DestinationsTel Aviv is fast becoming a rising star with its fusion of ancient history and modernity with a booming food and culture scene.

Sun, sand, and Michelin stars in Israel's capital of cool

Tel Aviv, Israel's capital city, is wooing visitors with new hotels, restaurants and activities.
Tel Aviv, Israel's capital city, is wooing visitors with new hotels, restaurants and activities. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/STOCKSTUDIO

Ancient history mixes with an oceanside breeze and a hopping nightlife scene in Tel Aviv, Israel. From the centuries-old architecture that fills the neighborhood of Jaffa to the towering ivory Bauhaus-style buildings that make up the White City area, this cosmopolitan metropolis has a deep respect for history and culture alongside a thirst for trendy clubs and modern restaurants.

Tel Aviv defies expectations, especially for first-time visitors.

With more than 300 days of sunshine year-round, Tel Aviv is a destination for all seasons and has steadily gained renown as a foodie destination. This acclaim continues to ramp up with the greenlighting of the Michelin Guide’s upcoming entry into the city. Here, enterprising entrepreneurs showcase their passion with locally made goat cheese, an emerging craft cocktail scene and innovative fine dining.

Following are the new hotels, restaurants and activities visitors to Tel Aviv should look out for.

Tel Aviv’s new hotel openings

Hoteliers anticipated a Tel Aviv tourism boom, with more than nine hotels opening in 2022. Notable launches include the 14-story beachfront Port Tower Hotel Tel Aviv, opened by Isorotel last June. Targeting Tel Aviv’s high-tech business sector, its conference rooms are equipped with the latest projection and audio equipment, screens and free Wi-Fi access. Located north of Tel Aviv’s famed port, this 149-room property also has a heated indoor pool, a dry sauna, a fully loaded gym and an Italian bistro.

The 250-room, 56-suite David Kempinski Tel Aviv opened last April.
The 250-room, 56-suite David Kempinski Tel Aviv opened last April. Photo Credit: David Kempinski Tel Aviv

The highly anticipated David Kempinski Tel Aviv opened last April. In addition to 250 rooms, 56 suites and a triplex penthouse, the hotel houses two swimming pools, a cigar lounge and the Okoa Spa. This luxurious, five-star, 34-story oceanfront oasis sits smack dab in the buzzing Tel Aviv Promenade. Don’t miss the epic spread that makes up the Israeli breakfast buffet at Sereia, the on-site Mediterranean restaurant. Bites are also available at the Pool Bar or The Common lounge.

Mid-2023 expects the opening of the Swissotel Bat Yam Tel Aviv. It’s Tel Aviv’s first Swissotel property, with 265 rooms and suites, including balcony Mediterranean ocean views for each. Amenities will include a “Dead Sea swimming pool,” restaurants, meeting spaces and a spa.

Additionally, Isrotel plans to open the Dizengoff Street Hotel in 2023. It’ll live at the famed address 99 Dizengoff — made iconic by the cult classic 1979 Israeli film of the same name. This trendy urban hotel will boast 130 rooms and suites, a rooftop with panoramic views, a sizeable business lounge and an art gallery space.

Must-try restaurants

Celebrity chef Yossi Shitrit is at the helm of Hiba, which opened in Tel Aviv in April 2022.
Celebrity chef Yossi Shitrit is at the helm of Hiba, which opened in Tel Aviv in April 2022. Photo Credit: Instagram/hiba_restaurant

Opened last April, Hiba, by celebrity chef Yossi Shitrit, is one of the frontrunners for Israel’s upcoming Michelin guide. With just 14 tables seating 40 guests, this Arab-Israeli restaurant offers a tasting menu. Here, modern culinary precision and local ingredients meet Middle Eastern tradition. One of the chef’s signature dishes is a bite-sized smoked corn and goat cheese taco diners pluck from a tree branch.

Newly opened in January 2023, the Chaseria Bar lives on the trendy nightlife hotspot of Nahalat Binyamin Street. Featuring elevated mixology — relatively new to Tel Aviv — the bar offers live DJ sets and beautiful hipsters alongside crafted specialties like cranberry- and cinnamon-infused brandy, raspberry-infused gin and more. Russian bites such as herring, beef or artichoke-topped sourdough also shine.

Airport and attraction updates

Opened in 2021, the Anu - Museum of the Jewish People is a celebration of Jewish diversity, culture and accomplishments worldwide. Featuring highly glossed interactive stations over 72,000 square feet and three floors, the museum contains rare artifacts, artwork and films. Some highlights include a collection of synagogue models worldwide and a virtual kitchen featuring the step-by-step creation of Jewish recipes across cultures. There are complimentary English tours available.

Those departing one of the Middle East’s busiest airports will soon notice that Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is currently moving to become entirely digital. Shiny new online check-in and self-weighing suitcase kiosks are on their way, in addition to upcoming construction on a new terminal. Additionally, Delta Air Lines begins a nonstop route from Atlanta to Tel Aviv this month.

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