Israel looks to luxury hotels as demand increases

The Israel Ministry of Tourism recently announced that the State is seeing all-time highs in tourism, with a record-breaking 3.54 million travelers in 2013. As such, the major tourism destinations are looking to get new hotels, especially in the five-star segment. 
Eran Nitzan, who heads the infrastructure and investment department at Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, told The Jewish Week that an estimated 10 large luxury hotels have been built in the country since the early- to mid-2000s. Many of the properties built during this period were of lower star rankings, but Tel Aviv has seen several four- and five-star boutique hotels. 

According to Shmuel Zurel, director general of the Israel Hotel Association, roughly 3,500 hotel rooms have opened in Israel during that time, most in the “high mid-class to luxurious” categories—a relatively small number considering the average 2,000 rooms that were built annually in places like Eilat, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem between the late 1980s and 2000. 

Nitzan also told the paper that the government has offered incentives to encourage companies and entrepreneurs to build hotels. These grants typically amount to 20 to 28 percent of the total construction costs, and over the past decade, they have totaled “hundreds of millions” of shekels, he said. Of that sum, 40 to 50 percent went to “high-end” rooms.

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Top New Hotels

A top upcoming property is the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, which is expected to open its doors in time for Passover. Located across the street from the five-star David Citadel Hotel and the upscale Mamilla shopping area and hotel, the Waldorf Astoria is housed in a historic building that is in the middle of a gut renovation. The hotel accepting reservations for August 1.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism also noted several new and upcoming hotels:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced plans to open a W Hotel in the seaside city of Jaffa in 2015. Located within a converted 19th- century building that once housed the French Hospital, the W Jaffa will have 125 rooms and suites and 38 adjacent W-branded residences. 

The latest edition to Isrotel's Exclusive Collection, Cramim Resort and Spa ten minutes from Jerusalem's city center and has 156 rooms and suites, a spa and boutique wine bar. (We hear wine tastings will be a regular feature.) 

The Fattal Hotel Chain is set to open the new Leonardo Ashkelon, a 131-room business and leisure property in Israel's southern seaside city of Ashkelon overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. 

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