Gateway to the City at Inbal Jerusalem

sofia cafe inbal jerusalem

Overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City and Liberty Bell Park, the 283 room Inbal Jerusalem offers a luxury hotel experience, while still being within walking distance of many of the city’s main cultural attractions and venues. The central location makes the hotel a popular hotel for both leisure and business travelers.

After a long day of travel, and numerous time zones, to get to Jerusalem, the Inbal lobby was a welcome respite for a road weary traveler. It was spacious, with lots of seating, and my friends who had already arrived were sitting there, relaxed, with a glass of tea.

Check in was a breeze, but getting to my room took a bit of thought. I’m going to chalk it up to just being tired, but it took me awhile to figure out how to use the elevators. You scan your electronic room key on a keypad and it displays the elevator bank that you should go to. Once in the elevator itself, there’s no need to push a floor, your key card has already registered the stop for you. It’s a system I’ve seen in a few other hotels, and at first it’s a bit confusing, but much less so after a good night of sleep and an adjustment to the time zone.

My room was on the 8th floor, with a partial view of the Old City. It was stunning. The view, that is. The room was spacious and comfortable, but nothing could live up to the view. Rooms are sleek and non-fussy, with a desk, dresser, king sized bed, and sitting area with two chairs. It felt solid, although a bit nondescript, a good place to sleep, a pleasant place to work, a nice room to be in. And a great location.

Inbal Jerusalem room

The rooms have coffee and tea service, the expected television display and stations, and complimentary wi-fi. Bathrooms are spacious with upscale amenities.

The proximity of the hotel to the Old City and the Western Wall makes it a popular choice for bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. The lobby was frequently full of families who had traveled to Jerusalem for a ceremony in this holy location.

The hotel has a spa and health club on site, with massages and other health and beauty treatments offered. The spa featured eco-friendly products, and has a wet an dry sauna and a fully equipped fitness center. Exercise classes are also offered, so check the schedule in your room or with the concierge for times. Although priority scheduling is given to hotel guests, the spa is open to the public.

While I didn’t have time to indulge in a spa treatment, I did have a few hours to spend by the pool. I visited in June, so the weather was warm and the padded loungers called to me. The pool was much larger than expected at a hotel, with a small toddler pool for families. The Splash Pool Bar offered a small menu of sandwiches and salads, grilled items, cold watermelon, ice cream, soft drinks, and beer and cocktails. My visit was during the warm weather, a pleasant time to enjoy outdoors by the pool. During the colder weather, I’m told the pool is covered.

In addition to the Splash Pool Bar, there are three other restaurants on site. The Sofia Cafe was a nice place for coffee and cake, served throughout the day. It felt more like a living room than a restaurant. The Sofia Restaurant served Italian fare for lunch and dinner. If you keep Kosher, note that the Sofia Restaurant is a dairy restaurant.

The breakfast buffet is served in the Carmel Restaurant, and the buffet is quite a spread. From traditional western choices like eggs, cereal, and pancakes, to Middle Eastern choices like assorted cheeses, halva, and dates, it was all delicious. I have never tasted melons so sweet as I did in Jerusalem. Even if you have an early appointment, allow yourself a half hour of extra time for the breakfast buffet. If the weather is nice, you can eat in the inner courtyard.

The Carmel Restaurant also serves the traditional Shabbat meal for Friday dinner and Saturday lunch. Although I still have much to learn about the Shabbat tradition, on a future visit, I’d like to try this.

The Inbal Jerusalem is located at 3 Jabotinsky Street, adjacent to Liberty Bell Park, in Jerusalem, Israel. Rates start at about $300 per night, with most rates including breakfast (and you’re really going to want to try that breakfast). You can also compare rates and book through agoda.com.

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