In this series, we go behind the front desk to learn everything from the strangest room service requests to quirky fun facts to the most heartwarming reunions. We pick a new destination and hotel each month to give you the inside scoop.
This month, we’re spotlighting InterContinental David Tel Aviv, in Israel, a sophisticated property offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. We talked to General Manager, David Cohen, who has been a part of the hospitality industry for over 18 years.
1. What has been your most memorable guest room request?
A few months ago, we received a message on our Instagram account from a man who had booked a stay to surprise his wife. After two years of fighting breast cancer, she finally won the battle, and they chose to celebrate with us, so this was an important stay for the couple. We were so touched by his request that the whole team worked to make their stay memorable with welcome cocktails, VIP amenities, a room upgrade, flowers, and much more just to let these guests know that we cared a lot about them.
2. What is the number one item people tend to forget or leave behind?
People often forget their belongings – toothbrushes, phone chargers, pajamas, and underwear are the winners. But the most terrible thing for housekeeping is when we discover that a cuddly toy or a comfort blanket has been left in the room because we know how losing these items can be stressful for parents. One day, a guest left behind their baby comforter. It was complicated to find because the comforter was a white cloth square that got mixed with the bedsheets. It took us hours to find it in the laundry – but we eventually did!
3. What was the most memorable reason for a stay or celebration?
A memorable story happened to our Guest Relations team a few years ago. During check-in, Benjamin, our employee, connected with a father traveling with his daughter. They both seemed very excited to be in Tel Aviv because the daughter, Kylie, was the opening act for Indie Pop artist Dennis Lloyd. It was her biggest show, as she was new in the industry, and she expressed her nervousness. The next day, Benjamin decided to show her our support and went to the local store to buy her a “Hamsa” ornament – a hand-palm figure that symbolizes luck, success, and prosperity. The next day, Kylie came back to the reception with a big smile on her face. She said that she put the Hamsa in her pocket during the performance, which gave her the confidence she needed. Her performance was a complete success!
4. Most recognizable guest or celebrity stay?
Among the celebrities we have had the chance to host, former U.S. President, Bill Clinton is the most memorable. He visited us in 2001, a few months after he finished his second term. Our security team was stressed, but everything went so smoothly that he invited me to play cards in his room! Our Tel Aviv suite, room 2312, has an engraved plate with his name on the door to commemorate his visit.
5. What are cool features of the hotel that guests don’t know about?
Can you guess how many hidden entrances the hotel has? More than 20! It is perfect to host VIPs but also very important for security reasons.
6. The moment you were most proud of the brand?
One of the most beautiful moments we had in the hotel was when we had the chance to host our InterContinental GMs conference. We felt so proud of the brand and our team. It was also an honor to share our culture, history, and Israeli True Hospitality.
7. What is your favorite place to visit outside of the hotel?
More than 25 years ago, when the hotel opened south of Tel Aviv, with the Neve Tzedek neighborhood just five minutes away, the area was empty. It had become run down with houses that were about to collapse due to years of neglect and disintegration. Still, the history of the neighborhood was fascinating; it was the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the Old City of Jaffa, way before the establishment of Tel Aviv in 1909. It gained back its prestige thanks to massive renovations in the ’90s. Today, Neve Tzedek is one of the trendiest areas of Tel Aviv, with art galleries, designer shops, fashion houses, and famous residents such as Roman Abramovich and Gal Gadot. We are proud to say that we helped put this neighborhood on the map and have positioned it as the SOHO of Tel Aviv!
8. Anything you’d like people to know about behind-the-scenes at the hotel?
Our employees are proud to call themselves part of the InterContinental David Tel Aviv family. Not only because everyone feels like they belong but also because the hotel has created more than 20 weddings, 50 love stories, and hundreds of children among our employees. More powerful than any popular dating app, we are happy to share the love.
9. If you had to pick your favourite guest room, which would it be and why?
One of my favorite rooms is the Royal Suite. There are two Royal suites among the 555 rooms we offer. The 947 square-ft suites, located on the 24th and 25th floors of the hotel, are distinct because of the breath-taking panoramic sea views you can see from the bed.
10. What’s your most favorite F&B offering and why?
We are very proud of our fine dining experience, but our favorite is the Shabbat dinner offered to our guests on Friday evening. Shabbat is known as the day of rest in the Torah. It has to be different from the rest of the week and is the best time for family gatherings and honoring traditions. Our brigade of expert chefs has created a buffet where each dish tells a story. You will savor, for example, the tasty slow-cooked lamb shoulder with Madgadara rice, or the spicy fish by Chef Sharon, whose recipe came from his Moroccan grandmother. Grandma Astor, the mother of our previous sous chef, comes into our kitchen two days a week to prepare her traditional pumpkin Kubbe for our guests. She is like a grandmother to our whole team, bringing authenticity to all her meals. Our dining buffet is a reflection of our origins, our history, our legacy and our traditions. It is a great pride for us all.
11. How would you define the hotel in three phrases?
- Brilliantly Cosmopolitan
- Discreet Luxury
- Award-winning leader in Tel Aviv
12. Where can people book their stay?
On our IHG website, of course! Experience InterContinental Tel Aviv and book your exclusive stay here. Room rates from USD$475 per night.*
*IHG One Rewards members have access to our lowest rates and can earn more points faster and gain rewards sooner. With richer benefits from free breakfast to more opportunities for Elite members to receive early check-in, late check-out and room upgrades, IHG One Rewards offers more choice, value and relevant benefits than ever before. Room rates are subject to change depending on dates. Please consult ihg.com or the hotel’s website for the most up-to-date pricing.