Bianca Suite

By Laurie Heifetz

When Tel Aviv beckons, where do you go? For your hotel, the Carlton Tel Aviv is just the place! I caught the beautiful view of Tel Aviv from its rooftop restaurant Blue Sky the night I arrived. The Lumina restaurant serves a traditional buffet on Shabbat. All food at the hotel is strictly kosher under the supervision of the Rabbanut of Tel Aviv. [Editor’s Note: It is advised each person should inquire with their rabbi regarding acceptable kashrus certifications while travelling.]

The breakfast buffet served at the Carlton on the Beach restaurant, just across the street, was awesome. I sat outside and relaxed, looking out at the Mediterranean Sea and the marina.

The selection was endless. My favorites were the omelet station (mushroom) and the juice bar (cucumber-and-celery). Of course, Israeli specialties like hummus and tahini, fruits, and vegetables, as well as pastries, abounded. There are vegan choices, too.

Spending holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at the Carlton is really special. According to General Manager Yossi Navi, on Pesach, the hotel hosts hundreds of guests for the Seder. There are 15 different areas. The main hall in the ballroom has 200 guests, a chazan, and a choir.

In addition, there are two large restaurants serving buffet style, with each family conducting its own Seder. There are also at least 10 private rooms for families who request that. On Shabbat and other holidays, a chazan who sings Ashkenazi style is featured.

The Carlton has received many accolades. For starters, it is a Five-Star Deluxe Hotel, a title given by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. TripAdvisor gave the hotel a 2022 Traveler’s Choice Award. It was named the Leading Business Hotel in Israel for the sixth year in a row in 2019 by World Travel Awards.

The Royal Lounge, open from 8 a.m.–11 p.m., is open to the guests on the executive floors. It overlooks the views of Jaffa and the sea. Appetizers, coffee, tea, and drinks are served.

All 269 rooms and suites have a balcony and a view. Executive-level rooms come with the requisite terry-cloth bathrobe and slippers. The turndown surprise in all the rooms could be a halvah snack; hand or foot cream; a cell-phone cleaning pad; fresh breath strips, and a good-night chocolate. The hotel is non-smoking.

My favorite place is the beautiful Bianco Suite, which is white, of course, and not just for honeymoons. It is exquisite, and I liked it even more than the striking Presidential Suite. For the record, I didn’t stay in either.

Speaking of presidents, many celebrities have stayed at the Carlton, including Carla Bruni, Nicolas Sarcozy, Larry King, violinist Yitzhak Perlman, and architect Daniel Liebskind. Sixty percent of the guests are Americans, thirty percent are Europeans, and the others are from the rest of the world.

The hotel looks new, due to complete renovations. The lobby by Yaron Tal Design Studio features amazing artwork by Israeli artists. There’s a great piece by Ohad Benit called My Big Life: Monoblock, which represents different aspects of Tel Aviv architecture with handmade blocks.

And across from the elevators, a wild video art piece by Gal Sasson called Falling Matter captivates. It reacts to your body movements.

Hotel management contracts out the bars to provide extra special experiences. During the summer months, the Jasper pool bar serves innovative drink specials. Check out the Israeli Mojito made with Arak, pomegranate juice, fresh lemon juice, and mint leaves! Also during the summer, you can go to the lively Esperanto bar across the street, next to the breakfast restaurant.

The Carlton prides itself on service, and the people at the front desk were especially welcoming. Mendel, named for his German grandfather, hails from Montevideo, Uruguay.

Many guests receive a private check-in from the Guest Relations Manager. Before arrival, you may contact Gila about special requirements. She will accompany you to your room after giving you refreshments and a drink. There are no forms to fill out. The hotel notes all guest preferences. A VIP ride from the airport is available, at an additional cost.

I, for one, can’t wait to return to Israel and see what’s new at the Carlton Tel Aviv on the Beach!

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