I grew up in Tel Aviv so going to Israel is important to me, especially since my parents immigrated to the United States. Tel Aviv has gone through a major renaissance over the past 10-15 years —many historic buildings have been beautifully restored and there has been an influx of new world class restaurants. In fact Tel Aviv is often called The White City, which refers to a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in the Bauhaus Style in the 1930s by German Jewish architects who immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. Tel Aviv has the largest number of buildings in the Bauhaus style of any city in the world and because of the city's commitment to preservation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Tel Aviv's White City a World Cultural Heritage site in 2003, as "an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century."
I have stayed at a number of hotels in Israel, a few on the on the promenade with spectacular views of the sea and the most beautiful sunsets (The David Tel Aviv is a fave. My brother got married there). I have also stayed in an apartment rental in the Neve Zedek area (the Soho of Tel Aviv) because when I visit cities I enjoy experiencing it as a local and not as a tourist. One new favorite boutique hotel is The Norman. It's a combo of two restored 1920's buildings which captures the timeless elegance of the era.
I try to fly light and edit my clothing to fit into a carry-on whenever possible. It's so liberating to travel with just the bare essentials. I take a number of scarves and a lot of custom jewelry so I can create a different look while using the same basic clothes. When time allows, I'ill shop at local boutiques and add to my outfits while on the trip. In Tel Aviv, there's an area by the Jaffa Flee market where many chic boutiques of local designers make it super fun and easy to shop both for fashion as well as home goods.
My favorite meal in Israel is breakfast. In the cafes and in the hotels the breakfast buffet is a real experience. Cafe 65 at the 65 Hotel is one place where the menu includes healthy offerings of chesses and salads along with freshly baked breads.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is always on my list of places to visit. It's known for its cutting edge art exhibitions, and they recently added the new Herta and Paul Amir Building (inaugurated in the Fall of 2011), which was designed by American architect Preston Scott Cohen.
I won't leave home without a universal hair straightening iron. I don't always have to luxury of time to go to a local hair salon and with this accessory I can get a quick refresher to my hair and make it look shiny and fresh especially in humid climates.