Walking in, I’m transported not just back in time, but into my imagination. In my minds eye I can hear the chatter of intellectual conversation gently layered over relaxed jazz music, I see cut glassware filled with exotic cocktails or cool beers and smell the cigar smoke wafting from the large gregarious gentleman seated at the bar; I don’t need to even ask but I’ve stepped into the world of colonial Cuba during the 1930’s and the raffish gentleman holding court at the bar is none other than Earnest Hemingway…
This may not be the actual truth but is in fact the absolute feeling that engulfs you as you enter number 36 Montefiore street Tel Aviv, into the in what is know as the White City area of inland Tel Aviv.
Image C/O Montifiore
For many years the best hotels in this cultural diverse seaside city were of course on the coast line, allowing for direct access to the soft yellow sands of the beach, however, as the city has become much more of a destination party and cultural town (let alone an international business city) the tastes of travellers and city folk alike have changed. Now the most desirable hotels tend to be slightly more away from the coast line (but hardly far) and are far more celebratory of the cultural and historical sense of this now well established metrapol. The White City is an area well regarded as the most upmarket in the city and is known for its wonderful selection of Bauhaus architecture with delightful finds, amazingly unspoiled, dotted around. When walking around just remember to look up and you will be gifted by a veritable feast of architectural delights.
Well back to the hotel, because the moment you step into it you know you have arrived at a smoothing cooling abode, maybe because the hotel only has 12 rooms so the team that runs the front of house knows exactly who you are and understands the needs of global visitors. Anyone familiar with the country know that elegant service is not a high priority. Thankfully at Hotel Montefiore this is not the case; The service is chic, calm, friendly and attentive.
The hotel was originally a home, then an art gallery; it was re-renovated again in 2008 where it was altered into The Hotel Montefiore, by Mati and Ruti Broudo. The current owners already happen to know a fair amount about the business of looking after people. Included in the small R2M group is; the boutique Montefiore Hotel, a restaurant called The Coffee Bar, Brasserie M&R, Bakery (which happens to supply the most wonderful baked goods to the hotel), Cafe 12 and Delicatessen!
Unsurprisingly then the food at the Montefiore is of an excellent standard. Breakfast, (the most famous meal all over Israel) is exceptional, probably because the owners are well versed in the world of cuisine, so anything from full Israeli breakfast to fruit and pastry options are available. Both owners are lovers of travel and the restaurant reflects this with a fusion Vietnamese theme.
Walk up a few carpeted stairs to an small open reception that sits to the side of a magnificent black wood and glass bar (where I imagine Hemingway would hold court), then take the lift up to either floor 1 or 2 and engage with the corridors before entering the bedroom; Yes that’s right engage with the corridors because the walls are adorned with giant dynamic images by Daniel Tchetchik, a photographer from Haaretz, who documented the arrivals and lifestyles of African immigrants to Tel Aviv, shown throughout the city, which offset the calming tones of the walls and floors.
Rooms are spacious and of course more than comfortable with every need catered for whether that be in the deco styled bathroom where you find giant white robes and slippers to wrap into or the most elegant of snacks and drinks. As there has been much talk of atmosphere don’t get the idea the rooms are too noisy for an excellent nights sleep, on the contrary the walls are as solid as the building – so the bedrooms are a wonderful cocoon that aid a restful and deep sleep.
Image Mia Tikotzenski
The usual amenities of any excellent hotel are of course provided, phones, internet, fridge etc., but the most wonderful styling of each and every room is the collection of books in multiple languages ready for guests to utilise. Each room is like walking into the best library…or maybe the room is like the best Library that happens to have a sumptuous bed complete with fluffy pillows; a exquisite Deco bathroom including walk in power rain shower and luscious towels. yet again you cant help thinking Hemingway… If you have had a busy day venturing from this central location to explore the city or even been working why not come back to the hotel grab a book lie back on the bed, let your head sink into a pillow and have your very on literary moment.
Image C/O Montifiore
Most rooms have a balcony too which looks onto the wonderfully calm Montefiore Street. However if you love to people watch the hotel offers a couple more options. The front of the hotel encases a small long outside bar, walled off to enable privacy for the guests but with a low enough wall that dinners and drinkers can sip away whilst people clocking or just watching the world go by. It is certainly a destination for the beautiful of Tel Aviv who seem to steadily come sit, eat, sip and chat on this little heavenly selection of pews.
Image Mia Tikotzenski
Image Mia Tikotzenski
For a little more privacy the bar and restaurant are elegant as described above with crisp white table cloths and even a few leave arm chairs as well as traditional dining chairs, but still allow for a certain amount of people watching, or serious eating and drinking (if food is your thing, then eat here even if you don’t stay) or if you prefer, relax in the superb ‘smokey- sounding’ lazy jazz accompaniment, which literally drifts around you in a cocoon like hug.
The hotel offers a home from home feel within an easy chic environment, subtle enough that you don’t even feel the details and care ingrained. Go to eat, drink or soak up the atmosphere but definitely stay the night.
Image Mia Tikotzenski
So when you find a jewel like this in a bustling international city like Tel Aviv you have to ask the owners… well where do you go? Below is what Ruti Broudo had to share with us:-
What is Favourite Places to eat in Tel Aviv?
At my home during one of the many meals we host!
Our home was built around a large kitchen because we love entertaining. We usually host the restaurant and hotel teams of R2M to build a culinary concept together and from there Guy will take care of the cooking and I will execute the design aesthetic, from the dishes to the flowers, to create the proper environment.
What Places you often visit for a drink, secretly?
There are no secret places in Tel Aviv and there are no secret places where I spend my time. As someone who works everyday from morning until early evening, I usually find myself moving, eating and drinking from one of our restaurants to another. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon drink on the sidewalk in front of Delicatessen or enjoying the quiet street of Yad Harutzim where CoffeeBar is at 19:00.
As I mentioned before, we host a lot so spending time at home with guests is also something I love to do!
Where do you do to listen to music?
Rothschild 12, always and forever.
Do you have any favourite Art Galleries which you frequent?
At this stage in my life and with the opening of two new hotels and a Japanese restaurant, I don’t have down time to explore the art galleries and museums in Israel. However, as part of my work I tend to go to small art fairs, galleries and markets to discover young artists and collect eclectic things to bring back to Israel.
How about Parks or Beaches?
I do not go to the beach. I haven’t been to the beach in years. The last time I went to the beach was with Guy in Tulum when we went for a Noma pop-up.
Do you have any favourite shops or boutiques in the area?
I love Maya Negri, her clothes are very beautiful, timeless and stylish. Her clothing has classic lines, a clear range of colours and is an intelligent and elegant collection.
I equally love buying things at Hibino, a charming little shop on Yavne Street in Tel Aviv that brought Japanese culture to Israel with an authentic and impressive collection of dishes and items.
Hana Pollack’s pottery studio who creates enchanting dishes in Moshav Aniam in the north of Israel. Many of the dishes we use are hand made by her and she is Guy Pollack’s mother. Guy Pollack is the Executive Chef of R2M and my life partner.
Any recommendations for Falafel or even Coffee Shops?
Ha’Kosem (the magician) in Tel Aviv serves the best falafel and brought street food to a level of excellence.
Like any proud owner, I tend to frequent my own creations more than anywhere else, so I would say Hotel Montefiore offers a pretty incredible coffee-drinking experience
Hotel Montefiore: The building on 36 Montefiore Street also known as the “Gogol House” was originally designed in 1924 by the architect Moshe Lovrenski. The building attributes to an Eclectic style and served as a residential. The building was also listed for preservation under urban conservation planning an it is located in the UNESCO announcement area.