I recently visited Israel with my new wife (part of our honeymoon) for a friend’s wedding and was looking for a week’s accommodation in central Tel Aviv. Some friends of ours stayed at a hostel on Gordon Street, which was very cheap but apparently perfectly adequate. We decided to pay a little extra to have a self-contained apartment and based on the photos from the Authentica website decided it would be a good bet. We paid $110 USD per night to stay in one of their apartments in Zichron Yaacov Street, which was quite expensive but based on photos seemed good value.
On arriving we met at the apartment with the Authentica representative, who seemed polite and explained about the local area and also agreed to allow us to keep our baggage in the room after the normal 10am checkout time, as our flight was not until 9pm. However, things quickly took a turn for the worse. We soon realised that the apartment was in a state of complete disrepair. We noticed the following:
1) Mould all over the walls
2) Dirty and broken cutlery, crockery and glasses
3) The plastic kettle had completely melted and had a hole in the bottom, which was completely unusable
4) The rubbish bin had not been changed from the previous guests
5) The bathroom was absolutely filthy
6) The shower smelled like a sewer and the shower head had broken off so was hanging loose (although did still work fortunately)
7) The sink taps were either cold or scalding hot, with no middle ground
8) The double bed was actually two single beds, which sloped together so you’re constantly sleeping on an angle
9) And finally... there were random holes in the wall from electric plugs which had been taken out.
I contacted Authentica to let them know that I was concerned with the condition of the apartment and I was quite astonished at how rude they were when I did speak to them. I was incredibly polite with them and they did finally agree to provide a working kettle and agreed to take off one night’s rent, but said that the rest of the complaints were unreasonable and that $110 was very good value for this level of quality in Tel Aviv. I know that this is untrue as other friends have since told me they stayed in self-contained apartments for much less than we paid and they were really luxurious. Authentica refused to receive my phone calls thereafter. I tried to contact them to show them round the apartment and point out how it was completely uninhabitable, but to no avail.
We spent as little time as possible in the apartment and on our final day, the authentica rep’s husband showed up an hour before our official checkout time to hassle us to move out. He also refused to allow us to keep our bags in the room, as we had previously agreed, which meant we had to carry out bags into central tel aviv where we took them to the Gordon Street hostel, who were more than happy to store our bags for the day. We were as polite and friendly with Authentica as we could possibly be, but the experience was really awful.
I would advise you to AVOID any Authentica apartments as not only are they poor value for money and frankly awful places to stay, but the Authentica staff are unapologetically rude and unfriendly. There are plenty of great places to stay in Tel Aviv, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake we did!