If you don’t care for large hotels but you like the convenience of guest services you can’t get in a vacation apartment, we have great news for you: Hundreds of boutique hotels dot the Israeli landscape from north to south, offering a cozier alternative to large chain hotels.
Ronit Copeland of Tel Aviv-based boutique hospitality consulting firm Copeland Hospitality by Design told ISRAEL21c that boutique hotels are characterized by size (no more than 150 rooms and often much smaller), premium location, personalized service, and no-two-rooms-alike design.
“A boutique hotel needs to have character, soul, and even theatrical qualities,” Copeland said. “Some are budget, but most are perceived as a little more upscale in very good locations, such as city centers or near the beach.”
Among Israel’s most famed boutique hotels are the Norman in Tel Aviv, the American Colony in Jerusalem, and the Efendi in Acre (Akko). Below are 12 others worthy of joining the list, none with more than 70 rooms.
Hotel Nordoy (Tel Aviv)
Hotel Nordoy isn’t a repurposed old building: It was constructed in 1925 in the historic neighborhood of Nachalat Binyamin as a hotel and claims to be the oldest active hotel in Tel Aviv. Housing 20 rooms and suites, the Nordoy is a local landmark due to its dusky pink art-deco facade and silver rooftop dome that provides a dramatic setting for its spa. This hotel has appeared on classic postcards and in famous photographs and art exhibits.
Amenities: Rooftop lounge and jacuzzi, spa, and European-style cafe.
Parking: Nearby municipal lots.
(Tel Aviv Business District)
Hotel Montefiore embodies the essence of quiet charm in a picturesque, meticulously restored 1920s Eclectic-style private home transformed in 2008 into a 12-room boutique hotel just off Rothschild Boulevard, the heart of the Startup Nation. All rooms boast black marble bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stacked with classic books in multiple languages, and contemporary artworks by Israeli artists.
Amenities: French restaurant, 24-hour concierge, nightly cocktail hour, lobby library, private trainers, massage therapists, in-room beauty treatments, yoga, and pilates by arrangement.
Brown Beach House (Tel Aviv)
On a coastal strip filled with hotels in all shapes and sizes, the Brown Beach House stands out for its 1950s-style Miami-slash-French Riviera design complete with pink flamingos. Across the boulevard from Tel Aviv’s famous beaches and boardwalk, this hotel has 55 rooms and suites, most with sun terraces. Guests can enjoy a classic Israeli and Mediterranean breakfast menu created by celebrity chef Meir Adoni.
Amenities: Lobby bar, spa, breakfast lounge, complimentary bicycles, free entrance to a professional gym, and free entrance to a local museum.
Parking: Underground lot and nearby municipal lots.
Gordonia (Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha)
This exclusive adults-only private villa hotel in the rolling green hills of Ma’aleh Hahamisha, wine country west of Jerusalem, is surrounded by groves, wildflowers, and herbs. Each of the 16 single-story vacation suites has a deck with a heated swimming pool, hot tub, and fully stocked outdoor cooking station. Guests may choose their own pillow and mood music.
Amenities:Shared lounge, private chef for room service, spa treatments, and dining options nearby.
Allegra Boutique Hotel (Jerusalem, Ein Kerem Neighborhood)
Located in a renovated authentic Crusader inn from about 1,000 years ago as well as a 200-year-old former synagogue across the lane, Hotel Alegra overlooks the forested village of Ein Karem on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Opened in 2011, this boutique hotel was the 1930s home of Alegra and Jabra Persis. Each of its six rooms and seven suites is named after a pair of historical or mythical lovers. Changing art exhibitions hang in the public spaces. Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, contains many churches and monasteries, art studios and galleries.
Amenities: Chef restaurant, spa, wet sauna, meeting room, sunbathing/observation deck, and courtyard and garden with splash pools, waterfalls and fish ponds.
Parking: Nearby public lot.
Villa Brown (Jerusalem)
Housed in a restored 19th-century villa near the capital city’s historic Russian Compound, the 24-room Villa Brown is decorated in a fusion of neoclassical, Ottoman, and contemporary styles in hues of red, emerald, and mauve. The towering arched doorways were preserved for an authentic look, and the outdoor cafe is set off from the street by lush greenery, making it popular with tourists and locals alike.
Amenities: Rooftop spa, lobby library, underground Cave Bar, Garden Cafe, and business facilities.
Parking: Nearby lot.
The 58-room Arthur Hotel is named after Lord Balfour and run by the Atlas Boutique Hotels chain. Decorated in an early 20th century theme complete with photos from that era, Turkish rugs, tiled floors, and handcrafted Armenian plates in the bathrooms, the Arthur is tucked into the restaurant- and shop-filled Ben Yehuda pedestrian thoroughfare close to the light rail on Jaffa Road.
Amenities: Free happy hour, buffet restaurant, free bicycles, tour desk, laundry, and pets permitted upon request.
Parking: At nearby Harmony sister hotel; guests and their luggage are transported to and from there via electric golf cart.
Market House Hotel (Jaffa)
Another Atlas property, the 44-room Market House is situated next to the iconic Jaffa Clock Tower and near the famous flea market. Through a glass panel in the lobby floor you can see the archeological remains of a Byzantine chapel. The hotel itself is decorated in bohemian urban style.
Amenities: Bulgarian/Middle Eastern-style breakfast buffet, free bicycles, free happy hour, and tour desk. Pets permitted upon request.
Parking: Nearby municipal lot.
Herods Vitalis Eilat
This Fattal property on the beach boasts a huge spa menu (60 treatments) and 53 luxury rooms and suites. Its premier Rain Suites offer Jacuzzis for two, double rain showers surrounded by eucalyptus trees, and sea or Gulf of Aqaba views. Free evening entertainment is on offer at the adjacent Herods Palace hotel. A shopping center is also in the complex — remember, no sales tax in Eilat!
Amenities: Heated rooftop pool, hydrotherapy waterfall, saunas, spa, pool bar, wine bar, chef restaurant, bicycle rental, business lounge, and gym.
Parking: On site.
The Scots Hotel
Housed in a three-building complex constructed in 1894 as a hospital run by the Scottish Church, The Scots Hotel opened in 1999 offering 50 rooms in the main building and eight rooms each in the smaller, magnificently reconstructed former hospital director’s residence and maternity hospital. Original basalt rock and high ceilings have been preserved.
Amenities: Swimming pool, beach garden, art gallery, wine cellar and bar, and health center with spa.
Parking: On site.
La Cappella Hotel (Haifa)
An urban business hotel located in the Castra shopping, recreation, and art center next to Haifa’s Matam high-tech park (home to the likes of Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and Google), La Cappella keeps things intimate with 29 rooms and suites offering urban and sea views. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the beach and boardwalk promenade.
Amenities: 24-hour gym, treatment rooms, high-tech conference room, and business lounge.
Parking: On site.
Chateau Glili Wine
Hotel & Spa (Sefad)
Chateau Glili on the border of Safed and Rosh Pina encompasses just five premium suites, each uniquely designed and accessorized. Every suite has a wine refrigerator, mini bar, sound system and movie library, among other amenities. A sun deck overlooks the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights.
Amenities: Spa, jacuzzi, and outdoor heated swimming pool. Private chef available.
Parking: On site.