Cruise ships occasionally stay in a port for more than one day. Should you sleep in your cabin or splurge by spending a night in a hotel? In most instances, I would take the conservative approach by maximizing my shipboard experience and minimizing my out-of-pocket expenses. However, when given the option to spend a night in Israel, I gladly jumped at the opportunity. Why waste time driving back and forth to the heart of Israel, when we could stay at the Harmony Hotel in Jerusalem.
Jacob Firsel, our private tour guide, recommended the Harmony Hotel, an Atlas Boutique Hotel. I was searching for a location that was walking distance to the Old City and was within an area that had a variety of restaurants, galleries, and shops. The Harmony Hotel fit the bill. It was located within the quaint neighborhood of Nahalat Shiva, an area that dates back to the 1860s.
Upon check-in, we learned that our Internet reservation was upgraded. Our barebones accommodation had been magically transformed to a spacious suite. Free Wi-Fi access was a definite plus after counting every second of Internet usage aboard the ship.
After a day of non-stop touring, it was pleasure to indulge in a pre-dinner snack. A wide variety of finger foods were a perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine.
We were content to hunt down a local falafel restaurant. The one that the hotel recommended had already sold out its daily allotment. I had left my notes regarding other options in the room. We had to punt. On nearby Ben-Yehuda Street, we wandered past a storefront filled with Israelis. We looked at a large sign at Hamarosh while we contemplated our order.
While most of the patrons were nibbling on shawarma, (shredded meat, with chopped vegetables, pickles and condiments inside a pita) we were content to order the vegetarian alternative- falafel and humus. Our Middle East sandwich that included freshly fried falafel balls with an assortment of vegetables was tucked inside a flavorful pita topped off with a spicy sauce. This fulfilled my desire to eat something Israeli. Ira added French fries to the mix.
After strolling up and down the peaceful pedestrian mall, we returned for a quiet evening in our room. Before checking out the next morning, we helped ourselves to the inviting Israeli breakfast buffet. We’ve never been disappointed with an Israeli breakfast. This experience did not break that trend.
By staying in Jerusalem, we were able to start our private tour without wasting any commute time. We would not hesitate to return to the Harmony Hotel the next time our travel plans take us back to Israel.
Have any of my readers stayed at the Harmony Hotel?