For our first weekend in Jerusalem, we stayed at the Mt. of Olives hotel. It was a place to sleep, and in an amazing location, but was not a hotel we ever wanted to visit again. So, for our second weekend in Jerusalem, I tried to pick a hotel close to the things that we wanted to do with a decent price. Booking.com came up with Jerusalem hotel. When I read a little about the history of the property- that is is an old Arab mansion- I was sold. Even though it was a little more expensive, it was worth it, and still much less than other large hotels in the area.
When we arrived fresh from our dip in the Dead Sea, I was confused because on the booking website it mentioned parking, but there was no parking around the hotel to be seen. When I went inside, the person manning the front desk was not there. I wandered around the lobby/common rooms a bit, admiring the Arab-inspired antique furnishings. They kept the original feel of a mansion in the common areas, helped by grand stone archways and high ceilings. Finally, an old man sipping tea came out of the restaurant. I was able to communicate that we needed parking, and he told me to take our car to a parking lot down the street, and show them a parking pass from the hotel. Don’t pay them! He warned.
After parking we were shown to our room and given a giant metal key to unlock the door. Inside, our room was a little small, but had two beds, a wardrobe, desk and small bathroom with a shower. We washed all the mud and salt off from the Dead Sea, in water that was ALMOST not cold. Austin went searching for dinner since it was getting late. Easier said than done, since Shabbat had descended on Jerusalem with the setting sun, so most restaurants were closed. Couple that with Muslim’s Friday holy day, and he ended up walking a long way and coming back with some meat balls in pitas and bread.
The next morning, our boys were up very early, and so we headed to breakfast as soon as it opened. Jerusalem Hotel has an open-air restaurant in a garden outside the front entrance, but breakfast was served in the basement of the hotel. To enter, we exited the building and walked between the hotel and the restaurant and down the stairs to a 300-year-old cellar. It was a good breakfast, and as we were finishing up the cook came back from picking up more ingredients and brought out a few more things. Although it was a decent spread, it seemed like we were some of the only people staying in the hotel. Which is kind of an eerie feeling anyway, but couple that with staying in this old Arab mansion, and it was just a little creepy. We locked our bags in the trunk of our car and checked out. They graciously allowed us to leave our car in the parking lot until we got back from our tour of Bethlehem. Our tour picked us up in a van from right outside our hotel, which was very convenient, and one of the reasons we chose this hotel.
Jerusalem hotel is definitely walking distance to Damascus gate and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The best form of transportation in this part of Jerusalem is walking, since there is a ton of traffic, and the Old City’s roads and alleyways are pedestrian-only for the most part. The Garden Tomb is only 2 minutes’ walk from the hotel, and if we had a little more time, I contemplated going back there since it was so close.
I would recommend Jerusalem hotel for its awesome furnishings, architecture, and history. We reported our problem with hot water to the front desk, and she assured us that they were getting it fixed. I liked the B&B feel, and that the hotel and restaurant are family-run, adding to the charm of the place. Even though the hotel was full of antiques, they did not seem fragile and so it was a family-friendly place for my rambunctious boys. We enjoyed our stay in Jerusalem hotel.