Hospitality at the Herbert Samuel hotel chain
If there is one word that best describes the Herbert Samuel chain of hotels in Israel, it is passion. A passion for hospitality, and a passion for attentive, personal service in all of their luxury hotels throughout the country, from the Bayit Bagalil Boutique in the north to the Reef Eilat Hotel in the south, and the other hotels in between. Ran Balbus, vice-president of the Nakash Group in Israel, which owns and manages the Herbert Samuel hotels in Israel, explains that this passion begins at the very top, with the Nakash brothers, owners of the Herbert Samuel brand.
“The Nakash brothers love Israel very much – they are Israelis. They want to invest here in order to support the country and do good things. They have a great deal of faith in tourism in Israel for the long run.”
In addition to the Herbert Samuel chain of hotels, The Nakash brothers also own and operate the Setai Tel Aviv, Setai Sea of Galilee, and the Orchid Tel Aviv hotels.
Balbus notes that the passion for hospitality and service at Herbert Samuel hotels begins from the moment that customers call the hotel’s reservation line and extends throughout their stay. Herbert Samuel hotels offer numerous services such as complimentary Wi-Fi and free international calls from hotel rooms, both of which express their basic philosophy of making things simple and easy for their guests.
“We don’t want to ruin the ambiance. We want our guests to enjoy their stay and have fun.”
The Wi-Fi service in Herbert Samuel hotels doesn’t require the guest to enter an obscure code or password. It just works.
We want our guests to enjoy their stay and have fun
“We try to make things easy,” says Balbus. “If you want to rent a bicycle to ride around the city, we don’t make you download an app, and we won’t require you to bring your ID card. Just go have fun and enjoy yourselves.”
The name of the hotel chain – Herbert Samuel – recalls the well-known British Jewish political figure, who served as the first high commissioner for Palestine under the British Mandate from 1920 until 1925 and was the first Jew in 2,000 years to govern the historic land of Israel.
“The modern State of Israel is more than 70 years old,” says Balbus, “but it’s important to respect and embrace other eras.”
There are currently seven hotels in the Herbert Samuel family, including Bayit Bagalil Boutique, located north of Tiberias, the Milos Dead Sea Hotel, Herbert Samuel Jerusalem, the Okeanos Suites Herzliya, the Opera Tel Aviv Hotel, the Royal Shangri-La Eilat and the Reef Eilat.
Every hotel features unique elements that reflect its surroundings. For example, the tranquil Bayit Bagalil Boutique, nestled in the heart of the Biriya Forest, the largest planted forest in the Galilee, is sprinkled with charming little spots for relaxation and quiet contemplation, and its restaurant features an array of tasty Galilean dishes. The 137 rooms at the Herbert Samuel Jerusalem are designed with touches of Jerusalem stone, and the rooftop restaurant features a magnificent panoramic view of Jerusalem old and new, while the Opera Tel Aviv’s cutting-edge fitness room, lively lobby bar, and fully equipped meeting room reflect the hustle and bustle of the busy metropolis. Taking a cue from its natural surroundings, the Royal Shangri-La Eilat is located on the top of a mountain and features both individual rooms and villas. Most of the rooms offer a balcony with panoramic views of the Gulf of Eilat, smart TVs and luxury furnishings. The most prestigious wing of the hotel, the Villa Royal, features two luxurious villas located on top of the mountain with breathtaking views and is surrounded by private swimming pools and spacious tanning beds.
Departing from its desolate natural surroundings, the Herbert Samuels Milos Hotel, which is surrounded by the stark and barren landscape of the Dead Sea, comes alive with a vision of vibrant Greece, complete with Greek-style stones and bricks, bottles of ouzo in each room, live Greek music every night and a Greek-themed restaurant menu.
One of the most distinguishing features of all of the Herbert Samuel hotels is their prime locations, which makes it easy for tourists and visitors to see and experience nearby sights.
“Our hotels are situated in the best locations in Israel,” says Balbus. “The Opera Tel Aviv, for example, is just 20 steps away from the beach, and in just moments, your feet will be touching the sand. The incredible entertainment, culinary and cultural experiences that Tel Aviv and Jaffa have to offer are minutes away.”
The Reef in Eilat, adds Balbus, is located directly on the Coral Beach. “Walk outside your room, and you are on the beach. There’s no need to cross the road, or take a bus, and the hotel offers windsurfing and snorkeling free of charge.”
The Herbert Samuel Jerusalem is just a short walk to the Old City and its religious sites, and the city’s renowned tourist destinations, entertainment venues, restaurants, cafes, bars and of course, the Mahaneh Yehuda Market, are close by and accessible.
Soon to be added to the Herbert Samuel lineup is the Sir Herbert boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, near Allenby Square, located in a preserved, historic building. With just 29 rooms, the hotel has a unique, intimate feel, and most rooms are equipped with balconies that offer a romantic seaside view.
“In the early 1900s, this area was the ‘Times Square’ of Tel Aviv,” says Bulbus. “Everything was happening here. The names ‘Sir Herbert’ and the nearby Opera Tel Aviv Herbert Samuel Hotel carry great meaning in this area.”
Hotel managers in the Herbert Samuel chain, says Balbus, are trained to be responsive to the needs of their guests, and cater to their individual needs.
“Guests in our hotels are not just a room number in the queue for the dining hall. They are unique individuals, and we treat them as such.”
All of the Herbert Samuel hotels are small enough to ensure that employees are available to hotel guests when they need assistance.
“The hotel manager is usually near the hotel’s front desk,” says Balbus, “and sees the check-in, accompanies guests to breakfasts, is present at meals, and at the pool, and is always trying to provide for their well-being. Service is above all – it is paramount.”
He adds that management at Herbert Samuel learns a great deal from customer feedback, and tries to improve the level of service, based on comments and suggestions from their guests.
“Not many hotel chains in Israel can provide this level of hospitality. From north to south, from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, Herbert Samuel hotels are modern, up-to-date, and situated in the best locations in Israel.”
But that’s only part of the story. It’s really about a passion for excellent service. As Ran Balbus says, “Running a hotel is much more than designing a building, and handling check-ins and check-outs. A hotel is life.”
Every Herbert Samuel hotel features unique elements that reflect its surroundings
THE OPERA TEL AVIV pool beckons.
TAKE A few laps in the main pool at the Milos Dead Sea Hotel.
WINE AND dine at Okeanos Suites Herzliya.