The Poli House, a sleek Karim Rashid-designed property rising above one of urban Tel Aviv’s most trafficked intersections, breathes new life into a Bauhaus landmark that until its recent renovation had seen better days. Previously known as the Polishuk House, the ship-like structure was first purchased by Yehuda Polishuk, a Ukrainian immigrant who arrived in pre-state Palestine in 1934 and leased its three curving floors to businesses including a shoemaker and a printing press. The Israeli architect Nitza Szmuk, an expert in preserving the historic buildings that comprise Tel Aviv’s Unesco-designated White City, took care to maintain the building’s original curved staircase and to source Italian tiles that would resurrect the original external facade. But while grounded in historic Tel Aviv, the Poli House, which opened in 2016, is a futuristic fun house: guests are whisked from its street-level entrance and art gallery to the neon rooftop lobby via translucent elevators, common areas feature egg-like pod chairs in fluorescent yellow and pink and corridors are ringed by cheeky phrases of scrolling LED text.
Spitting distance from the city’s largest outdoor fruit and vegetable market and overlooking Allenby Street, one of its major traffic arteries; nearly all Tel Aviv roads (and bus lines) lead to the hotel. The beachfront and trendy Rothschild Boulevard are both within walking distance.
My second-floor “Poli+”—a middle-category room— was a study in contrasts. Black walls and thick charcoal carpet were brightened by tessellating series of slim white stripes, while the door and closet popped in bright chartreuse. The plush double bed featured a fluffy white duvet and pillows. A cocktail shaker and a bottle of the licorice-flavored Middle Eastern tipple arak awaited me on the U-shaped writing desk, while a concave neon shelf carved out just above the headboard was fitted with asymmetrical drinking glasses (the better to sip it with). Twin hourglass-shaped wall mirrors were fitted onto the closet. And while my floor-to-ceiling windows doubled as sliding doors opening onto a trim balcony above hustling Allenby Street, they sealed shut and I was well insulated from street noise overnight.
Mr. Rashid’s unconventional aesthetic was most evident in the bathroom, where the door swings sideways to double as a barrier wall between toilet and shower stall (there was no tub) when needed. An oblong mirror and circular basin sink continued the geometric theme, as did slightly slanting shelves and the Leaning Tower of Pisa-inspired bottles of complimentary toiletries.
There is a minibar in the room and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The rooftop has a heated infinity pool with Mediterranean views, as well as a circular cocktail bar and curtained-off spa suites for massages. Bicycles and guest passes to a nearby gym are available.
With no in-house restaurant, dining options are limited, but the staff encourages guests to take advantage of the surrounding neighborhood by providing local guidebooks and delivery menus for nearby establishments. Breakfast is served in the adjacent LovEat cafe, an organic, vegan-friendly coffeehouse chain where hotel guests get private access to a garden terrace and menu options include a “Sabich plate” — a deconstructed version of the beloved Israeli sandwich featuring tahini, hard-boiled egg and eggplant; and the “Tel Aviv Breakfast” of two eggs any style, chopped salad, bread basket and assorted dips. Coffee, cookies and free-flowing champagne are available in the street-level gallery space 24 hours a day.
In a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, this glossy, digi-pop inspired hotel pays homage to its urban neighborhood with the right balance of history and high-end fun.
The Poli House, 1 Nahalat Binyamin Street, Tel Aviv, brownhotels.com/poli