Having won flights to Tel Aviv, we needed a hotel and an Excel spreadsheet was devised to evaluate options: you can tell we were project managers in a former life! We considered size (we like small, boutique places), location (must be central), Trip Advisor reviews and cost (reasonable).
The “Center Chic Hotel”:https://www.atlas.co.il/center-hotel-tel-aviv scored highly on all counts, but the deciding factor was that all reviews extolled the complimentary happy hour on the roof-top terrace of the neighbouring “Cinema Hotel”:https://www.atlas.co.il/cinema-hotel-tel-aviv-israel.. Less attractive to a couple of unfit silver travellers, was the complimentary use of bicycles! Both hotels are part of the Atlas chain and have around 50 rooms each and the link between them extends to happy hour.
10 days before arrival, the hotel helpfully emailed us with options and prices for getting from the airport to the hotel and recommended tour operators.
Arriving at 9.30pm, we found reception deserted and waited for 10 minutes until someone returned. Meanwhile, we snacked on the chocolates and water which were always available on the desk.
Room 407 (4th floor, very compact lift), was relatively small but well designed. The double bed had a dramatic black and white chequered headboard contrasting with the colour scheme of a relaxing shade of turquoise. It was equipped with an empty mini bar fridge, wall-mounted TV, tea and coffee making facilities, good bedside tables and lights, plenty of hanging space with ‘proper’ hangers, shelves, slippers and safe.
The bathroom was a ‘one person at a time job’, but again, was modern and well-appointed with plenty of shelving and Dead Sea toiletries. The bath over the shower was top drawer with lots of hot water and power. There was a decent hair dryer and art deco mirror with excellent lighting. The black and white theme was continued in the floor tiles.
Although we had a small balcony, it overlooked the large Dizengoff Square. As this is currently a noisy building site, our plastic tables and chairs were dust coated, so remained unused (to be fair, we knew about the building works which have been ongoing for over a year).
The Centre Chic does not have a bar or restaurant, but breakfast is available in the Cinema Hotel. We were pleased we’d booked a room only deal when we spotted a sign saying “For your comfort and convenience, we recommend you enjoy breakfast starting at 6.30am. Arriving in the earlier hours will ensure no que (sic) and a less crowded dining room”.
However, there was a communal lounge, with tea, coffee and biscuits available 24/7, two computers and an ironing area. The ceiling with mirrors was low and Roy at 6’ 2” only had 2” to spare. There was also another seating area in reception with funky coloured chairs and tables, lots of books and portrait photographs and we had our own roof top garden with variety of seating.
We had a couple of minor housekeeping issues: there was no ‘do not disturb/make up our room sign’ and having been out from 9am, we returned exhausted at 3pm to find the room still not serviced; moisturiser was often not replaced; and our hung-up towels were changed virtually daily despite the sign saying they’d only be changed if left on the floor.
However, happy hour did not disappoint: from 5pm to 7.30pm we enjoyed unlimited wine, sangria, and hot drinks with nibbles on the sunny roof top terrace whilst enjoying the sun set. On a couple of wet days, it was moved to the cramped breakfast room and it was not quite the same.
The hotel had a good central location and was ideal for both sightseeing and the beach which was a 10-minute walk: beach towels were provided in a handy, to keep, canvas bag.
As an added bonus, we booked directly with the hotel without a deposit and only paid in full on leaving by credit card.