10 Best Jerusalem Hotels 2019

The following list includes the best hotels in Jerusalem; as can be expected most of the hotels are 5 star luxury establishments, boutique hotels and historic hotels but there are a couple of less prestigious hotels which offer a unique setting, personal service, great location and an excellent reputation.The American Colony 5*This hotel’s history dates back to the late 19th century when devout Christian American’s Horatio and Anna Spafford moved to Jerusalem to find peace following the tragic death of their four daughters. They, together with fellow Americans opened their hearts and their doors to locals of all creeds and cultures and became known simple as “the Americans.” They couple were joined by fellow Christians from America and Sweden and they purchased the former home of a Turkish Pasha; the palace was to become the American Colony Hotel. When Western travelers arrived in Jerusalem at the turn of the century they would stay with the Americans. The hotel gained a reputation as a neutral oasis in the often turbulent Middle East. It is a place where Jews, Arabs, Swedes and Americans could come together in peace. Famous past guests include Leon Uris, Bob Dylan, Lawrence of Arabia, Richard Gere, Winston Churchill, Tony Blair and John le Carre. The hotel continues to be run by descendents of the original owners although it is managed by Gauer Hotels of Switzerland.The American Colony Hotel is in East Jerusalem close to the Damascus Gate of the Old City. Within the hotel complex there are 86 rooms in three historic buildings surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful courtyards. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool lined with Italian glass tiles; a fitness room overlooking the pool; a sauna; business center; spa and a selection of stores selling exotic goods, antiques, oriental rugs and religious items plus all the added extras you would expect from a luxury hotel. Guests have the choice of several hotel eateries including outdoor dining and an intimate bar.Mamilla Hotel 5*Mamilla’s location is about as good as it gets just a few steps from the Old City and overlooking the luxury shopping avenue of the same name. Mamilla was a neighborhood just outside the city walls, the armistice line between Israel and Jordan ran through the neighborhood and it suffered from shelling. Following Israeli independence the government approved a plan for urban renewal and the area was restored and rebuilt. This included the construction of the open-air pedestrian Mamilla Mall and the Mamilla Hotel. It is a relatively new hotel and offers superior, sophisticated and exclusive hospitality. The hotel’s contemporary design was created by Piero Lissoni. The hotel has an indoor pool and guests have free access to the David Citadel Hotel outdoor pool just across the street. Other facilities include the hotel gym, Akasha Wellbeing Center, spa, health bar and several eateries including the rooftop restaurant with brilliant views across the Old City. Guests have access to the hotel lounge and to the business center. Famed for their personal touch, each guest is assigned a personal host. The 194 hotel rooms include studios and suites.The King David Hotel 5*Perhaps the city’s most famous hotel, the King David has played a role in Israel’s history. Construction was financed by Ezra Mosseri (Egyptian Jew and director of the National Bank of Egypt) together with other wealthy Cairo Jews. The hotel opened in 1931 and from the start was the go-to hotel for royalty and celebrities. Over the years the hotel became home to three heads of state fleeing their countries (King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1931; King George II of Greece in 1942 and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1936). The southern wing was used as the British administrative and military headquarters during the British Mandate. The hotel was designed by Emile Vogt in the European-style. The structure has Eastern elements like the domes, arches and various local stone. G.G. Hufschmid created the décor in the public areas using Middle Eastern cultures as his inspiration. The hotel has been the venue for state occasions, official banquets and meetings between world leaders and famous personalities including Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Obama, Winston Churchill, Thatcher, Blair, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Gere.Today the King David is owned by Dan Hotels. The hotel has a unique pink sandstone exterior, exotic and romantic public spaces and King David is located within walking distance of the Old City. The hotel has extensive lawns, gardens and a pool. There are tennis courts, kids