Business on the Beach: A Review of the David InterContinental Tel Aviv

Jun 18, 2019

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To The Point

The Intercontinental David Tel Aviv is one of the city’s best hotels, especially for business travelers. The pros: amazing beachfront location, comfortable rooms and amazing service. The cons: higher category rooms have no balconies and bad room service.

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I’ve been to Tel Aviv countless times, experiencing a number of different hotels and rental properties on various trips. For this four-night Tel Aviv adventure, I decided to stay and review the InterContinental David Tel Aviv to complement TPG’s review of the Hilton Tel Aviv (coming soon) and TPG Creative Director Isabelle Raphael’s review of The Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel Aviv. The hotel’s perfect beachfront location and proximity to the Eurovision pop-up village made it the ideal choice for my recent stay.

In This Post

Booking

Cash rates were high all over the city during the week of Eurovision, and the InterContinental was charging about $500 per night. When I noticed there was points availability at 50,000 points per night, it made sense to use points, especially because I’d get a value of 1 cent per point — almost double what TPG valuations suggested at 0.5 cents per point. Usually, though, cash rates hover between $300 and $400 per night. But even at the lowest cash rate of $300 per night, 50,000 points gives you a 0.6-cent-per-point value, so if you have points, it makes sense to use them at this property, especially if rates are inching toward $400.

If you pay cash and have a four-night-or-more stay, using a card like the Citi Prestige Card, which offers the fourth night free, is a great way to save cash.

For US-based travelers, now is a great time to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, which currently has an 80,000 point bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Other benefits of the card include IHG Rewards Platinum elite status and 10x IHG points per dollar spent on IHG purchases, making it well worth its $89 annual fee.

Location

For me, the InterContinental David Tel Aviv’s location simply can’t be beat. In fact, it’s one of my favorite spots in Tel Aviv to be in, overlooking the beach and near artsy neighborhoods like Neve Tzedek, which has plenty of cool boutiques and delicious cafes and restaurants.

The only negative of the hotel’s location is that it doesn’t have direct beach access. I had to walk about 100 yards down the promenade to reach Blue Surf Beach or, slightly further on, Banana Beach. Charles Clore Park, directly in front of the hotel, is a nice place for a stroll but sometimes busy with events — in this case, the Eurovision Village. Sometimes it’s used for the setup for Tel Aviv Pride.

The hotel is a short taxi ride away from northern Tel Aviv and the trendy area of Jaffa at the far south. I loved using the electric scooters to zip around the city when I needed to leave the immediate area, and those wanting to use bikes or get around on foot will also appreciate the central location. Access to Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) was about 30 minutes by car.

Check-in

I walked into the large and bustling lobby to find a modern and rather generic space.

I did appreciate the high ceilings and some of the artwork that was placed around the lobby and near the elevator bank.

The area opened up into a courtyard where breakfast was served. It had a lobby bar and a trendy restaurant called Nomi.

Check-in was easy, and I was upgraded from a Classic room to an Executive room, two room categories up. I would have actually preferred to be upgraded just one category — to a Classic Terrace room — so that I could have had a balcony, even though this room type was located on lower floors, making them less desirable for some. Still, I would have appreciated the outdoor space, especially with a view of the sea!

Room

My room was 2021, an executive room located on a club floor, but without lounge access.

The room seemed like it had been renovated recently, but it was very businesslike. It was fresh and clean and felt a little utilitarian in design.

The large bed was very comfortable with nice bedding. The executive room gave me the extras of a small sofa, a modern armchair and a more contemporary workspace.

The views were expansive and looked out to the sea.

Although I appreciated being on a high floor, I would have liked to have had a balcony much more. Rooms without balconies are a bit of a miss at this hotel, especially when many of the nearby properties such as the Hilton Tel Aviv and the Don Panorama had them attached to every room.

However, it was nice having the higher, less noisy room during the Eurovision Village pop-up, where loud music and festivities raged on until about 2am each night throughout my stay. The hotel thought of everything, though, leaving a few sets of earplugs in the room so I could still manage to get a good night of sleep despite the noise.

The other amenities in the room were the usual ones: a hair dryer, slippers, ironing board and iron and robes.

There were several electrical sockets by the bed, including USB ports. There was even a universal plug by the desk. I love it when hotels offer this feature — it’s just such a convenience for travelers coming from different places.

A kettle with instant coffee made me miss my Nespresso machine, and I was surprised to open the minibar and see it was empty. Apparently, I would have had to request that it be filled, which would have been annoying had I wanted a quick and convenient soda, snack or beer.

The bathroom was fairly large, and the shower was hot with firm water pressure.

I’m not usually a bath person, but I was left a large bag of Dead Sea bath salts, which encouraged me to use the tub, even though it seemed a little small.

Food and Beverage

The hotel breakfast buffet was huge, with a spread including salads, pastries, eggs, fresh juices and hot food, and even an Asian breakfast section with congee and noodles and rice dishes. There was also a menu to order specific hot dishes, too.

But service was rather slow, taking them forever to take my coffee order and then even longer to get the coffee. The buffet cost $30 and wasn’t included with my Platinum elite status. I did appreciate that I could dine outside to enjoy the perfect weather and sunshine each morning.

Room service was actually terrible. I ordered Thai curry, which was $20, and a Diet Coke, and after the tax and service charge was tacked on, it was $40 plus tip. It took about 30 minutes to arrive. The food was mediocre, and my soda was delivered with no ice. To me, room service is supposed to be a real treat, so I was really disappointed that the food quality just wasn’t there.

I also wanted a chance to test out the Nomi restaurant, but my schedule was just too hectic. The spot was pretty trendy, started by a famous chef who’d never cooked kosher food before but now does.

Amenities

The gym was one of the better amenities, modern and with plenty of equipment.

The pool also made for a great hangout, although it wasn’t particularly modern. From the pool area, you could check out the beach below, as well as the Eurovision village. The hotel spa looked inviting and sold Sabon products, and I wish I’d had some time to check it out.

I found the hotel staff to be extremely helpful, especially when I found myself in a sticky situation one evening. I had left my phone in a taxi I reserved through the ride-hailing app Gett. The staff went above and beyond trying to contact the driver, negotiating with him to bring me my phone and then delivering the phone to my room when it was finally brought back. This personalized attention and help was really impressive, and I’ll before forever grateful to the staff for getting me my phone (aka my lifeblood) back for me.

Overall Impression

While the David InterContinental wasn’t particularly special, it’s a solid choice for business travelers wanting clean and comfortable rooms or tourists wanting to enjoy the beach or the pool. I would classify it as a functional property with a luxury edge, offering better value than some of the other pricier (and often older and crumblier) beachfront hotels in the area.

I’d happily return here again, especially if I have IHG reward points to burn, but I’d probably eat breakfast elsewhere and definitely skip the room service.

All photos by the author for The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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