Tel Aviv, also know as the White City, is home to the world’s largest number of buildings (about 4,000) of Bauhaus-style buildings. Walking through the city, one notices that many of these buildings are neglected and dilapidated, even though Tel Aviv was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
But strolling up to the corner of Allenby and Nahalat Binyamin, there is one building that has been gloriously restored. Gleaming white with a curved edifice and luminous windows, it’s home to the just-opened Poli House boutique hotel, which underwent a three-year restoration process.
Originally built in 1934, the Poli House used to be called The Polishuk House, and housed commercial office space, shops, and a clandestine Etzel printing press. Its Bauhaus-style edifice was designed by Shlomo Liaskowski, who was born in Zurich in 1903 and moved to British Mandate Palestine in 1929. But up until the last decade, the Polishuk House was uninhabited and derelict, its edifice covered in graffiti. One only has to look as far as the identically shaped building across the street to imagine what it looked like—that one has yet to be restored.
Opening the hotel’s doors, guests are confronted with a wonderful surprise: the interior is bright, ultra-modern, and full of neon color accents, a signature flourish of the inimitable Karim Rashid, who designed the interior. Harnessing the past and present of this mini metropolis, Poli House represents the future of Tel Aviv.
“We usually only look to the past for inspiration, but the mentality of Tel Aviv is very contemporary, focusing less on the past and looking forward to the future,” explains Rashid. “The Poli House embodies just that. I tried to embrace that Tel Aviv spirit, energy and love of life into the function of the hotel, turning an emotion into a tangible form through colors and graphics.”
True to his words, the entry beckons with three hot pink Koop chairs, Rashid’s egg shell style chairs; a shiny, bright yellow counter; and Rashid’s blueprint-style drawings on the walls to welcome guests. But this isn’t where you check in—a greeter will direct you to the futuristic elevators that will whisk you up to the rooftop level for check in.
The 600 square meter roof deck might be the best thing about the property, with its full-service cocktail bar and angular infinity pool that is particularly striking at night, when it’s triangular tiled floor is lit up and highlighted by blue lights framing the outside. Even the outdoor furniture is chic, with chairs and tables from Rashid’s Grid collection. A full-service spa will be opening by the end of the year.
Rooms manage to fit everything you need into a small space (15, 18, or 22 square meters, or 33 square meters for suites), never sacrificing function for looks. The bright colors remain, highlighting graphic black and white carpets and wallpaper. The headboard is particularly smart, with outlets, lights, light switches, and shelf space exactly where you need it.
Even the minibar is well thought out, with glasses, a cocktail recipe book, and metal shaker at the ready. And the bathroom ingeniously uses the same frosted glass door to enclose either the rainforest showerhead-equipped shower or the bathroom itself—it has a 180 degree radius. It’s details like these that make it clear that a small space can be sufficient if it’s well designed. Plush robes, comfy slippers, and sleekly designed black and gold packaged bath products make sure things still feel luxurious.
Breakfast is provided by the Loveat Café next door, which guests can access via a path behind the elevators on the ground floor. And the famous Shuk Ha’Carmel, or Carmel Market, is just a few steps away, where an untold number of treats await. Plus, on Tuesdays and Fridays, the pedestrian-only street below is transformed into an artist’s market, making the hotel’s location truly perfect for art and design lovers.
What: The Poli House
Where: 1 Nahalat Binyamin Street, Tel Aviv, Israel
How much? The 40 rooms start at approximately $199
Highlights: The Poli House honors the building’s history while boasting an interior so modern you begin to wonder where the robots are hiding. Rashid’s use of color and bulbous shapes keep things interesting while the staff ensures a luxurious experience.
Design draw: Karim Rashid’s first Tel Aviv hotel does not disappoint and to be immersed in his functional creativity firsthand is a singular opportunity.
Book it: Visit The Poli House’s website or call +972 03-710-5000.
Photos by Yael Engelhart.