and adult’s pools, a children’s playground, business center, fitness center and spa. The hotel has an elegant fine dining restaurant, a garden restaurant, Oriental Bar and poolside snack bar. The six storey hotel has 233 rooms and suites, many overlooking the Old City and with a balcony. The hotel offers several rooms for families.The David Citadel Hotel 5*This hotel’s motto is “uncompromised luxury and elegance.” The hotel is located in Western Jerusalem facing the citadel of David and the Old City and is a relatively new and contemporary addition to Jerusalem’s luxury hotels. The design is a horseshoe shape reminiscent of a European opera house with the rooms facing the “stage” in this case the Old City. There are terraces leading to a glass-domed lobby, dining area, pool and terraced hanging gardens. Thanks to the hotel structure “descending” towards the Old City each suite has a terrace with brilliant views. They offer amenities that include a spa, health club, executive floors and executive lounge, business center, shopping arcade, sauna and medical center on the premises. There is a large outdoor pool which is heated in winter and a toddlers’ pool. The hotel features five eating options including the fine dining restaurant, Aqua Le Divellec, a terrace eatery covered by a glass ceiling, sushi bar and poolside grill. In each of the oversized 384 rooms and suites you’ll find balconies facing the Old City, cotton bed linen and oversized towels. The hotel has also thought about family guests and there is a new 100m² children’s play center.Inbal Jerusalem Hotel 5*This is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, it is located overlooking the Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park and the Old City in the Talbiya neighborhood. Inbal was originally known as the Laromme and it was designed by Ya’acov Rechter. The hotel has a sophisticated and elegant design with 283 rooms and prides itself on a friendly, personal and family ethos. The hotel has accommodated Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger, Al Gore and other famed personalities. The décor and furnishing is elegant and modern. The amenities include free WiFi, a newly renovated health spa, fitness center, heated pool, executive lounge, business center, restaurants, spa and saunas. There are conference facilities, a shopping arcade, mobile phone rental and a full service beauty salon. There is fresh fruit and a tea and coffee set in every room.The hotel provides activities and amenities for families with kids specifically during the Israeli school holidays. There are children’s and teen game rooms open throughout the year and staff entertains young ones with workshops, arts and crafts. There is a kid’s menu in the restaurant, foods for kids with allergies and a toddler’s pool. The hotel has connecting rooms and family units.Waldorf Astoria Hotel Jerusalem 5*The exterior of this magnificent hotel, just minutes from the Old City is what remains of the 1930s historic Palace Hotel. But behind the historic façade lies a contemporary and ulta-luxury hotel which opened its doors in 2014.The hotel boasts the largest reception hall in Jerusalem. The luxury can be felt from the moment you enter, the lobby drips with chandeliers and the walls are laden with quality art work. Hanging above the staircase is an art instillation featuring 48 glass doves. The design concept has put aside modesty and minimalism and instead spoils guests with opulent surroundings. The overall design theme is the elegance of the late 1920s. There are 226 rooms and suites in a triangular shaped building on the corner where King David Street meets Agron Street with the four story historic wing on one side and the newer nine story wing on the other.Visitors checking in to the hotel are given a tablet which they can use throughout their stay to check emails, control room functionality and call room service. The hotel is still being developed with new facilities being added all the time including the lap pool and spa which should be ready in 2016. Between them is an elegant inner courtyard covered by a glass ceiling. The hotel facilities include a pools, two restaurants, bar, WiFi and a business center. The rooms are large with the smallest room measuring 40m². There is luxury linen, a Serta mattress, custom furnishing and crystal chandeliers in the rooms as well as heated Italian marble bathroom floors, a sit-down shower stall and bath plus a private wet bar and espresso machine. Some of the rooms have balconies but this hotel is known more for its luxurious décor than the views. Families are taken care of with under 18s staying free in their parent’s room and a children’s menu in the restaurant.Alegra