The morning I was leaving for Israel, I gave myself one more hour to make a decision about where to stay my first few days in Israel. Like I said in my previous post, I’ve finally accepted that I should stay in a hotel those first few days while I battle jet lag and adjust to Tel Aviv heat. As someone who usually stays in big-chain hotels and never looks at TripAdvisor, I got completely overwhelmed by the reviews of hotels and hostels in Tel Aviv.
I thought about staying in Hayarkon 48 again, where I stayed in 2007, but couldn’t stomach the thought of paying $80/night for a hostel. While it served as a good base, there was little I enjoyed about staying there. I’m just too grumpy for a hostel anymore.
Eventually I settled on Hotel Galileo and I’m so happy that I did. Is this hotel for everyone? No. Is this hotel for me? Yes. Keep in mind that I’ve stayed in a $3 hotel in Paraguay where we put the third bed against the door and used a teeny, tiny shared bathroom down the hallway. I’ve also stayed in the Chairman’s Suite of Hotel Sax. I’m flexible, but just need a clean bed, good shower and a working air conditioner.
I got that and more at Hotel Galileo.
The Hotel Galileo is on a side street one block behind Allenby and two blocks from Carmel Market. An easy walk to the beach, easy to get cabs to and from, and walkable from almost everything I wanted to do. While there isn’t wifi at the hotel, I was able to pick it up from a neighboring business or house. Wifi is plentiful in Tel Aviv. There is wifi in the hotel – but the router isn’t renamed, so I thought it was from a neighbor.
Adit was working the desk when I arrived and remembered answering my online reservation-that’s already a win in my book. Feeling like someone knew I was coming and was waiting for me. My first two nights I was in a room with a jacuzi and a balcony, the second night in a standard room. My perfect room would have been with a standard shower and a balcony, but I don’t think those exist.
The AC in both rooms blasts (after it gets warmed up, give it 30 minutes or so and you’ll be reaching for a sweater). There is cable TV with some english channels to help you get to sleep that first night. The staff was always friendly and helpful for me – room was cleaned quickly every day. Fresh towels, freshly made bed. The bed is pretty comfortable – given my back the last couple years, nothing really feels good after I sleep for more than 4 hours, but this was fine.
While I didn’t make it any of the bars on the block, I heard nothing but good things from friends about Norman and Little Prague. There you have it – stay at Hotel Galileo is you are on a budget, but can’t stand the thought of staying in a hostel. My rooms were about $80 a night with breakfast at a nearby cafe included. Not a big Israeli breakfast, but a nice coffee and croissant with a friendly vibe of other Galileo guests.