Named after Norman Lourie, a South African activist and award-winning filmmaker, The Norman takes up residence on a pretty side street off the vibrant Rothschild Boulevard. Lourie was known for founding Israel's first luxury hotel, Dolphin House, in 1950, an esteemed lodging that became renowned world over as a summer home to the rich and famous, from US presidents to Hollywood personalities including Danny Kaye and Douglas Kirk. Frequently topping "best" lists, The Norman easily upholds this legacy offering a noble hotel experience that feels both contemporary and established, while plenty of outside spaces bring the air of a countryside retreat. Since opening in 2014, it has been the place to stay in Tel Aviv - though a spate of hotel openings are snapping at its heels.
Two restored 1920s buildings house 30 bespoke rooms and 20 palatial suites. All follow a delicate palette elevated with flashes of colour; a teal sofa here, burnt-orange armchair there - it's modish mid-century meets modern design. Bathrooms are beautiful with preserved ceramic-tile flooring, equipped with plunging tubs or spacious waterfall showers. Rooms are controlled by iPad, making it easy to personalise your haven at the touch of a button.
What's for breakfast?
A show of a breakfast buffet joins an a la carte menu featuring shakshuka and eggs done in various ways. Whatever you choose, its best eaten outside on the terrace with a mimosa in hand.
How about lunch and dinner?
The hotel is home to two internationally lauded restaurants; Dinings and Alena. Fans of the Dinings in London will be familiar with the fantastically novel menu from Masaki Sugisaki, in which izakaya-style Japanese fare meets European cuisine. Favourites include the sweet-chilli-marinated black cod and the signature lobster tempura. During the summer months, the restaurant opens out onto a lovely terrace with panoramic views over Tel Aviv.
Barak Aharoni is responsible for the dreamy Alena in which European classics are given a Mediterranean twist, supported by a top-notch wine offering from Shira Tsiddon (winner of Best Wine List in Israel 2017). The Norman also has the largest champagne selection in Israel, though we recommend sampling local grapes.
One of the main attractions is the rooftop infinity pool which looks out onto Tel Aviv's high rises and is serviced by an attended bar. If you aren't an easy relaxer, there's also a fully-equipped gym, while spa bunnies will enjoy extensive list of treatments at the wellness centre. Personal training, makeup and hair, yoga classes and an abundance of massages are just a few of the services available.
Within a short walk I can find…
The neighbourhood is one of the most attractive in Tel Aviv, with a distinctly European feel; getting involved in the chic café culture with plenty of people watching is order of the day. From The Norman you can walk to the beach, shopping streets and a multitude of restaurants and bars.
Things I should know…
Be sure to explore the hotel - you'll stumble across hidden terraces and excellent sunning spots, as well as some interesting Israeli art. Don't miss the serene citrus garden located between the two main buildings, offering a welcome sense of seclusion in the heart of the capital.