Today I’m talking about the hotel I stayed when I visited Jerusalem last year, and buckle up because what counts as ‘cheap’ in Jerusalem will stretch most people’s definition of the word. They told me Jerusalem was quite expensive, but honestly I wasn’t really prepared for it when I arrived. The good news for me and anyone who choses to stay in the Arab Quarter is that there are plenty of eateries and small grocery stores within easy walk that are cheaper than in other parts of the city.
The Price of Accommodation in Jerusalem is…
So I will start with price. I paid $456AUD for my room for five nights, there was some discount applied there, an average of $91AUD per night. The price listed today on the hotel website is $79USD per night for the same room, a single. That’s $121AUD per night. I think the price has gone up sightly, and the Australian dollar has certainly fallen a bit too.
Compare this to where I would stay in Barcelona for example, a little over $100AUD a night, and the rooms are from another planet. But I’m not here to say I was ripped off, this is just the reality of prices in Jerusalem and be aware if you are booking a cheaper hotel, or even if it’s mid-range or high end, photos in general seem to make the places look better than the reality when you arrive.
So, in short I got a room which is more akin to a $15 hotel in India I guess. Maybe $20 these days, and not in Delhi or Mumbai, but $20AUD can get you a very decent room in many parts of India. In 2018 when I went to India I paid more, but for example $45AUD got me a much better room in Jaisalmer than what I had in Jerusalem for double the price.
But Exactly What did I get?
Well, it’s an old place, and the Arab Quarter is quite chaotic. It appears more like a shop front until you get in. It’s a tall, thin sort of affair with I think six or seven levels, not sure all of them are the hotel. There’s a restaurant at the bottom which was rarely open, on the fifth floor I think it was there was the dining room for breakfast. Other businesses used the building and next to that was a doctor’s surgery.
There was a receptionist there 24/7 and they were always friendly and helpful. And I bothered them a lot with questions about local buses and how to get here or there. They organised my airport shuttle back to the airport (on the Sherut Service, a fixed price of 64 Shekels) and the only real issue was it was on a sort of hooked road that had a right angle in it and for the first few wanders it was easy to get disorientated when I left. A little hamburger shop a few doors down, a store selling Christmas goods around the corner and a little further away a place for sharwarma. But the best sharwarma was 10-15 minutes walk away opposite the Damascus Gate to the Old City, ‘King of Sharwarma’. Get chips, a drink and a shawarma for 35 shekels ($10USD). Trust me. Cheaper than McDonald’s.
Then there was the Room
So on check in I take this little lift with the capacity for like four or five people only up to my floor. And I open the door and reveal my ‘single’ – which incidentally had two single beds so really it’s a twin I guess, but nevertheless, you’d be all over each other if you had two people. Actually, it probably wouldn’t be that bad. Let’s just say it’s not a ‘big’ room.
There is a wardrobe, a TV and a small fridge. The Wi-Fi, after Central Asia for three weeks, seemed lightning fast and it was great to be able to upload all my photos to Dropbox that I had taken in Turkmenistan.
The bathroom was pokey at best. The shower was in a bathtub, a small bathtub that only kids could use as an actual bathtub, and so here’s a bit of advice if you own a hotel like this – don’t go bathtub! It makes getting in and out of the shower more difficult and takes up more room than a simple shower and I can only imagine rarely gets used as a bathtub.
The shower pressure wasn’t the best (or the worst) and it took a little while to get hot water running. The sink was old and the mirror set above it plastic. The toilet was… fine, but again, old. In fact, ‘old’ is the word I would use to describe all the features (including the beds) in the room. The beds themselves were okay, but I’m only 5’4” and it may not have served a taller human as well as it did me.
Having Said All That…
It was clean. It was serviceable. It didn’t cost $300. Okay, back to clean now. So things looked worn and tired, because they were ‘old’, but the room was clean, and it was cleaned daily. There was also an air conditioner and heater, I didn’t need either of them. It was cold at night but the sun had warmed the room through the windows and I didn’t need the heater at all.
It served my needs whilst I was in Jerusalem and frankly, I didn’t mind it at all. It also saved me a few bucks, it just wasn’t quite what I expected when I booked. Also, it is five minutes’ walk from the walled Old City, where I would spend two full days and not far from local buses or the tram/light rail. If location is your primary concern in Jerusalem, and it would be for a lot of visitors, then this one is well-positioned.
So, as my ratings will attest, it wasn’t a bad stay at all!
Value for Money: 3/5
Total: 17.5/25 (70/100)
Thanks for stopping by – May the Journey Never End!