In the not so recent past, hotels in the cities of Jaffa and then Tel Aviv have played an important
role in the development of the country. Anyone landing at Jaffa port would usually need a place
to stay before continuing their journey to other parts of the country. This meant staying in an
inn in Jaffa for a few days until transport and security could be arranged for the continuation of
travel by foot or camel (or whatever type of transportation could be gotten over 100 years ago)
to other cities. This is why Jaffa is sometimes called the gateway to the Land of Israel. When Tel
Aviv was established, more inns and hotels were built for this and other purposes. Today most
of the hotels in Tel Aviv are located on the beach and, according to figures published by the
Ministry of Tourism, Tel Aviv is short of about 4000 hotel rooms.
In recent years the Tel Aviv Municipality has encouraged the construction of hotels in the city.
Hotels do not bestow additional expenses on the municipality such as the construction and
maintenance of parks, schools and other public buildings. Hotels bring tourists and tourists
bring money. For this reason, the Tel Aviv Municipality has allowed the conversion of offices
and residential apartment buildings to boutique hotels.
A recent study done by the Municipality shows that there is a particular shortage of hotel
rooms in the center of town. We are talking about small hotels, without a formal dining room
or auditorium, where the guests use the facilities of nearby businesses. Anyone wishing to
establish such a hotel need only show the Municipality confirmation from the Ministry of
Tourism that the establishment is an inn and the way is paved for getting the plans pushed
through in a smoother fashion than previously occurred.
There is no official definition of a boutique hotel but the general consensus is that it is a small,
stylish and trendy inn whose guests enjoy special treatment and easy access to what the city
has to offer. Many such hotels are cropping up around historical Tel Aviv locations such as Neve
Tzedek and Rothchild Ave. According to Sammy Tito, the owner of the boutique hotel “Jacob
Samual” which is under construction on the corner of Dizengoff and Arlozorov Streets in the
heart of Tel Aviv and is slated to open in 2015, the profit from a hotel is two to three times
higher than those of residential properties.