Before leaving Tel Aviv, the gal had time for two memorable lunches. One was at the well-established InterContinental David Tel Aviv, opened by GM Jurgen Baumhof in1999 and now, two incumbents later, run by David Cohen, oh so passionate about his people, and his offering – and the community (the hotel works closely with the Shanti House Association for orphaned teenagers). At the hotel, David Cohen opened up the dinner-only restaurant, Aubergine, specially, and chef Yoram Nitzan, who formerly ran the freestanding Mul Yam seafood restaurant, produced a copious and tasty mezze.
And, literally enroute to the airport, I was personally introduced to The Link Hotel & Hub by the President and CEO of Dan Hotels, Ronen Nissenbaum. Dan Hotels’ Vice-Chairman Ami Federmann and his son Ron Federmann have been working for about five years on a more-youthful concept to balance the highly-successful 15-hotel Dan group, which also has one hotel in India, The Den, in Bangalore. After touring Europe and its lifestyle and hostel concepts, the Federmanns are right now unveiling an adaptable concept, The Link, which brings in local flavours iincluding street art, or graffiti.
At the launch The Link, for instance, 12 local street artists have each done one floor of the hotel – and all the art is for sale (think what a Link in Melbourne could look like, working with that city’s Hosier Lane artists). Rooms in The Link are intriguingly clever, small but with maximum functionality, and palest grey overall colouring, for space. Beds have paper throws – surely an industry first – and outline-only closets have safes, and half- and full-length hanging, where suitcases can be stored vertically. All The Link hotels, too, will have an integral Hub.
The Tel Aviv Hub is lowest level, a massive space that incorporates meeting rooms, a games area with pool table, comfy seating, and a service area where a person (a rare person, indeed, as the hotel has no bellmen or concierge or reception staff), dispenses beverages and easy-to-eat non-meat foods, including the caprese with side of hot-smoked salmon, above. Other features of The Link concept? No brands anywhere, showing the idea is timeless, and will not go out of fashion. The 24/7 gym has an adjacent laundry room, with large lockers to store bags after check-out. Launching this month, too, is The Link’s app. Instead of being a marketing tool, as at so many luxury hotels, this app is purely customer-centric. It opens your door, pays for your caprese, and gives you immediate link-through to local tourist, concierge and shopping sites.