There is hardly a city or town in Israel that does not have a street or neighborhood named for Moses Montefiore, a British baronet and philanthropist who was instrumental in supporting Jewish settlement in pre-state Israel. In Tel Aviv, the venerable name has also been bestowed on a boutique hotel located on Montefiore Street, in the quarter known as Lev Ha’ir, “the heart of the city.”
The edifice housing Hotel Montefiore, once the private residence of a prominent family, was built in the early twentieth century in the popular architectural style of the day known as Eclecticism. One hundred years later, it was painstakingly restored and transformed into the current boutique property by the R2M Group, which owns and operates leading Tel Aviv restaurants.
Not surprisingly, therefore, Hotel Montefiore also houses a gourmet restaurant and upscale bar, which occupy the entire ground floor, along with the tiny reception area. Two of the best perks that come with a stay at the Montefiore are the welcome drink offered on arrival, and the first-class complimentary breakfast served in a place known for having one of the finest brunches in the city.
The two floors above the acclaimed French-Asian fusion restaurant are where guests stay in 12 stylish rooms, characterized by high ceilings and large windows that allow plenty of natural sunlight to pour in. Select rooms even have small balconies.
The most distinctive feature in each room, however, is the floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with hardcover books and paperbacks, fiction and nonfiction, classics and easy reading — veritable libraries, in multiple languages. It would take hours to take fleeting inventory of the hundreds of books in a typical room, let alone read any of them.
Moreover, there are other distractions: large LCD smart TV’s with satellite reception in every room, plus films and television series on DVD that may be borrowed free of charge from the hotel’s collection.
Also in every room are leather easy chairs, and comfortable queen-size beds fitted with Egyptian cotton sheets and down pillows and duvets. Only some rooms have desks, but all enjoy free Wi-Fi. Contemporary paintings by Israeli artists complete the décor.
Additionally, the touches of restaurateur owners are evident throughout. Complimentary mineral water is provided in crystal decanters, alongside everything that is needed to make coffee and tea. There are minibars, of course, as well as tempting snack boxes stuffed with goodies made in R2M eateries.
The closets contain personal safes, although they are not large enough for laptops and are inconveniently situated on the floor. More accessible are the padded slippers and terrycloth robes — perfect companions to the thirsty towels in the stunning black marble bathrooms. While the bathrooms are not large enough to accommodate bathtubs, the shower stalls are quite roomy. The amenities, curated with care by R2M, are especially pampering: the dental kit includes imported Himalayan Herbals toothpaste, a highly respected holistic brand.
The service at Hotel Montefiore is on a par with the classy surroundings. There may be no business center, but the front desk printed the flight document I sent them and promptly delivered it to my room.
Hotel Montefiore is an ideal choice for a stay in Tel Aviv: centrally located for exploring the city when the weather is nice, as it usually is. And should it turn inclement, there is plenty to do within the confines of the premises — and the means both to please the palate and stimulate the mind.
No. of rooms: 12
Published rates: $406 (single) – $446 (double), includes breakfast (in the restaurant or room service). Or compare and book through one of the many booking sites such as Expedia.
Text by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of Hotel Montefiore for purposes of review. Photos courtesy of Hotel Montefiore.