Waking up to the sound of waves just outside your luxurious hotel window is a dream for many and one that the Tel Aviv municipality has decided to make real for 15 lucky couples. They took part in an international online competition aimed at promoting tourism to the Israeli coastal city.
Two German travel bloggers were the first to spend a night in the city’s newest beachfront digs—a wooden lifeguard tower refurbished as a pop-up luxury suite.
As part of an effort to market Israel as a winter tourist destination for Europeans, the city of Tel Aviv and Israel’s tourism ministry have teamed up with a local hotel chain to temporarily transform the tower into a two-story suite, with hot tub, room service, and very unobstructed ocean views.
Only 15 couples, winners of the online competition, will get to stay in the tower, whose stilts are buffeted by the waves.
Boutique hotels have in recent years put guests up in tree houses, construction cranes, and salt flats, but Tel Aviv’s is believed to be the first to occupy a lifeguard hut.
Izabella Meczykowska, one of the two bloggers who spent the first night in the unexpected location, told Reuters that she had a great night in the renovated tower. She was especially impressed with the design.
Eytan Schwartz, head of Tel Aviv Global and Tourism, a department of the city administration, told Reuters that the project combines Tel Aviv’s two main touristic assets—the beach and an “unbelievable urban vibe.”
Israel’s tourism industry welcomes around 4 million visitors a year. The tourism ministry is investing $25 million in a campaign to encourage them to go to both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as complementary destinations.
With its beach, warm weather, wealth of restaurants, and buzzing nightlife, Tel Aviv has become a popular destination among Europeans, even for long weekends on budget airlines.
In the first two months of 2017, tourist visits rose 20 percent from the same period last year, according to Israeli tourism ministry official.
The one-night stay in the beachfront suite is free for winners of a contest run through hotels.com. Contenders took pictures of themselves in beach gear, holding signs with the hashtag #TakeMe2TelAviv.