Saturday, 16 January 2016

Jerusalem Hotel - piece of Andalusian charm in Israel

When exploring Jerusalem, my base was Jerusalem Hotel, located in the Eastern, a.k.a. the Arab part of the town, only a couple of minutes from Old City's Damascus Gate. Its central location is excellent: city centre is only a 10-minute walk away and the light rail stop is practically around the corner. That will take you directly to for instance Mahane Yehuda market, which is only 4 stops away.

Being such a popular tourist destination, there are hotels in Jerusalem to cater every purpose and budget imaginable. I have stayed both in one of those dodgy Swedish hostels hidden away in the guts of the Old City as well as in the lap of 6-star luxury that is David Citadel.

Jerusalem Hotel is an old acquaintance from my previous trips and I was very happy to return. The hotel is housed at a gorgeous 19th century townhouse which has been in the same family since 1950s.  

Jerusalem Hotel advertises itself as a boutique hotel. It's not necessarily how we understand boutique hotels, but it is a very unique place and truly stands out in the crowd.

There's nothing clinical and generic about this. As you roam the corridors and feats your eyes on all its glorious details it's easy to forget you're even in a hotel - it feels like playing hide and seek at the mansion of that rich relative you always wanted to have.

I felt right at home from my first time here and why not: the mansion is actually built in Andalusian style!

The house was badly damaged during the Six Day War in 1967 but it has been lovingly restored to its glory.

Its decor is an homage to the Palestinian history of the region. Combination of antiques, old tools and traditional Palestinian textiles make it almost like a museum, too. 

Palestinian textiles also feature prominently in each of the rooms, where every last detail follows hotel's unique atmosphere.

At this point I was not only battling exhaustion courtesy of my action-packed schedule (I never learn, do I?) but also bronchitis, so I can tell you there are no words to express my appreciation for that divinely soft bed.

In case you want to stay active, make the most of your stay and/or are into political tourism, Jerusalem Hotel is an excellent choice. They organize tours and trips both in Jerusalem and in West Bank, which can also be tailored to meet your exact needs and interests.

The garden patio restaurant is very popular, too, especially in the evening. I settled on enjoying the jazz seductively echoing in the evening from the comfort of my bed, under a dreamily thick duvet. 

"Birds singing in a sycamore tree, dream a little dream of me"...

Oh, I dreamed - very happy dreams.

Hotel's restaurant is a good way to explore local traditional dishes. One of my favourites year after year is sfiha, Turkish lahmacun's Levantine cousin. 

The breakfast is served in the vaulted cellar.

The selection is varied and very oriental...

...I mean, where else would you get falafel at breakfast! Good falafel, by the way.

The location of the hotel was perfect in every respect: it's right next to the bus station where West Bank-bound busses depart from. 

Yes, you read right. Buckle up, boys and girls - in the next blog posts we'll cross to The Other Side...!

*In collaboration with Jerusalem Hotel*




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