Hotel 4*m the 1930s which has been given a modern roof top sundeck and observation point. The views from this elevated location are breathtaking, overlooking the forested village of Ein Kerem. The hotel is perfectly located close to the Old City. The hotel has 13 rooms and suites each named after a pair of famous lovers. In the rooms you will find beds made with Egyptian cotton sheets, espresso machines, champagne, WiFi, and a sound system. The public areas include a courtyard, garden, splash pools, waterfalls, fish ponds. This ultra-luxurious boutique hotel fuses old and new seamlessly. Each room has a living, working and resting area and some of the rooms have large terraces. The largest suites are 39m² and feature the original interiors of the historic home. Hotel amenities include a spa, sauna, meeting facilities, bicycle rental, docking stations in the rooms, complimentary mini-bar and much more. There is a resident chef, Amir Na’or, who can take you on a gourmet tour of Jerusalem on request. Bread is baked freshly in the morning and breakfast is made-to-order.Arthur Hotel 4*This is an unexpected addition to the best hotel list; it opened in 2013 in the heart of downtown Jerusalem on the Ben Yehudah pedestrian promenade. Unlike other top hotels which tend to overlook the Old City and rates are significantly lower than other luxury hotels. The hotel is consistently voted one of the best in the city specifically for romantic get aways and families. Their motto is “ old world charm and contemporary hospitality.” The hotel has recreated the ethos of the British Mandate era; the décor includes period photos, Turkish carpets, antique furniture (some commissioned and some picked up in local markets), Armenian ceramics and leather chairs. Despite the theme the building itself is new and has only 54 rooms; the structure has no room for facilities like a pool or gym but they make up for it in personal service, quality linen and towels plus design and style. Attention has been paid to every detail. The size of the building also means that there are no bath tubes, only showers. There is WiFi, a games room and free bicycle rental service. For food guests will find a sumptuous breakfast and a complementary late afternoon snack (including wine) but no dinner service.Eyal Hotel 3*This hotel is located 100 meters from Zion Square in central Jerusalem but still walking distance from the Old City. The Eyal prides itself on personal service, comfortable, clean and sleek surroundings. The 68 room hotel has recently been renovated with the addition of modern amenities, finishing touches to the design and advanced technology where applicable. The hotel has sublevel guest parking (essential in central Jerusalem), an events hall, solarium, eco-wall dripping with lush plants and views of the city. The hotel strives to be eco-friendly and recycles the heat generated by the various systems in the hotel. Other eco measures include the use of air-sourced heat pump technology, thermal heating, double pained glass windows and furniture made from natural and recycled materials. The hotel chef prepares breakfast and dinner which is served in the hotel’s newly renovated dining hall. There is a large deck on the sixth floor. The majority of the rooms have a balcony, all rooms have USB outlets, tea and coffee set, Aminach mattresses, free WiFi and a modern bathroom. There are suites with a Jacuzzi and family rooms with separate living areas.This may not be the fanciest hotel on this list but if you are on a budget then you couldn’t get much better. Eyal Hotel has consistently received good reviews online and was awarded a certificate of excellence in 2015 on Trip Advisor.Gloria Hotel 2*If your dream is to sleep within the Old City walls then the Gloria Hotel can oblige. It is the only tourist class hotel within the Old City walls, located in the Christian Quarter inside the Jaffa Gate in the heart of historic Jerusalem. The hotel building has undergone renovations and refurbishing but began welcoming guests in the 1950s. The hotel combines modern amenities (air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms, elevators, WiFi etc) with the historic surroundings. The family run hotel offers impeccable service and attention to detail. The hotel walls in the public areas are the exposed Jerusalem stone, some of the areas are under vaulted ceilings . The rooms have a simple but modern feel and all 104 rooms enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the Latin Patriarchate Street where traffic is limited. Many of the rooms have views across the roof tops of the Old City. The hotel serves a set menu of buffet meals for dinner, a sumptuous breakfast and there is an intimate bar.
