The tourism sector is constantly growing. In recent years, we have witnessed the steady growth in the number of tourists coming to Israel: over 3 million in 2016, about 3.6 million in 2017, and over 4 million projected visitors by the end of 2018. Not everyone comes on vacation. About 10% are business people. The hotels in Israel are not indifferent to this cut of the market – some of them even brand themselves as “business hotels”. This year we chose to focus on these from among all the great hotels we examined.
The business community visiting Israel is changing: more women, younger reps, and a greater variety of cultures. You will find more Chinese businessmen and business tourists who do not insist on a suit and tie. Business tourists choose a hotel by its location (proximity to the airport, conference, company offices), services (workspace, gym facility), recommendations from friends or online reviews, and membership in the loyalty club as well as hotel conditions that are amenable to networking.
Indeed, the trend of hotels that meet the new needs of guests in town on business is on the rise. Hotels such as Publica and NYX in Tel Aviv and Herzliya are reinforcing the ties between business and pleasure: work and leisure are two sides of the same person. These tourists prepare for a business meeting, expect (and receive) 24/7 gym access and want to be able to pop over to the bar in the afternoon or evening. These hotels are aware of such needs and wants and offer their Generation Y business clients workspaces similar to openspace in their own designated offices or offices available for rent, make sure that the gym facilities are well-equipped and up-to-the-minute, and run bars in the lobby or on the roof, encourage the business guests to seek amusement at the hotel and even match them up with local colleagues. Here is Forbes Israel’s 2018 list for best-ranking hotels, from A-Z.
Forbes’ favorites are marked with our F.
Elma, Zichron Yaakov
The Elma building is well known by drivers who frequent Highway 2, running North-South along the coast. It was designed by the architect Yaakov Rechter and inaugurated as a sanatorium in 1968. In 2005 it was acquired by Lily Elstein, who turned it into a culture and arts center with a hotel in it. The hotel’s exterior has not changed, and the interior spaces have been maintained and designed in the spirit of the original architecture. It has a sophisticated, modern concert hall with a pipe organ, a smaller hall for intimate performances and a gallery which hosts changing exhibitions. We recommend oining an hour-long guided tour of the place. (Daily, free of charge to guests, open by appointment for a fee to non-guests).
Bay Club Hotel, Haifa
A small, modest hotel in a preserved historic building from the 1920s. The rooms and spaces combine new and modern design that fit with the character of the building with its unique stone walls, stairs and flooring.
Most afternoons, aside from Saturdays, the hotel guests are served fruits and vegetables, small pastries, hot and cold drinks and wine in the breakfast area, half of which is in a pleasant, covered garden.
Dan Carmel, Haifa
This old hotel overlooks the Haifa Bay and is adjacent to the beautiful and carefully tended Bahai Gardens. It offers a swimming pool, grassy areas which are unusual in urban hotels and appealing to families who come to visit Haifa.
The Efendi Hotel, Akko
This is a cross between a museum of antiquities, an intimate living room or salon, and a hotel in the narrow alleys of the Old City: a dozen spacious rooms, large and inviting shared spaces that encourage guests to spend time not just in the city or in their room, but also in the public spaces of the hotel.
Yaarot HaCarmel Resort
The resort invites its guests to a meeting with the house nutritionist to receive a consultation and adapt a personal menu for the duration of their stay. Guests are likewise offered a variety of healthy activities at no additional cost, such as lectures and physical activities inside and outside of the hotel.
The Setai, Kinneret
Luxury and splendor on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in a hotel where everything is large and spacious: the lobby, the restaurants, the pool area, the spa, the parking lot and especially the hotel rooms and the bathrooms that are a part of each. Buildings are spaced out throughout the large property, each with four rooms of a uniform size, of which some have a hot tub and some have a small pool.
