This hostel is a true and real classic located right in the centre of all sights!
First of all my room was very tiny with an unstable door right next to a big and dusty loft with lots of rubbish piled up. A window was broken and stuffed with towels. The toilets were medium clean at that time So for the hostel rooms one star is too much already lol but i still loved this place because of its original and very eccentric character. The staff is very helpful, and i dont remember how many glasses of tea i had with them discussing politics. If youre interested in an alternative view of the political situation then go there but remember that this is not the place to show off your love for bush or sharon ;o)
Here are a few quotes from other comments about this hostel:
"Worked here for a few month before being deported.. It's a wonderful place! The family that runs it has some really eccentric characters and the whole hostel is just too mad to be true. Hosting nothing but mad prophets and seemingly lost backpackers and the odd journalist/activist. It's cheap and in the most amazing location. Cold as hell in the winter months."
"Perhaps the most compelling attraction for visitors to the Al-Arab Youth Hostel is its educational agenda. The staff at Al-Arab make no apologies about their commitment to the Palestinian Intifada and their resistance against Israeli rule. The walls of the youth hostel are adorned with the portraits of martyrs -- Palestinians either imprisoned or killed by the Israeli Occupation. Staff regularly show anti-Jewish, anti-American propaganda which would put even Michael Moore to shame. If you can take it all with a grain of salt, this is will give you an invaluable insight into the politics of the Middle East. This place will give you the Palestinian side of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. The hostel staff also organise tours of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, taking in refugee camps of displaced Palestinians, universities with bullet holes in the walls, and some truly magical old mosques and churches.
Al-Arab Youth Hostel is a cheerful place, despite the rather bleak decor -- and the even bleaker politics being discussed over small Turkish glasses of tea and Arabian checker boards in the common room. Going to this hostel makes you feel like you have gone a thousands years back in time, and that is an experience that money can't buy."
Great service, helpful staff, fantastic restaurant, cosy and intimate rooms and very good location. I would recommend this hotel to everyone, you get a LOT for your money.
The restaurant is outstanding, they make the best palestinian dishes, especially the hummus.
They also offer guided tours through the Old City.
The most interesting tours are however the political tours offered by Abu Hassan. He will take you to the part of Jerusalem that Israel don't want the tourists to see. Now you can see the building of the wall, the difference between the palestinian refugee camps and the settler colonies. You get to see some of the checkpoints and what is happening there.
They also offer tours to Betlehem City, Hebron, Jericho, a refugee camp in the West Bank, the Dead Sea etc. On avarage these tours costs about 70 NIS. The shorter ones are cheaper, the full day tours are a bit more. (5 NIS is about 1 US $)
This is a very pleasent hotel with good standard, good prices and great rooms. The ceiling is high and the athmosphere is very relaxed. It is not a snobby hotel with all the luxury we have in the west, but there are good beds, nice rooms, soap, towels, avarage bathrooms and all the usual. Guests there ranges from backpackers to families, businessmen to elders on vacation.
The breakfast is simple but tasty and traditional with lots of fresh fruit.
The service is great, the staff is always helpful and you feel very much welcome here.
Some of the double rooms have a balcony out to the busy street and also have two floors in the room. These are great!
The whole hotel is also very relaxed and cosy with lots of things hanging on the walls, everything from garnments to photos and poetry. Lots of sofas and chairs everywhere and it gives you the feeling og being in some nice but weird old lady's house.
Just outside you find everything you need from internet cafes to stores, restaurants, market and touristattractions.
The hostel manager can say "I love you" in at least 25 languages (even Icelandic!). Though not the cleanest hostel I've been to it's cheap andthere are always a lot of very cool people there, aware of world politics, most of them doing solidarity work for Palestininans. Just outside the Damascus gate it has a beautiful view over the gates of the old city.
Tabasco is a very lively hostel in the arab quater of the old city in Jerusalem. You get all the usual hostel facilities here, BUT when we were there it was very noisy, so probably not the best place for a weary traveller. It is good for meeting people, & they did used to arrange trips to visit palestinian refugee camps. Although I imagine with all the recent problems, the boarders will be shut.
Seaside facilities include a modern hotel with a therapeutic clinic and a restaurant /bathing / sport complex, meeting the needs of day visitors or parties wishing to spend the night amidst one of the most dramatic and moving landscapes in the world.
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