A room with a heart

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/travel -

beaches. Lo­cals have their favourite eater­ies, of­ten small, un­pre­ten­tious neigh­bour­hood bars which serve as a kind of kitchen ex­ten­sion, sum­mer and win­ter, and some­times don’t even run to a name. The sheer choice of Tel Aviv restau­rants is some­times over­whelm­ing, from fan­tas­tic Ital­ian cook­ing (and, let it be said, at about a third of cur­rent Ital­ian prices), to won­der­ful fish — es­pe­cially in north Tel Aviv, in the newly gen­tri­fied Port, and in Old Jaffa — and, of course, ex­cep­tional meat.

Kosher tourists might like to try a dif­fer­ent sort of din­ing at Pasha, a Turk­ish restau­rant with a sis­ter out­let in Jerusalem, in Re­hov Ha’arba’a, just off Ibn Gvi­rol. The del­i­cately spiced food en­sures a con­sis­tent clien­tele with plenty of fans. Make sure to book.

Also very pop­u­lar, though not su­per­vised (although its meat is kosher), is A Place To Meat in Shabazi Street, in the ren­o­vated south­ern neigh­bour­hood of Neve Tzedek. One of the first res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods of mod­ern Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek is a rab­bit war­ren of wind­ing streets in which bou­tiques and bistros jos­tle for space. At the heart of the area is the Suzanne Del­lal arts cen­tre, whose restau­rant, Bellini, has been de­light­ing cus­tomers for 15 years (but be warned, it is not kosher.)

Hard-core Tel Aviv vis­i­tors may dis­cover a flour­ish­ing new se­ries of ho­tels in the city which are at­tract­ing tourists from the UK for the first time. Just steps from the beach on Ben-Ye­huda Street is the Art + Ho­tel, with 62 rooms and break­fast served in the li­brary.

For some­where dif­fer­ent to stay — es­pe­cially, per­haps, dur­ing the win­ter months, when the beach is not send­ing out siren calls — try the Sheraton City Tower, on the edge of Tel Aviv and Ra­mat Gan. It’s just near the Di­a­mond Ex­change and was built 10 years ago specif­i­cally as a busi­ness ho­tel.

For any­one at­tend­ing foot­ball matches at the Ra­mat Gan Sta­dium — or even con­certs; this is where Leonard Co­hen played — the City Tower is the ideal lo­ca­tion. It has 167 rooms, 100 of which are des­ig­nated “Smart Rooms” with state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy and sec­re­tar­ial and of­fice services on call.

Man­ager Dov Rakia over­sees the City Tower, which fea­tures a re­ally good spa with long open­ing hours — 6.30am to 10pm — where guests can un­wind with a wide range of treat­ments.

The other side of the City Tower is its “ro­mance” pack­ages. Cou­ples of what­ever stripe can book a room, dinner and a spa treat­ment, and if a bed scat­tered with rose petals in the shape of a heart is not your thing, pon­der on this story from Dov Rakia.

“We were asked by one man if we could close the restau­rant and re­serve it spe­cially for him and his girl­friend. He wanted a singer, and he wanted to pro­pose.”

The ho­tel was happy to oblige. And, hap­pily, the lady said yes.

A room laid out for love at the Sheraton City Tower in Ra­mat Gan

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