Rep. Kenny Marchant spent over $1,300 in campaign money at posh London hotel

The top Republican on the House Ethics Committee spent more than $1,300 in campaign funds at a five-star hotel in London, according to Federal Election Commission records examined by CQ Roll Call.



Kenny Marchant et al. looking at a laptop: Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, spent campaign funds at a luxury hotel in London.


© Provided by Roll Call
Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, spent campaign funds at a luxury hotel in London.

From 2018-2019, Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant’s campaign committee — Kenny Marchant for Congress — expended funds at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, a luxury hotel overlooking the River Thames positioned within walking distance to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The hotel offers “Victorian grandeur combined with elegant, first class contemporary comfort,” and is “one of the finest hotels near Westminster,” according to the hotel’s website.

Luke Bunting, a spokesperson for Marchant, said the lawmaker has regularly participated in congressional delegation travel (CODEL). A CODEL is considered official travel, which is paid for or authorized by the House. Members and staff travel abroad in these CODELs.

“That figure reflects four separate transactions that occurred over a period of two years, with only one taking place during this Congress,” Bunting said in an email.

Two of the four expenditures at the hotel were described as “lodging” and the remaining two as “travel expense.”

“The Congressman has regularly participated in codel working trips abroad alongside fellow Members of Congress, with strict adherence to all FEC and ethics rules,” Bunting added. “This includes the House ethics rule that campaign funds may be used to ‘pay official or officially-related travel expenses’, and the FEC rule that funds may be used to ‘defray the ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with an individual’s duties as of a federal officeholder.’ As is our practice, we will take another look at these expenses and provide any necessary updates.”

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When asked why, if Marchant was on a CODEL, shouldn’t all the expenses be paid out of committee funds, as well as what specific expenses Marchant was defraying, Bunting did not respond.

Tom Rust, a spokesperson for the House Ethics Committee, had no comment.

Federal law and House Rules prohibit members from using campaign funds for personal use.

When it comes to travel expenses, the FEC says: “Campaign funds may be used to pay the costs of travel to an activity that is related to the campaign or to the candidate’s duties as a federal officeholder.”

Daniel Weiner, a former Federal Election Commission attorney who is the deputy director of election reform at the Brennan Center for Justice, said it really depends on what the details of the specific expenditures were and there is a lot of deference afforded to candidates and officeholders when it comes to travel. 

“If it’s just a question of he was on official travel and he wanted to stay at a nicer hotel and so he used his campaign funds, you might

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Iconic New York movie backdrop hotel The Roosevelt to close

The entrance of the Roosevelt Hotel, a historic luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, is seen in New York on October 12, 2020. - The Roosevelt Hotel announced the hotel would permanently close due to continued financial losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemicThe final day of operation will be October 31, 2020. The hotel, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, opened on September 22, 1924. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
The entrance of the Roosevelt Hotel, a historic luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan (Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

The Roosevelt Hotel, which has appeared in dozens of Hollywood movies, is to permanently close after nearly 100 years in business.

Its owner, Pakistan International Airlines, has said that the closure is due to the financial challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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“Due to the current, unprecedented environment and the continued uncertain impact from COVID-19, the owners of The Roosevelt Hotel have made the difficult decision to close the hotel and the associates were notified this week,” it said in a statement.

“The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced very low demand and as a result the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing.”

The lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel, a historic luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, is seen in New York on October 12, 2020. - The Roosevelt Hotel announced the hotel would permanently close due to continued financial losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemicThe final day of operation will be October 31, 2020. The hotel, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, opened on September 22, 1924. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
The lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel (Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Located in Midtown Manhattan, minutes from Times Square and a block from Grand Central Station – to which it was once linked by an underground tunnel – it was was opened in 1924 by hotelier Frank A. Dudley and named in honour of President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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It was later acquired by Conrad Hilton, and went on to become a iconic New York backdrop for the movies.

The hotel has appeared in classics including The French Connection, Quiz Show and Malcolm X.

Wall Street (Credit: 20th Century Fox)
Wall Street (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

In Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, Michael Douglas’s ruthless broker Gordon Gekko delivered his iconic ‘greed is good’ speech in the hotel’s ballroom.

Most recently, it was used by Sacha Baron Cohen in his comedy The Dictator, and by Martin Scorsese in his sprawling mob biopic The Irishman, with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

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On TV, it has appeared in the shows including Blue Bloods and FBI.

Not only has it been immortalised on the big screen, bandleader Guy Lombardo installed his house band, The Royal Canadians, at the restaurant’s grill room in 1929.

