Israel is no longer just a bus tourism destination. Travelers with a love of luxury are among a record number of visitors – 3.5 million in 2012 – to this epicenter of the Holy Land. Hotel investors and developers are answering the uptick in rooms demand with several new upscale hotels that are opening this year.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Set to open in 2013, this luxury brand’s newest property is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, and Independence Park.
The historic façade of this hotel belonged to the elegant Palace Hotel that opened in 1931 and showcases a mix of Greco-Roman, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, neo-Moorish and Mamluk elements.
Royal Beach Tel Aviv: This beachfront hotel is slated to open May 1st on pulsating Tel Aviv’s Herbert Samuel Boulevard near the vibrant promenade, the city’s entertainment, and dining centers. Each room in the hotel’s 23 stories overlooks the Mediterranean.
Alegra Hotel, Jerusalem: The former 1920’s residence of Alegra Bello and Jebra Francis Rahil, a Christian-Jewish couple, is open in the Ein Karen district and has views of the city and Judean Mountains. The repurposed building has seven individually designed suites and is surrounded by a lush Mediterranean orchard. Also included is a lounge, sauna, pool, spa and restaurant.
Ritz Carlton, Herzliya: Opening next summer on Tel Aviv’s western side, Israel’s first Ritz Carlton hotel will have two bedroom and penthouse suites, in addition to guest rooms with balconies that overlook the Mediterranean. It is adjacent to the Herzliya Marina and shopping mall and 25 minutes from the new Caesarea Golf Course, the country’s first 18-hole golf course. A rooftop pool, spa, and special kosher facilities for groups and families are included.
The Norman Hotel Tel Aviv: Two historic apartment buildings from the 1920’s are the bones of this hotel on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv’s King Albert Square district. Included are 50 rooms and two apartment-style suites with sweeping terraces, hardwood floors and other luxury amenities.
Efendi Hotel, Akko: This boutique property opens later this year in northern Israel has location within the winding cobblestone streets of the Old City of Akko (Hebrew) or Acre (English), a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel rests on one of the oldest known structures in the country, and evokes an Ottoman-style feel with white walls and hardwood floors. There are 12 rooms, plus a rooftop lounge and subterranean wine cellar.