Most of Tel Aviv’s hotels are comparatively high in price and generically modern, in keeping with a city that’s less than 100 years old. That being said, some do have the advantage of being on the beach. If that’s important to you, target the lodgings that are on or near Ha-Yarkon Street, which runs along the beach from Mograbi Square northward. The upper rank hotels are on the sea side of Ha-Yarkon. Most of the mid- and lower-class choices are on the inland side of Ha-Yarkon, or on Ben-Yehuda Street. The Dizengoff Square area, which is further inland, is another hotel hub.
Tel Aviv can be a very noisy city. In the more expensive, high-rise hotels, upper floors are quieter. If you’re looking for a moderate or budget hotel, don’t take a room facing a main street unless it has air-conditioning and soundproof windows; choose a room in the back. By international standards, many “deluxe” hotels are barely that, and many hotels claiming to be five-star properties are four stars at best.
Private Rooms & Apartments
Internet services, like Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) can be a good way to find interesting accommodations in advance from swank beachfront pads to more modest private rooms inside a local’s home. The Tel Aviv Tourist Information Office at 46 Herbert Samuel Promenade (tel. 03/561-6188) also compiles a list of agencies and individuals who rent rooms and apartments. Though they will not make a contact or reservation for you, and they cannot guarantee the quality of service or accommodations, the tourist office staff will let you copy the list for free.
Along Ha-Yarkon Street
Ha-Yarkon Street runs along the Mediterranean. The major hotels are all right off the sea and have either direct access to the beach or are across a small but busy road. Because of the summer heat and humidity, a hotel with a pool can be a good investment. For a long block north of the Renaissance Hotel, Ha-Yarkon becomes a wider thoroughfare with divider barriers, meaning guests staying in moderate hotels on the inland side of the street can’t just dash across the road and down to the beach. Skyscraper construction is everywhere, and accompanying noise is a daytime fact of life.
Northern Tel Aviv
This area’s public beaches are more specialized in character than those further south: One area is reserved for religious beachgoers (and has separate days for men and women); the northernmost beaches attract families and students, while Hilton Beach (behind the Hilton Hotel) is popular with an easy mix of tourists, families, surfers, and the local gay community. The area is a little bit away from the Ha Yarkon Street/Ben Yehuda Street restaurant choices, but they are within walking distance, as are the restaurants in the Tel Aviv Port.Dizengoff Square & Ben-Yehuda Streets
This area is central but noisy. It’s a good choice for a winter visit, but in summer, the beach is a hot, muggy 10-minute walk away.
Southern Tel Aviv
Across a divided thoroughfare from the sea (but a 2-block walk to a guarded swimming beach), two high-rise hotels, the Dan Panorama and the David InterContinental, hold forth alone as a tourist island in a relatively isolated, empty stretch between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, approximately 2.4km (1 1/2 miles) south of the main Ha-Yarkon Street hotel district. Old Jaffa is a 15-minute walk along the Seaside Promenade, and the bustling Carmel Market (from which you can reach the restaurants and cafes of the trendy Nahalat Binyamin, Neve Zedek, and Rothschild St. areas) is a 5-minute walk across a shabby park. Note that walking through the empty Carmel Market at night is not advisable. Rates here are lower than for a comparable hotel on Ha-Yarkon Street. Further inland, the new boutique hotels offer Tel Aviv chic, but in summer, they lack the city’s beach ambiance.