It was his New Year’s Eve radio broadcasts from the hotel which helped to popularise the singing of Auld Lang Syne to bring in the New Year around the world.

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WWII Museum picks new management company for The Higgins Hotel | Business News

The National WWII Museum board has chosen a new management company to run its $66.5 million Higgins Hotel and Conference Center, which opened next door to the museum just under a year ago.

The Atlanta-based Davidson Hotels & Resorts group has taken over management of the 230-room “Curio by Hilton”-branded hotel, which like most of the hotels in New Orleans has been running at severely depleted occupancy levels since spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicago-based Hostmark Hospitality Group, had been the management company for the Higgins since the project was first conceived in 2017 as an extension of the museum, with WWII tributes like the Rosie the Riveter-themed rooftop bar, wartime memorabilia adorning much of its interior, as well as offering educational crossover activities.

Though beset by several construction delays, which resulted in ongoing lawsuits against some of the engineers who’d worked on the project, the art deco-styled hotel held its grand opening in December 2019 and had seen occupancy rates around 70%-to-80% early in the year before the shutdown.

Neither the WWII Museum no Hostmark responded to requests for comment on the reasons for the management changeover.

Thom Geshay, President of Davidson, said his company had been looking for years for a hotel to manage in New Orleans but had never previously been successful. He said that despite the current depressed state of the hotel market nationally, Davidson liked the prospects for the Higgins Hotel and New Orleans more generally.

“We’ve been waiting for the right opportunity in New Orleans for years and for us it’s really playing long ball,” Geshay said.

Davidson manages 61 hotels across the country, including the 419-room Hyatt Centric in downtown Chicago, as well as smaller hotels like the 91-room King Charles Inn in Charleston, South Carolina.

Geshay noted that the hotels in the “drive-to” leisure markets, like New Orleans, Charleston and St. Petersburg, Florida have held up better than some of the larger markets, like San Francisco, New York or Washington D.C., where hotel occupancy is struggling to get out of single-digits.

New Orleans hotel occupancy has recovered from virtually zero in April to average about 30%-to-40%, supported mainly by individuals and families driving from nearby population centers within relatively easy reach, like Houston and Atlanta, said Geshay.

“As the industry recovers that will bode well for New Orleans until such time as we can get larger groups to gather,” he said.

Still, Geshay acknowledged that the convention business, which is such a big driver of visitors to the city, will not recover at least through the first half of next year. Festivals, sporting events and cruise ships also are likely to be in limbo until there is a vaccination widely available.

“Until we can get the conventions and festivals back again it’s going to be slow,” said Geshay, who started his career as General Manager at a hotel that is now The Indigo on St. Charles Avenue.

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‘They’re not forgotten’: A year later, Hard Rock Hotel collapse victims remembered with banners | Arts

An enormous banner featuring a photo of the late Anthony Magrette rippled gently in the breeze Monday near the Hard Rock Hotel site, where the construction worker died when the structure collapsed Oct. 12, 2019. He and the two other victims were being honored with an art installation on the east wall of a neighboring North Rampart Street building.   

Magrette’s wife Nova Espinoza and son Wallace watched as the four-story portrait was anchored in place. Espinoza smiled as she tearfully explained that she wasn’t sure how he might have felt about the huge, heroic artwork.

“He was so low-key to certain things. He didn’t like so much attention,” she said. “But his face looks so lovely.”

Espinoza said is was a bittersweet experience, seeing her husband and his workmates given such a tribute on the anniversary of their deaths.

“It does help,” she said. “It shows that they’re not forgotten, that they didn’t die in vain, that everybody knows who they are and they won’t be forgotten. Now, he’s bigger than life.”

According to artist Monica Rose Kelly, who orchestrated the project, the banners are meant to honor the families of the victims and call attention to “the injustices” that she feels accompanied the incident.



NO.hardrockbanners.101220.006.jpg

Angela Magrette is comforted by family as she mourns the loss of her twin brother Anthony Magrette at the one-year anniversary of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapse in New Orleans, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Monica Kelly Studio and People for Public Art led an art installation called Memorial for the Hard Rock Three, dedicated to Anthony Floyd Magrette, Jose Ponce Arreola and Quinnyon Wimberly, the 3 people who passed away in the building collapse a year ago. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




One year ago, the upper stories of the 190-foot-tall structure, which was under construction at the time, crumbled, showering the streets below with debris. Two dozen construction workers were injured and three died. The body of Magrette was recovered a day after the accident, but the remains of Quinnyon Wimberly and Jose Ponce Arreola remained in the wreckage as 10 months of weather delays, equipment troubles and quarrels between city officials and the project’s developers postponed the removals.

