Business TravelIt's usually either business or vacation -- this is both

Isrotel’s Publica caters to Herzilya’s Silicon Wadi crowd

The first boutique business hotel of its kind, located in the heart of Israel’s startup core

The rooftop pool and lounging area at Publica, the new Isrotel business hotel in Herzliya (Courtesy, Assaf Pinchuk)
The rooftop pool and lounging area at Publica, the new Isrotel business hotel in Herzliya (Courtesy, Assaf Pinchuk)

Boutique business hotel Publica, one of the first of its kind in Israel, opened in Herzliya by hotel chain Isrotel, is hoping to capitalize on the mixing of business and pleasure with aesthetics worthy of an Instagram post.

“No hotel has our concept. It’s either business or vacation; this is a combination of the two,” said Ofer Agami, Publica’s CEO.

Herzilya has long been part of Israel’s “Silicon Wadi,” so dubbed thanks to the number of hi-tech companies based in the town just north of Tel Aviv, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft. Tech office parks surround this beachfront town.

Set amid one of these office parks of glass high-rises and chain restaurants on a busy street, Publica Isrotel’s modern but plain glass-and-stone exterior barely hints at what’s inside: chic, velvet sofas, brass lighting, tufted leather, navy blue walls, dark wood floors, and unique, colorful photography, paintings, and sculpture.

A room in Publica, Isrotel’s new Herzliya hotel that caters to the business traveler (Courtesy Assaf Pinchuk)

While Publica Isrotel has already hosted guests from Europe and China, the boutique hotel, which is part of Marriott’s 153-member Autograph Collection, is looking to appeal to the business techie of Silicon Valley. The average age of visitors is 40, said Eilat, and the prices are “reasonable,” at around $95 (about NIS 335) a night for a queen room with a sea view. (In comparison, the Isrotel’s other new hotel, Jerusalem’s Orient, costs about $500 (nearly NIS 1,760) per room.)

The 159-room hotel, which opened two months ago, is catering to consumers with a curated design sense, with amenities that those with a millennial’s expectations might like.

The lobby and working spaces of Publica, Isrotel’s business hotel in Herzliya (Courtesy Assaf Pinchuk)

The hotel’s office space offers draft beer and large, communal tables, cultivating a WeWork vibe refined by the velvet sofas, and pop art featuring Mickey Mouse that is reminiscent of Icelandic artist Erró. But guests can be found, laptops and iPads open, working throughout the entire hotel — including the bar, dining area and lobby — something more and more common in today’s mobile business environment.

Boasting a spacious rooftop pool with plenty of plush orange sofas and black-and-white striped umbrellas, Publica Isrotel also has a large, upscale gym with a spinning room and studio. Guests can drop into a class during their stay, a perk that keeps with the millennial embrace of health and wellness. Once a week, a French-Taiwanese, India-certified yoga instructor teaches on the rooftop pool, and a boxing area is planned for the middle of the airy gym.

The exterior of Isrotel’s Publica, situated amid Herzliya’s business parks (Courtesy, Assaf Pinchuk)

Both the pool and gym are open to the public, in an attempt not only to make extra income, but to promote socialization between locals and visitors, said hotel reps. The gym will open to the public in earnest on November 16.

The moody, chic vibe carries to the rooms, which have dark wood floors and walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, colorful rugs, and more tufted leather. The closet offers enough shelf and drawers for a business traveler’s week-long stay, and a safe and mini fridge provide added security and homeliness, respectively.

But WiFi in the bedrooms is spotty, perhaps a reason to venture to the other parts of the hotel.

Meanwhile, a selfie is waiting to be snapped in the marble and glass bathroom, with a shower door that reads as if scrawled with a finger in steam, “you’ll always be in my heart.”

The shower door is part of Isrotel’s Publica art collection (Courtesy Assaf Pinchuk)

The concrete, industrial gym includes neon signs, and a vintage basketball hoop and leather gymnastics pommel. Even the public marble-and-brass bathrooms include a jar of vibrant gumballs and a gallery wall of Instagram photos from a local artist.

While dinner service was heavy, featuring pastas and heavily dressed salads, dessert was a standout. The 150-shekel ($43) breakfast was lavish. Pastries, mini desserts such as tiramisu and cheesecake, individual pots of mushroom polenta, shakshuka, sweet avocado dip with wontons, semi-soft and hard cheeses, and fresh juices were all delicious, neatly displayed on a wall of navy cabinet shelves and best enjoyed al fresco in the lush potted-tree-filled patio.

If all goes well, more boutique business hotels are likely to pop up elsewhere. Hotel CEO Agami said they are hoping to expand to Tel Aviv, and eventually even outside of Israel.

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