Cheeky, colorful and oh so cute, this darling boutique hotel on bustling Dizengoff Street puts you right into the heart of the action while refusing to skimp on the important details. Service is friendly and upbeat, and comes with lots of extra small touches -- free drinks and snacks in the lobby, candy-colored bikes for rent and a peaceful little backyard garden to rest and recharge.
"CuCu" doesn't mean crazy -- it's the Hebrew version of "Peekaboo!" So when you enter the elevator to go up to your room, don't hesitate to press the bright red "CuCu" button, and then look up and smile: It's a camera, and you'll find a magnet with your grinning mug on it in a few hours next to the reception desk.
These are rooms that were designed to make you smile: Primary-color murals of stars appear are painted on the walls, the walls are lined with brightly painted wooden panels, and the design includes clever little touches like "Mirror Mirror On The Wall" inscribed on -- you guessed it -- the full-length mirror. Superior rooms offer a balcony with a fun swinging chair overlooking Dizengoff Boulevard, and all rooms feature a firm, comfortable bed.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms at the Cucu run on the small side, so upgrade to a Superior or Suite if you want extra space. Also, there is some street noise from Dizengoff at night, though not much. If you're a super-light sleeper, though, take note.
Colorful floor tiling and a rainfall shower are nice touches for the bathroom, as are Dead Sea toiletries and cute canine-themed wall hooks.
YOU SHOULD KNOW That glass wall on the bathroom is controlled by a lucidity panel, which means it can switch from translucent to frosted with the flip of button. The better to see you with.
Holy freebies, batman: The CuCu welcomes guests into its comfortable lobby with a complimentary espresso machine, unlimited cookies and lollipops, and in the afternoon and evening, even a bucket of ice-cold beers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There's a lovely little seating area behind the building as well -- just follow the pathway that leads from Dizengoff into the lobby and keep going until you find the tables, chairs and loungers clustered under a few green trees.
The bare-bones spa nevertheless gets the job done if you're in need of a rubdown: You can book a massage for singles or couples in the ground-floor treatment room.
There is no gym on site, but hotel guests are offered free access to a fully equipped sports center at the nearby Dizengoff Center mall.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The gym in partnership with Cucu has an Olympic-sized swimming pool available, so don't forget to pack your Speedo.
Breakfast is served downstairs at the adjacent Cafe Castel. There is no room service or on-site restaurant.
Tel Aviv is a walking city, and there are few boulevards more action-packed than Dizengoff. Step out of the hotel right into some of the best street life the city has to offer, and don't be afraid to hoof it -- from here, it's a flat, easy walk to nearly all major sites. For those who prefer to travel by wheels, taxis are plentiful, there are dozens of buslines running down Dizengoff, and the "5" yellow shared taxi minibus runs a set route through Dizengoff that snakes north to the Tel Aviv Port and south to Rothschild Boulevard.
A stone's throw away, La Shuk (2-minute walk) serves Middle Eastern dishes with market-fresh ingredients; just a few steps further, falafel and hummus temple HaKosem (4-minute walk) is the undisputed street food king of Tel Aviv; while Moon Sushi (4-minute walk) offers fresh twists on Japanese staples and is also happy to deliver takeout straight to your hotel room door.
If you're into tippling, the CuCu couldn't be in a better location: Beer Garden (2-minute walk) features packed outdoor tables, craft pours and lots of happy hipsters and their even hipper dogs; Concierge (3-minute walk) offers inventive cocktails in a rich, romantic space; while 223 (20-minute walk) is a modern spin on the speakeasy and gets crowded after midnight.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Cucu is a rare hotel that offers the complete package: killer location, upbeat and helpful staff, a reasonable price point and a charming, cheerful motif. Come for the amazing central address, stay for the lovely murals, delicious free cookies and the general sense of fun that infuses every corner of the hotel. If you're a scrooge, a grump or you prefer a stiffer upper lip when it comes to service, this isn't the place for you. And that's exactly why it's the place for us.