“Everyone was very upset about how long it took to remove the bodies,” Kelly said.

The developers of the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction project for months have said that the only thing stopping them from taking down t…

In July, Kelly said she began conceptualizing a permanent memorial for the victims of the collapse. She envisioned laser-cut steel panels similar to the 22 she co-designed for the neutral ground of South Galvez Street, which recalled the neighborhood displaced by the University Medical Center in 2015 and the New Orleans Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2016. The permanent public memorial will take time, require official approval and be costly. 

It’s easy to forget there was once a modest working-class neighborhood along

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Hospitality firm HES Group planned new hotel in Midtown Miami. Now, it’s selling the site.

When hospitality development firm HES Group purchased a Midtown Miami lot in 2014, it planned to build a hotel. Monday, the 4company is putting the 1.02-acre site up for bid in a direct sale or joint-venture opportunity, said Francisco Arocha, the firm’s CEO and founder.

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The mortgage on the lot at 3601 N. Miami Ave. is three weeks in arrears, and the mortgage holder has begun foreclosure proceedings, Arocha said, due to the pandemic’s severe impact on the hospitality industry.

“The hospitality industry has been hit,” Arocha said. “Once you’ve been hit, you have to digest that situation and prepare for the new cycle that is going to begin in the next few months. Miami is going to continue to position itself as one of the most attractive cities in the world and, as in the past, it will recover. [Already,3/8 we saw people travel by car in the summer and we are just starting to see air travel.”

Design-savvy HES also co-owns Aloft hotels in Brickell and Coral Gables, a Hotel Indigo in Brickell, and several Miami restaurants and hotels in Latin America.

HES purchased the property for $12.25 million in 2014 with plans to build a 500,000-square-foot, 20-story mixed-use Triptych, with retail, office and 297-room hotel. The Miami Urban Development Review Board approved of plans in 2015.

The site is approved for a 24-story tower with up to 300 hotel rooms.

Miguel Pinto, president and broker at the MiMo-based Apex Capital Realty, and Daniela Lainville, Realtor with Yaffe International, are representing the seller.

The site is ideal for a mixed-use project, including all of the components — retail, office, and hospitality — HES Group originally planned for, Pinto said. “Anyone that buys this site won’t get off the ground for 18 or 24 months. I don’t see ourselves wearing a mask in 24 months. People will be coming back.”

Pinto and Lainville will issue requests for offers in December. Although HES has not specified a minimum price, Pinto and Lainville are not asking for a specific amount, a comparable sale closed at $544.60 per square foot. In April 2020, the 1.11-acre site at 201 NW 21st St. sold for $26.4 million.

South Florida’s hospitality industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic. HES Group’s original predictions of an overall 50% drop in occupancy rates in its South Florida hotels have proven optimistic; in September, hotels experienced a 37% occupancy rate in Miami-Dade County, according to industry data firm STR. Across the market, employee furloughs have been widespread.

However, some developers are betting on recovery and moving forward with new projects, including Dezer Development’s Sunny Isles Monaco hotel; Fernandez Properties’ 64-room hotel in South Beach, and the new luxury Aman hotel and condos, planned for the historic Versailles hotel in Mid Beach.

“Hospitality is going through a tough time right now but the rainy days are going to go away,” Pinto said.

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Historic hotel moved through streets of South Florida city


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A historic hotel and boarding house had to be parked overnight on a South Florida street during a move because of delays with its relocation.

Traffic had to be blocked off overnight Sunday on a street in West Palm Beach, and some light posts were temporarily removed to accommodate the relocation of the almost-century-old The Edgewater.

The 4,900-square-foot hotel was moved about 1.5 miles to a historic district of West Palm Beach after a new owner of the property decided its former location would be the site of a new parking.


The Edgewater will be used as a bed-and-breakfast inn in its new location.


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NAB to investigate closure of Roosevelt Hotel, losses borne by govt – Pakistan

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairperson Justice retired Javed Iqbal has taken notice of reports that the historic Roosevelt Hotel, a Pak­istani possession in the heart of Manhattan, will be shuttered by the end of this month, a press statement by the watchdog said on Tuesday.

According to the release, Iqbal has directed the bureau’s Rawalpindi director-general to probe the reasons behind the decision to shutter the hotel, which is Pakistan’s “national asset”.

Furthermore, NAB will look into the reasons behind the alleged loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars borne by the government. The accountability watchdog will also point out officials who allegedly showed “carelessness in performing their national duties” and failed to play a role in making the hotel into a profitable entity.

