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Israel

Danís Many Faces

Imagine an upscale hotel chain in which most of the properties are located no more than two hours from one another by car, pools and fitness centers come as standard amenities, and seasonal kidís clubs are part of the program. Fortunately, Dan Hotels Israel leaves none of the aforementioned to the imagination.

A miniature chain, with services common to the worldís most upscale brands, Dan celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998, mirroring the state of Israel itself. Few chains also can boast a marquee property so intertwined with the founding of the nation as Dan, which owns and manages Jerusalemís 237-room King David, the historic hotel that was bombed and partly destroyed in 1946 by the Israeli underground during the nationís war for independence.

Dan manages 10 properties in Israel, after adding the former Radisson Moriah Hotel in Jerusalem in 1999, which has been renamed the Dan Panorama Jerusalem. With the addition of the new property, Dan has total of 659 guest rooms and suites in Jerusalem alone, including King David and the 110-room Dan Pearl.

But Dan isnít stopping with its purchase of the Radisson Moriah. It is planning to open the Dan Achziv in Nahariya on the northern coast in the Mediterranean by 2001. Dan officials say the have aspirations to grow even larger, possibly with hotels beyond Israel.

A tours of Danís properties taken earlier this year Ė nine hotels in four days using a private car and guide furnished by Isram World of Travel Ė provided the sense of just what makes the company stand out in the Israeli hotel market. For example, all Dan properties feature indoor and outdoor pools, free Israeli breakfasts, complimentary use of fitness centers with the latest exercise equipment, snacks and buffets in every business lounge, dairy bars following Jewish dietary traditions and seasonal Danyland kidsí clubs.

Danís properties combine the best of Israeli culture Ė the hotels are very popular during Jewish Holidays Ė with the amenities travelers expect from four- and five- star properties. They are also located near some of the worldís most important and impressive historic locations. Following is a sketch of each property, plus a biref description of some of the nearby tourist sites.

Dan Tel Aviv

The most upscale hotel in Tel Aviv, this 286-room property, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is located on the Mediterranean Coast. The hotel, which is focused on the business travelers, can serve as a resort property, with a pool complex and a sun deck on the second floor, a new business center and access to the cityís public beaches directly across the road.

Opened in 1953, Dan Tel Aviv has just undergone an extensive renovation of its penthouse suites on the fifth floor, with Royal and Presidential suites that are a haven for business travelers and diplomats alike. The Presidential Suite has a sitting and dining room with a TV and stereo, and a bathroom with a whirlpool and separate shower. The larger Royal Suite features a living room and dining room, ample closet space, and his-and-hers bathrooms with a pressure shower, whirlpool, TV and full window view of the sea from the bath. Newly refurbished seaview rooms are divided by a long cabinet into sitting and sleeping areas. They have two TVís, a minibar, and a three-line phone and fax. Also featured are all-marble, two-room bathrooms, with a bath, bidet and two sinks.

For tourists the hotel is a good base for visiting the old city of Jaffa, now an artists colony, plus enjoying Tel Avivís famed nightlife. Other nearby attractions include Tel Avivís Carmel Market, the Museum of Diaspora at Tel Aviv University and the Ayolan Institute, a former kibbutz that served as a secret underground factory that manufactured machine-gun bullets during the war of independence.

Dan Panorama Tel Aviv

The 500-room, 18-story Dan Panorama, located just down the beach from the Tel Aviv, has a mostly business clientele, and specializes in meetings and conventions. It also caters to families for the Jewish holidays and group tour business from the U.S. Its seaview rooms were renovated in 1996. Double-glazed windows insulate guests from the sounds of Tel Aviv below.

The hotelís five-year old convention center has a separate entrance and a main ballroom that can be divided into four rooms. There are also five breakout meeting room. Lounge areas are divided on three levels so the property doesnít feel crowded, even with large groups. Dan Panorama also features beach access across the street and a newly renovated pool area overlooking the Mediterranean.

Dan Accadia

Located on the Mediterranean coast of Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv, the 207-room Dan Accadia has a mix of business clients (Herzliya is a high-tech center) and local holiday traffic. Built in 1956, the property was last renovated in April 1998. It features six tennis courts and a large pool area with an outdoor buffet, a kidís pool and a playground, a large fitness center and massage rooms.

On the other hand, the Danís Accadiaís rooms offer amenities designed for business travelers, including a direct telephone and computer modem line, safe and minibar. A new Executive Club provides preferred-guest rooms, private telephone lines and business support services. This beachside resort is within striking distance of sights in Tel Aviv and northern Israel.

Dan Caesarea

This 114-room boutique property, south of Haifa, is attached to Israelís only 18-hole golf course. It also has the only one soccer field in the Dan chain, plus two tennis courts, a basketball court, mini-golf, a kids playground, a large pool and other recreational facilities. Dan Caesarea just finished a renovation of its reception and lobby area. Deluxe and standard rooms, all featuring balconies, also have been renovated, with marble bathrooms, a convertible couch for families, minibar, safes, cable TV and phones with voice mail.

