Tel Aviv, for a holiday in sinful ecstacy

Tel Aviv

‘A party city in the Holy Land’, ‘The gay capital of the Middle East’, ‘Sodom and Gomorrah of the 21st Century’ – just a few titles used in reference to the city of Tel Aviv.

It is no surprise therefore, that Tel Aviv is contentious in its position in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is however, a city that markets itself as a holidaymaker’s Mecca.

Tel Aviv is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in the Central-West Metropolitan Area of Gush Dan. Tel Aviv is noted for its electric atmosphere, a culture that blends Europe and the Middle East and a 24-hour lifestyle. With a temperature in the high 20s, and a horizon that is comprised of glistening skyscrapers and stretches of beaches, it’s easy to see why Tel Aviv attracts the youthful, the edgy and the occasional raised eyebrow.

Hamedina

Tel Aviv is also considered the Fashion Capital of the Middle East. With a fashion Boutique on every street corner and the international fashion giant, Moschino appearing as the guest of honour in Tel Aviv’s 2011 Fashion Week, it is easy to shop for high-end global fashion in this metropolis, most notably in the Kikar Hamedina centre. In the Dizengoff shopping centre you will find chains such as Zara and Mango and Israeli couturiers such as Gideon Oberson and Sasson Kedem. Local Tel Aviv fashion is booming and to truly go ‘native’, dress casually. Flowing, breathable fabrics, available in both boutiques and the markets are the way to achieve a nonchalant look in between the beach and the club.

 

Hotels to spend time in

When holidaying in Tel Aviv, there is a choice of over 50 hotels to retire in at the end of your day, whether it be at dusk or a post-party dawn. For the elite budget, there are branches of the Crowne Plaza, Sheraton, Dan, Isrotel and Hilton.

Rothschild Hotel

For a 5-star, try the Rothschild Hotel, based on Rothschild Boulevard and at £170 for a double room the prices may be high, but the hotel offers unparalleled staff, food, style, cleanliness and rooms complete with luxury mod-cons and décor.

At 4 stars, try the Diaghilev Live Art Hotel. At £117 a night, Diaghilev is cheap. The rooms are unique as they serve as live-in galleries. The art works on the walls are for sale and are created by local artists, reflecting the modish presentation of the hotel and Tel Aviv’s reputation as a quirky artist’s hang.

A cheap but worth-while 3 star hotel is the Deborah Hotel at £108 for a night’s stay in a double room. The Deborah Hotel is a 5 minute walk from the beach and offers the amenities expected of any standard hotel service.

 

Flights to catch

To facilitate a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Holidays, you’re looking to land in the Ben-Gurion International airport, only 7 miles from Tel Aviv and considered to be one of the World’s most secure. The airport comes with a vanguard of Israel Police officers, the Israel Defence Force and Israel Border Police to ensure maximum security. A necessary evil with the well-documented clashes between Israel and Palestine during the Middle East conflict. Airlines that fly direct from the UK are British Airways, easyJet, EL AL Israel and Jet2.

El Al Israel

The average flight from London to Tel Aviv lasts 5 hours and can be priced around £260 for a return ticket per person during the months of April – September. Ticket prices can drop to as low as £150 in the winter months, although a Summer Treat is the best way to get the most out of the City and its attractions. Remember – if booking on line, browse in your computer’s incognito or delete your internet’s cookies to be shown the best prices.

To get around the City itself, save money and avoid car-rentals. Parking spaces are so elusive and highly priced, you’d be adding needless stress to your holiday. It is much better to use one of the City’s many bus services or to hail ‘Mo-Nit’ and summon a metered taxi. However, although the traffic is like all other metropolitan cities, at least there is a beach waiting at the destination. If luggage-free, a cheaper option would to be to use the bicycle renting service provided by many shops or Tel-Aviv’s alternative of the Boris-Bike: ‘Tel-O-Fun’.

Tel-o-Fun

With many docking stations around the city and the ability to be hired by cash or card, and with its own smartphone app for your convenience, Tel-O-Fun makes the trip from hotel to destination easy in Tel Aviv.

 

Nightlife to enjoy

Of course, a trip to Tel Aviv isn’t complete without a taste of its equally famous and infamous nightlife. Your options at Tel Aviv are threefold, Mega clubs, Boutique clubs and Small bars. Mega clubs are the nightlife monoliths that attract a global audience and fit a capacity of 500. The TLV club is an example of this; electronica music, state of the art sound and lighting systems, famous acts such as DJ Tiesto and the Israeli Astral projection are what to expect here.

tlv-dance-club

Tel Aviv is also famous for its thriving LGBT nightlife, the oldest bar and local’s favourite is Evita Tel Aviv, situated on Rothschild Boulevard. Open each night of the week and to the LGBT and LGBT-friendly alike, Evita is a beacon of dynamism and is full of colourful drinks and colourful people.

 

Culture to look out for

You can’t talk about Tel Aviv without mention of the harrowing diaspora of Jewish people during the rise of Nazism. Although terrible, this had a striking effect on the city. In the 1930s an influx of German Jewish architects brought with them the popular architectural style – Bauhaus.

bauhaus-museum

Bauhaus architecture was a response to the growth of artistic expression in Germany after the First World War. With a decline of traditional approaches to design, came a desire to create ‘a modern style’.

Purity in form and a focus on functionality made these colourless, crisp and angular constructs a symbol of utopia in the sanctuary of Tel Aviv, gaining the accolade of ‘the white city’. With over 4000 Bauhaus buildings situated around the City, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization calls Tel Aviv a World Cultural Heritage site, ‘an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century’. Alongside the Bauhaus buildings are the Bauhaus centre and the Bauhaus Museum dedicated on furthering the awareness of the City’s architectural heritage.

The historical heart of Tel Aviv is Old Jaffa, existing as a port city over 4000 years ago. Although the official religion of Israel is Judaism, Jaffa gets its name from Christian Legend. The Biblical Noah had a son, ‘Japhet,’ whom reputedly built the city for the enduring civilization after the great flood that God sent had wiped out most of mankind. This was punishment after their sinfulness grew to a level beyond redemption. A heart-warming anecdote to have in mind when nursing the holiday hangover and regret from the previous night’s excursions.

Old Jaffa now serves as a bohemian and quaint destination that is a retreat from the holiday-makers and hotels that grew out of it. You will find the breath-taking sights of the Old Jaffa port and rocks, the renovated ancient harbour and a bounty of artist’s studios, galleries and niche boutiques selling Judaica, jewellery and art.

Israel Old Jaffa - Yafo

Old Jaffa also houses Tel Aviv’s Arabic community and is a way to experience cultures that notoriously clash during your travels.

Tel Aviv has everything a Holiday-maker need look for in their trip. It is no surprise Tel Aviv has been treated as a utopia both in antiquity and in the twentieth-century. With beaches and Bauhaus, clubs and culture, Tel Aviv is easily an all-inclusive metropolis to travel to this year.