Review of The Norman hotel in Tel Aviv, a boutique stay on Hyatt points

Dec 1, 2021

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When it came time to pick a hotel for my recent stay in Tel Aviv, the decision was easy.

As a loyal World of Hyatt top-tier Globalist member, I almost always try to stay at one of the chain’s properties. Hyatt’s footprint is small (but growing), so I’m often out of luck in smaller cities.

While Hyatt itself doesn’t have any properties in Israel, a non-branded boutique hotel came up in my search — The Norman Hotel — which happens to be one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties that partner with World of Hyatt.

By booking through Hyatt, I’d earn elite credit, a slew of additional on-property benefits — and I could redeem points.

It also worked out perfectly because the property is one of the few top Tel Aviv hotels that we hadn’t yet reviewed at TPG.

The Norman is regarded as one of the best hotels in the city thanks to its central location, bespoke design and top-notch food and beverage outlets.

So, how was my stay? Read on to find out.

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In This Post

Booking

In most cases, it will pay to redeem Hyatt points at The Norman.

As one of the top hotels in the city, rates here are steep, especially during peak periods. I’ve seen them range from $660 to $1,200 per night for a standard room.

As mentioned, I took advantage of the hotel’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World and World of Hyatt and redeemed 40,000 points per night.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The Norman is a Category 8 property in the Hyatt program, meaning that awards nights cost either 35,000, 40,000 or 45,000 points per night, depending on whether you’re staying during an off-peak, standard or peak season.

All World of Hyatt bookings at Small Luxury Hotels — whether paid or award stays — confer a slew of benefits with no elite status requirement, including:

  • Complimentary continental breakfast for two.
  • Free Wi-Fi.
  • Early check-in, subject to availability.
  • Late check-out, subject to availability.
  • One-category room upgrade, subject to availability.

Plus by booking through Hyatt, award redemptions book into a deluxe room (one category above the base-level classic room), giving you an even better bang for your buck.

In my case, the deluxe room was going for $800 a night, giving me a value of 2 cents per Hyatt point, even better than TPG‘s 1.7 cents per point valuation.

The Norman doesn’t (currently) participate in Amex’s Fine Hotels + Resorts program, or Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort collection, so booking through World of Hyatt will be your best bet.

If you’re short on Hyatt points, the good news is that the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means you can transfer the points you’ve accumulated on any of our top Chase cards instantly to your Hyatt account.

Location

The Norman is centrally located in the heart of Tel Aviv on Nachmani Street, a picturesque residential area just minutes away from some of the city’s top attractions.

The property spans two buildings that top out at just four stories high.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Those who have images of spending all day sitting by the beach, however, might want to stay elsewhere — it’s about a 15-minute walk or five-minute drive to the closest beach.

When you arrive at the hotel, your enter through a small garden and into the main building, which houses all 30 standard rooms as well as the hotel’s dining outlets and amenities.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The second building, which has its own street-level entrance, is where you’ll find the hotel’s 20 suites.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

It’s attached to the main building via an outdoor deck and citrus garden — a nice touch in the otherwise bustling city.

Check-in and lobby

As you enter the main building, you are greeted by a large arrangement of flowers, flanked by reception desks.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

This is where you’ll complete the check-in process and inquire about any special requests that you might have.

The registration process was seamless. In fact, in the days leading up to my arrival, I received a WhatsApp message from the property welcoming me to Israel and inviting me to complete an online check-in process.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I opted to wait until I arrived to get a sense of the standard procedure. Even if you decline online check-in, you can still message the hotel on WhatsApp with any requests during your stay.

When I arrived, I was asked for my passport and credit card. The hotel had already pre-printed my registration form, which reflected a zero-dollar balance thanks to my points redemption.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The agent confirmed all my benefits and informed me that I had been upgraded one category to a grand deluxe room, thanks to booking through World of Hyatt.

Moments later, I received my keys and was escorted to the room by a friendly check-in agent.

Room

The grand deluxe room I was assigned, 210, was located on the second floor.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As I entered the 377-square-foot room, I immediately found the closet and minibar located in the small entryway.

Turning right brought me into the room itself. While the room wasn’t large, it was beautifully appointed. The king bed was flanked by nightstands and lighting fixtures.

There was a rectangular desk and chair, as well as a recliner and small table in the opposite corner.

The dual-vanity bathroom was arranged in an open layout with beautiful Middle Eastern mosaic tiles on the floor. There was a large soaking tub, walk-in shower and toilet here as well.

 

Shower amenities were hotel branded, and I enjoyed the woody fragrance.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

All in all, the room was tastefully decorated — the polar opposite of a cookie-cutter chain property.

The one drawback to The Norman is that the entry-level rooms are quite small, especially if you’re bringing a lot of luggage on your trip.

While the grand deluxe room would have been perfect for me as a solo traveler, I noticed an issue with the air-conditioning unit after I entered: The fan didn’t stop squeaking.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I asked the hotel if they could fix the issue, but since I had arrived in the evening, only one maintenance technician was around. The man came into the room, but he couldn’t diagnose the problem.

Instead of waiting until the morning for another technician, I was moved to a different room. This time, I’d be staying in a loft suite, located in The Norman’s second building.

Suite upgrade

The Norman’s suite-only building felt even more residential than the main one. There were 20 suites here, and the building’s design felt especially homey.

The hallways were darker and there was much less foot traffic.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I took the (small) elevator up to the second floor before entering suite 22.

The loft suite was arranged in an open-style layout, with the supremely comfortable king bed occupying roughly half of the room’s 506 square feet.

