Boutique Luxury in Downtown Jerusalem

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It is not easy to squeeze a hotel that is both cozy and comfortable into the heart of downtown Jerusalem, home to some of the most expensive real estate in Israel. Yet that is what the new Arthur Hotel has managed to do — and at prices that won’t break the bank, to boot.

The Arthur is the sister hotel to the Harmony Hotel, both of which are just steps from Jerusalem’s sleek and convenient light rail system. The hotels’ convenient locations mean that renting a car while staying at the Arthur could be considered a superfluous expense; but for those with a car, the former’s underground parking facility (with car elevator) is available — and free — to guests of the latter as well. A stretch golf cart — nicknamed the “tuk tuk” — provides complimentary shuttle service between the two hotels.

The Arthur (along with the Harmony) is part of the Atlas Hotels chain, a collection of 13 boutique hotels strategically located throughout Israel. The innovative chain is known for its quality and popular perks, all free of charge: Wi-Fi in all public spaces and guest rooms; Internet-connected computers in the lobby; and generous self-service happy hours every evening, complete with wine, snacks and pastries.

Although the hotel is situated on a main artery of West Jerusalem’s busiest pedestrian mall, the lack of vehicular traffic in its vicinity means it is insulated from external noise. The cozy warmth of the area adjacent to the entrance and opposite the reception desk is accentuated by a row of wooden rocking chairs, part of an overall decor recalling the early 20th century. The lobby is made even more inviting by its plethora of coffee table books and available daily English-language newspapers.

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The guest rooms are not spacious, but there is no stinting on comfort or convenience. In addition to a queen-size bed with luxurious mattress and duvet, there is an easy chair, desk/working area, mini-refrigerator and electric kettle for coffee and tea. The in-room safe is large enough to accommodate a laptop computer. Each double room comes with two complimentary bottles of mineral water.

The bathrooms actually appear quite commodious for a hotel that, of necessity, must be space-conscious. The shower, with gleaming white tiles and dual showerheads, takes up an entire wall; the opposite wall is opulently decorated with Armenian ceramic plates. Sea of Spa toiletries, a telescopic make-up mirror and a hang-up hair dryer round out the bathroom’s amenities.

Surprisingly, the architects have even managed to make room for compact porches for most room, from which glimpses of downtown Jerusalem may be caught. Evocative black-and-white photographs of Jerusalem of 100 years ago extend the theme of the central decor.

As in virtually every respectable hotel in Israel, a generous buffet breakfast is included in the price of the room. There may be fewer hot dishes than in some comparable establishments, and no omelette station, but there is more than ample good food — and it may be enjoyed in a charming, walled-off al fresco area graced by a carefully preserved statuesque olive tree.

Published rates at the Arthur Hotel start at NIS 818 (breakfast included) for a double room. You can also book through Travelocity, Expedia or Hotels.com

Text and photos by Buzzy Gordon, who was a guest of Arthur Hotel  for purposes of review.

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