, the tayelet.
More like an “urban resort,” the hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows, an 11-room spa, rooftop pool and and four indoor and outdoor restaurants. Most intriguing, the Kempinski’s triplex penthouse is the largest of its kind in the city and includes its own 30-foot infinity pool.
R48, Tel Aviv
The latest hotel triumph from the folks behind Tel Aviv’s ground-breaking Hotel Montefiore, the R48 is set in the heart of White City on chic Rothschild Boulevard. Crafted from a renovated 1933 Bauhaus gem, the hotel features a who’s who of global design talent: Christian Liaigre for the interiors and gardens master Piet Oudolf, known for the High Line. The hotel will feature just 11 suites spread over four floors as well as a branch of the city’s ultra-hip Brasserie restaurant.
David Citadel, Jerusalem
Since its debut over a decade ago, the David Citadel has proven to be a mighty rival to the historic, nearby King David — luring a major contingent of global government officials and celebs. Now the property has had a well-deserved refresh. Along with the new meat-focused, al fresco restaurant Veranda, the hotel is debuting a new Akasha Spa with a range of soothing therapies and treatments. The hotel will also launch its family-friendly Funland, a 4,000-square-foot kids play center featuring miniaturized versions of local landmarks including Jerusalem’s iconic Mahane Yehuda Market.
Six Senses Shaharut, The Negev
Tucked into the Negev desert about three hours by car from Tel Aviv, the newish Six Senses Shaharut is a dose of pure luxury that took a decade to achieve. Designed by local firm Plesner Architects, the property features both Levantine and global design elements — key furniture and fabrics were brought from India, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey and Italy — while essential ceramics, textiles and lighting fixtures were all locally sourced. With their chic private pools and stark desert landscape, the property’s 60 rooms and villas have become a favorite of Israel’s upper-crust, who swoon over its sumptuous spa.
Galei Kinneret, Tiberias
It doesn’t get more history-rich than the Sea of Galilee, which abounds with biblical must-visits. There are also more recent wonders, including the new Galei Kinneret hotel. Designed by local hot shots Saar Zafrir Design and perched on the sea itself, the property includes 123 modern-design rooms and suites with ample influences from Italy’s iconic Villa d’Este hotel all set in a renovated 1940s-era original property. The new hotel features luxe touches such as private Jacuzzis, a Galilee-fronted swimming pool and private beach.
Pereh Hotel, Golan Heights
Built on the ruins of the historic French Customs House dating back to the Ottoman Empire, the Pereh is anchored around a pair of renovated Bauhaus buildings linked by elegant gardens and a pool. Inside, there are 27 rooms and suites, along with a bijou spa, a regionally focused restaurant and wine cave. “Pereh” means “wild” in Hebrew and the hotel has partnered with Israel’s Land Rover Club for scenic rides to explore the area’s pristine wildlife anchored around the nearby Jordan River.