More tot the points of leisure travelers, the resort property is just a short distance from Caesareaís coastal Roman ruins, which include a large amphitheater that still offers seasonal performances. Next to those ruins Ė which are part of an active archeological dig Ė are remnants of an equally impressive Crusader fortress city. Just down the beach are the remains of three Roman aqueducts, built to carry water from Mount Carmel to Herodís port city of Caesarea.

Dan Carmel

Haifaís main luxury property, the 219-room Dan Carmel affords gorgeous view of the city and the bay. The service-oriented property is just above the Bahai hanging gardens, being built by members of that faith. The hotel has an elegant and very quiet lobby, and a garden and outdoor pool area overlooking the city. It caters to a mostly business clientele during the week and families during the holidays, but it also is used by upscale tour operators for groups.

The propertyís La Rondo restaurant, serving continental cuisine, provides spectacular views of Haifa. Balconies in all rooms have views of Carmel and the sea, or the harbor and the sea. Dan Carmel also affords an excellent jumping-off point for visits across the bay to the Israeli Arab city of Akko, site of the Citadel prison used by the British to imprison Israeli underground leaders in 1946.

Dan Panorama Haifa

Just a few buildings down the block from the Dan Carmel, this 266-room, 20-story property offers spectacular views of Haifa and the bay below. Some rooms now have kitchens with cooking facilities. The "room plus" package includes a room with a kitchennette, bathrobes, flowers, a newspaper, refreshments and use of the business lounge on the 20th floor. The 13-year old hotel also is connected to an indoor public shopping mall.

Like the neighboring Dan Carmel, Dan Panorama is just steps from the Bahai Gardens. Its four-star rooms are smaller, but newer than the five-star Dan Carmel, and many can be connected. This property is a good choice for business travelers visiting Haifa, or can be used as a base for individual tourists or tour groups visiting sites in Northern Israel.

Dan Pearl

This boutique hotel, built in 1997, offers a unique location directly across the street from the Old City of Jerusalem and the Jaffa Gate. Some of the propertís 30 suites provide living and dining room facilities with spectacular views of the Old City. Built to blend with surrounding buildings, the Dan Pearl contains a small indoor shopping mall, an undeground parking lot, and an airy and well-lit basement pool complex complete with a fully equipped fitness center.

With the only one Glatt Kosher dining facilities in the Dan chain, a ceremonial bath and on-site synagogue, the hotel also caters to Orthodox Jewish guests. A new Platinum club for business travelers includes free parking, advanced communication equipment, secretarial assistance, meeting facilities and a new business center. There is a wide variety of room layouts, including two-bedroom suites with a connecting living room area and kitchenette. Triple-glazed windows soundproof rooms from street noise.

King David

No tour of Dan properties would be complete without the historic 237-room King David, which also overlooks the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Also a member of Leading Hotels of the World, the 70-year-old King David has hosted heads of state, diplomats, celebrities and other dignitaries. In fact, this may be one of the few hotels in the world with its own video history loop playing non-stop on in-room TV.

Of course, this is not an ordinary city hotel. A garden behind the property features a large pool, tennis court and childrenís playground. Last year the King David was restored to its original luxury during a $24 Million renovation. It now features a new conference center, business center and restaurants.

Newly renovated guest rooms have king-size beds, antique furniture and marble bathrooms with a separate shower and whirpool. The hotelís Royal Suite, renovated 5 years ago, has a sitting room, dining room and private kitchen. The Presidential Suite duplex has a living room upstairs, a bedroom on the lower floor and a special double whirpool.

Public rooms have been restored, with marble or wooden floors, wood paneling and a sense of history that only the King David could evoke. In fact, a table in the restored reading room has been used for the signing of Middle East peace agreements.

Dan Eilat

The 378-room Dan Eilat, the first full-service resort in Dan chain, is between Jordan and the Sinai at the top of an inlet of the Red Sea. It caters mostly to vacationers from Israel and Europe. It also has extensive meeting and convention facilities, with separate group entrances. The two-year old (built in 1997) Dan Eilat has 15 food and beverage outlets, a large disco, squash courts, fitness center, spa offering 19 treatments and the largest kidís club in the chain. A waterscape area features 2 slide pools, a waterslide, waterfalls, a swim-up bar, whirpools and kidís pool. Just beyond the pool area, guests have direct access to the beach and boardwalk.

The King David Lounge and a Presidential Suite overlook the Red Sea from the hotelís 14th (top) floor. Dan Eilatís deluxe, highly stylized rooms have marble bathrooms with a separate bath and shower. They also feature two telephones in each bedroom, one for each side of the bed; spotlight reading lights, and convertible couches to accommodate additional family members.

With its landscaped pool complex, spacious lobby and beachfront location, however, Dan Eilatís suitable for U.S. clients on extended stay. The hotel also can serve as a jumping-off point for excursions to Petra, Jordan; St. Catherineís Monastery in the Sinai; or even Cairo for an overnight tour.

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