Aficionados love The Norman Tel Aviv for a myriad of reasons, with which the gal agrees – fascinating history, beautiful and meticulously maintained product and outstanding people, both staff and guests, and great food. But here is another thing that makes this a specially memorable luxury hotel. The Norman has white city bikes, to borrow, for FREE (other ‘luxury hotels’ elsewhere in the world take note). I saw a bike in the front garden. Could I borrow it? Of course (this is a hotel that only says Yes). I signed a waiver, went outside, where a young man in uniform tight taupe trousers and braces pointed out the front tyre had no air. No problem, another bike was already being brought, without my having to request it.
This is the type of thoughtful anticipatory action which I forever associate with Oberoi’s Zahra on The Nile, and now I will always think, too, of The Norman Tel Aviv. The bike’s saddle is lowered – it must have last been ridden by an NBA player – and I am shown the lock, in the basket (another essential element, bikes should all have baskets, for mobile devices and room keys). Where should I go? Straight on down, straight straight, to the beach. Here beginneth the Challenge of Biking at The Norman. On the way west to the beach, all roads were gently down hill, and all one way. There was also a platoon of buses, many of them double-length. I made it to the beach all right and, clever clever, without a map I negotiated the route back, uphill and against the one-way traffic which required cycling on sometimes-foot-wide pavement sidewalks.
And as final education, back home I read the history of the building, framed on the left gatepost of the photo above. See why this is a luxury hotel that provides a myriad of memory touchpoints?