Separating the bed from the living area was a desk that extended out from the wall with two chairs. This was the perfect place to catch up on work and place my electronics overnight.

Wi-Fi was available throughout the hotel with no password required to connect. Upload and download speeds topped out at 30 Mbps.

The living area had a three-person sofa as well as a marble coffee table.

In the corner, there was a large chest of what initially appeared to be drawers or some other storage space. Opening it, however, revealed an oversized and very well-stocked minibar (with overpriced items — think $6 for a Coke).

The bathroom, complete with soaking tub, was even larger than the one in the grand deluxe room, though it only featured a single vanity compared to two in the lower-category room.

The walk-in shower and toilet were separated by frosted glass.

When morning came, I checked out the compact balcony overlooking Nachmani Street.  I found it relaxing to keep the French doors open while working in the suite.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

All told, I was thrilled with the double upgrade and appreciated the thoughtfully designed suite with an antique-inspired charm.

Note that in the U.S., this would likely be classified as an oversized standard room, not an entry-level junior suite. At The Norman, the loft starts at $1,150 a night — a hefty splurge that I probably wouldn’t make on my own.

Amenities

There are a range of amenities available at The Norman.

The highlight was the rooftop swimming pool and lounging area, located up a flight of stairs on the top floor of the main building.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The rectangular infinity pool offered incredible views of the city’s skyline. It was heated to 28 degrees Celcius (82.4 Fahrenheit), and while I didn’t pack a bathing suit, the water felt quite comfortable to the touch.

There were a handful of chaise lounges arranged poolside, as well as another set of chairs along the sunbathing deck.

The roof was staffed by a lifeguard and a server who was happy to whip up a cocktail or provide complimentary water and towels.

The hotel’s gym and spa treatment room were located one level below the pool.

The exercise area was small, offering just two treadmills and an elliptical, as well as some free weights and a bench.

Though there was no room for a yoga mat, there was a small outdoor deck attached to the gym, which was the perfect place to do some body-weight exercises.

The single spa treatment room is used for massages. I popped my head inside for a second and was disappointed by the lack of ambient noise isolation.

There was a small changing room located in the wellness area, which had a few lockers and some showers, but no sauna or steam room.

There weren’t many other amenities at the hotel, but I did appreciate the variety of outdoor seating areas across the property. There was a deck connecting the main building and suite building, as well as one on the basement level of the main building.

When the weather is pleasant, I couldn’t imagine a more comfortable outdoor relaxation area — an urban oasis from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.

Food and beverage

I only tried a sampling of The Norman’s culinary offerings, and I left wanting more. Don’t just take my word for it, either — the hotel’s restaurant was packed with locals during my visit.

Both mornings I had breakfast in the Alena restaurant located on the ground floor of the main building.

Alena offers a set breakfast menu — access to the cold buffet, an a la carte entree and two non-alcoholic drinks for 160 ILS per person ($51). By booking through World of Hyatt, I was entitled to the entire menu for no additional charge.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The continental buffet offered a selection of Western classics and Middle Eastern dishes — including a delicious vegan quinoa salad. I especially enjoyed the eggplant shakshuka entree.

Alena serves a Mediterranean-themed dinner as well, but I didn’t have the opportunity to try it on this trip. After all, Tel Aviv (and Israel in general) has some incredible food, so I opted to dine off property during my stay.

The Norman’s second restaurant, Dinings, was closed for renovations during my stay. Located on the third floor, Dinings has historically offered Japanese fare.

Another popular hotspot with locals was the hotel’s Library Bar, located on the ground floor across the hall from the Alena restaurant.

The bar was open from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. — perfect for a mid-day coffee, a late-night cocktail or both. While I didn’t get to visit the bar during this stay, I’ve been there before with friends, and I’ve always loved it.

For those who abide by kosher dietary laws, it’s important to note that The Norman does not have a kosher kitchen.

Service

This is where things got a little strange.

When I entered the room for the first time, I noticed something unusual on the small table — a wooden picture frame with my wedding photo inside.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Once I got over the shock, I called my wife to ask if she had arranged this. She hadn’t.

That meant someone at the hotel must’ve googled me before I arrived and found my profile and wedding picture in the New York Times.

Some people might think this is a cute personal touch. Others might find it creepy. Either way, for the purposes of this review, it was abundantly clear that the hotel knew who I was.

That might explain why I was greeted by name throughout the stay, and always asked if there was anything else they could do to make my stay more memorable.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As mentioned, my initial room had a faulty air conditioning unit. While I was immediately helped and upgraded to a suite, I wonder whether the outcome would have been the same had I been traveling completely anonymously.

On my last day there, I came back to the room to find a large fruit plate placed on the coffee table. This was a delicious touch, but one that I am imagine had more to do with who I am professionally than an altruistic move on the hotel’s part.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Despite the hotel blowing my cover, I did witness some impressive service interactions with other guests.

One lady, for example, was concerned that she hadn’t received her COVID test results yet before her upcoming flight. The receptionist spent the next 30 minutes on the phone trying to track them down while offering the woman a place to sit and a beverage.

Bottom line

The Norman in Tel Aviv offers a luxurious, points-friendly boutique hotel experience in the heart of the city.

The rooms and suites are beautifully appointed, and there are a handful of wellness-focused amenities, highlighted by the rooftop pool. Additionally, the hotel’s food and beverage outlets whipped up some delicious fare, especially the scrumptious breakfast.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Every time I came back to the hotel, I felt like I’d arrived back to some magical oasis, despite being just steps away from Tel Aviv’s top attractions.

While I can’t speak objectively about the hotel’s service, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Norman. It deserves its reputation as one of the city’s top hotels.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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