The statement comes days after the Roosevelt Hotel announced it will shut its doors on guests permanently on October 31.

“Due to the current economic impacts, after almost 100 years of welcoming guests to The Grand Dame of New York, The Roosevelt Hotel, is regretfully closing its doors permanently as of October 31, 2020,” the announcement said.

The message on the website said that the hotel was “working on alternative accommodations” for guests with future reservations.

The Roosevelt Hotel, which was opened on September 23, 1924, was built by Niagara Falls businessman Frank A Dudley and operated by the United Hotels Company.

The Pakistan International Airlines leased the hotel in 1979 through its investment arm, PIA Investments Ltd, with an option to purchase the building after 20 years. Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia was one of the investors in the 1979 deal.

In 1999, the PIA exercised its option and bought the hotel for $36.5 million. In 2005, the PIA bought out its Saudi partner in a deal that included the prince’s share in Hotel Scribe in Paris in exchange for $40 million and the PIA’s share of the Riyadh Minhal Hotel. The PIA has since controlled 99 per cent interest in the hotel while the Saudis have only 1pc.

After fully acquiring the hotel, PIA undertook its renovation. Following refurbishment, it started making profit after a long time and continued doing so till 2018. But the onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought doom to the hotel and tourism sector and Roosevelt Hotel was no exception.

The main reason for its decline is the obsolescence of its infrastructure and depleted room conditions.

Diplomatic sources have clarified that the PIA still owned the property as the building had not been sold.

One such source also attributed the hotel’s closure to the novel coronavirus that “has almost killed the hotel industry”.

The sources explained that the building was still valued at more than a billion dollars. “Pakistan now has two options, sell it or convert it into a condominium like other Manhattan hotels hit by Covid-19,” another source said.

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The Current State Of The Hotel Industry Isn’t ‘Sustainable’ Without Government Funding, CEO Says

Topline

The American hotel industry could be on the brink of collapse with as much as two-thirds of the nation’s hotels set to shutter in six months without financial help from the government and millions of industry workers laid off, a situation CEO of Best Western Hotels David Kong told CNBC on Monday was “not sustainable.”

Key Facts

Hotels have been the victim of a devastating one-two punch from the coronavirus pandemic, with forced closures leading to massive layoffs, and a sharp decline in bookings with travelers afraid checking in might mean contracting the virus.

“It’s really hard to say when a recovery is going to be. This situation we are in now, it’s not sustainable. It’s really bad,” Kong, who recently spoke with both the White House and Congressional Democrats about stimulus funding, told CNBC.

Kong noted the severity of the industry’s cash flow problem, saying “you can only do so much with eliminating expenses and cutting people, you still need revenue,” which is difficult with less people willing or able to travel and hotels slashing prices in a bid to fill rooms.

Without government help, over 38,000 of the nation’s almost 58,000 hotels could be forced to shut down in six months, according to a recent report by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

If Congress doesn’t extend PPP loans or expand Main street loans, the AHLA estimates over 3,700,000 jobs related to the hotel industry could be lost, according to the report.

Key Background

The battle on Capitol Hill and in the White House for a new coronavirus stimulus package has been long, complicated, and as the days and months grow longer since the CARES Act was passed, baffling. Republicans and Democrats can’t find common ground, and it seems almost daily President Donald Trump is alternately pulling the plug on stimulus talks or advocating for a bigger and bigger package. The airline industry cadged $32 billion in payroll support in the CARES Act and is pushing hard for a reup, but other parts of the travel industry like hotels haven’t been able to get support on Capitol Hill. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said she won’t support a stimulus plan that’s less than $2.2 trillion, and Republicans hit a ceiling at around $1 trillion, though their latest plan included only $300 billion in new spending. Meanwhile, Trump, who blew up stimulus talks between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin shortly after being released from Walter Reed hospital, on Friday claimed to want a greater stimulus package than both Republicans and Democrats.

Big Number

33%. That’s how many Americans say they’ve traveled for pleasure since March, according to the AHLA, and only 38% say they may travel by the end of the year.

Key Quote

“It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and prioritize American workers in the hardest-hit industries. Hotels are cornerstones of the communities they serve, building strong local economies and supporting

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Discount Travel Deals Info – Ways to Find Budget Airfare and Hotel Rooms for Your Next Trip

If you feel the need to get away for a few days, you’re probably looking for discount travel deals. Whether you want a simple weekend getaway or an all-out vacation, there are a variety of tools and travel promo codes available to help. No matter where you want to go, it’s best to stay flexible with your plans. If you have a specific destination and dates in mind, your search might be a bit more difficult – especially if it’s tourist season in that location.

