LEONARDO HOTEL, RAMAT GAN.
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Next to Israel's world famous diamond Bourse, minutes from the Savidor, a.k.a. the city's sophisticated central train station, and near a huge web of highways leading to every nook and cranny in the country with the greatest ease, a new business hotel made it's recent appearance: The Leonardo City Tower Hotel.
The five star hotel is superbly renovated, with 167 rooms of lavish luxury and elegance.
All around the hotel, the city's foremost businesses are represented, and with a 30-minute ride to Ben-Gurion Airport, it's the ideal location for the business traveller who wishes to spend free time in a tranquil pampered atmosphere. As hard as it is to believe, despite being in the hub of the busiest area, teeming with activity, the Leonardo manages to preserve an air of dignified luxury and calm.
All the rooms sport an amazing, world-class design, fresh and clean and beautifully inviting, free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a fully equipped spa and workout centre.
The location of the hotel is within 10 minutes to the startling beaches of Tel Aviv, all the culture and entertainment the city has to offer and for business meetings, an exclusive business lounge equipped with the latest and greatest in technology, plus seven modern conference and meeting rooms stand at one's disposal.
I looked at several sites to glean what other visitors thought of this place, and found that the average guest score was 4.6 out of five, with 299 people reviewing the hotel.
Ramat Gan is a medium sized city close to Tel Aviv, and if translated, the name aptly describes this old, yet ever expanding place: Garden Hill is the meaning of Ramat Gan, and it's indeed green and lush, with the older areas that haven't succumbed to the recent expansion, peacefully green with overgrown trees and rocks.
I managed to find a secret hidden garden or park, which had still the tree I climbed at age 12, and am still carrying the faint scars tree climbing, and looking for silk worms have left on my knees.
My friend Suzie and her brother, (she was 13 he was 11), the bespectacled Ehud, carved our names on the tree, only to find it still there last summer, overgrown by moss, and eons later.
Another fascinating fact is that Ramat Gan is practically attached to B'nei B'rak, the ultra orthodox community, where capotes, peyes and shtreimels are everywhere. The main street of B'nei B'rak is filled with Glatt Kosher bakeries, butchers and ready made, take out food. For the ladies looking for the best wigmakers in the land, this is your destination...women of all ages, some taught by the previous generations, some still from the old country, very old yet masterful to the highest degree.
They use only the very best hair, observe the purity of the hair's origins, and create pieces a queen would be proud to wear. If you desire only an addition, they are experts at creating hairpieces, which cannot be detected by the most discerning eye.
There are dress shops for elegant observant ladies, with tailors and seamstresses to custom make the outfits to the individual customer. Of course the same goes for the men, with haberdasheries abound, carrying Fedora hats and fur bound shtreimels, beautiful ladies hats for women who prefer an elegant head cover rather than a wig.
This town is a must see and visit for any visitor, but especially the religious orthodox ones, because it's steeped in history. On Shabbat no cars are allowed to drive through the streets, and come Friday night, a blockade is put up, to prevent desecration of the Shabbat.
I believe that after the most religious sections in Jerusalem, here is the greatest concentration of observant pious Jews.
When and if one has the time, a hop on the train will take you to most places in Israel, and the freeways will give you quick and easy access to all the delicious variety in a country not much bigger than New Jersey, yet with variable climates, arid deserts. The Dead and red Seas, with Egypt visible in the close distance, the Jordan River and kibbutzim around the lushly green shores of the lake of Tiberia, all of Gallilee, including the width of the northern part of the country, from the shore of the Mediterranean to the Jordanian, Syrian and Lebanese borders. There is so much to see, even if you choose to remain put in the Tel Aviv Jaffa area, you'd need a week to really delve and soak up a taste of this 60 some year old country, with its history that goes back thousand of years,
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