Indagare member Liza Nugent recently returned from a girls’ getaway to Tel Aviv. Here are her impressions from the trip.
We chose to stay at the Montefiore Hotel, which was perfect. The small, elegant property has a lovely staff, luxurious contemporary rooms and a fun bar and restaurant frequented by locals. We appreciated the small but significant details in our rooms, from the crystal water decanter and mini-notebooks to the book-lined shelves and snacks waiting in the room each afternoon. Once a private home, the three-story hotel retains a cozy feel.
From the property, it is just a short walk to the beach and such neighborhoods as Neve Tzedek and the Port of Old Jaffa. The (newly renovated) former train station, HaTahana Place, is also nearby, and is now a fun albeit touristy shopping and dining area.
Our guides during the stay were fantastic. So often, guides in historical destinations feel the need to rattle off massive amounts of facts, which can be difficult to absorb. Our guides certainly knew their facts, but focused more on the concept of Jerusalem, regardless of one’s religious background. They were very engaging and knew about quite a few “secret spots” away from the tourists.
One of our guides was passionate about supporting local artists and designers in Tel Aviv. She brought us to several designers’ studios, which often served double duty as their home, so this was as much a cultural experience as a shopping opportunity! Even during the stops when I bought nothing, we met really interesting, creative women, who welcomed us into their homes while teaching us about their craft. The day ended with an early evening cocktail party for jewelry designers. This was definitely a day spent on the “inside” of Tel Aviv, far from tourist haunts.
And, of course, we ate! and ate and ate. During a beachside lunch at Manta Ray, the mezze dishes served first were so amazing that we were too full to enjoy our main courses. Our other favorite dinners were at Vicky Cristina Tapas Restaurant (Hatachana; 1 Koifmann Street; 972 3 736 7272) and Herbert Samuel (6 Koyfman; 972 3 516 6516).
But hands down, the night to remember was at the HaSalon (8 Ma’avar Yabok; 972 52 703 5888). Thanks to a last-minute tip from Indagare, we had one of those special nights that will be remembered for years to come. Located in an obscure industrial neighborhood, the Salon is the creation of a famous Israeli chef, Eyal Shani, and is only open on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The open kitchen and friendly staff made us feel like we were being welcomed into their home. We indulged in great food and drinks, and by the time dessert was served, everyone was dancing (many on tables!)
We spent our last day roaming the city on our own. In the late afternoon, we embarked on a sunset cruise, which offered magnificent views of the city.
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