Jerusalem and its surroundings
The hotel, which was inaugurated a year ago in the German Colony of Jerusalem, presents competition for the four hotels located just one kilometer away. Similar to the rest of the city’s hotels, some of the rooms are in preserved and renovated historic structures. The hotel rooms are elegant, as are the public spaces. There is a rich breakfast offering a local menu: halva, olives from the Mahaneh Yehuda market, cheeses and wine from Sataf in the Jerusalem hills, hummus, pastries and sweets from the old city and more. The ceramic plates and mugs are the work of an Israeli artist.
American Colony, Jerusalem F (Forbes Favorite)
You will hear practically no Hebrew in thos hotel which is located in the east of the city. The place combines Mediterranean luxury and modesty. The hotel’s buildings are surrounded by gardens, some of which include vegetables and herbs which find their way into the meals served to those who dine at the hotel. Since the place has no kashrut restrictions, the menu includes seafood, and the guests can enjoy dairy-based desserts and cappuccinos even on Saturdays. The character of the hotel and profile of its guests allows total privacy. Businesspeople can hold discrete meetings, and anyone preparing a lecture, or writing a book or an article, will find the atmosphere inspiring and well-appointed. One can learn about the history of the hotel and its owners (Americans, Swedes and British) in the archive and receive a guide at no additional cost. The rooms are spacious, clean and bright.
The King David
Much has been written about the hotel, its history and its guests: royalty, presidents, leaders, authors, artists, famous people and superstars. Its long hallway bears the signatures of some of them. Not just the service (phenomenal) but the furniture and the culinary variety are just right, as is the magnificent view of the old city during the day and night.
The Waldorf Astoria
This prestigious hotel radiates splendor and luxury in every item and at every turn. From the investment in reconstructing parts of the original building that was built in the previous century, to the furniture, the chandeliers and light fixtures, down to the eating utensils (some are porcelain and there is even silver), the floral arrangements, the bed linens and towels in the rooms and even heated floors in every bathroom.
Similar to other boutique hotels in Israel generally and in Jerusalem specifically that made their way onto our ranking, Villa Brown resides in a 150-year old building. The interior design is striking and unusual with strong colors, eclectic furniture which integrates pieces that have been kept from the original building. Breakfast is intimate, comes direct from the kitchen to the dining table and boasts a refreshing menu, beautifully served.
Cramim Resort and Spa, Kiryat Anavim
This is a luxurious spa hotel with grapes, grapevines and wine. Starting with its location in Kiryat Anavim, surrounded by fruiting vines, through the interior design in which the color purple features prominently, down to the wine workshops and wine boutique and an elaborate wine cellar. Those guests who are interested in the topic will be pleased to find relevant books in the rooms.
Upon entering the hotel which is lit by natural light during the day, one can notice the eclectic spacial design. Each of the inviting seating areas has its own character, combining antique and modern design which is best expressed by the furniture, the light fixtures, the carpets and paintings, the dishes and books. The rooms are functional and designed with clean lines.
David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem F (Forbes Favorite)
The hotel is located in a compound of luxury hotels (beside the King David, Mamila and Waldorf Astoria), but it is the only one of them that has it all: a view of the old city and the Tower of David, an inviting outdoor pool, a spacious business lounge with a varied menu and an exceptional breakfast. The hotel interior, both its public spaces and its rooms (which are sparklingly clean) are decorated with David Reeves’ Jerusalem paintings. Although it is an undoubtedly upscale hotel, it projects a kind of modesty and conservatism, in the best sense of the word.
Tel Aviv and Around
David Intercontinental Tel Aviv
This hotel is particularly well-suited to business people participating in the many conferences which are held there. The halls can hold thousands of attendees and the hotel also boasts well-appointed meeting rooms. One cannot help but notice the location – beachfront, next to Neve Tzedek, Hatachana New Station compound, and close to Yaffo and the flea market area. The breakfast buffets also offer options to suit Chinese business representatives.