One way to get a good deal is to look over “undercover hotel” offers. The prices are so low that the hotels don’t want to advertise the offers outright; you won’t find out the name of the hotel until after the booking. While this may seem like a gamble, many top-name hotels like Marriott, Hilton, and Sheraton are involved with these offers. You can usually view some information about the neighborhood the hotel is located in and the types of amenities it offers before you decide whether or not you want to book.

Another way to obtain discount travel deals is to use budget airlines. More and more budget carriers are offering long haul trips – some of which are even offering flights to other countries. WOW and Norwegian Air are two airlines to look into if you want to fly internationally. For domestic flights, consider Jet Blue or Allegiant Air.

Flying direct might not always be the answer, either. Sure, you might get to your destination a lot faster, but you might end up paying a lot more. It might be a lot cheaper to book a flight to another city first, and then book a separate flight from that city to your intended destination.

Warnings for Discount Travel Deals

Watch out for airfare that seems TOO low. You might wind up getting hit by a bunch of hidden fees. Some smaller airlines charge extra for onboard drinks and snacks – including water. You might also get charged for a carry-on bag. Be sure to read over the fine print to determine if you really will be getting a good deal.

You can save money if you book with a hotel and airline that are partners with each other. On travel booking sites, there is usually an option to combine your flight and your hotel room. There are also memberships and loyalty points to consider. If you’re an American Airlines AAdvantage member, for instance, you can earn points for staying at hotels such as Best Western, Hilton, Marriott, La Quinta Inn, etc. Convert those points into free air miles. There are many, many opportunities like these. Some credit card companies also reward points that can be redeemed for airfare or free hotel rooms.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any discount travel deals right away – sometimes it takes just a bit of patience. The perfect offer will eventually pop up.

Online, you can find all of the information you need about discount …

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Israel Hotels – Best Kept Secrets

Have you been to Israel before? Where did you stay? At a large, well known Israel hotel or smaller tourist hotel? They both have their benefits. The Israel Travel Center, a leading online Israel Hotels website knows ALL the hotels in Israel including some of Israel’s best kept hotel secrets. These Israel hotels are often ideally located with excellent accommodations, food and service. There are just less known and therefore may be of interest to you.

A drum roll please…..

David Citadel Hotel Jerusalem – Jerusalem Hotels

Overlooking the walls of the Old City, is the Capital’s latest, most stylish hotel. The David Citadel is a near Library Bell Park and a short drive to the Israel Museum Yad Vashem, Artist Quarter, etc. a excellent location for your Jerusalem Israel hotel accommodations. David Citadel Jerusalem Hotel offers 384 luxurious guestrooms and suites offer state-of-the-art facilities. Deluxe and Alcove Deluxe rooms, as well as the stylish suites offer spectacular views of the Old City at the David Citadel Jerusalem Hotel.

Dan Hotel Tel Aviv – Tel Aviv Hotels

Dan Hotel Tel Aviv is in the middle of everything, yet away from it all. Close to beaches and prime shopping centers, the Dan Hotel Tel Aviv is near nightlife and business districts and ideal for a sun and fun vacation and a high-pressure business trip. Dan Hotel Tel Aviv’s luxuriously 186 guest rooms and suites offer splendid sea and city views. Special lounges and services cater to the special needs of the traveling executive. The Dan Tel Aviv welcomes you with luxurious accommodations, fine dining and a spectacular sea view pool and sundeck. Private guest lounge serving refreshments throughout the day.

Haifa Tower Hotel – Haifa Hotels

The Haifa Tower Hotel is located in central Hadar HaCarmel is near the city’s major shopping, tourist and entertainment centers. Also close by are exciting places to visit such as Stekelis Prehistory Museum, Hecht Art Museum, Bahai Shrine, Druze Village, German Colony on Mt. Carmel, Panorama Center, Stella Maris Church, Elijah’s Cave, Akko, etc. The Haifa Tower Hotel offers 100 well appointed rooms facing the beautiful Carmel mountain range and Haifa Bay.

Sharon Beach Resort Hotel – Herzlia Hotels

Sharon Beach Resort Hotel Herzlia is located on the Herzlia sea shore just 15 minutes drive north of Tel- Aviv. The Herzlia Hotel is near colorful De-Schalit Square’s restaurants and shops. A short walk from the Sharon Beach Promenade, the hotel is near the new Arena complex and Herzlia Marina. The Sharon Hotel Herzlia offers 170 large, comfortable guest rooms, including 24 spacious “Garden Rooms” and five charming Junior Suites.…

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