You will need a current guidebook, since many of the Hostels/Hotels have gone
out of business: too few tourists.
Suq Khan El-Zeit, Old City No 73 - Jerusalem
002 02 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org 10 2
The view from the breakfast room
Hashimi Hotel is easily found, as long as you get dropped off at the Damascus Gate, and hang right at the first fork in the souk that starts on the inside of the gate. Then just look for the sign. It is just a few short minutes' walk from the Damascus Gate. A small map is on their website. In retrospect, I would not wanted to have stayed anywhere else. It is absolutely perfectly situated. The rooms are accpetable, and the ensuite bathrooms are clean and functional. There is an upstairs restaurant area where breakfast is served, and you can find a hot kettle of water with coffee or tea any time of the day and night. The view from that room and the roof terrasse, as you can see, is absolutely spectacular. The rooms are mostly renovated and any supplies you need are available. The man who makes the place what it is Eddy, a retired agronomist. He makes sure that there is a hot pancake for everyone in addition to the very complete breakfast buffet. He also takes care of the laundry. The desk staff is helpful and kind. If I were to go back to Jerusalem, I would not hesitate to stay at this hotel again. To find an ATM, continue the passage into the souq, all the way to the end. It terminates in the Jewish Quarter, where there is a corner bank, at the small square and the best falafel shop I have found in the Middle East. Going past the bank and the fast food places will also take you to the Western Wall and to the Temple Mount access.
Eddy and the breakfast buffet
Tours to Masada and the Dead Sea are daily and wil be arranged by the staff. For Internet, walk out of the hotel, turn left into the souq and left again. You will find a busy and comfortable Internet shop on the right side of the alley. That same alley, if you continue down to the bottom and then turn right, will take you to the Western Wall.
I noticed that some of the Japanese kids were cooking their own food. Apparently there is a kitchen that is available to guest. A real benefit I will definitely take advantage of the next time I'll stay there.
Yaffa Rd 34
The problem here is that if you want to stay in Haifa, this may be the only game in town. So let me warn you of what might happen. While the place seems clean and friendly enough, my experience went like this. I arrived late on Friday evening. The little weasel behind the counter made a huge sales pitch explaining that unfortunately, for the night he had only a dorm bed for me. I really don't do that anymore at my age, but he kept bending my ear, telling me that I would be essentially stuck in town for the duration of Sabbath, which practically shuts all public transportation down Friday afternoon until Sunday morning at 0800. I was hugely frustrated and finally agreed to take the dorm bunk. Seing myself totally trapped, I paid for one night and then get to the room which was large, but they had crammed four bunks and one bed in there. The room smelled and also housed some ancient, apparently Easter European individual for a longer duration. I immediately went down and expressed my displeasure with the situation. At that time I noticed an older guest in the TV room (I asked if I could sleep there instead, BTW, and weasel told me that that's where he sleeps). When the man heard me bitch about the situation he said, 'Wait, there is a way to get to Akko', my actual destination. He said,'Why don't you go by service taxi'. The service taxis there are small yellow busses and run by Moslems even on Sabath. I was saved and immediately went to the desk weasel and asked him why he didn't mention this to me. He said with a smile that he was new there and was trying to make a room/bed sale, to look good for his boss. I told him that I wanted to cancel the bed, and, since I never settled in, I already had removed my bag from that room, I expected my money refunded. Well, weasel had to call his boss first, and the two seem to be a match made in heaven. The boss told him over the phone that he should not refund the money to me (even though I never occupied the room. So I was clearly misled and ripped off by the staff. I stormed out, very angry, and walked 10 minutes (all uphill) to ge to the place where the service taxis stopped, and within 5 minutes after my arrival was on the way to Akko, just a 20 minute, inexpensive ride away.
Because of the Intefada, and the subsequent drying-up of tourists in Israel, the Port Inn, should you have reason to be in Haifa, may unfortunately the only place left standing. Virtually everyone else has gone out of business. Hope you have better luck there than I.
Akko Gate Hostel
Old City Acco Salah Ed-Din Street
Tel: 04-99104410 Fax 04-9815530
The hostel, if you want to call it that, is atop a restaurant, all owned by Walid, who lives up above somewhere. The rooms are quite large, ensuite and clean. They have TV and refridgerator, and he charges $50 a night. He IS the only game in town at that general price range. Like it or not, if you want to stay in the awesome old Akko city for a reasonable amount, this is where you will most likely stay. The location is excellent and the citadel as is just about everything in the old town is in easy walking distance. Breakfast is fine, however not included in the price. I opted to get my own. There is a supermarket and a fruit vendor directly across the street. In my whole Middle East trip, this was the only place where I ended up killing several mosquitos. The screens were not too secure and had some holes, and I think they managed to slip in through there. Walid is a nice grandfather, who will give you the key to the lobby so that you can let yourself in, when the lobby is not staffed, which it mostly is not. Everyone called it the 'new place' because Walid took a chance on it and opened it, while everyone else was chutting down. So far it seems to work for him. He said that the place is full much of the time.
To depart, I caught a service taxi from the lobby door, offering the amount that Walid suggested, which was half of what the cab drivers asked of me when I arrived. I departed town via train to Tel Aviv, which was very convenient and comfortable, but was at the end of a weekend, jam packed with young military going back to their duty stations.
When I arrived at the railroad station of Akko, where the Service Taxi from Haiffa dropped me off, I used my guidebook to find hotels/hostels. After talking to cab drivers for a while, giving them names, then, under my breath, calling them names, nothing seemed to work. Noone seemed to even know where the Lighthouse was. However, one cabbie, who had another fare, gestured in a direction, and so I said to myself,'time to recoup some of the losses from the Port Inn ripoff and do this on foot'. I walked all the way to where I knew the ocean was, and sure enough ended up, 20 minutes, or so, later at the lighthouse. None of the hostels listed in the guidebook were there. I saw, just like in Haiffa, where they once had been, but the houses were apparently now private residences. The locals were helpful enough, but noone seem to know where there was another place to stay, aside from the rather expensive beachfront hotel. Finally, a restaurant manager told me of the 'new place' by the gate. Walid's place. Once I mentioned Walid, suddenly everyone knew what I wanted. So by 2320 (11:20 pm) I finally walked out of the dark toward some lights, near the ramparts of the old city, and there was a man sipping wine in the lobby of the hostel. I asked him if he had a room, he said he did and I took it. I was just about fried by that time.
Suq Khan El-Zeit, Old City No 73 - Jerusalem
EMAIL: email@example.com 2
For Tel Aviv the guidebooks were spot-on. Apparently Tel Aviv did not suffer the same fate as the hotels in the smaller cities, or those less popular. I took a bus across the street bridge from the Tel Aviv station and caught no. 63 in direction beach. Got off too soon, but found my way to Gordon Street with little trouble. The desk staff, day and night, is very friendly and helpful, and guest who stayed here were very positive in their comments. I did not stay there, because I realized that I had to be at the airport at 0500 and that would have required me to get up around 0330. I just could not see spending over $50 on a room for just a few hours. Instead, the kind staff locked my backpack up for me, until I was ready to pick it up, which I did around 2200 (10pm) that night. The location is great. Close to the beach, and just a few minutes from a large supermarket, going left on the main street. When I find cause to spend more time in Tel Aviv, a city I really like, I will definitely knock on the doors of Gordon Inn once more. Go to their website. The view they show you is maybe a five minute walk from the hotel. A bar/restaurant is in the building too.