Tel Aviv is becoming quite a HOT destination recently, not only because of the weather, but mostly for the things it has to offer; Culture, Beach life, Night life and the Food. Oh yes…The Food.
Travel+Leisure April Issue is always a food related one. This April issue I was assigned to shoot the ‘Street Smart’ segment for ‘On the Radar’ and I found myself looking for a variety of interesting characters in HaCarmel Market in Tel Aviv. I must admit; I haven’t spent so much time in HaCarmel Market before, mostly because it is always busy and crowded. But for this assignment, I walked around the alleys in different hours of the day, spoke to Patrons, followed customers, photographed dogs, tried out some Humus places, Beer Bars and got myself familiar and comfortable with that special rhythm of the market.
I highly recommend to get yourself familiar with these locals picks…and if you are a foodie, stick around, because there is so much more to come.
When I first visited Karen few months ago, it was when she just moved in to her new house in Emek Izrael, so I could only take pictures of her lovely kitchen. I told her that the moment she is settled, I would come again to shoot her entire house. I also promised her it would look great in Design Sponge, one if not the most leading Design and Lifestyle blogs. So when the opportunity arrived, I took a train to the North of Israel to visit Karen and spend some quality time with her. When I got in her house, it felt like Welcome to Wonder and Vintage Land. See for yourself.
I was so excited when Karen’s home was well received by Design Sponge’s readers. You can see and read more about Karen’s and her design choices, in Design Sponge Sneak Peek here.
Thank you Amy and Grace for the beautiful feature.
Here are some of my favorite images from Karen’s house.
I love to visit and shoot hotels that tell a story. And if the stories are colorful and photogenic, it is even better!
One of the most intriguing, colorful and photogenic hotels I shot recently is Alma Hotel & Lounge, considered as one of the most talked about hotels in Tel Aviv these days. The hotel, which was recently opened in the heart of Tel Aviv, set up immediately a new standard in luxury boutique hospitality in Tel Aviv and in Israel.
Alma in Hebrew means a young unmarried woman. It is also becoming a trendy name for girls these days. In Latin, Alma means ‘soul’. I’m not sure if the hotel is named after a certain woman, but the name definitely adds a mystery and kind of appeal to it.
Imagine walking in dark long corridors that lead into 15 colorful rooms, each one is different that the other. Imagine opening each room’s door, not knowing what to expect. But each room is a marvelous surprise. This is how I felt while I was shooting Alma Hotel.
Everything is well planned in Alma Hotel; from the choice of the building’s location to the Bulgari soaps in the bathrooms or the colors of the pens in each room. I know it might sound like a cliche, but Alma has a rhythm and a character of its own.
Alma is located in Yavne street, at the heart of Tel Aviv UNESCO White City, among a collection of old but restored historic Bauhaus vivid buildings. The building’s history goes back to 1925, as the first private residence designed for families to live side by side in the heart of Tel Aviv. The facade of the building was colored in olived green and the windows and shutters were colored in a darker shade of green. But this is just a hint to what is happening indoors. The restored identity of the hotel is a collaboration between the leading architecture and interior design studio Shaltiel Kastiel and the mosaic and glass artist Lauri Recanati.
The hotel has eight spacious deluxe rooms and seven studio suites, each uniquely designed, telling a different story of the building’s bohemian past. The furnitures are a mix of vintage and heavily embellished unique furniture (hand picked for each room) with contemporary furniture and Art.
I’ve decided to start with my favorite suite, which some may call it (surprise, surprise) The Naughty Library.
The suite (image above and below) has the feel, as Recanati says, of ‘an English boarding school on acid’. The suite has turquoise and black walls with diamond shape mirrors. The red colored rug is a great contrast and blast of color to the room. It matches perfectly with the red background of the book shelves. The Art books collection is quite appealing and I can easily see myself spending few days in that suite, soaking in the colors.
This beautiful suite has a marvelous back bed of a French or Dutch Aristocratic woman. The turquoise colored wall matches perfectly the purple rug. By the bed, there are two beautiful bedside tables made of wood, and a mosaic of ceramic, glass, metal and fabric, by the artist Lauri Recanati.
The following suite can give you the feeling of Welcome to the Jungle but in a very chic style. Turquoise walls, red hot wall-closet and a zebra skin rug on a checkered floor. This room has a beautiful balcony that is overlooking Yavne street. It has a walk-in bathing room, with an oval white bath in the middle of it. I can’t think of the red sofas, but I’m obsessed with the red closet.