This is a young, proud and bold place that could be defined as a Tel Avivian hotel. Breakfast can be chosen from one of four restaurants in different styles that are typical of the city: vegetarian-vegan, family-kosher, trendy on Rothschild or neighborhood-y on Nahalat Binyamin. The small rooms have no coffee service, which is intended to encourage guests to drink the complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water that are served in the lobby.
Norman F (Forbes Favorite)
If one were to look for the most suitable Tel Aviv hotel to host the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, to say nothing of the Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle, there would only be one answer: Norman. It is a masterpiece of elegance. The fruit trees in the pleasant surrounding garden are not the only surprise in this boutique hotel. The service is excellent, the rooms are immaculately appointed (fine bed linens and towels) and the design, the choice of furniture, decorative objects, light fixtures and eating utensils are perfect, without compromise. Norman redefined the upscale hotel for local tourism.
Dan Accadia, Herzliya
Large grassy spaces, a pool, a red-tiled roof – all this makes one think of a kibbutz rather than a city hotel. There is a reserved elegance about the entrance which, after renovations, has preserved the beauty of the 1950s, giving the place an atmosphere of restful vacation for a variety of guests: young people and couples alongside families.
Dan Tel Aviv
Among the oldest and best-known hotels in the city, the Dan has maintained its high standard of understated prestige. The hotel has hosted, is hosting, and will likely continue to host well-known personalities from Israel and abroad including diplomats, cultural and spiritual leaders. Passersby on the boardwalk or the beach, will recognize the hotel’s unique and colorful facade, created by the artist Yaakov Agam.
The Vista at Hilton, Tel Aviv
About a year and a half ago a significant change began at the Hilton: the hotel split in two, and a hotel within a hotel was born. The Vista Hotel has dominion over the upper floors, which includes about a third of the rooms in the building, and The Hilton constitutes the rest of the floors. The two hotels belong to the same international chain and share the public spaces: the pool, dining room, gym, spa, etc. The Vista Hotel is the more exclusive of the two and its guests enjoy luxurious rooms and a business lounge on the 17th floor with an extraordinary view to the sea.
Market House, Tel Aviv-Yafo
The hotel, located at the Jaffa flea market, displays photographs of local characters and a menu that includes burekas and hardboiled eggs, sabich and hummus, along with salads, fish and cheese dishes that convey the market atmosphere from the outside into the attractively renovated building.
The business lounge in the hotel, located in the heart of Herzliya’s business center, is somewhat reminiscent of an advertising agency: office tables with computers, designed notebooks and colored pencils befitting a new hotel aimed to a younger business crowd. The breakfast area is part of the lobby, which turns into a bar in the evenings.
The uniqueness of the hotel which is located right in front of the beach, can be found at its pool. Even on hot sunny days, bathers enjoy complete shade, thanks to the high ceiling which spans the entire pool. The hotel has modern interior design and displays a wealth of artworks, some of which are for sale.
Ritz Carleton, Herzliya
The service is excellent which is testament to the fact that the global chain has teams which lead other companies and organizations such as banks in “service theory”. The hotel offers business people complimentary morning shuttles to offices in the high tech sector of Herzliya. Another advantage of the hotel is its location above a shopping center complete with restaurants and a view of the marina.
Sheraton, Tel Aviv F (Forbes Favorite)
One cannot help but be amazed by the hotel’s unique services, tailored to business travelers and guests generally, in two areas: the techno-digital and the ecological. At the technological-digital level, all guests receive immediate responses, via WhatsApp, within less than a minute. They also have unlimited access to more than 7,000 newspapers and magazines from all over the world, which can be found by language, country, or area of interest. Access is available for up to three days after checkout.
The innovation at the Sheraton continues into the field of sustainability: many people are probably familiar with the tag you can hang on your doorknob which indicates that guests do not need their towels and sheets changed each day, so as to save resources and save the planet. The Sheraton also has such a tag but unlike other hotels, it offers a reward for every day without replacing the linens (up to three days straight, after that towels and sheets will be changed): the accumulation of points that benefits club members, or money value towards food and drinks at the hotel or a donation that is given to UNICEF (an international organization that helps children). There are also three designed waste receptacles for paper, plastic and glass, stationed on every floor.
