Pod hostels and chic tents for let, Jaffa style

My first experience in an economy budget hostel in Tel Aviv was less than savory. A crowded, stinking dorm room for what was something like $20 a night, 20 years ago. A German woman manager who announced reduced rent over a loudspeaker late at night and early in the morning if you wanted to help her clean or do dishes. A mouldy shared kitchen. Thanks, but after one night of that and a room of snoring delinquents and drunk European guys, I packed my well-travelled bag and headed to a more expensive dorm option at what was then the Gordon Inn. Then I discovered Jaffa and the Jaffa Hostel and well, who would go back to Tel Aviv again for the night?

Budget travel has not gone out of fashion, probably never will, and in Israel especially where everything is expensive, and AirBNBs abound, new options are rising for the more chic-minded budget traveller. Tel Aviv gets its first pod hotel, Japanese style, named the Spot Hostel in Tel Aviv. It’s located in the trendy Flea Market District of Jaffa (Jaffa to Tel Aviv is like Brooklyn is to NYC) behind the overrated and over-sugared Abulafia Bakery.

The pod concept was developed in Japan where you can rent extremely small rooms for inexpensive, basic, comfortable accommodations. It’s in line with the tiny home movement, which challenges people to live with less, much less living space, in order to live a life with less hustle and less stuff to manage.

The new 90-room Spot hostel has a number of rooms, including your standard hostel rooms with bunk beds aplenty. But find cozy (I mean tight) two-person rooms, and family rooms that have lofts for parents couches for kids. Or a one-person capsule with just a bed.

Since Tel Aviv is a great city to stay “out” in –– you will that most people live in one or two room apartments –– staying on a tent on a roof in the new Spot Hostel will not be an affront to Tel Aviv sensibilities. You will be out of your room more than 18 hours a day anyway. I’ve even lived on a roof and in a treehouse at one point in my life in Tel Aviv. So get ready for the 30 tents that will be set up as an indoor camping space.

Stay in a tent from $20 to $68 a night, $25 to $35 a night for a dorm room, or up to $145 for a double room. There is a shared kitchen space for those who want to cook and an Israeli breakfast is included in the price of the night.

Best option if you are single and coming to Tel Aviv: find a cute Israeli to cuddle up with.

Thousands of tourists are expected in Tel Aviv in May for the Eurovision Concert to be held on the beach. You can also rent a tent on the sea (link here), and in June thousands more might just stay on for the annual Gay Pride parade.

In May 2019, Tel Aviv will host Eurovision, thanks to Netta Barzilai’s 2018 win of that contest, and the Gay Pride Parade is in June.

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