If you are longing for an oriental atmosphere, than the street level’s suite can be a great choice. Painted in greens and reds (with an amazing red-white-black wallpaper) and an iconography image of the Spice Trail as a back bed, this suite is a real gem. The heavy brown curtains can create a perfect isolation from the busy street. This suite has the perfect oriental look bath tub of green-blue shades that match the colors of the windows.
And if you are looking for a great restaurant, than you have it right there. Alma Lounge is a bohemian chic space with a mix of Georgian inspired furniture blended with local contemporary Art. The chef, Yonatan Roshfeld, is a well known figure in Israel and the restaurant is one of the most expensive restaurants these days in Tel Aviv ($300 dinner for 2). It is a good way for visitors to meet the trend setters in Israel; restauranteurs, bankers, public figures in addition to expats.
If you are looking for one of the best hotels and the best experiences in the heart of Tel Aviv, look no further. Alma’s professional crew will take care of you; from arranging a personal trainer, special tours in Tel Aviv and Israel, wine tasting, local deliveries, airport transportation, car rentals and even cooking lessons with the in house chef, you name it.
I love shooting Life style productions for magazines. Moreover, I like it even more when I’m shooting my friends and my friends’ homes to these kinds of productions.
My friend, Karen Shavit, who is wearing lots of creative hats – popular blogger, home-stylist, lifestyle entrepreneur and a mother of two, has agreed to open her new home she just moved into with her family and allowed me to shoot her beautiful and sunny kitchen. Her kitchen, which is the center of her home and a master piece by itself, is filled with vintage items and dishes she collected throughout the years.
The family was having a late Saturday brunch while I was humming around with my camera.
To learn more about Karen, you can visit her blog (in Hebrew) and her facebook page and scroll down to see the production in print.
And here is the photographed article in At Magazine, February Issue.
In my recent visit to Israel I had the opportunity to shoot one of the most ‘talked-about’ boutique hotels, The Efendi Hotelin Acre, North of Israel.
Travel + Leisure magazine was doing a book about some of the most beautiful hotels in the world and contacted me for a shoot. Since there was a big buzz around The Efendi already, I was curious to visit it myself, not to mention to photograph it as well as the opportunity to meet the owner Uri Buri was exciting.
Uri Buri is known for his prestigious seafood restaurant in Acre Port (as a little girl, my family always used to make a stop at his restaurant after a long trip to the North) and he is a well known character in Israel for his great restaurant, and now for his luxurious hotel as well. Let it be known that when someone is so passionate about great food and wine, like Uri is, he will be totally involved with aesthetic, good taste and the little details of the hotel he has envisioned.
I asked Merav, a good friend with a great taste in design to join me, so the shoot was even more enjoyable, beside the fact we got a personal tour by Uri Buri himself.
Before you dwell your eyes in the photos of the hotel, I highly recommend to read the history of the building that used to be two palaces and get the details of the restoration process that lasted for over eight years, in order to understand how special this hotel is, and how courageous and visionary Uri is.
The name Efendi by the way, was used in the Ottoman era to give respect and courtesy to a person. It is the equivalent to the English word ‘Sir’. No coincidence that The Efendi house is a combination of two buildings that were once glorious palaces, which served the rulers and rich Ottomans in the 19th century in Acre.
The Lobby of the Efendi and the entrance hall is dotted with blue color armchairs imported from Italy. There is a wine cellar and a restaurant on the lower level and a great Spa with an original 400-year-old Turkish bath, that has been preserved. The lobby, in my opinion, is just the beginning of the beauty you will see throughout the rest of the hotel.
Central Communal Salons
The Efendi has twelve guest rooms spread out equally over three floors. On every floor there is a central communal salon (I love that idea) with appealing sitting areas for the guests to relax and recharge. Big windows overlooking the Mediterranean sea are the perfect backdrop for relaxation. Uri worked closely with an interior designer who chose specific chairs from Damascus, Syria, a wooden table that used to be a trough in Tibet and some heavy brown armchairs from England. The white ceiling is completing the scenery with original and restored Italian frescos. Quilted rugs give warmth to the rooms.
The Original Wall Painting
Another communal area on the third floor is well defined by its colorful ceiling and an original wall painting from the Ottoman time. The original wall painting was a gesture of the Efendi (the home owner) to Turkish emperor at that time. Uri explained us how difficult it was to restore this wall painting and how he gladly hired special Italian painters to do so. The outcome and the final restored wall painting is mesmerizing.