The hotel is also animal-friendly. The Sheraton will provide a guest bed for a dog or cat, as well as eating utensils, a bag for disposing of waste, and even a toy.
Eilat and the South
Beresheet, Mitzpe Ramon F (Forbes Favorite)
Beresheet is a unique hotel in Israel. It is a luxury spa hotel in the heart of a desert nature reserve, on a cliff at the edge of Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater). The hotel is extraordinarily integrated into the reserve, which at first glance appears empty and dusty. Hotel guests can feel nature all around them even if they’re not heading out to trek in the surrounding area but prefer to stay and enjoy everything the hotel has to offer. The low, tan-colored buildings blend with the brownish-yellow monochrome of the surrounding landscape. The reserve’s residents, the fleet-footed ibex, can hop over the low fencing, and walk between the buildings, beside the small private pools that accompany about a third of the rooms.
The central pool is among the most beautiful in the country, and one would be remiss not to swim in its waters or lounge on one of the deckchairs arranged around it, facing out over the crater.
It’s definitely worth staying here at least once. The hotel’s isolated location, termed “desert vacation”, the nature reserve, the spa, the rooms and the general atmosphere allow and even encourage guests to disconnect from the busy world and indulge in the blessed calm and quiet, along with a broad range of pampering spa treatments.
Among the oldest and best known hotels in the city, the Dan is experienced in holding conferences and hosting participants alongside families, particularly during summer break and the holidays. Aside from the pool, the hotel grants its younger guests plenty of activities in separate zones for toddlers, children and youth. The hotel has been recently renovated and redesigned.
For those who want to enjoy a quiet spa hotel (intended for couples only) which is walking distance from shopping and entertainment centers, Herods Vitalis is an excellent choice. The hotel offers half-board and an elaborate buffet in the lounge, such that the hotel is essentially “all-inclusive”.
This hotel is within the complex of three hotels that includes Herods Boutique and Herods Vitalis.
Leaving the house with a baby involves lots of baggage and endless packing. At Herods they thought about everything, and they offer practical solutions: the “baby welcome package” comes with a choice of appliances which include a stroller, a sterilizer, a potty, night lights, and a menu suitable to kids’ palates.
Queen of Sheba
Like all hotels suitable for families, and definitely in Eilat, this hotel also offers a large dining room, pools, and family-friendly rooms, but with one noteworthy difference: there is a permanent synagogue, beautiful and elegant, which is ideal for those who attend synagogue on Shabbat and holidays and celebrate Bar or Bat Mitzvahs or Shabbat Hatan.
In addition to everything you would expect from a hotel that ranked among the best in the city of vacation and overall, this place has a particular magic. There is a rare abundance of artworks from different materials by Israeli artists displayed in all the public spaces of the hotel. One can feel the influence of the curator both in the diverse selection of works (paintings and sculptures) and in their placement within the hotel’s space, both inside and outside.
The newest hotels in the land
Hotels that opened in the last year – because they are still in the trial phase they did not make the ranking, but they could hardly be overlooked…
The 13th century building, preserved and renovated and known by the name “Kishla”, has been turned into a hotel with views of the sea, located right by the Jaffa Clock Tower. Guests of the hotel, whose interior design is beautifully combined with its exterior, enjoy a fabulous location in the heart of Jaffa, and an authentic culinary experience, as well as wandering the nearby shops and markets and strolling the waterfront promenade.
A hotel that answers to the unofficial definition of a modern business hotel. The hotel has a self-service system to save time on check-in/check-out and room service as well as an option to chat with a hotel representative through the app. The design is modern and boasts hard-to-miss works of street art. Breakfast is served at the bar which allows for conversation with the bartender or fellow diners.
* Translated by Zoe Jordan