Business over family — at least for now. That’s the mantra of Israeli hoteliers these days as they pivot to upgrade their services for business executives who are looking to mix business with pleasure in the Jewish state.
The reasons? Israel’s high-tech sector, which has weathered the global economic downturn better than many countries, and the growing number of international business and Jewish organizational events that are now being held in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“The growth of social media, which includes business- and travel- oriented forums [such as Linkedin etc.], has allowed our staff to engage with people who are planning business trips to Jerusalem and other points in Israel, offering them the opportunity to take advantage of the hotel’s varied services, many of which are tailored to the business tourist,” said Ilan Brenner, the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel’s, executive assistant manager of sales and marketing.
The five-star hotel has regularly played host to a variety of business and organizational conferences in their various halls including El Al, Hadassah and the Jewish Agency.
“As there are several types of business travelers, ranging from a high-powered executive who seeks a luxurious WiFi-equipped suite with a terrace that overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem to a salesperson who might want to conduct a private meeting with a colleague in our rooftop Executive Lounge, we can provide a variety of settings based on need and budget,” added Brenner. “Since we have added our Spa and Health Club, many local and foreign business people have also used their after-hours down time to work off the daily stress and reinvigorate their body and soul. We also offer all of our guests including business customers, free tickets to a number of fascinating local cultural attractions.”
In metro Tel Aviv, where the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and many of the nation’s top corporations are located, a number of the city’s finest hotels regularly cater to business clientele.
The posh Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center Hotel, which has been built into the prodigious Azrieli Towers business, shopping and entertainment complex, prides itself on being a “concept” facility. “We like to think of ourselves as a leader in the development of the business tourist concept,” said Michael Plesz, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center Hotel. “Nearly 60 percent of our customers are business people, 85 percent of whom come from overseas, including of course North America. The upbeat design of our public areas and rooms enhances the notion of a place where one can find the right atmosphere to do business and rest between meetings. We have very few rooms that can accommodate children, so there’s more quiet time and a relaxed atmosphere in the hotel. We also offer free WiFi, a 24/7 business lounge, as well as free entrance to the renowned Holmes Place spa and fitness club downstairs. And because our hotel sits above one of Tel Aviv’s main train stations, one can hop aboard a train and travel all over the country for business and pleasure.”
In addition, metro Tel Aviv’s renowned beach, bar and restaurant scene is a magnet for business tourists.
Below is an abridged list of hotels that offer a variety of business services and pampering perks:
Inbal Jerusalem Hotel. There are dozens of suites, executive or deluxe rooms to choose from in this venerable facility. The intimate Executive Lounge features a computer station, a variety of newspapers and magazines, light meals and snacks. In order to keep the lounge as an exclusive benefit, its use is restricted to guest staying in suites, executive or deluxe rooms. There is also a 24/7 business center featuring a variety of services upon request. There are special corporate rates available to companies that commit themselves to a minimal annual turnover. For more information: www.inbalhotel.com.
Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel & Towers.
The entire third floor has been reconfigured to meet the needs of business guests. It features a new business center, 12 newly designed guest rooms and meeting areas. The rooms offer both technology and visibility. They feature a work desk, ergonomic chair, WiFi and land line connectivity, along with sound-proof windows, which overlook the sea, as well as a step-out balcony. The rooms have been outfitted with flat-screen TV, Nespresso machine and a Media Hub HD connectivity, which automatically identifies the last electronic device plugged into it — laptop, digital camera, PlayStation, i-Pod, and others — and switches the TV to it. In addition, all the new rooms feature a stall shower instead of a bathtub. “This is a new market trend, especially among the business travel community,” said Jean-Louis Ripoche, the hotel’s general manager. “Most of our business guests are too busy to use a tub, or they are just not interested in it.” For more information: www.sheratontelaviv.com
Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center Hotel.
Guests receive an automatic upgrade to a deluxe room. Each room features panoramic views of Tel Aviv. Business travelers receive a free drink voucher, daily paper in English, welcome refreshments, free entrance to the spa and health club with a 15 percent discount for treatments. Free tours of the city are offered to guests each and every Saturday. A variety of meeting rooms are available upon request. Guest rooms are equipped with free WiFi service. The Crowne Plaza City Center also features an upscale a la carte kosher restaurant. For more information: www.afi-hotels.com
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel.
Guest rooms feature cable TV, wireless Internet access (in public areas as well) in-room safe, mini-bar, hair dryer, bathrobes, 24-hour room services. Express check in-out. There is free use of the hotel’s King David Crown Lounge, as well as personal Butler Service for guests staying in Executive Sea View rooms and suites. There is a free guided bus tour every Saturday to historic sites and attractions. There is a “smart” (high-tech) conference room that accommodates up to 150 people, along with 13 smaller conference rooms, all featuring sea views. For more information: www.danhotels.com
Prima Tel Aviv Hotel.
Located directly across from the bustling seaside promenade, the hotel is popular with businessmen and vacationers alike who wish to enjoy a quality hotel in a central city location, relish a rich breakfast overlooking the sea and begin each day in an intimate atmosphere. Each of the hotel’s floors is dedicated to a renowned Israeli artist who lived and worked in Tel Aviv. Additionally, the hotel’s stairwells are adorned with large mural photographs of famous city boulevards. For more information: www.prima-hotel-israel.com
The growing chain, which features hotels all over Israel, accentuates the pleasure aspect within “business and pleasure” equation. Rimonim is currently offering a special “Discover & Drive” package that includes a three-night stay at any of the Rimonim Hotels and three days Hertz car rental. The idea behind the package is to encourage guests to explore a number of Rimonim properties during their stay in Israel. An example itinerary for the north of Israel would be a combination of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv with three nights at the Rimonim Galei Kinnereth Hotel, located on the banks of Lake Kinneret (Tiberias), or three nights in mystical Safed at the Rimonim Safed Boutique Hotel. Six nights in the south could combine the luxurious Royal Dead Sea Hotel, with the Rimonim Eilat, situated on the shores of the Red Sea. For more information: www.english.rimonim.com