Each room of the 12 guest rooms is different than one another and has a unique style and character. One of my favorite rooms was The Presidential (room number 10) which was actually the first room I shot. This is the biggest guest room with high ceiling decorated with the Italian frescos of course, marble floors and a stunning sea view. I loved the freestanding bathtub next to the window. Imagine taking a bath and looking outside at the sea?
The enormous bed is covered with Egyptian cotton linens and goose down pillows and blankets, quality towels, robes, and pampering slippers. Even though I am an outdoor person, during Winter time, I could stay all day in this Presidential room.
The Royal Room (room number 1) was also one of my favorites, thanks to the beautiful blue view of the Mediterranean Sea from one window and the old city Mosque from the second. This room is quite big as well, with spacious sitting area, separate bathtub and a shower. I loved the colorful dishes in this room (in fact, in every room) from PIP studio. How creative of the interior designer to combine PIP elements.
The terrace of The Efendi is overlooking the sea, the Galilean mountains and the old city Mosque. Turquoise soft pillows are scattered on the marble floors, allowing the guests complete relaxation while inhaling the blue of the sea. A second terrace is located in the upper level, on the roof, where guests can enjoy a BBQ dinner, glass of wine and a great sea breeze, overlooking the old houses of Acre.
Learning about the history of the hotel, and hearing all the details of its restoration made the shooting experience even more meaningful. I made it as a priority to capture all its beauty, even in its little details, so the story of The Efendi will be beautifully told.
It was just in the nick of time and this post was published a few days before the misfortunate events in Tel Aviv and the missels attacks over the busiest city. Luckily there was no damage. The Tel Avivians were caught a bit unguarded but 24 hours later the city got back to become alive again. The title, Care Free in Tel Aviv, should forever be relevant.
To read the full post on EasyJet, please visit here.
While Europe is getting ready for the coming winter and the temperatures are slowly falling down and the first snow storm is hitting Manhattan on the first week of November, the Tel Avivians keep their habits and enjoy another sunny day at the beach. I walk around with my summer dress in the streets of Tel Aviv (crazy, I know) as the weather is still warm (24-27 Celsius degrees) and the humidity is much more bare-able than the summer months in the city.
When you walk in the streets of Tel Aviv and see the masses of people filling the coffee places, sipping their coffee in a nonchalant way and talking loud to each other, using their hands (so Israeli of them) you instantly realize that Tel Aviv is a care free city.
Well…at least for now.
And therefore, it is the perfect time for a visit.
Yes. Tel Aviv seems to be a care free city, but a hectic one at the same time. Its famous slogan ‘The City that Never Sleeps’ goes hand in hand with the energy that runs in the streets. It is alive and contagious at times, but getting much quieter on the weekends.
I raved about Tel Aviv before and blogged about it last Summer, but when I have another opportunity to do it again, than I will do so, why not?
I was here for two hectic months for some family matters, three editorial shoots for Travel magazines, one opportunity to do an exhibit, some dating with Israeli guys and endless laps in a half olympic outdoor pool (Yes, even in November)
A photographed production I shot for Basic Studio and Erlboim Catering on April when I was visiting Israel. The article is now published in Shamenet Magazine, July Summer Issue in Israel.
I love those kinds of productions; A perfect combination of Marine eco chic design and appetizing food with a greek mediterranean touch
Basic Studio is located in an old train car, which is tucked away in the middle of an olive grow in Udim village. After I finished shooting the Studio and interviewing the owners, we pulled out some chairs and a large table to set them outside, and enjoy the delicious Mediterranean food cooked for us by the chef itself, Yahav Erlboim.
Actually, since the ’60 minutes’ story on BBC, From Fear to Fortune, was broadcasted on May 20th and featured Tel Aviv as a lively and hedonistic city, there has been an increased interest in Tel Aviv. The city has developed tremendously in recent years; New high rise buildings were built alongside old ones that are being restored. Chic and trendy outdoors cafes, boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants, fashionable boutiques, bakeries, bars, dance bars, an exciting night life scene, new museums, parks, beaches and simply lively people, make the city into an attractive one not only among Israelis but among tourists as well.
As someone who has been living in New York for the last 10 years, every time I come to Tel Aviv for a visit, I am amazed by the endless stream of energy the city has to offer and how fast it changes. Yes, it is true, as Israelis we live in a constant fear of any terror attack or any imbalance in our daily life, but maybe because of that, we have adopted an hedonistic way of living, a way of ‘Here and Now’ because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
If you are heading to Tel Aviv this summer (mind you, it is very humid and hot) or if you are planning any getaway sometimes soon, here is some basic information you should know.
