Hotel Intel: Kempinski adds seaside sparkle to Tel Aviv


One of Israel’s newest major arrivals offers spectacular indoor and outdoor spaces that make the most of the pleasant climate.

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One of Israel’s newest grand hotels bears the name of David, so it’s instilled with the prestige of a legendary king straight away. And the Kempinski banner represents a five-star hospitality group based in Switzerland. So when the David Kempinski Tel Aviv opened in spring 2022, it was already primed for extraordinary experiences and a lavish lifestyle.

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Now imagine this vacation package in an exciting world capital blooming on a sun-kissed Mediterranean beach. David Kempinski offers excellent haute kosher cuisine, a chic whiskey and cigar lounge and the lavish Okōa Spa to rejuvenate the face, body and maybe even the mind.

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The hotel’s spectacular interiors and exteriors, an avant-garde blend of glass and steel, make the most of Tel Aviv’s pleasant climate. Glass elevators take guests to the oversized pool terrace overlooking the sea or to the 22nd floor Horizon Lounge, where a fantastic terrace connects guests to the sky and the sea.

The 125-year-old Kempinski Group operates across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and recently opened in Mexico (but not the US or Canada), allowing cosmopolitan David Tel Aviv to attract travelers from around the world. I have met guests from Australia, India, Tanzania and France, all coming to Israel for business, sightseeing or family vacations.

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The city is a nightlife capital and is set to rock with a concert by One Republic on November 8, although Beliebers are devastated that the pop superstar canceled his October 13 gig. Reflecting Israel’s technological leadership, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is showing 40 (digital) NFT works by local and international artists until December 3rd.

Modern luxury is the leitmotif of the new David Kempinski in Tel Aviv.
Modern luxury is the leitmotif of the new David Kempinski in Tel Aviv. Photo by Sivan Askayo

Accommodations: The David Kempinski’s 250 guest rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary design of muted grays and whites warmed by honey-colored wood, with the drama of floor-to-ceiling windows. Technology shines in brand new hotels and the Kempinski boasts the latest bathroom amenities, soundproofing and touch controlled lighting and temperature.

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More modern splendor is soon to unfold, including a remarkable three-story penthouse with its own pool and gym, and 14 signature suites with access to a private rooftop pool and club called Cloud 51.

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The sun-drenched lounge of Sereia, one of two kosher restaurants at the new David Kempinski Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The sun-drenched lounge of Sereia, one of two kosher restaurants at the new David Kempinski Hotel in Tel Aviv. Photo by Sivan Askayo

Meal: Chef Mor Cohen oversees two main dining areas, as well as lounges and a poolside cafe. The David Kempinski is kosher, so there are separate restaurants for dairy/fish and meat – both gourmet restaurants.

Sereia is an airy, fashionable bistro overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with a terrace offering stunning views of the beach. The cuisine focuses on fresh fish and vegetables and exceptional wines, including Israeli vintages from the Golan Heights, Galilee and even the Negev desert.

Select dinners include tuna sashimi with chili; cauliflower steak with salsa verde; bouillabaisse; or sea bass with pine nuts, sorrel and cream. Israel is a leader in vegetarian cuisine, so everyday kohlrabi, zucchini, cabbage and tomatoes are reimagined as delicacies, all marinated and flavored with Middle Eastern flavors. For dessert, my table shared chocolate, almond and lemon treats, all delicious, but we agreed the winner was a frothy panna cotta with espresso crumble.

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Sereia’s traditional Israeli breakfast is a lavish array of fruit, chopped salads, shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce), triple salmon, and reinvented delights like halvah, honey served straight from the honeycomb, and pastries made with everything from a French boulangerie would compete.

The richly appointed restaurant-bar The Common at the David Kempinski in Tel Aviv offers a menu of robust meat dishes, rare whiskeys and a cigar lounge with a Cohiba atmosphere.
The richly appointed restaurant-bar The Common at the David Kempinski in Tel Aviv offers a menu of robust meat dishes, rare whiskeys and a cigar lounge with a Cohiba atmosphere. Photo by Sivan Askayo

For a bolder vibe, The Common is a handsomely decorated lounge — lots of brass paneling, dark wood paneling, and leather sofas — with a meaty menu and cocktail happy hour. There’s a selection of rare Macallan Scotch (yes, it’s kosher) and a Cohiba Atmosphere cigar lounge that’s an enclosed sanctuary.

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The common’s shareables include tuna sashimi, graved lax, charcuterie, and Jerusalem artichoke, and the hearty main courses include sirloin steaks, filet mignon, short ribs, and burgers, and on many nights a hearty prime rib.

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Spa Life: The Okoa Spa has 11 treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room, and a Molton Brown boutique for fine lotions. The Ocean Journey treatment channels the coast with a hot sand scrub and massage that mimics waves with marine scents.

when you go

David Kempinski Tel Aviv: 972 (for Israel) and 307-76-8888, kempinski.com; 51 Hayarkon St., Tel Aviv, Israel. Accessible, pet friendly. Kempinski Discovery Loyalty Program valid at 570 hotels in the Global Hotel Alliance. Best Price Guarantee. Some functions are closed on Friday night/Saturday. All dishes are kosher. Shabbat dinner served. Children’s menus available.

Price: Approximate and fluctuating. Rooms from US$550 including outdoor pool/terrace, sauna, steam room, gym, beach towels, Illy coffee in room. Select rooms have access to the Horizon Lounge with all-day buffets and premium liquor and wine.

Tel Aviv Tourism: visit.tel-aviv.gov.il. Israel Tourism: info.goisrael.com.

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