For centuries, pilgrims to the Holy Land could only pray they would
find hospitality when they got there. But since the establishment
of the state of Israel in 1948, Israeli hotel chains have blossomed
and now compete with international giants.
Predating the birth of the state by a few months and paralleling
its history is the Dan chain, which is celebrating its 50th
birthday this year.
The chain started with the Kaete Dan Pension on Hayarkon Street,
facing Tel Aviv's Mediterranean beach. By 1953, the modest
accommodation had become the deluxe, 492-room Dan Tel Aviv.
Three years later, the chain added the Accadia resort on the
Mediterranean in Herzlia.
The group's crown jewel is the King David Hotel in Jerusalem,
which was built in 1931 as the Holy Land's first luxury hotel and
reopened as a Dan property in 1961.
Over the next 36 years, the chain grew to a total of nine deluxe
properties, all with meeting facilities. The other member hotels
are the Panorama in Tel Aviv; the Dan Caesarea, the Carmel and
Panorama in Haifa; the Dan Eilat and the new Pearl in
The Kibbutz Hotels chain was formed 20 years ago to represent
guest accommodations in rural kibbutz communities, where stays once
meant sleeping in the beds of members who were away. The chain now
includes 18 modern, first class hotels and seven more modest
Isrotel, a chain that is also native to the Holy Land, has
ridden the wave of development, mostly in the Red Sea resort city
of Eilat. It started 15 years ago with the King Solomon and now has
the Sport, Lagunna, Riviera and its newest, the posh Royal Beach on
the shore not far from the Jordanian city of Aqaba.
Also a pioneer is the chain of Moriah hotels that two years ago
became Radisson properties.
Radisson Moriah recently completed a $17 million renovation of
the Plaza Tel-Aviv along that city's seaside promenade. A $7
million refurbishment of the chain's Plaza Jerusalem and $6.5
million facelift of its upscale Plaza Dead Sea resort are expected
to be completed within the next couple of years.
The group also has properties in Tiberias, Eilat, Zichron Yaakov
and a more modest hotel at the Dead Sea, the Radisson Moriah
Among other international chains, growth has also increased each
year: Here is their news:
The Sheraton Tel Aviv, one of the Holy Land's early big-name
hotels, plans to celebrate Israel's jubilee year with special
events. The hotel recently completed the first stage of
renovations, which will continue into next year.
The Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza, a landmark in the center of the
capital, has updated rooms, lobbies and restaurants.
A luxury property is under construction in Eilat and will open
in late 1998. The chain recently introduced the mid-priced Four
Points brand in Tiberias, Jerusalem and Eilat.
The Tel Aviv Hilton, which opened in 1965, has finished most of a
$40 million renovation.
In January, the chain opened a hotel in Beersheba after a $36
A Jerusalem Hilton is under construction on King David Street
near the Old City and is due to open next January. A second Hilton
is planned for Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the Old City,
by the turn of the millennium.
In Eilat, a Hilton is due to open by the end of 1998 and a David
Dead Sea Hilton is planned for completion in 1999. The Haifa Hilton
is to open in 1999 atop the new Haifa Convention Center.
The 10-year-old Hyatt Regency Jerusalem Conference Resort will
begin a major renovation in November.
The Hyatt Regency Dead Sea Resort & Spa will celebrate its
first birthday in July and plans to open a private medical center
as part of its Mineralia Spa.
The 302-room Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, is the newest
deluxe property in this chain.
Others in the group include Crowne Plaza hotels in Jerusalem,
adjacent to the International Convention Center; in Tel Aviv along
the Mediterranean; in Herzlia, also on the shore, and in Eilat
overlooking the Red Sea.
Holiday Inns brand hotels include the Tiberias at the Sea of
Galilee and the Eilat Patio near the Red Sea.
A division of HFS Inc., Days Inns chose Israel for its first
example of a worldwide Plaza brand that focuses on higher quality
and improved amenities. The 160-room Days Inn Plaza opened near
Tiberias amid the picturesque hills surrounding the Sea of
This property is the seventh Israel location for Days Inns; the
first six are the all-suite Lev Yerushalayim in the heart of
Jerusalem and first-class and tourist-class hotels in Eilat,
Metulla, Nahariya, Tel Aviv and Gush Katif.
The latest hotel chain in this ancient land is Howard Johnson
International, also a division of HFS. Four Howard Johnson Plaza
properties opened on May 26; the chain added two during the summer
and is building yet another.
Under construction and scheduled to open next summer is a
207-room Howard Johnson Plaza Jerusalem on Jaffa Road downtown.
The 86-room Optima, which opened last spring in Tel Aviv's Ramat
Gan suburb as a business hotel, this summer also became a Plaza
Also this summer, the chain opened the 44-cottage Howard Johnson
Hermon Heights Resort overlooking the Hula valley in the Golan
The chain launched its Israel presence with the Ruth Rimonim in
Safed; the deluxe Neptune and the more affordable Galei Eilat at
the Red Sea, and the renovated Galei Kinnereth in Tiberias.
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Hotel Reservation Numbers
Dan Hotels: Contact the Israel Hotel Representatives at (212)
752-6120, (800) 223-7773; fax (212) 759-7495. Web site
Days Inns: The agent hot line is (800) 633-1414; reservations:
(800) DAYS-INN. The U.S. representative is Yigal Yaari (718)
338-6537, (800) 538-4683. Web site: www.daysinn.com.
Holiday Inn: (800) HOLIDAY. Web site: www.holiday-inn.com.
Howard Johnson: Agents should call (800) 654-4656. Web site:
Hyatt Regency: For groups, call the Jerusalem Hyatt Regency
Conference Resort property at (011) 972-2 533-1234; fax (011) 972-2
532-6873. Groups should contact the Dead Sea resort at (011) 972-2
544-5234 or fax (011) 972-2 544-5226. In the U.S., call Hyatt
International at (800) 233-1234, e-mail hyattjrstrendline.co.il.
Web site: www.intournet.co.il/hyatt/.
Isrotel and Kibbutz Hotels: Call the Israel Hotel Reservation
Center: (201) 816-0830, (800) 552-0141; fax (201) 816-0633. For the
kibbutz hot line, call (888) KIBBUTZ. Web sites: www.isrotel.co.il
Radisson Moriah: (212) 541-5009; fax (212) 649-1745. Web site
Sheraton: (800) 325-3535. Web site: www.ittsheraton.com (click
on the Sheraton icon and enter "Israel" in the search box).