Numerous boutique hotels are popping up around central Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda Street pedestrian mall, stretching from King George Street to Zion Square at Jaffa Road. This lively spot for souvenir shoppers by day and for café and pub hoppers at night wasn’t always a preferred destination for overnight visitors.
“I think these new hotels near Zion Square are bringing new life to the center of Jerusalem,” Jerusalem Hotel Association Director General Arie Sommer stated. “There was a lack of smaller hotels in the area and I am sure this will herald a big change for both Israeli and foreign visitors to Jerusalem.”
Sommer says the city’s hotel rooms currently number roughly 10,000. During 2017, nearly 1,000 more rooms will be added. The need is evident. In April alone, a record 349,000 tourists visited Israel, the highest figure for any month since 1948, with Jerusalem being Israel’s most-visited city.
Plenty of medium and large hotels , hostels, vacation apartments, and boutique hotels are spread across Jerusalem. Few were in the city center until Atlas Hotels opened the 50-room Harmony Hotel in 2006 near Zion Square.
“At the time, it wasn’t even considered a boutique hotel, but more an affordable design hotel versus the big guys like the Plaza and Prima,” says Ronit Copeland, managing director of Copeland Hospitality Consulting in Tel Aviv.
Copeland is actively involved in the boutique-ification of central Jerusalem as well as Tel Aviv and Haifa. “Hotels in central urban areas have a young vibe and are more connected to community,” Copeland stated. “Very often, you’ll see the older generation of a family staying in traditional hotels while the younger generation chooses a smaller, cheaper, in-the-neighborhood boutique hotel.”
Highlighted below are 7 of the many boutique hotels within five minutes of the center of Ben-Yehuda Street.
1. 21st Floor Hotel, 34 Ben-Yehuda
Yoel Lazar brought in a Tel Aviv designer to fashion 14 duplex suites with full kitchen, salon, and dining area with bedroom’s and Jacuzzi’s on the upper floor. Hotel guests receive a code to activate the button in the elevator that takes them to the 21st floor. This is one of the few boutique hotels in the city center with onsite parking.
2. Arthur Hotel, 13 Dorot Rishonim
The 54-room Arthur Hotel, named after Lord Balfour, is decorated in an early 20th century theme complete with photos from that era, Turkish rugs, tiled floors, and handcrafted Armenian plates hung in the bathrooms.
3. Ben Hillel Boutique Hotel, 3 Ben-Hillel
Tucked among a row of small shops on a central side street off Ben-Yehuda, the privately owned two-year-old Ben Hillel Boutique Hotel offers 10 guest rooms and an onsite bar.
4. Eyal Hotel Jerusalem, 21 Shamai
In addition to 68 rooms, Eyal Hotel has event and dining halls, a solarium with a “green” wall, an ecologically advanced heating system, and sub-level parking.
5. Harmony Hotel, 6 Yoel Moshe Salomon
The 50-room Harmony, close to Zion Square on an historic pedestrian alley, coincidentally “harmonizes” with the theme of the new Music Square complex recently opened there. Harmony hosts a complimentary happy hour for guests each evening in its English club-style business lounge.
6. Herbert Samuel, 25 Shamai
Located on Zion Square above the iconic Bank Hapoalim, this Orchid chain hotel opened in 2016. Herbert Samuel’s 137 guest rooms, two meeting rooms, spa, gym, and indoor pool are topped by an 11th-floor rooftop restaurant with panoramic views over Jerusalem. Guests may borrow bicycles to tour the city.
7. Ibis City Center, 1 Elisar
Scheduled to open in July with 124 rooms as part of the international Accor Hospitality chain, Ibis is a mix of a renovation and new construction on a side street across Jaffa Road from Zion Square.
Originally posted at Israel21c.