Israel points of interest

Shiny new trains, airports, and hotels are all coming to Israel in 2019, catapulting the ancient land into the modern age as the rest of the country catches up with vibrant Tel Aviv. Israel’s much-anticipated high-speed train began operating in September linking Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport; by early 2019 the train will connect Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in under 30 minutes. Ben Gurion itself is undergoing a major overhaul in 2019 — with new daily direct flights on United and Delta in the works, the airport is gearing up to welcome more visitors than ever. Tel Aviv is still growing, of course. Last year saw the arrival of game-changing luxury hotels Setai Tel Aviv, The Jaffa, and The Drisco, with three more new properties — the budget-friendly-but-chic Dave Levinsky; a boutique hotel in a Bauhaus building at Herzl 10; and the Menorah, Brown Hotel’s new 200-room flagship — still to come in 2019. In celebration of Bauhaus’ 100th anniversary, the formerly residential Liebling House will be reborn as the White City Center, a foundation which aims to protect and promote the architecturally significant White City area of Tel Aviv. Down south, Ashdod will get the beachfront property Brown Méditerranée Ashdod in May 2019, and near the Dead Sea, construction of a desert park and promenade is underway to connect area beaches. In late 2019, the Negev Desert gets the country’s biggest opening of the year: the 46-acre Six Senses Shaharut, which will have 58 ultra-luxe suites and villas, a desert activities center, and a massive Six Senses Spa. —Devorah Lev-Tov