Condé Nast Traveller (UK edition) just gave a nod to the Israel-based Brown Hotels boutique hotel chain, naming The Poli House in Tel Aviv and Brown Beach House Croatia as two of the year’s best new hotels in its Hot List 2017.
This year’s “Conde Nast Traveller“ Hot List 2017 will appear in the publication’s July/August 2017 edition.
Both hotels are part of hotelier Leon Avigad’s Leopard Hospitality chain, founded with his life and business partner Nitzan Perry, which also includes the Brown TLV, the Brown Beach House — both in Tel Aviv — and the recently opened Villa Brown Jerusalem.
The Brown Beach House Croatia is a 25-room property housed within a former tobacco shipment station, in the medieval city of Trogrir overlooking the Adriatic sea. The hotel group chose Croatia as an emerging market with coastal flair, said Ross Belfer, a spokesperson for the firm.
Also on the Hot List is the group’s Poli House, named for its original owner, Yehuda Polishuk.
It’s one of Tel Aviv’s historic Bauhaus properties, a ship-like structure with a one rounded end situated at one of the city’s busiest intersections, where the artsy Nahalat Binyamin neighborhood meets the Carmel Market and the grit of Allenby Street.
But it’s all cool chic inside The Poli House, with whimsical interiors designed by international designer Karim Rashid, who brought neon lights and bright colors to the 40 small but smart rooms.
“The owners wanted something different,” said Daniel Rafman, the Poli House general manager who recently announced his move to another Brown Hotels property. “It’s a clash between two worlds, clean and neat Bauhaus and the colorful, brash look of Karim. It gives Poli House an amazing feel.”
It was a 10 -year process to turn the historic structure into a hotel, including a three-year renovation, said Rafman. The hotel opened in October 2016, featuring its two circle suites overlooking the busy Allenby intersection and another two junior suites with a view of Nahalat Binyamin.
The very best part of the hotel may be the rooftop pool and bar, which is open to the stars and boasts a view of the not-too-distant Mediterranean. It doesn’t get much better than lounging in a cabana by the pool, a cocktail by your side and the blue sea on the horizon.
While there’s always a staff member at front desk downstairs to offer an espresso, a shot of arak or some lemon water, the full guest check-in is done up on the top floor, so that every guest is sure to see what’s up there and “doesn’t miss this,” said Rafman, pointing to the Art Deco style tiles, U-shaped bar and heated pool overlooking the city.
“The idea is to create a world of our own but tied to what goes on outside,” said Rafman.
The outside includes busy Allenby Street below, with its bargain stores and wholesalers, as well as the peeling paint and crammed balconies of apartments across the way. The hotel also offers tours in the nearby colorful Carmel Market
“We like to connect to Allenby,” said Rafman.
So far, there is no food served at The Poli House; breakfast is offered to hotel guests through a secret back hallway that leads into LovEat, an organic cafe next door. In the future, there will be a posh restaurant on the main floor, intended to attract guests and passersby.
Avigad also partnered with the Tel Aviv municipality and the Tourism Ministry this March to create the pop-up, two-room Lifeguard Tower hotel on the sand, a ten-day lark of posh hospitality on the Tel Aviv beach.