Hotel Review: Ultimate Urban Style at Ultra

More and more boutique hotels are popping up all over Tel Aviv and each one offers something different to its guests. The new Ultra Hotel is in a prime location in central Tel Aviv, for those wanting to experience all that the White City has to offer. A short walk from the beach, the stylish urban hotel is a great option for a modern traveler with a lower budget.

The focus of the hotel is on the guests, captured perfectly in the hotel tagline “Ultra begins with U.” The great service I received certainly reflected this sentiment.

The intimate hotel reception and lounge area offers 24-hour complimentary tea and coffee with refreshments including fresh fruit, cakes, biscuits and an adorable selection of jelly sweets. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and the option to use an electronic key system via a phone app.

Hotel patio – Credit: Assaf Pinchuk

While many of the urban rooms overlook the street, I was given a room that opened onto one of two beautiful shared patios. Although the rooms are fairly small, they are well equipped with complimentary water, an espresso machine and chocolates, as well as a lovely bathroom with a spacious walk-in shower.

The hotel is already popular with locals, as well as tourists and business travelers. It is not family-friendly, although there was a couple from Europe with a child while I was there.

One of the biggest draws for me was the Scandinavian cocktail bar, Botanika in the entrance to the hotel. The bar offers a great selection of cocktails and bar food at night and serves as a coffee shop during the day. Breakfast for hotel guests is also served in the bar, which is a unique setting for breakfast.

I found the buffet selection was more limited than many Israeli hotel breakfasts, but it included everything I needed for a good breakfast – hot coffee, perfectly cooked eggs and lovely breads that were incredibly tasty and fresh.

The hotel offers reduced-rate parking in the adjacent building and free entrance to the gym across the street. The stylish design of the hotel is all thanks to the general manager, Tomer Peleg, and his mother who sourced the furniture, fixtures and fittings from all over Europe.

Ultra is an ideal choice for those looking for a modern hotel in a central location. For more information: www.ultra-hotels.com and for booking rates, click here.

Ultra: Environmentally friendly, with a Scandinavian cocktail bar to boot. (Assaf Pinchuk)

Click here for the PDF of the article in The Jerusalem Post. The full article on The Jerusalem Post website is for subscribers only but it can be read by non-subscribers on a mobile device with this link.

Here is a full review of Botanka cocktail bar.

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Dining out in the suburbs

Whole Sea Bream

On a recent trip to Ra’anana, I finally got a chance to try Liliyot Bistro, sister restaurant to Liliyot Restaurant and Liliyot Bakery in Tel Aviv.  Located off Sderot Yerushaliyim at the bottom end of Ra’anana close to Herzliya Pituach, the country style French bistro attracts diners from the whole Mercaz area.  We went on a Thursday night and there were at least 3 groups of diners being turned away at the door when I arrived because they had not reserved.  The restaurant is as beautifully decorated as the Tel Aviv branch and the whole place was buzzing but not too noisy.

Grilled Chicken Livers

Grilled Chicken Livers

The menu is totally different to Liliyot Restaurant and fits well to the bistro name.  On the advice of one of my friends who is a regular there, we ordered some of the small plates to share instead of the larger starters, which was the perfect amount of food and much more economical at 18 ₪a dish.  These dishes included Grilled Zucchini in mint and olive oil, Grilled Beetroot with cumin seeds and pickled baby onions and Black Lentils and pickled lemon with garlic confit.

Pot au Feau

Pot au Feau

For main course we tried a selection from across the menu.  Two of the girls shared the Pot Au Feu – beef casserole with root vegetables and cabbage (72 ₪) and Grilled Chicken Livers with potato puree, onion, red wine and figs (58 ₪), I went for the very simple but absolutely delicious Sirloin with French fries and greens (115 ₪), one of the more expensive items on the menu but well worth the extra money.  Our other friends chose the Whole Bream with green rice, red pepper and garlic confit stew (94 ₪) and the Minced Lamb Fougasse with olive oil, onion and sage (62 ₪) which was not what he expected but he really enjoyed it.  All the dishes were well presented but the emphasis was more on the home cooked country taste than anything else.

I plan to go back to Liliyot Bistro again; it is a great place to meet up with friends and family in an informal but stylish setting.  The Liliyot Group does not fail to impress and the fact that all their restaurants combine great food with their social action project is a definite plus in my book! Click here for my earlier post on my visit to Liliyot Restaurant.