Accommodation Guide – Israel

Eilat

Shelter Hostel
Eshel St., 149/1
P.O. Box 816
Eilat 88104
Israel
Phone: +972 8 6332868
Email: info@shelterhostel.com
Web: Shelterhostel.com
Stayed there: 2nd – 3rd June 2007
Rates: 30 Shekels to sleep outside, 50 Shekels for a dorm, 150 Shekels for a private room

When I turned up, the staff didn’t have a record of my booking which was a surprise as I’d had a personal email confirmation. Having said that, it meant I was offered a mattress outside for 20 NIS less than I was expecting to pay for a dorm. They did keep their promise regarding helping me find a dive company, and I went with the excellent Lucky Divers.
The Shelter is very much a religious place, so if you have a pentagram tattooed on your forehead you may want to consider another hostel. They have Bible classes at 11am each day and in the evening it’s not unusual to see people sat around clapping to acoustic guitar music. Not my kind of thing, but I can’t fault the friendliness and helpfulness – and importantly there’s no pressure to join in.
The showers were nice and hot – too hot, in fact! – and the loo’s clean although the hand basins in the toilet stalls weren’t plumbed in. Annoying as there’s also a sign in the kitchen asking you not to brush your teeth in there. Which leaves… where?
A small kitchen is available for personal cooking, a nice shady crash space for chilling out and it’s a short walk to most of the things in Eilat (which is tiny, so that’s not hard).
If you are going to sleep outside, make sure you have insect repellant or some kind of net. I got bitten like mad overnight, and in the morning was waving flies away.
Overall, nice place – and I think the cheapest crash space you’ll get in Eilat.

Jerusalem

Citadel Hostel
Jerusalem Old City Jaffa Gate
20 St Marks Road
PO Box 51602
Jerusalem
Phone: +972(0)2 6285253 / 6284494
Email: reservation@citadelhostel.com
Web: Hostelbookers
Stayed there: 24th May on and off until 5th June 2007
Rates: £3.40 (27 Israeli Shekels) per night to sleep on the roof with no ceiling! £5 upwards for an indoor room

I like this place. It’s very informal, a little messy, but chock full of character.
Yes, I’m sleeping on a roof and the weather had varied since I arrived. No, I don’t know what happens if it rains as the roof is completely open air. You are supplied with a foam rubber mattress if you don’t have your own camping one, and woollen blankets/pillows should you need them. Some people I spotted had rigged up old bedsheets as sunscreens as well.
There’s little security here bar the solid metal front door and a safe near reception should you choose to use it. I have no idea if someone could clamber over the rooftops, but I didn’t have any problems with things going walkies (except my mattress and pillow one day when someone new arrived!)
The staff are really laid back, but helpful and informative if you can wake them up! There’s a TV in the lobby (a dark, cavernous, low-ceilinged alcove) as well as as single PC for free internet access. They also have the fastest wireless connection I think I’ve used in 14 months. It’s only really accessible downstairs due to the solid construction of the building.
The Old City is pretty small so everywhere you’ll want to visit is within walking distance, but the hostel’s in a great location near the Jaffa Gate. If you get dropped off on the corner, you’ll be back indoors within a couple of minutes. Damascus Gate would be more convenient for those using a lot of public buses, but it’s still only ten minutes’ walk.
There is a tiny kitchen with a fridge and two hobs for those who want to do some basic cooking; sinks, bathrooms and showers of various sizes on al floors and a variety of room types.
For the price, I reckon it’s pretty good. Ignoring the roof, the rooms are about the same price as many hostels in the area. This is the only one available with somewhere to sleep at this price, though. And the view is just astounding.

Tel Aviv

Hayarkon 48 Hostel
48 Hayarkon St
Tel-Aviv
Phone: +972 3 5168989
Email: info@hayarkon48.com
Web: Hayarkon48.com
Stayed there: 31st May 2007
Rates: $16 per night upwards for a dorm, $49 up for a private room

I didn’t stay here for long, but that’s nothing to do with the hostel. I just ended up meeting up with some friends and going to their place late in the evening and didn’t return to the hostel. What I saw, though, was cool.
The beds were comfy, and it’s a big place in a popular city so you’ll meet plenty of people there. The shower was lovely and warm, and there’s a choice of aircon or fan rooms. Fresh bedding is provided when you check in.
The staff (the one I met) were helpful and knowledgeable – and they took Visa. A first for me in Israel.
My only real issue is the exorbitant cost of the internet provided – 12NIS for 30 mins, 15NIS for an hour – that’s almost £2.
Other than that, nice place. Bike hire available, one street away from the beach, tons of bars and clubs nearby and pretty cheap for such a location.

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