The top five hotels near the Old City of JerusalemTechnically, it's possible to visit Jerusalem without going to the Old City, but it would be hard to say you'd really been here. The unforgettable sights and palpably holy places that make Jerusalem one of the world's top tourist destinations are largely within (or in sight of) Suleiman's walls - but the lodging for all those pilgrims and visitors, unfortunately, is not.
Technically, it's possible to visit Jerusalem without going to the Old City, but it would be hard to say you'd really been here. The unforgettable sights and palpably holy places that make Jerusalem one of the world's top tourist destinations are largely within (or in sight of) Suleiman's walls - but the lodging for all those pilgrims and visitors, unfortunately, is not.
Indeed, it's near impossible to find anything above hostel-level lodging inside the Old City proper, and even that is overpriced. So you'll have to go a bit further afield to find yourself a bed, but not much further; plenty of fine hotels are within a brief and pleasant walk of the Old City's gates. So whether you're looking to book a room near the Damascus Gate, the Jaffa Gate, the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, GoJerusalem has got you covered. Below are our picks for the best hotels that are nearest to Jerusalem's Old City.
The American Colony Hotel
The American Colony has been tightly woven into the fabric of Jerusalem's international cultural life ever since the later years of the 19th century, and that long history suffuses every stone of this famously luxurious hotel. With its Ottoman-era architecture and old world charm, you'll feel as if you stepped back a century in time - except you'll be treated to a host of modern amenities. The hotel is popular with dignitaries, visiting artists and diplomats, so don't be surprised if you see an international mover-and-shaker sipping drinks in the courtyard. And since the American Colony is situated in Sheikh Jarrah, you'll be merely a ten-minute stroll away from the Damascus Gate.
Leonardo Plaza Hotel
Book nowIf you want to feel like you're towering above it all, book a room at the Leonardo Plaza, which looms above King George Street, where downtown meets Rechavia. The hotel has gone through a couple name changes in recent years, but the service remains top-notch. One of Jerusalem's best restaurants, Primavera, occupies the lobby, as does a glatt kosher sushi bar under the auspices of a Japanese chef (a rarity in Israeli sushi bars). But really, it's all about location, location, location: you'll be within an easy walk of the Old City, downtown, the many cafes of Azza Street and the German Colony.
Olive Tree Hotel
Book nowThe Olive Tree Hotel is quite near the American Colony, but significantly more affordable - and the service and amenities still rate 4 stars. A newer hotel, at the Olive Tree you can expect free wireless Internet (not as common as you might expect in Jerusalem's upper-tier hotels), a sumptuous daily Israeli breakfast spread, and a brief walk to the Damascus Gate. And both downtown Jerusalem and Salah ad-Din Street, the main thoroughfare of Arab Jerusalem, are easily reached on foot as well.
Book nowThe Harmony Hotel is a gem - a modern boutique hotel in historic Nachalat Shiva, a warren of alleyways (and excellent little bars and restaurants) in the very heart of downtown Jerusalem's nightlife district. Independently owned, a bit quirky and attuned to the community (local artists' work line the walls), a stay at the Harmony will put you an easy ten-minute walk down Jaffa Road from the Jaffa Gate and the Old City beyond, not to mention the Mamilla outdoor shopping mall, Ben Yehuda Street and some of the best eats you'll find in the city. And they've got a billiards lounge too!
Book nowThe extravagrant Mamilla Hotel is proof you can have it both ways: you can be literally within sight of the Jaffa Gate and treat yourself to an embarrassing surfeit of modern 5 star luxury. You'll pay for the privilege, of course, but the gleaming Mamilla Hotel, part of the long-awaited Mamilla Avenue development project (along with the Mamilla mall) is worth every shekel. Eat breakfast at a cafe overlooking the Old City's walls, dinner at one of Jerusalem's hottest restaurants, and knock back a bottle or two of vino with friends at Jerusalem's only dedicated wine bar - all without even having to leave the hotel. And try to squeeze in a visit to the Old City somewhere in between.
Of course, there are plenty of other fine options for Old City-accessible lodging. Honorable mentions go out to the David Citadel, the Grand Court and the Inbal, but really, whether you settle on two stars or five, every hotel near the Old City offers the same unbeatable amenity: a lifetime's worth of Jerusalem memories.
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