Hotel Review: Hilton Tel Aviv

Hilton Tel Aviv entrance
Hilton Tel Aviv entrance

Read more from this trip – 17-days in Europe and the Middle East:

Introduction

  • Dates of hotel stay: 4 nights – August 7 – August 11, 2019
  • Where: Tel Aviv Israel
  • Paid stay / points: Paid

Built in 1962 the Hilton has become an iconic property synonymous with Tel Aviv. It has 560 rooms and suites all boasting ocean views. Hotels in Tel Aviv are quite expensive and the Hilton is no exception with rooms starting at over $500 per night during the summer. You can also get a base level room for 70,000 Hilton points per night so this may represent a good redemption option for some travelers.

Location

The Hilton is located in the heart of Tel Aviv roughly 19 miles from Ben Gurion Airport (“TLV”). It should take you around 30-40 minutes to reach the hotel by car depending on traffic. There’s no Uber in Tel Aviv, but there’s a well marked taxi queue. A taxi will set you back around 174ILS ($49USD).

Map from TLV to the Hilton Tel Aviv
Map from TLV to the Hilton Tel Aviv

Check-in / Lobby

The lobby was recently renovated in 2017 and has a luxurious feel. It features high ceilings, contemporary lighting fixtures and marble floors. The hotel doesn’t have a dedicated check-in for Hilton Honors elite members, but there wasn’t a queue when I arrived so was helped immediately. I originally booked a King Deluxe Room with Sea View, but was upgraded to a Studio Executive Room with Sea View thanks to my Hilton Honors Diamond status.

Hilton Tel Aviv lobby
Hilton Tel Aviv lobby

Room Details

The Studio Executive Room comes in at 484 square feet. While not as large as my room at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa it felt spacious. The room features a very comfortable king sized bed.

King sized bed
King sized bed

There’s a separate seating area with a love seat, lounge chair and an ottoman. For those needing to get work done there’s a work desk with adjustable lamp.

Living area
Living area

The Hilton Diamond welcome amenity included fresh fruit, chocolates and a bottle of Israeli wine.

Diamond welcome amenity
Diamond welcome amenity

There’s a small balcony with two chairs that has a direct view of Hilton Beach and the ocean.

Balcony
Balcony

As you can see from the photo the beach tends to get quite busy during the summer. You can’t ask for better views in Tel Aviv.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

The bathroom was well appointed with a separate shower and bathtub. The Hilton provides Ahava bath products, which I love. Ahava is an Israeli cosmetics company who uses mud and mineral-based ingredients from the Dead Sea. In addition to the mini bottles of Ahava bath products, the room came with a Dead Sea mud mask, full-sized body lotion and bath salts.

After a long day of touring Jerusalem I drew a bath with the bath salts, put on the Dead Sea mud mask and enjoyed a glass of the welcome wine. It was delightful.

Bathroom
Bathroom

Pool / Beach Area

The Hilton has an outdoor semi-Olympic salt water swimming pool. There’s a lot of lounge chairs surrounding the pool, but they’re spaced out only a few inches apart so if you’re not next to friends privacy may be an issue.

Outdoor pool
Outdoor pool area

The pool was in good condition, but looked outdated. I think a property of this caliber and price point should have an infinity pool. If you’re looking for a tranquil place to catch some rays this isn’t it; screaming, poorly supervised children take over the pool area.

Semi-Olympic salt water swimming pool
Semi-Olympic salt water swimming pool

One of the best features of the Hilton is direct access to Hilton beach. The beach is public and isn’t actually owned by the Hilton, but is named as such given the proximity to the hotel.

Hilton Beach
Hilton Beach

You can purchase a beach umbrella for 6 shekels ($1.70 USD) and a sun bed for 12 shekels ($3.40) at a vending machine near the beach. You’re given a receipt, which is checked by beach attendants.

Hilton Beach is split into three different areas:

  • South Hilton Beach – This area is known as the surfers beach and is a great place to catch some waves
  • Middle Hilton Beach – This area is the gay beach and is marked by rainbow flags. There were some families in this section as well, but they were outnumbered by fit Israeli men in speedos
  • North Hilton Beach – This area is known as Hof Haklavim or the dog beach. There aren’t any leash laws in Tel Aviv so your furry friends can run free

Pro-tip: Beach attendants offer food and beverages at your seat, but it’s expensive and service is slow. Bring your own beverages and snacks instead to experience the beach like a local. Also arrive early to snag the best seats.

Hilton Beach - Chairs and umbrellas
Hilton Beach – Chairs and umbrellas

Executive Lounge

All guests staying in suites and guests staying in Executive Rooms are entitled to use the Executive Lounge. Access to the Executive Lounge is restricted to guests over 16-years old. 

The Executive Lounge is located on the 12th floor and is open daily from 6am to 11pm.

12th-floor Executive Lounge
12th-floor Executive Lounge

There isn’t a lot of seating for a hotel of this size. During breakfast and evening cocktails every seat was taken.

Executive Lounge seating
Executive Lounge seating

The lounge has 2 balconies with stunning views. It was lovely to sit outside of the terrace while enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

Breakfast on the Executive Lounge balcony
Breakfast on the Executive Lounge balcony

The breakfast spread was fairly limited, but included staples like scrambled eggs and potatoes.

Executive Lounge breakfast
Executive Lounge breakfast

The breakfast spread on Shabbat was fairly limited and didn’t include any cooked food items. They had coffee on Shabbat, but it was instant and didn’t taste particularly good.

Executive Lounge Shabbat breakfast
Executive Lounge Shabbat breakfast

In the evening there was a nice selection of self-serve sparkling wine, wine and hard liquor available.

Executive Lounge evening cocktails
Executive Lounge evening cocktails

The food selection at night went above and beyond pre-dinner canapés. They had potatoes, latkes, green beans and rock bass with pistachios. The hot food was average at best, but tided me over until late dinners.

Executive Lounge dinner buffet
Executive Lounge dinner buffet

They also had a variety of vegetables and salads.

Executive Lounge dinner buffet cold food items
Executive Lounge dinner buffet cold food items

Bread and cheese complemented the cold and hot food selection.

Executive Lounge bread and cheese
Executive Lounge bread and cheese

At 8pm the hot food iems are removed and some dessert items are brought out. Nothing really stood out and you’re probably better off saving your appetite for something else.

Executive Lounge dessert
Executive Lounge dessert

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

The Hilton served as a great home base for exploring Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Studio Executive Room is spacious and well appointed, the hotel has direct beach access and having breakfast on the balcony of the Executive Lounge is wonderful. However, everything isn’t perfect. The pool area is in need of a refresh and perhaps a dedicated adult pool. Also, the food in the Executive Lounge could use some improvement. Overall I was happy with this property and you should strongly consider it for your next trip to Tel Aviv.

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