Hotels

Review: Intercontinental David Tel Aviv

a building next to a road

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Tel Aviv is a vibrant city on the Mediterranean Sea and the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv offers guests sweeping views of the sea. At 50k per night and rates often eclipsing $500, it’s a very solid value. In terms of the location, if you’re looking for a beach holiday, it’s fantastic, and squarely positioned to overlook Charles Clore Park and the sea. However, I can’t imagine not feeling disappointed if I’d shelled out for the cash rate. While the hotel commands impressive views of the sea, the rooms are quite dated, and the hotel could use a large renovation if its expected to keep up with the likes of The Jaffa ( Luxury Collection ) and the Setai which aren’t too far way in Old Jaffa.

We had the opportunity to stay at the hotel twice on this trip. Once upon arrival where we didn’t receive any extraordinary upgrade, and then again at the end of the stay where both rooms were upgraded to club rooms. They were much, much nicer.

Details:

  • When: April 2019
  • Where: Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Loyalty: IHG Ambassador
  • Rate: 50k per night
  • Upgrade: 1 room to Executive, 1 room no upgrade
  • Welcome: $20 food and beverage credit per room, fruit, wine, and spa product kit

Planning our stay:

Our booking was made immediately after we found 3 seats on United’s Polaris Business class from EWR to TLV in June of 2018. Nearly 10 months in advance of our stay and avail was wide open. In fact, our original booking was 5 nights for two rooms, which admittedly more than we would need, but made in order to buffer the dates we would ultimately want in Tel Aviv. Once we got our tour set we trimmed the booking down to 2 nights, roughly 2 months ahead of travel. At that point…no award nights were showing over both nights.

One tip I would make sure you consider if utilizing the IHG Premier credit card to get a 4th night free. This would mean just 150k points for 4 nights – roughly $750 when IHG sells their points with a 100% bonus. That’s nearly a $1250 discount over the rack rate.

a city with cars and buildings on the beach

Booking

We booked online, very easy, and straight forward.

a screenshot of a computer screen

Arrival:

As part of the tour we booked we received a private transport between TLV and the hotel. It’s roughly a 20-30 minute drive and traffic was relatively moderate. Bellhops met us at the door and we headed straight to the Ambassador desk.

As I mentioned before, the hotel sits right across the street from the beach and offers fantastic views. The lobby is grand with featured sculptures ( you’ll see tons of art galleries around Tel Aviv ) and to the right you’ll find the restaurants at the base of a large atrium.

a large chandelier in a building

The Atrium feature, as well as the overall aesthetic, reminded me a lot of the Intercontinental Sandton in Johannesburg South Africa. The hotel has seen its best day, and while the lobby is far nicer than the rooms, everything could use a facelift if it wants to avoid disappointing guests shelling out $500 a night.

We were also given the option to upgrade to club level for $105 a night. Pass. The club lounge is off the atrium on the main level. With all of the amazing food options outside the hotel, and disappointing dinner at the hotel, I’m very happy we passed on the offer.

The Rooms:

Both rooms were booked independent of one another, both from Ambassador accounts. Only one got an upgrade to an executive room; however, while we both received fruit baskets, one room received a half bottle of wine and a spa amenity kit, the other did not. Strange. Both are relatively the same size.

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Spa products were from NES, and the bathrooms in the older section felt, well, quite old. Clean, but if you’re looking to drop $500+ a night…

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CLUB ROOM

When we came back at the end of the trip it was much more like what I would have expected. The recently redone Club rooms, even without club access, are markedly nicer and depending on the price differential, I’d say worth the extra cost.

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The bathrooms were much nicer with separate tub and shower and products were much nicer as well. I enjoyed the Dead Sea 417 products.

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Dining:

Probably the most disappointing aspect of the hotel was our first night’s dining experience. Israel is known for its incredible food, and somehow, our first night’s meal at the Lobby Bar was downright awful. My mother had a pizza  ( it was passover so unleven bread was the crust, and every part of it was basically unedible ), I had a seared ahi tuna salad ( the tuna was stringy and rubbery ), and my dad had a mushroom gnocchi that was decent. We didn’t try any of the other dining options

Pool/Gym/Spa

All are located on level 2, one below lobby. The gym is quite small for a hotel of this size. I worked out in it once during my two night stay, around 6pm, and it was pretty crowded for my entire workout. The next day when I visited the pool it was still crowded, and I’d think in a future renovation they would expand the facility.

As far as the pool goes, it’s large, the wind whips across the deck, and when I checked it out, a DJ was blasting music. Certainly a scene, but oddly filled with families and not the Vegas crowd. An interesting dicotomy of glowstick music and families. Lol.

Overall:

For 50k a night, it’s a very solid redemption in a city where hotel prices can be downright exorbitant.  As long as you keep your expectations in check, it’s a decent hotel in a solid location. Maybe 25 min walk to Jaffa, the beach is right there, and fun little cafes in Neve Tzedek are within a few minutes walk.

Personally, the vibrance of Old Jaffa is more my speed, but hotels like the Setai and The Jaffa ( Luxury Collection ) are insanely expensive, and when we booked weren’t available with points. I’d much prefer the location of the Intercontinental to the likes of the Renaissance or the Sheraton which are also on the beach, but further north. Hotel Indigo looks interesting in the Diamond district, and at just 25k a night, it could be an amazing value if you prefer that location. Another option I’m keen to check out upon returning is via SLH and will soon be accessible with Hyatt points, the Norman.

If you’re looking to visit Israel and experience Jerusalem keep in mind that there is a new Intercontinental opening very near the old town which, per specs, looks absolutely amazing.


Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Doha

 

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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1 Comment

  • DaninMCI February 12, 2020

    We stay here a lot with our small tour groups and on Sabbath, the hotel fills up with locals or at least nearby Israeli families with kids that run everywhere. That is part of the reason for the weird family and disco scene at the pool. The worst is on Saturday afternoons when Sabbath hasn’t ended but the hotel has made these folks checkout so they camp out in the lobby with kids running all over and people laying about. It doesn’t bother me but not great. We like to walk a few blocks North to Bezzo Pizza or when the market is open we go a few blocks NE to Oh Mama. Both have great food. The Aroma coffee shop just to the South is good for breakfast but I can’t remember if they are open on Sabbath. Great review btw 🙂

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