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The deluxe Hilton Tel Aviv and The Vista at Hilton Tel Aviv, the even more premium boutique-hotel-within-a-hotel, are two entities in one hospitality phenomenon.
The scintillating world capital of Tel Aviv is home to many prominent hotels, but the Hilton is in a class by itself. It’s so comprehensive that it is almost a small kingdom with its own everything, including family features and unique gastronomy.
The Hilton rules a hilltop location surrounded by the peacefulness of HaYarkon (Independence) Park with views of the city’s defining features — the Mediterranean Sea and the skyline of Israel’s largest city.
“I think of it as a little house on a hill,” said general manager Ronnie Fortis. “But one with a uniquely distinguished past and a dynamic, influential place today.”
The Hilton accommodates both leisure and business travellers, and the nearly 60-year guest register features luminaries as varied as Elie Wiesel, former Montreal concert maestro Zubin Mehta, Barbra Streisand, Elton John and Lionel Messi.
The Hilton’s executive chef, Rafik Jabarin, and pastry chef Idan Hadad oversee a vast culinary kingdom: the Lobby Restaurant & Bar, which is a lively, international meeting place open 24/7, plus Café Med, the Pool Bar and a mighty banquet department with a capacity of up to 1,500 business delegates or party-goers. At the remarkable and exotic restaurant Darya, chef Hilel Tavakuli blends Persian, Libyan, Asian and Israeli flavours for what he calls Silk Road cuisine.
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Hilton scene: The Hilton is a favourite among Canadians for its classic five-star amenities: a saltwater mega-pool fringed with palms, a children’s pool and the Sheva Thai Spa & Fitness Center, all supporting a total of 393 modernized rooms and suites with stunning sea views and balconies (or Juliet balconies).
You can splurge on a $100,000 diamond necklace at the H. Stern boutique, invest in avant-garde Israeli art for $1,000-$10,000 at the hotel’s Eden Gallery, scoop up a $100 beach dress at Knafaim or send a sunflower for $10 from Ayushka, the florist. The Hilton is a prestigious and popular venue for celebrations, so the hair salon and the Sheva Thai Spa & Fitness Center are busy-busy.
Here are some family tips: Many rooms have bathtubs, an increasing rarity, and children have free lodging (under 18), free breakfast (five and under), and a kid’s playroom (seasonal) with Lego and PlayStation.
It’s sounds like a lot, but The Vista at Hilton Tel Aviv Hilton has more.
The Vista: This exclusive hotel is a “what can we do for you?” kind of place. The Vista’s premium rooms and suites, on floors 11 to 17 of the Hilton building, boast fresh, contemporary décor and superior 100-per-cent cotton, 400-thread-count sheets. Touchpads control lights and drapes and some of the loftier accommodations have essential, aromatic bath oils.
The Vista Lounge is the biggest advantage. It’s like a private club with penthouse views, dedicated check-in-and-out and concierge desks. The buffet transitions throughout the day from breakfast to midday bites, afternoon tea and a light supper, plus cocktails and Israeli wines.
Tip: The Vista Lounge permits children, however, the 12th-floor Executive Lounge, open to Executive Room and Vista guests, is smaller, quieter and is open to ages 16 and up.
Silk Road cuisine: Darya chef Tavakuli creates what he calls Silk Road cuisine, a fascinating fusion of the Far East and the Mediterranean. An alum of Le Gavroche, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in London, U.K., he later made big splashes at two Tel Aviv standouts, Animar and Pastel.
Heightened by captivating sunset views over the Mediterranean, the Darya experience is complex and unique. It’s also kosher, but you wouldn’t know it except that it is closed on Fridays and Saturdays (daryatlv.com).
You might start with an Israeli aperitif with elderflower, ginger or cinnamon, along with sweet and spicy Chinese pickles or Iranian black garlic with golpar (an herb) and tamarind, followed by starters of yellowtail tuna with spicy pepper salsa, trout confit with seeds and nuts or crispy Asado (beef) salad with lemongrass.
Main courses change and often are variations on grilled duck, roast fish, kofte, lamb short ribs, prime rib with marrow, trout with curry or seared tuna with chili.
If you go
Air Canada flies non-stop from Montreal (YUL-TLV, up to four times a week) and Toronto to Tel Aviv (YYZ-TLV, up to daily, seasonal). Signature Class has lie-flat seats. Aeroplan members have free Bell texting on most flights (aircanada.com).
Hilton Tel Aviv, hilton.com/en/hotels/tlvhitw-hilton-tel-aviv; The Vista At Hilton Tel Aviv: hilton.com/en/hotels/tlvvihi-the-vista-at-hilton-tel-aviv/; 972 3-520 2222, 800-548-8690; 205 HaYarkon St., Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Israel. Hilton Honors Program. Kosher. Accessible.
Prices (approximate): Hilton starts at $770 Canadian; The Vista at Hilton Tel Aviv at $980. All include breakfast (except Hilton Honors visits on points), pools, kids’ club (seasonal), spa facilities, evening turndown. Direct bookings through Hilton.com have discounts.
Tourism: Tel Aviv: visit.tel-aviv.gov.il. Israel: info.goisrael.com.
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