Project #2 - Saturday 23rd, march 2019
Our second expedition led us to the streets of Neve Tsedek. Calm, bloomy and trendy neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
On Lilenblum 9, we noticed a beautiful building... The First Hotel ever built in Tel Aviv.
We found an easy access through the barricade and started the adventure. This time, the building is being renovated, extended by Accor Hotel. I guess we can hope to see a new hotel in the coming years.
Lilienblum 9: The First Hotel in Tel Aviv
The hotel was built by Menachem Nahum Alkunin. He immigrated to Palestine from Russia in 1911.
Alkunin purchased a large plot of land between Neve Tzedek and Tel Aviv. This is where he decided to build a two floors hotel with 38 rooms, a private synagogue, and a family residence. At its time, the Alkunin-Central Hotel was the highest in town.
In fact, it was only in 1913 that the decision was made to allow the opening of hotels in Tel Aviv... Alkunin built the first hotel in town.
The building construction started in 1913, under the command of the American contractor Samuel Wilson. The Alkunin Hotel was built in the typical style of the 1920's: balconies, ornaments, stylized pillars, wall paintings, geometric patterns and ceiling paintings... an oasis of luxury in the middle of Neve Tsedek.
The hotel has hosted high-ranking guests from various nationalities such as David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Albert Einstein, Chaim Weizmann, King Abdullah I and many others.
A year later, World War I started, the Alkunin family was expelled like most of Tel Aviv residents during this time. They first moved to Petah Tikva, then to Zichron Yaakov and then to Tsfat, where Menahem Alkunin died in 1918.
After the war, the family came back, renovated the building and continued to live there. Malka became the hotel manager. After 1930, the hotel stopped to function, its rooms were rented as residential apartments.
Malka died in 1947, her children inherited it. The building was renovated and in the 70's it was used for workshops. In the 1980s the family sold the house to Nathan Moses, and in the 1990s it was finally abandoned. Around the 2000's, the deteriorated building was sold to a French entrepreneur. A new hotel is supposed to be built since 2005.
The Alkunin-Central Hotel is still waiting for its revival...
GoPro video of our visit: