Category Archives: Hotel

The Arava, Hiking, Biking and Swimming in the Desert

Part of the Great Rift Valley that runs for some 5000km from northern Syria to central Mozambique, this austerely beautiful and sparsely populated desert stretches from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea and has as its backdrop the majestic multi-hued Jordanian mountain range known in Israel as the Edom (Red) Mountains. Map.

The desert scenery is most spectacular around the settlement of Tzukim (aka Zuqim, or Zukim)(map) on Hwy 90 between the Dead Sea and Zihor Junction.

Arava
Arava

The Arava is becoming known as a center for outdoor activities, especially cycling. A popular 33km bike trail runs along a wadi (dry river bed) between Zofar (map) and Paran (map), and the desert terrain is a favorite destination for 4WD enthusiasts. In rainy years, Eshet Lake near Paran (map) is a popular swimming spot.

Arava
Arava

Kibbutz Neot Semadar (054 979 8966 (gallery), 08-635 8170 (tours); http://www.neot-semadar.com; Shizafon Junction; gallery entrance 18NIS, two-hour guided tour 250NIS; tours & gallery entrance 11am-2pm Sun-Fri)(map)
A true oasis in the desert, this kibbutz has lush green surrounds and a bizarre pink tower in which residents have established an arts center and a gallery where artisan crafts are sold to the public. The community was established in 1989 and focuses on promoting cooperation, creativity and learning in daily life. It supports itself through agriculture (orchard and olive grove), a winery, a solar field and the workshops it runs on self-awareness and Eco-building. The kibbutz is located on Hwy 40, halfway between Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat (10km up Hwy 40 from Ketura Junction on Hwy 90).

Kibbutz Neot Semadar
Kibbutz Neot Semadar

Timna Park (08-631 6756; http://www.parktimna.co.il; day ticket adult/child 44/36NIS; 8am-4pm Sat-Thu, 8am-3pm Fri )(map)
The colorful sands and craggy mountains of the Timna Valley, 25km north of Eilat, are full of minerals including copper, iron and manganese. This park incorporates traces from one of the world’s first copper mines,

King Solomon's Mines
King Solomon’s Mines

and is home to thousands of ancient mining shafts, the remains of smelting furnaces dating back to ancient imperial Egypt, temple remnants and ancient rock drawings depicting ostriches, ibex and Egyptian battle chariots. Other attractions are geological phenomena including Solomon’s Pillars

Solon pillars
Solon pillars

(two huge columns of granite formed by rainwater some 540 million years ago) and the Mushroom, an eroded monolith in the shape of…you guessed it. You could easily spend a whole day hiking here, but the park is so spread out that you’ll also need a car. Information about walks is available at the visitor center, accessed off Hwy 90.

Timna National Park
Timna National Park

Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve (08-637 6018; http://www.parks.org.il; adult/student/child 29/25/15NIS; h8.30am-4pm Sun-Thu, 8.30am-3pm Fri & Sat) (map)
Wild animals that are mentioned in the Bible are bred at this nature reserve 35km north of Eilat, as are other endangered desert species. Divided into three areas – an area where herds of desert herbivores live in conditions similar to the wild; enclosures containing large predators, reptiles and small desert animals; and a ‘dark room’ to view nocturnal animals when they are active – it can be thoroughly explored in two hours if you have your own car. The reserve’s inhabitants include asses, oryx, addax and ostriches, and its flora includes acacia groves. You’ll find it on Hwy 90 about 42km north of Eilat, between Kibbutz Yotvata and Kibbutz Samar.

Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve
Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

Kibbutz Ketura (www.ketura.org.il) (map)
One of the most interesting of Israel’s kibbutzim, Ketura has transformed itself from an agricultural kibbutz into a leader in innovative eco-technology. Founded in 1973, it is unusual in that it is a CABIN multinational, religiously pluralistic community. Home to the internationally renowned Arava Institute (http://arava.org), which researches and draws attention to ecological problems in the region, it runs businesses including a date plantation, a dairy farm, a photovoltaic solar field and an algae factory producing the powerful antioxidant Astaxanthin. The kibbutz is located on Hwy 90, 50km north of Eilat.

Kibbutz Ketura
Kibbutz Ketura

Kibbutz Lotan (08-635 6935; http://www.kibbutzlotan.com)(map)
Embracing an ecological vision known in Hebrew as tikun ‘olam (repairing the world), this kibbutz is known for its sincere and long-demonstrated commitment to sustainability and cooperative action. Visitors can take a guided daily tour at 9.30am (20NIS), spot wildlife in the kibbutz’s nature and bird reserve, discover the therapeutic delight of watsu (water shiatsu) in the kibbutz’s heated pool, or sign up for a one-week ‘eco-experience’, four- to seven-week ‘green apprenticeship’ or short permaculture workshop at the ecology education center. Regional bus 20 from Eilat stops at the kibbutz, and Egged buses to/from Tel Aviv stop on Hwy 90, nearby.

Kibbutz Lotan
Kibbutz Lotan

Samar Bike (052 551 8904, 052 304 0640; http://www.samarbike.com; Kibbutz Samar) (map)
Based at Kibbutz Samar, 34km north of Eilat, this outfit runs bike tours across a variety of trails in the Arava and can supply pick-up and drop-off services and logistics for those wanting to cycle part of the Israel National Trail. It operates a small guesthouse on the kibbutz that is tailored specifically towards bike tourism.

Samar Bike
Samar Bike

Sleeping & Eating

Desert Routes Inn (052 366 5927, 08-658 1829; Hatzeva; dm/d/tw/f US$27/208/208/285)(map)
The owners of this khan (desert inn) close to the Jordanian border in the Northern Arava are a mine of information about the area and can organize jeep, hiking and rappelling tours. They offer private and dorm rooms, and also operate a nearby camping ground. There’s a communal kitchen and hospitality tent, making it a great option for self-caterers.

Desert Routes Inn
Desert Routes Inn

Desert Days: Negev Eco Lodge (058 484 2357, 052 617 0028; http://www.negevecolodge.com; Tzukim; d weekday/weekend 450/525NIS, per child extra 50NIS)(map)
Nine cabins made of straw bales and mud provide a base for city dwellers seeking a tranquil desert escape. The surrounds are stony and stark, but there is an unusual string of desert pools to soften the overall effect. Each cabin can sleep up to six, and green features include self-composting toilets, recycled grey water and solar-generated power. Breakfast costs an extra 50/30NIS per adult/child. To reach the lodge, turn off Rte 90 at Tzukim and follow the ‘Desert Days’ sign.

Desert Days: Negev Eco Lodge
Desert Days: Negev Eco Lodge

Neot Semadar Guesthouse (054 979 8433; http://www.neot-semadar.com; d weekday/weekend 430/480NIS)(map)
A minimalist aesthetic is the hallmark of these sustainable built and attractive cabins, which are set in a garden on the edge of an olive grove. Each is equipped with a fridge and kettle, and the room charge includes a breakfast basket. Other meals can be taken at the nearby inn.

Neot Semadar Guesthouse
Neot Semadar Guesthouse

Kibbutz Ketura Country Lodge (057 941 9109; http://www.keren-kolot-israel.co.il;  weekdays/weekends NIS350/400, d 440/530)(map)
Ketura’s guesthouse is comfortable and extremely well maintained. Three types of room are on offer: the ‘Marulla’, which sleeps up to four and has a private terrace; the two-room ‘Pitaya’ family suite, which sleeps up to eight; and the four-room ‘Argania’, which can also sleep eight. All have kitchenette and cable TV, and there are communal BBQs. Facilities include a basketball court, football field, alternative health centre (treatments from 180NIS), bicycle hire, and on-site coffee shop (open 8am to 11pm every day except Shabbat). Guests receive a free tour of the kibbutz and are welcome to join members for a dairy dinner (adult/child 35/30NIS) in the communal dining hall. Egged buses traveling along Hwy 90 will drop passengers at Ketura (40 minutes from Eilat; be sure to specify Kibbutz Ketura, not Ketura Junction). From Eilat, Regional Council bus 20 also stops here.

Kibbutz Ketura Country Lodge
Kibbutz Ketura Country Lodge

Kibbutz Lotan Guesthouse (08-635 6935; http://www.kibbutzlotan.com;  weekday/weekend 300/370NIS, d 370/440NIS)(map)
There are two types of accommodation on offer at this kibbutz: simple but comfortable guesthouse cabins with kitchenette, bathroom, air-con and outdoor seating area; and hippy-ish mud eco-domes (some with private bathroom and some with shared facilities). Prices include breakfast in the kibbutz tea house, and other meals may be enjoyed with kibbutz residents in the communal dining room. Lotan is known as a ‘baby-butz’ because it is relatively small and many of its residents are  young (the average age is 40), so there’s a lively atmosphere. Facilities include shady gardens, a children’s playground, a basketball court and a soccer field. Meals make the most of home-grown vegetables and dates, as well as dairy products made on site, and both vegans and vegetarians are catered for. Egged buses travelling to/from Eilat will drop passengers on Hwy 90 near the 1.5km-long access road to the kibbutz (45 minutes from Eilat); Regional Council bus 20 comes to the kibbutz itself.

Kibbutz Lotan Guesthouse
Kibbutz Lotan Guesthouse

Midbara (052 701 0444; http://www.midbara.co.il; Tzukim; d weekdays/weekends 800/900NIS, q 1200/1500NIS)(map)
The settlement of Tzukim is becoming a tourism hotspot, with a boom in construction of desert lodges. Midbara is definitely the most attractive of these, offering 11 well-spaced, comfortable and stylish mud cabins scattered along a valley planted with fruit trees. All its cabins have kitchens, a few have indoor fireplaces and most have a private relaxation pool and hammock. Children love the free bike hire and on-site animals (chickens, a camel), so it’s a great spot for a family holiday. Note that prices drop for stays of multiple nights. Tzukim is 113km north of Eilat. To reach the lodge, turn off Rte 90 at Tzukim and follow the ‘Desert Days’ sign.

Midbara
Midbara

Nof Zuqim (08-658 4748; http://www.nofzuqim.co.il; Tzukim; standard weekdays/weekends 820/1130NIS, d with panoramic view 1040/1430NIS)(map)

Nof Zuqim
Nof Zuqim

A great deal of thought has gone into the design of these mud cabins overlooking a stony wadi in Tzukim. Each is extremely well equipped and tastefully decorated, and has an outdoor BBQ and private balcony with hot tub. It’s worth paying extra for a cabin with a panoramic view, as the mountain vistas are magnificent. A delicious breakfast can be delivered to your cabin for 54NIS per person.

Nof Zuqim
Nof Zuqim

Neot Semadar Inn (08-635 8180; http://www.neot-semadar.com; Shizzafon Junction; labneh 26NIS, cheese platter 50NIS, mains 40-45NIS; h7am-7pm Sun-Thu, 7am-3pm Fri)(map)
A lush rear garden gives this roadside inn its name (neot means ‘oasis’). Operated by the kibbutz of the same name, it serves home-made goats cheese and labneh, as well as a range of salads, egg dishes, dips, pasta and cakes made using organic produce. Be sure to try one of the home-made fruit nectars or juices.

Neot Semadar Inn
Neot Semadar Inn

Messianic Guest Houses throughout Israel

Awake Israel Guesthouse

Very large great home near beach with rooms large , private bathroom, bath, terrace refrigerator.For couples, individuals and or small groups, restaurants, buses and shopping convenient and very near.. Airport only 15 min. Can also take you for Biblical or prayer touring in van 6 people. Suggested rates, all donations go towards local messianic ministry only and are heavenly good rates! 1700 7 222 77 or www.awakeisrael.org

Beit Bracha Prayer and Retreat Center

This House of Blessing, as it is called, is literally ministering peace to Christians from around the world, people who come to trace the steps of the Master and discover within a short distance the very places where Jesus walked and taught: The Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha…and much more.

Likewise, local residents often divided by religion and ethnicity flock to the House of Blessing because they are welcomed. One day it is an army commander seeking brief refuge from a war. Another, it is a Messianic Jewish couple celebrating their wedding; yet another, a group of young Arab believers there for Bible study and discipleship. Day after day, individuals, families and groups arrive from near and far for retreats, prayer tours, local gatherings and fellowship in this place that ministers the love of Jesus and fosters peace and reconciliation.


Beit Immanuel Guest House

Welcome to our Hostel and Guest House! Our accommodations are ideal for all travelers, couples, families with kids, as well as groups. We have private rooms with bathrooms as well as large dormitory rooms for younger people and those on limited budgets.We are a five minute walk from Tel-Aviv’s finest beaches, adjacent to the Ancient Port Jaffa, 25 minutes from the Ben Gurion International Airport, and only an hour from Jerusalem. Beit Immanuel is the perfect place to stay while touring the land of Israel on holiday, for special prayer tours or on short-term outreaches. We offer clean, quality rooms at very reasonable prices in a warm and friendly atmosphere you can trust. In our lobby there is free wireless internet!


Bethel Hostel

In the middle of the German Colony in Haifa, near the harbor and at the foot of Mount Carmel is the Bethel Hostel. We offer a centrally-located, clean and affordable accommodation for Christian groups and individuals who love the land…


Caesarea Villa

The Caesarea Villa offers you a luxurious time in the Central-Northern Coast of Israel.

The Villa is located in the center of Caesarea, in an exclusive and beautiful neighborhood, 5 minutes from the beach, ancient Roman ruins and an archeological park. A local trail takes you on a 5 minute walk to the sand dunes and private beach shoreline.

The Villa features a 3 story house with 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 business lounges, outdoor gardens & patios, a salon, dining area, backyard, and fully equipped kitchen with all necessary cookware, dish-ware, silver-ware, and appliances provided. Free WiFi is included, a barbecue, backyard deck and garden.

The house is ideal for family vacations, tour groups, community club gatherings, and celebration/event hosting (for bar mitzvahs, weddings, etc). Each room can be booked individually or the house can be rented as a whole. The Villa is available for short term or long term rentals (3-6 months maximum).

Visit our website for photos, full description, rooms & rates, availability calendar, and more info about the surrounding area (including local attractions & activities).

http://guesthouseisrael.com/property/caesarea-villa

Contact: Sarah at +972.50.9471705 or Contact@GuestHouseIsrael.com


Christ Church Guesthouse

For visitors to Jerusalem needing a place to stay, nowhere compares to the historic environment of Christ Church Guest House.

Located just inside the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, the Guest House is an integral part of the Christ Church Ministry Centre.  Outside shopkeepers hawk their wares and tourists throng the Arab Market and flock to the Old City’s many historic sites. Within a short walk are Herod’s Palace/David’s Tower Museum, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Zion.

Inside a tranquil refuge greets the weary traveller! Your home in Jerusalem was built and is maintained in the Ottoman style; domed ceilings and Bethlehem stone floors; sympathetic modern decor sits alongside 19th century British colonial furniture and architecture.


Galilee Gateway

Our apartments are located in a serene Galilean village with a breathtaking view to the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and the Gilead mountains.

If you are exploring Israel for historical sites, our location offers you a central hub to base out of for your days in northern Israel. Within half an hour drive you can visit many different biblical sites like Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Beit Saida, Magdala, the Jordan River, the site of the Fish and the Loaves and the district of the Gaderene.

There are also various beautiful hikes in our neighbourhood as well as the hot springs of Hamat Gader and Tiberias.

Let us spoil you for a while in one of our gorgeous apartments, which enjoy complete privacy with a separate entrance!


Hotel Beth Shalom

Beth Shalom was first created as a branch of «Missionswerk Mitternachtsruf » (Midnight Call ), a worldwide ministry with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. For Wim Malgo, the founder of the Beth Shalom guesthouse, the return of the Jewish people to the land and the establishment of the State of Israel were clear signs of Jesus’ imminent return. In his sermons he constantly pointed out that Israel is the visible sign of this event and that Christians should be awake and ready for it.

The hotel was destined to serve as an effective and practical sign of the closeness that believers have with Israel and the way how God is dealing with His people. From its inception it has served as a starting point of tours through the land, so that many visitors can see with their own eyes how the ancient biblical promises for Israel are being fulfilled, promises that God proclaimed through His prophets thousands of years ago.

The first Beth-Shalom Israel tours were arranged in 1970. Since that time we have organised tours for many thousand visitors. One of the annual highlights is our «Congress Tour» including a two-day conference on biblical prophecy. Moreover, the hotel Beth-Shalom is open for both groups and individuals.

The management of the hotel is in the capable hands of Fredi and Beate Winkler-Malgo. As a licensed tour guide Fredi Winkler has a profound knowledge of Israel’s multi-faceted history, and he has the unique gift of combining facts of the land’s biblical past with recent and future developments. Guided tours with him make a stay at the hotel Beth-Shalom an unforgettable experience. He is also willing to arrange personalized excursions and tours for individuals or small groups. A minibus with 13 seats is available for these tours.


Hotel Gilgal – Tel Aviv

Boutique Hotel near the beach

Hotel Gilgal, owned by Jacob and Elisheva Damkani, is located in the heart of Tel Aviv, on a quiet street, only two minutes’ walk from the beach. It is a unique and modern boutique hotel with a relaxing and intimate atmosphere. This 3 star superior hotel, places the utmost priority on providing personal and warm service to every guest along with modern accommodations and high standard of comfort.

Hotel Gilgal is located in the vibrant heart of Israel, on a quiet street in the center of the city of Tel-Aviv. Here in the vicinity of the shopping district, are well known restaurants and popular bars. Only a short walk away from the Mediterranean seashore and a bit of a longer walk away from the old city of Jaffa and the Tel Aviv Port.

Original works of art inspired by Bible stories decorate the hotel. Each of the rooms is named after a historical site in Israel. The site’s picture decorates the room and welcomes you into a journey in Israel. Guest can join weekly bible studies and services which are held at the “Gates of Heaven” and enjoy the biblical library in the lobby.


House of Peace Hostel

House of Peace is a unique place in Bethlehem, located in the heart of the city in a calm, friendly neighborhood. The Guest House is only a short walk from the Church of the Nativity ‘ the birthplace of Jesus ‘ as well as the market streets with local shops and restaurants.

We offer Dorm rooms, Private rooms, a Lounge, a Guest Kitchen with a fridge, gas stove, and a microwave, Great Balconies on each floor, and an Awesome Roof Top open to each visitor.

Please Note : Our 10 bed Mixed Dorm is on the outside Roof Top

We have special rates for groups and long term stays

House of Peace is within walking distance from the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem’s major market streets including grocery stores and the old cities of Bethlehem and Bet Sahour.

Just a few minutes driving distance are Solomon’s Pools, David’s Wells, the Shepherds’ Fields, the Milk Grotto, and Rachel’s Tomb.

Using public transportation you can easily travel to Jerusalem, Jericho, Ramallah, Ein Gedi, the Herodian, Hebron, and most other places in mid-Israel. Some of the above places in the West Bank we can arrange for private transportation.


Jerusalem Hills Inn

Jerusalem Hills Inn is a family-run bed-and-breakfast, conveniently located about 10 minutes from downtown Jerusalem.  It is 30 minutes to Ben Gurion Airport, 45 minutes to the Dead Sea, and 45 minutes to Tel Aviv.  This makes a great base…


Messiah Guest House

Great location on Mt. Zion, within walking distance to the Old City. Free parking in gated community. Wifi. Breakfast included and cooking priveleges  Close to shopping and public transportation Erev Shabbat meal available for small fee.


Poriya Illit Refuge

Peaceful getaway in the Galilee. Come hear the birds sing as you gaze at the mountains of  the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee. No traffic noise!   Lovely 3 bedroom apartment, sleeps 7, in…


“Retro” A Holiday Apartment in Israel

The luxury, gorgeous and romantic, renovated in “Retro” style, apartment is in the best location – Scenic Sharon Beach of Herzliya Pituach. The location is close to the beach. To the west of the highways, right on the…


Shelter Hostel

Welcome to The Shelter Hostel in Eilat, where the rugged Negev Desert meets the beautiful Red Sea. Here, you can enjoy friendly and peaceful surroundings with an international atmosphere. In the Shelter, each guest feels like they’ve found a home away from…


Shoshana’s Bed & Breakfast

B&B in the Haifa Area  The view from the apartment faces the whole port of Haifa. Lovely neighborhood.  Bus accessible, within a 5 min walking distance.  Suitable for a single woman traveling.  Includes breakfast.


Yad Hashmona Country Hotel

  • Yad Hashmona
“Yad Hashmona” means Memorial to the Eight. Sometimes it is written as Yad Ha8.
The name was given by the founding settlers
in memory of eight Jewish refugees, who
escaped in 1938 from Austria to Finland, and who were surrendered by the Finns to the Gestapo in November 1942. It was a time when the Finnish government collaborated with Nazi Germany in opposition to the Soviet Union, in an attempt to recover the Karelia region – which Stalin had ‘stolen’ from the Finns in the “Winter War” of 1939/40.

The eight refugees were taken to Auschwitz, where seven of them
were murdered. The lone survivor, Dr. Georg Kolman, who lost his wife and baby son in the extermination camp, made aliya to Eretz Israel. The Finnish founders of the Moshav wished to somehow atone on behalf of their nation for the surrender of the eight to the Nazis, and they viewed their contribution to the Land of Israel as a public request for forgiveness.

Notwithstanding the Finnish government’s refusal to surrender all
of their Jewish citizens to the Germans, the action taken on Finnish
soil against the eight Austrian Jews remained a heavy burden on the
Finns’ conscience. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until November 2000 that the Finnish government and Church leaders dedicated a memorial to the eight in Helsinki. A monument was erected in the Observatory Hill, opposite Helsinki’s South Harbour, from where the refugees embarked on the death ship SS Hohenhörn. In the presence of representatives of the Jewish community in Finland, the Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, begged the forgiveness of the entire Jewish people.

Sleeping in Jerusalem Old City

Again I’m sharing guide-information with you, but this time it’s about hotels and hostels in Jerusalem, especially the old city. Most budget accommodation is located in the Old City’s Muslim, Christian and Armenian Quarters or in the city center. Decent mid-range options are thin on the ground, but there are plenty of choices in the top-end category, including atmospheric Christian hospices in the Old City and boutique hotels in the city center.

There are no hotels or guesthouses of note in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. If you want atmosphere, by all means stay in the Old City. But if you are after proximity to restaurants, bars, cafes and public transport, you are much better off staying in the city center, Mamilla or Yemin Moshe. If you have a car you’ll need to stay in the New City or pay NIS 48 per 24 hours for a space at Mamilla Parking near Jaffa Gate.

Room rates can fluctuate wildly between seasons and in response to political disturbances. I have quoted high-season rates in my reviews; these apply from April to June and from September to October, as well as during Easter, Christmas and the New Year.

Before I go, some words about hotels and (especially) hostels in Israel in general and the hotels and hostels in Jerusalem specific and I will be brief. The inside of the hotels in Israel are in general more or less shabby (with exceptions) and compared with anywhere else pricey. Hotels in Jerusalem have the same problem, but the hostels are worse compared with the rest of Israel (with exceptions)! So please, don’t let you be fooled by prices as the means to make a choice in hotel or hostel. The best way to indicate the shabby-state of hotels and hostels are the bedrooms.

Old City

If you arrive in Jerusalem by taxi or sherut (taxi-bus) and are staying in the Old City, you’ll need to alight at one of the city gates and walk to your hotel. Note that the call to prayer can be a problem for light sleepers in the Muslim Quarter – bring earplugs.

  • Hashimi Hotel & Hostel (02-628 4410; http://www.alhashimihotel-jerusalem.com; 73 Souq Khan al-Zeit St, Muslim Quarter; dm/s/d US$35/60/95, Map)
    Slap bang in the middle of the market, this Palestinian-owned hostel imposes a number of rules on its guests (no alcohol, no unmarried couples in the same room, no credit cards, no mixed dorms, no breathing (joking 🙂), etc), but all is forgiven when the newly renovated rooms are inspected and the extraordinary view from the rooftop is admired. Some of the rooms have views of the Dome of the Rock (request 313 or 311). Each of the two dorms has air-con, private bathroom and TV; the one on the 3rd floor has a view. Wi-fi is available in the lobby and on the 4th floor only (buy a SIM to be and stay independent and always have Internet).
Hashimi Hotel & Hostel
Hashimi Hotel & Hostel
  • Jaffa Gate Hostel (02-627 6402; http://www.jaffa-gate.hostel.com; Jaffa Gate; dm 100NIS, s/d 250/320NIS, with shared bathroom 200/280NIS, Map)
    Arab-run, this small and friendly hostel has one dorm (sleeping four) and 23 small and very basic rooms (more like extended coffins). There’s a lounge, a small roof terrace with wonderful views and a communal kitchen. Note that Muslim house rules prevent alcohol on the premises, breakfast isn’t served and credit-card payments aren’t possible.

    Jaffa Gate Hostel
    Jaffa Gate Hostel
  • Golden Gate Inn (02-628 4317; http://www.goldengate4.com; 10 Souq Khan al-Zeit St, Muslim Quarter; dm/d/tr 80/250/350NIS, Map)
    Set inside an atmospheric old home, this family-run guesthouse near Damascus Gate has single-sex dorms and clean rooms with en-suite bathroom, cable TV and air-con. The communal kitchen is spacious and well maintained, and there’s a rooftop with views. Note that wi-fi only works in the lobby and alcohol is forbidden on the premises.

    Golden Gate Inn
    Golden Gate Inn
  • Citadel Youth Hostel (02-628 5253; http://www.citadelyouthhostel.com; 20 St Mark’s Rd, Armenian Quarter; mattresses on roof 55NIS, dm 70NIS, d 320NIS, s/d with shared bathroom 180/200NIS, Map)
    A perfect example of a hostel with unrealized potential, the Citadel is only worth considering if the Abraham, Hashimi and Jaffa Gate Hostels are full. A labyrinthine 500-year-old building with plenty of Jerry-built additions, it offers thin foam mattresses on the rooftop in summer, old mattresses on the dorm beds, cramped and smelly shared bathrooms and overpriced private rooms.

    Citadel Youth Hostel
    Citadel Youth Hostel
  • Petra Hostel (02-628 6618; http://www.newpetrahostel.com; Omar Ibn al-Khattab Sq, Jaffa Gate; mattress on roof 50NIS, dm 70NIS, s/d 220/320NIS, Map)
    Built in the 1820s, this is the oldest hotel in Jerusalem. Some of its illustrious former patrons include Mark Twain and Herman Melville (and me of course). Unfortunately, the antiquated charm counts for little when the hot, stuffy and grubby rooms and dorms are taken into account. Only worth considering if you’re on a very tight budget and don’t mind roughing it.
    The only thing still very special about this guest house is the roof! Don’t forget the roof when you are there. And for the price you pay, no complaining.

    Petra Hostel
    Petra Hostel
  • Austrian Hospice (02-626 5800; http://www.austrianhospice.com; 37 Via Dolorosa, Muslim Quarter; dm/s/d/tr  €26/76/118/165, Map)
    This castle-like guesthouse first opened in 1863 and has plenty of heritage features. Rooms are simply furnished but are large and have good beds; three have a balcony and two have air-con (€5 surcharge). Single-sex dorms are in the basement, where there are also squeaky-clean shared bathrooms. The cloistered garden cafe is a popular retreat for guests. The hospice is on the corner of Al-Wad St and Via Dolorosa. Ring the intercom to enter (reception is open 7am to 11pm).

    Austrian Hospice
    Austrian Hospice
  • Lutheran Guest House (02-626 6888; http://www.luth-guesthouse-jerusalem.com; St Mark’s Rd, Armenian Quarter; s/d/tr €?, Map)(I never managed to get to know their prices. The man kept on talking and talking …)
    Beyond the heavy steel door are a welcoming lobby, a variety of rooms, a courtyard garden and rooftop reading room and a lounge. Guest rooms are simply furnished but comfortable, and there’s a generous buffet breakfast. From Jaffa Gate, walk down David St, then take the first right up a narrow staircase; the guesthouse is 100m down on the left.

    Lutheran Guest House
    Lutheran Guest House
  • Ecce Homo Pilgrim House (02-627 7292; reservation@eccehomoconvent.org; 41 Via Dolorosa, Muslim Quarter; dm/s/tw US$35/63/106, Map)
    If staying a few nights in a convent sounds intriguing, book yourself into this 150-year-old pilgrim guesthouse on the Via Dolorosa. The stone walls and dim corridors certainly evoke the feeling of a time gone by, and the rooftop terrace and comfortable reading lounge are lovely. Rooms are simply furnished and can be hot (no air-con). There’s a curfew.
    I slept there one time for 5 nights because of a Pilgrim tour in Jerusalem. I lost 5 kg that week, it was so hot. That means that it’s good.

    Ecce Homo Pilgrim House
    Ecce Homo Pilgrim House
  • Hotel East New Imperial (02-628 2261; http://www.newimperial.com; Jaffa Gate; s/d US$70/120, Map)
    Owner Abu el-Walid Dajani provides a warm welcome to his family’s hotel (they’ve owned it since 1949) and can spin some nice stories about its history. The labyrinthine layout can be confusing and B&B rooms are of varying quality; ask for a newly renovated one overlooking the side street, as the others aren’t great. A four-course dinner costs US$20.

    Hotel East New Imperial
    Hotel East New Imperial
  • Armenian Guesthouse (02-626 0880; armenianguesthouse@hotmail.com; 36 Via Dolorosa, Muslim Quarter; dm US$39, s US$97, d US$136, Map)
    Recently renovated and reasonably priced rooms make this guesthouse in the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate worth considering. There’s no garden and no atmospheric common areas (the things that make the guesthouses run by other religious orders in the city so special), but the very clean rooms are modern with good bathrooms and comfortable beds.
    And there are the same beds my grandmother slept in in Holland. Amazing!

    Armenian Guesthouse
    Armenian Guesthouse
  • Christ Church Guesthouse (02-627 7727; http://www.cmj-israel.org; Omar Ibn al-Khattab Sq, Jaffa Gate; s US$128, d US$194, Map)
    This wonderfully maintained guesthouse gets high marks for its period atmosphere, multilingual staff, prime location and garden setting. The simply furnished rooms have stone floors, domed ceilings and comfortable beds, and there are lounges where guests can relax over free tea and coffee. Breakfast (included), lunch (20NIS to 60NIS) and dinner (65NIS) are served in the on-site cafe.
    It’s still quite pricey, and the food is reasonable (except that awful salad)!

    Christ Church Guesthouse
    Christ Church Guesthouse

East Jerusalem

Muslim Cemetery along the Eastern Wall of the Old City of Jerusalem near Lions Gate.
Muslim Cemetery along the Eastern Wall of the Old City of Jerusalem near Lions Gate.

The area immediately east of the Old City’s Damascus Gate is predominantly Palestinian and has a pronounced Middle Eastern vibe – street traders hawk their wares to housewives wearing hijab, Arabic music blares from cars, and shopfronts and streets are decidedly less manicured than their often-staid West Jerusalem equivalents. There is a mix of Arab- and multinational-owned hotels here, but few are worthy of recommendation. The Damascus Gate, Shivtel Israel and Shimon  HaTzadik JLR stops are close by.

  • American Colony Hotel (02-627 9777; http://www.americancolony.com; 1 Louis Vincent St; s US$265, d US$310-640, ste US$675- 955, Map)
    This historic hotel, built in 1902 and now Swiss-run, was a popular lodging for wealthy Westerners in the early 20th century and is still is a destination of choice for many VIPs. There’s a variety of rooms spread across three wings; all are elegant and comfortable, but those in the original building are definitely the best. The breakfast buffet is excellent. The facilities here include a pool, a well-equipped gym, a courtyard cafe, a lobby lounge, a cellar bar and a garden and the black haired receptionist with her smoldering green eyes and hot voice makes you not sleepy.
    If you have the budget, this is the hotel to stay when you are in Jerusalem. The one and only.

    American Colony Hotel In Jerusalem
    American Colony Hotel In Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem Hotel (02-628 8982, 02-628 3282; http://www.jrshotel.com; Derekh Shchem (Nablus) Rd; s/d US$160/240, Map)
    With tile-clad stone walls, high ceilings and antique furnishings, this small and friendly hotel in an 1890s building opposite one of the East Jerusalem bus stations can rightfully claim boutique status. The vine-covered courtyard restaurant is a lovely spot for dinner in warm weather.
    I love this hotel, because the rooms are amazing. And their stories are amazing too, especially when you cant sleep.

    Jerusalem Hotel
    Jerusalem Hotel
  • St George’s Guesthouse (02-628 3302; stgeorges.gh@j-diocese.org; 20 Derekh Shchem (Nablus) Rd; standard s/d US$110/150, deluxe s/d US$150/180, Map)
    Located on the property of a 110-year-old Anglican church, this tranquil guesthouse has twin guest rooms set around a lovely courtyard garden. Amenities are good – each room has beds with crisp linen, satellite TV and a kettle; the deluxe versions with their stone walls, extra space and modernized bathrooms are worth the extra charge.

    St George’s Guesthouse
    St George’s Guesthouse
  • Legacy Hotel (02-627 0800; http://www.jerusalemlegacy.com; 29 Derekh Shchem (Nablus) Rd; royal s/d US$150/185, executive s/d US$175/195, Map)
    After changing its name and having a major facelift, the former YMCA hostel in East Jerusalem is looking pretty snazzy. There are two types of room (deluxe and standard), both of which have kettles and cable TV. It’s worth paying extra for a deluxe version as these have larger bathrooms and balconies with views over the Mount of Olives. Facilities include a 5th-floor restaurant with great views over the Old City, a lobby bar and a garden cafe. Guests are given free entry to the YMCA gym and indoor pool in the building next door.

    Legacy Hotel
    Legacy Hotel
  • National Hotel (02-627 8880; http://www.nationalhotel-jerusalem.com; As-Zahra St; s/d/tr US$170/200/270, Map)
    It wouldn’t win any awards for its design, but this modern hotel near Herod’s Gate has a number of things working in its favor, including good service, free parking and an on-site restaurant with views over the Mount of Olives (no alcohol, though). Wi-fi is available in the lobby only.

    National Hotel
    National Hotel

City Center

The commercial heart of predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem, this area is full of sleeping, eating and drinking options but almost totally closes down over Shabbat. The JLR travels down the city centre’s spine, Jaffa Rd, and both the Old City and the Central Bus Station are within walking distance.

  • Abraham Hostel (02-650 2200; https://abrahamhostels.com; 67 HaNevi’im St, Davidka Sq; dm 114NIS, s 300NIS, d 480NIS, Map)
    Put simply, the Abraham is an exemplar for hostels everywhere. The best backpacker option in the city (none of the others come close), it’s conveniently located next to the Davidka tram stop, its en-suite rooms are basic but clean, the convivial lounge-bar has an attached communal kitchen and – best of all – there’s a huge entertainment and tours program. Try to be here on Shabbat, when the hostel holds a dinner for up to 40 people (40NIS). You should also take advantage of the free Hebrew and Arabic lessons, enjoy happy hour (6pm to 8pm) at the bar and sign up for at least one tour. The entrance is on HaNevi’im St, near the bus stop.

    Abraham Hostel
    Abraham Hostel
  • Jerusalem Hostel & Guest House (02-623 6102; http://www.jerusalem-hostel.com; 44 Jaffa Rd, Zion Sq; dm 90NIS, s 220-340NIS, d 270-360NIS, Map)
    A fine option for budget travelers keen to base themselves in the city center, this hostel offers clean en-suite rooms, single-sex dorms, a communal kitchen and a rooftop. There’s a healthy traveler vibe, with lots of info tacked onto the walls and plenty of other guests willing to lend free advice. In addition to the main backpacker wing the hostel has a new section in a separate building with private rooms (300NIS).
    Many in those rooms tend to separate them from those in the dorms. That’s a pity, because they miss loads of socializing and traveling info.

    Jerusalem Hostel & Guest House
    Jerusalem Hostel & Guest House
  • City Center Suites (02-650 9494; http://www.citycentervacation.com; 17 King George St (cnr HaHistadrut St); d US$130-150, ste US$165-190, economy studio s/d without breakfast US$110/130, Map)
    ‘Plenty of character, but looking a bit worn’ is a common descriptor for accommodation in this ancient city. And that’s why the existence of this spick-and-span modern hotel should be wholeheartedly celebrated. Spread over two buildings in a conveniently located part of the New City, it offers 38 comfortable rooms with kitchenette; the economy studio is the least impressive. The same owners operate the equally impressive Shamai suites.

    City Center Suites
    City Center Suites
  • Shamai Suites (02-579 7705; http://www.shamaisuites.com; 15 Ben Hillel St; studio r US$140-160, ste US$200-220, Map).
    What hey call suites are nothing else then normal or ordinary rooms.
  • Hotel Palatin (02-623 1141; http://www.palatinhotel.com; 4 Agrippas St; s US$110, d US$155, Map)
    Located near the hub of Jerusalem’s shopping and cafe district, the Palatin has small but reasonably comfortable rooms that are overpriced at the rack rates cited above but can be found at much better prices on booking sites. The friendly service almost (but not quite) compensates for the polyester sheets.

    Hotel Palatin
    Hotel Palatin
  • Arthur Hotel (02-623 9999; http://www.atlas.co.il; 13 Dorot Rishonim St; s/d US$275/325, Map)
    There are plenty of small hotels in Jerusalem, but few are as well run as this classy place near Zion Sq. Rooms come in many shapes and sizes, but the best are those at the rear of the building (ask for one with a balcony). The breakfast here is impressive, and the complimentary afternoon aperitif is a hit with guests.
    The breakfast is really impressive and you can eat a wonder full breakfast with loads of sweets (that’s for me of course). I took a bag with me the last time with a German group. When I talked with the owner last Sunday he asked me if I take a bag with me again, so he could guard his sweets …

    Arthur Hotel
    Arthur Hotel
  • 7 Kook Boutique Hotel (02-580 8068; http://www.7kookhotel.com; Ticho St; d US$240-380, s without breakfast US$216-342, Map)
    There aren’t too many boutique hotels in Jerusalem, so the 2014 opening of this well-located example of the genre was a welcome occurrence. Part of an upmarket apartment development, 7 Kook offers four stylish room types – studio, deluxe, family and suite – all of which have comfortable bed, excellent bathroom with tub, espresso machine and kettle.
    It’s a beautiful hotel from the inside and outside too.

    7 Kook Boutique Hotel
    7 Kook Boutique Hotel
  • Harmony Hotel (02-621 9999; http://www.atlas.co.il; 6 Yo’el Salomon St; s/d US$275/325, Map)
    A spacious lounge with pool table, books and a fireplace is the major draw at this well-run hotel near Zion Sq, especially during the free afternoon aperitif. There are 50 rooms in total; those on the 1st floor are new and the others are being renovated (opt for a corner one if possible). Free parking is available.
    A strange hotel. The interior designers were or color blind or there is something wrong with me. I got the feeling of being seasick.

    Harmony Hotel
    Harmony Hotel
  • Notre Dame Guest House (02-627 9111; http://www.notredamecenter.org; 3 Paratroopers Rd; d/tw US$240-290, tr US$290, ste US$450-550, Map)
    Most of the rooms at this splendidly located Vatican-owned guesthouse have wonderful views of the Old City and the Mount of Olives. The building dates from 1904 and its recently refurbished rooms are a great choice, especially as the guesthouse also has a Mediterranean restaurant with a garden terrace downstairs, and a cheese and wine restaurant on the rooftop.
    This so called guest house is pricey, and not family owned, but it’s fancy and well maintained and run. When I slept here during a Catholic tour, I couldn’t sleep the whole night, like I was counting the mosaic above my head. Beautiful guest house though.

    Notre Dame Guest House
    Notre Dame Guest House

Mamilla & Yemin Moshe

  • St Andrew’s Scottish Guesthouse (02-673 2401; http://www.scotsguesthouse.com; 1 David Remez St, Yemin Moshe; s US$135, d US$180, tw US$200, ste US$240, apt US$380, Map)
    St Andrew’s feels like a bit of Scotland transported to the Middle East, stone for stone, nun for nun. Set on a hill overlooking the Old City, with leafy gardens and an imposing stone facade, it has simple rooms and one two-bedroom apartment sleeping four. The more expensive rooms include balconies with a view; those that don’t have access to a large sun deck. All have kettles.
    I knew once a Scottish cook, who hated Scotland, but always slept here for some reason. He also couldn’t cook, but that’s my personal opinion.

    St Andrew’s Scottish Guesthouse
    St Andrew’s Scottish Guesthouse
  • Mamilla Hotel (02-548 2222; http://www.mamillahotel.com; 11 King Solomon (Shloma HaMelekh) St, Mamilla; r US$510- 635, ste US$785, Map)
    The best location in Jerusalem (near Jaffa Gate, on the edge of the Old and New Cities) is but one of many inducements on offer at this luxury hip hotel. Rooms are large and well equipped, and leisure B&B facilities include spa with steam room and hamam, gym, indoor pool, two bars, cafe and rooftop Italian restaurant.

    Mamilla Hotel
    Mamilla Hotel
  • David Citadel Hotel (02-621 1111; http://www.thedavidcitadel.com; 7 King David (David HaMelekh) St, Mamilla; r US$510-634, ste US$1000, Map)
    Like airports, some large hotels are microcities, populated with different people, housing, businesses and leisure facilities. The 400-room David Citadel fits this description, providing a city within a city for its pampered guests. Rooms are spacious and beautifully appointed (the suites are knockouts), there are three restaurants, and facilities include executive lounge, outdoor pool, children’s play centre, spa and gym.

    David Citadel Hotel
    David Citadel Hotel
  • YMCA Three Arches Hotel (02-569 2692; http://www.ymca3arch.co.il; 26 King David St, Yemin Moshe; s/tw/tr/ste US$200/220/250/290, Map)
    This 1933 building is an important local landmark and a decent place to spend a few nights. The hotel’s 56 rooms are simply furnished and could be cleaner; all have twin beds and cable TV. There’s an on-site restaurant, a gym and a pool.

    YMCA Three Arches Hotel
    YMCA Three Arches Hotel

German Colony & Rehavia

  • Little House in Rehavia (02-563 3344; http://www.jerusalem-hotel.co.il; 20 Ibn Ezra St, Rehavia; s 450NIS, d 600-690NIS, Map)
    There’s a boutique feel to this hotel in a restored 1942 stone building. Located in  one of Jerusalem’s prettiest neighborhoods (a 1.5km walk to the Old City), it has 28 rooms, a roof terrace, a garden and a strictly kosher dining room where a daily breakfast and Shabbat lunch and dinner are served.

    Little House in Rehavia
    Little House in Rehavia
  • Arcadia Ba’Moshava (02-542 3000; http://www.arcadiahotels.co.il; 13 Yehoshua bin-Nun St; s/d midweek US$240/270, weekend US$270/300, Map)
    Opened in 2014 after a major restoration, this hotel occupies a gorgeous Arab-style villa dating from 1935. ‘Ba’Moshava’ means ‘in the Colony’ and its location in a residential street off the Emek Refa’im shopping and entertainment strip is excellent. Rooms are smallish, but that won’t matter, as you’ll spend most of your time in the elegant lounge or leafy garden. The hotel provides bikes for the use of its guests.

    Arcadia Ba'Moshava
    Arcadia Ba’Moshava
  • Jerusalem Garden Home (050 524 0442; http://www.jerusalemgardenhome.com; 74 Derech Beit Lehem; s/d/tr US$140/185/210, Map)
    Run by a friendly couple, this B&B near the German Colony has a real home-away-from-home feel. It offers four rooms sleeping between two and four persons; each has a kitchenette and cable TV. The same owners operate a garden restaurant across the road, where breakfast is served.
Jerusalem Garden Home
Jerusalem Garden Home

Romema & Mekor Baruch

  • Allenby 2 B&B (052 396 3160; http://www.dahliaandnirbnb.com/ALLENBY-2; Allenby Sq 2, Romema; s 180NIS, d 330NIS, d with shared bathroom 250NIS, Map)
    One of the most popular B&Bs in Jerusalem, Allenby 2 combines a warm and convivial atmosphere with excellent service. With 11 rooms spread over a few properties, it’s also one of the larger B&Bs in the city. The shared kitchen and location close to the Central Bus Station and JLR line are definite draws. There’s no reception, so call ahead.

    Romema & Mekor Baruch Allenby
    Romema & Mekor Baruch Allenby 2

Hotels in Eilat

Eilat’s accommodation ranges from the good to the bad to the downright ugly – this is not a place to expect a charming or unique hotel experience. As is the case with most resort towns, the cost of hotel rooms rises by about 25% at weekends and 50% (or more) during Israeli school holidays and in July/August.

Reserve ahead during these times. The prices we have cited in our reviews are at the higher end of the mid-season range. If you enjoy staying in five-star chain hotels, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are more than 50 options around the lagoons at North Beach and along the road to Taba, including nine Isrotels, two Dan Hotels and seven hotels in the Leonardo/Herod group. Most have bland decor, restaurants where the fixed-price buffet reigns supreme, large pool areas and decent but not exceptional levels of service.

All are predominantly geared towards families and can be noisy. Many of the recently opened hotels in town are in less-than-salubrious locations overlooking the airport or behind the lagoons or Hayam Shopping Mall – do your location research before booking. Light sleepers should note that the North Beach promenade is noisy well into the wee small hours, and most of the town’s hotels are directly under the flight path for Eilat Airport. Camping is illegal on most of Eilat’s beaches. Exceptions are the areas east of Herod’s Beach, towards the Jordanian border.

Arava Hostel (08-637 4687; http://www.a55.co.il; 106 Almogim St; dm/s/d 70/200/220NIS)
The only Eilat hostel with an authentic backpacker vibe, the Arava wouldn’t win any awards for its dated rooms and dark, cramped dorms or for its location far from the beach. There are compensations, though: a front garden perfect for sunset beers, communal kitchen, laundry (15NIS per load) and free parking. Internet costs 16NIS per hour; wi-fi is free. Note that the prices we have given here apply for most of the year but almost double in July and August.

Arava Hostel
Arava Hostel

Motel Aviv (08-637 4660; http://www.avivhostel.co.il; 126 Ofarim Lane; dm/r 100/300NIS, small/large ste 350/500NIS)
It may have an institutional feel, but the Aviv is clean, secure and in proud possession of a small swimming pool. Standard rooms are cramped and dark – we suggest opting for a suite as some have sea views and all offer better value for money. Note that breakfast isn’t served and dorm beds aren’t available in summer.

Motel Aviv
Motel Aviv

Eilat Youth Hostel & Guest House (02-594 5605; http://www.iyha.org.il; 7 Ha-Arava Rd; dm/s/d 130/292/400NIS)
If it weren’t for the ubiquitous groups of noisy schoolkids staying here, this huge hostel with its expansive front balcony overlooking the Gulf of Eilat would be one of our top accommodation picks. Even with the school-group factor in play, it’s an extremely attractive option due to its modern, clean and comfortable rooms and dorms. Free parking and wi-fi; internet 1NIS per minute.

Eilat Youth Hostel & Guest House
Eilat Youth Hostel & Guest House

Blue Hotel (08-632 6601; http://www.bluehotel.co.il; 123 Ofarim Lane; s weekday/weekend 305/350NIS, d weekday/weekend 360/420NIS)
Run by a friendly Israeli/Irish couple, this three-star choice is located in a characterless budget accommodation enclave near the city center but is worth considering for its well-priced, recently renovated rooms with excellent amenities (fridge, cable TV, kettle). There are bicycles for hire and guests receive discounts on diving packages with the Reef Diving Group.

Blue Hotel
Blue Hotel

Soleil Boutique Hotel (08-633 4004; http://www.soleil-hoteleilat.com; 12 Tarshish St; s/d/ste 420/500/680NIS)
Its size (only 70 rooms) and stylish decor give credence to this recently opened hotel’s claim to boutique status, but its location overlooking the runway at Eilat Airport falls well short. That said, the reasonable prices, proximity to North Beach and facilities including a bar, restaurant, spa, gym and pool make it worthy of consideration.

Soleil Boutique Hotel
Soleil Boutique Hotel

Orchid Reef Hotel (08-636 4444; http://www.reefhoteleilat.com; Coral Beach; r standard/sea view/superior sea view 620/730/1050NIS)
Recently refurbished, this place overlooks a lovely stretch of sand right next to the Coral Reef Nature Reserve. It has a huge pool area, fitness room, spa and restaurant. Beach activities include snorkeling and sea kayaking, and bike hire is free (parking costs 25NIS per day). The comfortable rooms are spacious and most have a balcony or terrace with sea view.

Orchid Reef Hotel
Orchid Reef Hotel