or a country steeped in so much history, you might be surprised to learn that Israel is only the size of Wales.
Although small in square kilometers, it punches above its weight with a rich culture and like a melting pot of different nationalities. He’s also an innovator in agriculture and technology – with a start-up that turns waste into renewable energy.
A visit to Tel Aviv or nearby Jerusalem and you will be addicted to their way of life. Tel Aviv itself is a relatively new city, especially compared to centuries-old Jerusalem. It was founded in 1909 and has since become Israel’s third largest city with a population of 450,000. The White City, as it is known, is a bustling metropolis with some of the best food in the world, vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches and a temperate climate all year round. It’s the complete package.
In the heart of the city is The Norman Tel Aviv. In a world of soulless mega hotel chains, The Norman is a breath of fresh air. The luxury hotel is one of the few boutiques whose facilities rival those of beachfront establishments, while maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere. Opened in 2014, it features a nostalgic Art Deco aesthetic, a rooftop infinity pool, and 50 rooms, all with its signature style of exceptional luxury. No wonder A-listers are flocking here in droves.
Bang in the middle of the action, in the famous Rothschild district of Tel-Aviv. It’s a 15-minute walk to the beach (and even quicker if you take one of the many electric scooters that litter the sidewalks), a stone’s throw from the chic, European neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, and within touching distance of the famous market. of Carmel.
The tree-lined boulevard is one of the most expensive in the city. The eclectic architecture dates back to the early 1920s and is dotted with Bauhaus buildings, brutal structures from the socialist decades, and unique structures. During the day it’s a commercial area with office buildings, but at night it transforms into the beating heart of the city’s club scene, especially on Thursdays, the start of the weekend for locals.
The Norman sits in a trendy residential urban square and one of the few hideaways in the Unesco heritage site.
If style is what you’re looking for, The Norman has it in spades. The hotel is made up of two buildings, with a third set to open in 2024. The modernist facade retains the original 1920s Art Deco feel and looks like it was pulled from South Beach in Miami. Elements inside reflect that style — from the floors to the stairs — but they’re juxtaposed with contemporary details that ensure this property doesn’t feel remotely dated. The aesthetic is a mix of old and new, with antiques placed alongside contemporary art and cutting-edge technology.
The design was led by David d’Almada de Sagrada – the interior design firm behind London’s Arts Club and Italian restaurant Sartoria. It is categorized by light and bright interiors giving a feeling of expansiveness. The furniture is custom-made and alongside vintage pieces found all over the world. Throughout the hotel, you can’t help but notice the works of art, including original paintings, sculptures and photographs by contemporary Israeli artists.
While located in the heart of the city, the designers paid particular attention to maintaining greenery. Lawns lined with grapefruit trees give the impression of being in a downtown oasis.
There are not one but two restaurants within the confines of the boutique hotel. NAFTA is familiar to locals and has undergone a post-Covid shutdown overhaul, with a new chef duo and lifelong friends Omer Shadmi Muller and Daniel Zur at the helm. The restaurant combines the cuisine of their native Galilean region with Mediterranean cuisine. It’s an unassuming restaurant that taps into the growing trend for a more casual dining experience. It offers all-day dining and features Alena’s signature eggplant pizza as one of the most popular items on the menu. This is closely followed by leaf salad, a name that completely understates the pungent components of lemon, orange and almond that are a treat for the taste buds.
The second restaurant, which will reopen soon, is Israel’s version of Dinings, a world-renowned spot offering Izakaya-style Japanese tapas. Before tasting the Norman’s impeccable cuisine, stop by the Library Bar. This is a cozy and nicely decorated watering hole with an extensive cocktail menu and the most comprehensive champagne list in Israel. It also offers wine selected by in-house sommelier Shira Tsiddon who offers locally grown options that will suit the sweet tooth.
With views of the city skyline, there are few better places to relax after a day of dining and sightseeing than the Norman’s rooftop infinity pool. It’s part of a wellness offering that includes a spa terrace and yoga classes.
It would be remiss to visit Tel Aviv without joining a food tour because the cuisine here is some of the best you will ever taste. The Norman is within walking distance of the famous Levinsky Market, where there are stalls serving the best of Middle Eastern cuisine, from Persian ghormeh sabzi (herb stew) to Georgian khachapuri (cheese bread).
At the bustling Carmel Market, you can get your hands on everything from clothes to spices. Browse the boutiques of Neve Tzedeck and grab an ice cream at the legendary Anita Lounge. Avoid visiting on Saturdays when most shops and restaurants close for Shabbat.
A day trip to Jerusalem or nearby Jaffa is a must. If the latter, head to Abu Hassan restaurant for the best hummus you will ever try in your life.
There are 50 rooms in The Norman, including 20 suites and two penthouse suites. The main building houses the Classic, Deluxe, and Grand Deluxe rooms, which increase in size from 220 to 377 square feet, while the suites are in the second neighboring building. The duplex penthouse is ideal for families, while the color-themed corner suites are popular with returning guests.
All rooms have smart control systems, rain showers, plush towels and bespoke The Norman toiletries with the addictive and invigorating scent of bergamot, cedar wood and white flowers.
Whether you’re exploring the White City, traveling for business, or seeking ultimate relaxation on a beach break, The Norman is the chicest of retreats.
Rooms start from £600; thenorman.com