Aerial View - David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

David Citadel Hotel

Like the King David, the large David Citadel caters to political leaders and CEOs, but offers accommodations that are contemporary in style. The 385 rooms lack charm, but are fresh after a full renovation in 2017, and the views overlooking the Old City and the Tower of David are extraordinary. The U-shaped structure—centered around a heated outdoor pool—does have redeeming features: the spa is world-class, kids adore the well-appointed Play Center, the hotel restaurant, Scala, is spectacular, and the fitness facilities are far larger than the King David’s.

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Suite at Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

Mamilla Hotel

From the lobby of the Mamilla, it is only a seven-minute, almost-straight walk to the nearest gate that leads into the Old City. True, you go through the Mamilla Mall (unrelated to the hotel), lined mostly with indistinguishable boutiques, but the ease of access is terrific, and many visitors to Jerusalem agree that the hotel’s location is unbeatable.

Public spaces are equally impressive—the lobby’s thick, high, blond stone walls are a gorgeous homage to the Old City’s. Minimally furnished—with a Mies chaise and a Saarinen table set like sculptures next to an all-glass coffee table bearing precious few books—the lobby, like the rest of the property, is promisingly contemporary. Once you’re in the rooms upstairs, though, the drawbacks of style over substance can become apparent. There are few hooks on which to hang towels or clothes in the bathrooms, and the lights in some of the adjacent dressing rooms are dim. To watch the TV in the living room, it is necessary to slide back a wall-size door that covers it; this then closes off the bedroom and bathroom, which means having to open the wall repeatedly to get anything next door.

The canvas-covered rooftop restaurant boasts unobstructed—and unrivaled—views of the Old City. If the modern décor isn’t for you, grab a drink or dinner on the roof, where the view is spectacular, and more memorable than the rooms below. Another highlight of the hotel is its modern gym facility, which boasts a separate spinning room. The hotel also offers complimentary wine tastings every Friday.

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Lobby at The King David Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

The King David Hotel

Owned by the Israeli Dan Hotels group, the property offers a true luxury experience in a country that lacks many high-end hotels. Its history, views, lobby, pool, guests—all combine to make for a hotel that has a palpable sense of place, even if some of the rooms, though plush, are slightly generic.

In just ten minutes you might see a government official’s security team milling about the lobby; a movie producer introducing her creative team to potential backers; and tight-faced ladies in satin evening coats who would look perfectly at home in Palm Beach. (Probably they’re even from Palm Beach.) You’ll be at the undisputed VIP center of Jerusalem. Only if you are looking for a cool, contemporary aesthetic should you stay elsewhere; the hotel is not a time capsule but it’s hardly minimal or sleek. Otherwise make sure you have a room on the back, with views of the Old City’s walls, and settle in to a hotel that continues to play its own role in the city’s history.

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Interior View - Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem , Jerusalem, Israel

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

The Waldorf Astoria opened in 2014 after a full renovation, during which it was rebuilt from local Jerusalem stone. With large public places and ample light streaming in from all angles, the hotel has a welcoming, airy feeling. The Waldorf is within walking distance to the Old City and the famed Jaffa Gate, as well as the open-air Mamilla Mall. This convenient location makes it easy for travelers to tour the historical city on foot from their doorstep.

Of the 226 guest rooms there are 29 suites, with many connecting options for families. The large marble bathrooms include televisions concealed in the mirrors, making it easy to catch up on current news from the enormous freestanding tub. Some of the rooms have small balconies, though the lack of views may be disappointing to travelers who expect to see the Old City from the hotel (like you can at the King DavidDavid Citadel and Mamilla).

The on-property dining options include the Mediterranean-inspired Palace restaurant and King’s Court, serving a curated roster of wines and cocktails and kosher Italian cuisine. There is currently a fitness center, and a brand new spa and lap pool are slated to open in 2018, rounding out the luxurious amenities.

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