The ancient city is so much more than just its holy heritage and deep religious history It may be filled with must-see tourist places, but during the last months boutique hotels, culinary hotspots and hip bars balance gave the little sister of Tel Aviv, how it was called very often in travel guides, some new and refreshing sites. Of course, we had to book a flight to Israel and visited the old city and its upcoming, infamous neighborhoods.
WHERE TO STAY
Villa Brown Jerusalem
Located in a historic villa, you find the newest venue of Brown Hotel Group. (Read more about their Croatia design hotels in this article). This boutique hotel in the middle of Jerusalem hosts only 24 rooms and shows a stunning mixture of Ottoman and Neoclassical interior features. Before the renovation, the villa belonged to a Jewish doctor, and nowadays Villa Brown is the place to stay when in Jerusalem. Brown Hotels worked together with Jerusalem-based architects Galit Shifman Bar-Natan and Michal Cohen Magen to restore the villa from the early 20th century.
Besides the velvet-covered dining area and the luxurious rooms, some of them with a little balcony facing the quiet streets of Jerusalem, you find a terrace on the upper level with a jacuzzi and sun beds. That kind of rooftop spa was made possible, because the architects built two additional floors on the historical building.
Besides, from the rooftop you have a stunning view over the city, from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Academy of Design and Arts or the Jerusalem hills. And before you leave for your sightseeing-trip through the city: Even though the 24 hours might be short in Jerusalem, stay for the breakfast at Villa Brown. Fresh and Local dishes with a distinct twist – you will love it, too. Everything prepared by the renown Israeli chef Meir Adoni. When the sun is out, enjoy your breakfast at the tea garden, which feels like you just stepped into a fairy tale.
Address: Ha-Nevi’im St 54, Jerusalem, Israel; brownhotels.com
WHERE TO EAT
Get a reservation – as soon as you know about your trip to Jerusalem – at the very popular Machneyuda restaurant. The name is an allusion to the Mahane Yehuda, the Jerusalem fruit and vegetable market, which is only a street away. No evening at Machneyuda will be the same.
And this already starts at the interior, where none of the rustic tables looks like another and you find some lovely details in the room. You hear loud music, the cooks around owner Uri Navon rotate and laugh behind the kitchen counter, the waiters sit down at the table and discuss the menu or Navon comes from the kitchen and toasts to the guests. Besides the chaotic but lovable vibe in there, you get some of the best dishes you can have in Israel.
Address: Beit Ya’akov St 10, Jerusalem, Israel; machneyuda.co.il
Jahnun Bar at Food Market Jerusalem
Speaking of the food market Machane Yehuda: You have to go there. Editor Jessie and I found the most delicious street food there, so better be hungry when you go. Besides Israeli classics like Shakshouka and Schawarma, plan in some time at Jahnun Bar. Not only, because the fluffy Malawach – whose dough is a combination of wrap and croissant – will be one of the best things you ever ate (trust us!). Also because all the young people of Jerusalem meet in this alley at the evening and dance together. Get a beer, sit down and enjoy the early evening – while you probably think about how you can take plenty of this incomparable Malawach home with you.
Address: HaEgoz St 30, Jerusalem, Israel
WHAT TO SEE
Of course, no trip to Jerusalem counts, if you didn’t visit the old city. You don’t need a guide, let the small alleys and signs guide you through the different places, religious landmarks and the market.
And at one point, you almost can’t miss it, will make it to the famous Via Dolorosa. There you will find the Hospice of the Holy Family, where you find a little café and a lovely terrace with a view. Don’t be deterred by the impressive entrance, make your way to the “Viennese Café”. And we could guess, that you’re not to keen on Austrian sweets or coffee, but the view from there is amazing. Also, it is kind of cute to experience such a home-related café in the middle of Israel.
Address: Austrian Hospice, Via Dolorosa St 37, Jerusalem
WHERE TO DRINK
Gatsby – Speak Easy Bar
The 1920s style Gatsby bar has taken Jerusalem by storm with perfectly mixed cocktails and a truly unique atmosphere. And yes, the “speak-easy-trend”, which refers to the time of the prohibition when bars and liquors where very well hidden, has also arrived at Jerusalem: The journey begins when you enter a big, black door and find the bar behind a bookshelf after the modest, unlit entrance. There is music such as swing and jazz, lively entertainment and a bar straight from Manhattan in 1925. We recommend making a reservation, as the bar is usually very crowded.
Address: Hillel St 18, Jerusalem, Israel