24h Tel Aviv 36 b 37 b 38 b 32 b 30 b 30 b 29 b

24h Tel Aviv

Israel's second largest city is known as ‘the bubble' for its air of detachment from political turmoil, its hedonism, cosmopolitanism and vibrant art scene. If only I had more time...

We stayed at the incredibly chic boutique hotel Montefiori off the typical tourist path near architectural icons, top shopping and restaurants. It is the perfect balance between familiar and exotic. I loved the Thonet furniture, the libraries packed with art and travel tomes, the chocolate and champagne stocked minibars. Tipp. Ask the concierge for a picnic lunch and experience Raphael and Manta Ray restaurant, one of Tel Aviv's most popular tables. But do have a look to Hotel The Norman opening June 2013, a new Small Luxury Hotel in Tel Aviv with a exciting contemporary art collection

One of the most stunning restaurant spots on this trip was Rama's Kitchen, founded by a very talented Rama Ben Zvi. The Restaurant is a dazzling example of style connected to the soil. To get to the wonderful restaurant, you drive into the Judean Hills and walk through their nursery gardens. The setting is gorgeous, lots of natural colours, low lights, breath taking views. They have the most amazing lamb tastings. The no-music policy allows the guests to listen to nature, themselves and each other

It's white, it's shady, it's functional, and it looks cool, too: The modernist Bauhaus architecture was the ideal style to design a modern middle-eastern city in the first half of the 20th century. With several architects from the original German Bauhaus school immigrating to Israel in the 1930s, the style is sophisticated as well as original.

The newest highlight is the Herta and Paul Amir Building a futuristic venue of polished cement panels arranged at odd angles and housing the largest collection of contemporary Israeli art to date. The building, designed by American Preston Scott Cohen, is part of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The vital Design Museum Holon established itself as one of the world's leading museums of design and contemporary culture. Housed in an iconic building by the internationally acclaimed architect, Ron Arad. I loved the „Cabinets of Wonder in Contemporary Art - From Astonishment to Disenchantment" exhibition in the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary art.

As well as these big-scale design and museum highlights, the city is peppered with pop-up exhibitions, sprinkled with galleries and open studios, which together offered a glimpse into the buzzing creative spirit of Tel Aviv. Dvir Gallery, Sommer Contemporary Art and Israeli Center for Digital in Holon where my favourites. I found a striking painting at Irit Sommer that I still wish I had taken home with me. It is on my wish list for when I return (hopefully soon!).

I love Tel Aviv for the warm sociability of its cosy art scene, laid-back café culture, Levantine-inflected haute-cuisine, no-frills hummus, schnitzel and falafel joints, corner juice kiosks, bike-friendly dimensions and overwhelmingly secular way of life.