Neve Tzedek: The city oldest neighbourhood is a colorful oasis with an atmosphere that evokes an artists’ colony or a small village. Spotted with colored old houses next to remodeled ones. Lots of great restaurants, wine bars and the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance is there as well. Beautiful both day and night.
Hatachana Compound: Is a renovated area next to Neve Tzedek, where the old train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem used to pass. Now the area is a home for outdoors restaurants and wine bars, designers’ boutiques and gallery space for exhibitions and fashion shows
Rothschild Blvd: Is a real gem of Bauhaus architecture. A tree-lined boulevard with old trees, lined with benches and dotted with outdoor coffee kiosks and some chess tables. This is one of the most charming places to stroll, bicycle and hang out. Along the boulevard, there are numerous historical buildings, which have been renovated lately but still maintain the look and the feel of colonial buildings. The Blvd starts at the outskirts of Neve Tzedek and ends at Habima Theater, the national theater of Israel.
Yavne-Montifiore: This area is where the retro and the Bauhaus Architecture meet. It is also known as ‘off Rothschild Blvd’ and the side streets. There is a mix of old crumbling buildings being renovated with great boutique hotels and upscale restaurants. This is one of my favorite areas, mostly for its great photography potential and because I love the architecture and the colorful renovated buildings. Take a peek at one of the most interesting furniture store Rugine. Something to get some inspiration from.
The Carmel Market (Shuk Hacarmel) and Kerem Hateymanim: The Carmel Market is the largest outdoors market in Tel Aviv which sells everything from toiletries, clothes, meat, fruit and vegetables and some delicatessen cheese. Kerem Hateymanim is a small neighbourhood named after the immigrants from Yamen. In recent years this small crumbling neighbourhood was discovered by bohemian Tel Avivians looking for some inexpensive housing. These days there are lots of boutique hotels and upscale restaurants even in the middle of the Market.
Jaffa ancient Port and the Flea Market: Are both picturesque and colorful locations. The old part of Jaffa includes the ancient port, some historic sites, restored housing dating back to the Ottoman period and some upscale restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The flea market is buzzing especially during the weekdays and crowded with some interesting characters, deals and steals.
The Beach: If you want to escape the craziness of the city and unwind for a bit or breath some fresh salty air, head West toward the Mediterranean Sea. There is no better way to clear your thoughts than staring at the ocean. Tel Aviv beaches are well equipped with plastic beach chairs, wide beach umbrellas, restaurants and of course lifeguards stations. More info about Tel Aviv beaches
Eat, Sleep and Drink: By the next time I be in Tel Aviv (September) there will be so many new places that has been recently opened; Bars and restaurants, bistro bars, bakeries and cafes to hang out, new galleries, urban spaces and boutique hotels. It is not easy to keep up with that rhythm of the city and yet, I hope this list will help you find your tempo and way in the city.
When I met Aurelie, the Editor in Chief of Resource Magazine one afternoon in her office in Dumbo, I thought it was going to be just an introduction meeting. I never imagined Aurelie had better plans for me when she asked me to cover the story ‘Productions of the World; Tel Aviv’ for the Summer 2012 Edition. ‘I give you the full responsibility to cover the story’ she said ‘and I trust you get the best information to our readers’
The story ‘Productions of the World; Tel Aviv’ is everything a photographer should know in case he/she has a Fashion/Commercial/Editorial shoot in Tel Aviv. Here you can find where to rent your equipment, who are the top hair and make up artists, which hotel to stay, where are the trendiest bars, restaurants, night clubs, what to do in your down time (The beach, of course) and why Tel Aviv is THE place to be these days.
When people who have never been to Israel find out that I am originally from Tel Aviv, they tend to think I am from a provincial Middle Eastern city filled with slow-moving camels, armed soldiers and ancient Biblical monuments. I don’t even know where to begin to prove them wrong.
Tel Aviv is in fact a stylish, modern Mediterranean Metropolis with chic and bustling cafes, an exciting culture scene, trendy boutiques and a roaring nightlife. But the real appeal of Tel Aviv is in its people, who love the good life. Ever-crowded cafes buzz with laughter and conversations almost 24/7, and crowds spill out of theaters, music halls and nightclubs late into the night. The city feels self-confident, even hedonistic at times, but it’s mostly simply alive.
Tel Aviv has been developed tremendously in recent years-new high-rise buildings went up, while old buildings have been restored. The contrast of new vs. old, chic vs. conservative or local vs. international will make your visiting and shooting experience a successful and enjoyable one.