Inside Tel Aviv’s Most Surprising New Boutique Hotel

With its expansive rooms, private art collection and barely a sign disclosing the hotel’s existence on Rothschild Boulevard, R48 is meant to feel like a fantasy version of home.

rooftop pool

In the Tel Aviv hospitality scene, Ruti Broudo needs no introduction. Together with her business partner (and ex-husband) Mati Broudo, she is responsible for popularizing many trends in Israel, including the French bistro (she opened the buzzy Brasserie in the early aughts), the lavish neighborhood deli (Delicatessen, launched in 2012, now has six locations) and the cozy boutique hotel (just ask anyone who has ever stayed at Hotel Montefiore). 

And yet, her latest project, the R48 hotel in the center of Tel Aviv, still managed to surprise people. While Broudo’s businesses are known for their curated, decidedly European vibe, she went a different route with this property. “I’ve always tried to bring the ‘abroad’ into Israel,” she told Observer. “This time, I’ve decided to do something different: a very Israeli, very Tel Avivian experience, but the way I see it. The way it should be—immaculate, more refined.”

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With its expansive rooms, private art collection and barely a sign disclosing the hotel’s existence on Rothschild Boulevard, R48 is, according to Broudo, meant to feel like a fantasy version of home.

In the buzzing city landscape, R48 stands out with its quiet, reserved appeal. The property, which occupies a carefully restored 1930s Bauhaus-style building, is very much about escapism, while also remaining deeply rooted in the here and now. Rothschild Boulevard is emblematic of the city’s insatiable appetite for movement and people-watching; there’s nothing like being immersed in the boulevard’s pace, but there’s also something quite special about being perched above it—at, say, the R48 hotel rooftop. 

hotel lobby at r48 in tel aviv
Inside the lobby. AMIT-GERON

“The hotel is quite intimate,” Broudo said of the 11-room property. The rooms, large and elaborate, are designed in muted tones that are tasteful yet luxurious. The only pops of color are courtesy of the art on the walls, curated by ArtSource. “It’s a place for those who want to partake in the urban atmosphere, which in Tel Aviv can be intense yet lively, then enter a refuge and receive a complete contrast to all that,” Broudo said. 

Take the pool area, for example; it’s minimal and reserved, yet unapologetically luxurious. Upon arriving to the roof via a spacious glass elevator that glides by an an original, exposed limestone wall, guests can lounge in the sand-colored tanning beds and order a freshly pressed juice, which will be promptly delivered by a staff member wearing a uniform designed by Maskit, one of Israel’s most important heritage fashion houses. 

a hotel suite with a sleek couch and wood furniture
A crisp suite within the hotel. AMIT-GERON

Broudo’s calling card has always been attention to details, and at R48, it’s hyper-focused. R2M, Ruti and Mati Broudo’s hospitality group, has been responsible for planning and managing the hotel, as well as opening an intimate restaurant in the space. In this project, Broudo has also found an energizing match—Heather Reisman, who, together with her husband, Canadian entrepreneur Gerald Schwartz, owns the building, and who has added creative input. 

“She’s a well-known hostess who’s obsessed with the small details, and so am I,” Broudo said. “We share this inability to compromise, and this desire to seek and select the best things that feel incredibly right.” Said desire has led, Broudo admits, to less than practical choices, like silk rugs and Studio Liaigre furniture, which require meticulous housekeeping. In accordance with the soothing Tel Avivian color palette, it’s all in pale shades of soft white and sand. 

hotel room in a glass room
Glass walls add a modern allure to the property. Mario Palmieri

Then, there’s the multitude of spotless, high-maintenance glass walls, opening up to corners of the city and the surrounding garden. “Transparency and lightness are the main design principles of this project,” Avital Gourary of AN+ Architects, the firm behind the 10-year restoration, told Observer. 

The lengthy restoration process focused on a few new interpretations to the timeless Bauhaus style. One key innovation was elevating the building above street level by adding a floating plaza that provides a different perspective. Another was replacing some existing walls with lightweight glass, a decision that infused the space with natural light.

The spacious elevator (which Gourary calls a “moving room”) was intentional, too: lounging in an armchair as the floors flash by is a special experience, and an opportunity to appreciate the hotel’s architecture. “The R48 Hotel and Garden transcends mere accommodations—it extends an invitation to an immersive experience, [with an] emphasis on human scale and the integration of nature,” Gourary said. 

Broudo echoes this sentiment by highlighting, repeatedly, that R48 isn’t your average hotel. “It’s an oasis, and upon entering, you’re supposed to feel like you’re stepping into this amazing house,” she said. The mini bar, for example, is brimming with artisanal chocolates, kombucha and wine, entirely free of charge. “When I’m a guest, I like to feel like someone had truly thought of me, took care of me,” she said. “Our guests deserve everything I could possibly give them, and I want them to feel that.” 

Inside Tel Aviv’s Most Surprising New Boutique Hotel