By
9 min

Golan Heights

Archeological finds on the Golan Heights, which date as far back as the Chalcolithic Age, include Gamla, the Jewish city destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt between 67 and 70 CE, and Katzerin, the restored city of the Mishnah and Talmud period. Adjoining the historic Katzerin is the modern Katzerin, a city of over 30,000, well-known for the winery producing the prize-winning Gamla, Yarden and Golan wines.There are two National Parks in the north each with hiking trails. Banias (Caesarea Philippi) is particular interesting to Christian pilgrims while the excavations at Dan have uncovered the Canaanite and Israelite cities.Majdal Shams, Ein Kenya, Masada and Bukata are the four Druze villages which came under Israeli control after the Six Day War in 1967 and were formally annexed by a law passed in the Knesset in 1981. The law was condemned internationally and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.Most of the Druze on the Golan Heights chose not to become Israeli citizens and maintain close relations with their brethren in Syria. Some of apples from their numerous orchards are exported to Syria.In 1964 the Syrians began extensive work to prevent the water of the Snir (Banias), Hermon and Dan rivers from reaching the Jordan River and ultimately the Kinneret. This was contra to international agreements concerning the use of water and threatened Israel’s water source which was at that time dependent on pumping water from the Kinneret.In retaliation for the Israeli attempt to thwart the Syrian efforts, Syria used the entire western ridge which overlooks Israel to fire on Israeli towns and villages in the eastern Galilee and on the shores of the Kinneret. Children on the kibbutzim in range of the Syrian shelling lived in underground bomb shelters, coming out to play only close to the shelters.When the Six Day War began in June 1967 Syria, as the ally of Egypt in the United Arab Republic, increased its bombardment of the Israeli towns and villages from the heights. Due to the strategic and topographic advantage of the Syrian positions and the ineffectiveness of the Israeli bombings Israel was reluctant to undertake a frontal attack on the Syrian bunkers. (Some of these can still be seen at the Gadot memorial)It was only on the fifth day of the war that Israeli began her infantry advance, directly up the slopes under Syrian emplacements. Within sixty hours the entire plateau, the Golan Heights came under Israeli control. Hoping for a peace treaty with Syria, Israel made no move to annex the Golan Heights.in October 1973, in a surprise attack the Syrians attempted to retake the Golan Heights and advance into Israel. When the cease fire agreement between Israel and Syria was signed in May 1974 the Golan Heights were firmly back under Israeli control. Feeling no threat from Israel during both wars, the Druze population of the four villages remained and prospered.Israeli settlement on the Golan Heights began only after the Yom Kippur War when Syria rejected all proposals for direct negotiations with Israel. The town of Katzerin serves as the commercial and administrative center for the kibbutzim and moshavim on the heights.As mentioned above, it was only in 1981, after repeated refusals by Syria to enter into negotiations with Israel, that the Golan Heights, from which Israel had been attacked in 1948, 1964-67 and 1973, were legally annexed.Where is the Golan HeightsThe Golan Heights stretch one hundred kilometers from the Hermon Mountain in the north to the Yarmuk River, which is the border between Israel and Jordan, in the South. The western ridge looks down on the northern part of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, hence the ‘heights’.Although there are a number of mountains and extinct volcanoes on the eastern side it was the ceasefire agreements between Israel and Syria which defined the eastern border. Damascus, the capital of Syria is about fifty kilometers to the east; Kuneitra is immediately across the demilitarized zone. Most of the area is mainly a basaltic plateau. At its widest point, passing through Katzerin, the heights are twenty four kilometers wide.WeatherThe weather in the summer months is peasant during the day and cool in the evening. Holiday-makers can enjoy a variety of activities including cherry picking, hikes in the many streams and waterfalls bird watching on the cliffs of the Gamla Nature Reserve. In the winter months there can be snow on the northern part of the heights, especially on Mount Hermon where there are facilities for skiing.To cater to the many visitors accommodation is available in hotels, guesthouses and at private homes offering small but luxurious bed and breakfast suites.
By Petal Mashraki
3 min