Anyone who's read Start-Up Nation knows that Israel has managed to achieve much in its short history as a nation. And while it's known to be a tech and venture capital center, its lifestyle merits often get overlooked. However, with Tel Aviv now home to one of the world’s lauded hotels, the country’s reputation as a luxury destination is undoubtedly on the rise.
Named the best boutique hotel in the world just a year after its opening in December 2014, The Norman is set in the heart of White City, a UNESCO-designated site with the globe’s highest concentration of Bauhaus-style buildings. It took eight years to transform two pastel coloured 1920s residences into one of Tel Aviv’s most talked about hotels, but despite a painstaking renovation process, this was also perhaps something of a labor of love.
The hotel was named after Norman Lourie by his son Jonathan, The Norman’s owner. Norman Lourie established Israel’s first boutique hotel, the Dolphin House in Shavei Tzion, in 1950, which he ran for 15 years, and during his tenure, it attracted custom from the country’s presidents and stars including Paul Newman and Sophia Loren. So, perhaps following in his father’s footsteps, Jonathan Lourie, founder and CEO of London-based investment firm Cheyne Capital Management, decided to transform two historic properties on Nachmani Street he had acquired after spending years buying each and every apartment within them into the boutique hotel we now know as The Norman.
Elegant and sophisticated with a distinctly European feel, The Norman’s listed Bauhaus buildings have been carefully restored by local architects Yoav Messer, who worked to preserve original details such as the hand-decorated ceramic floor tiles and stenciled wall coverings. The interior, designed by David d’Almada of UK firm SAGRADA, recaptures the glamour of the 1920s, and the clean-lined, soft-hued, light-filled spaces are furnished with custom pieces that recall the style of the period, complemented by Anglo-Indian furnishings from Jonathan Lourie’s own collection and intricately patterned Nepali rugs inspired by the city’s traditional tile-work. Walls are also adorned with a selection of original Israeli art, for which there is a resident curator on hand.
The Norman’s guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, but for the best views of the Tel Aviv skyline head to the hotel rooftop which boasts a sun deck and glittering infinity pool where you can also see the Mediterranean.
Pre-dinner drinks or late night cocktails can be taken in the 1940s style Library Bar, while dining options include the hotel’s namesake brasserie, which serves up Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine, or renowned Japanese restaurant Dinings, the first international branch of the celebrated London-based Japanese restaurant, where you can also take in panoramic Tel Aviv views.
The Norman Tel Aviv
23-25 Nachmani Street
Tel Aviv, 6579441
Tel: +972 3 543 5555