Can anyone recommend a good hotel in Jerusalem. Preferable in the old town section
Yes, the Hotel Jerusalem near the Damascus Gate. Beautiful, attentive staff, breakfast in the garden, and our room was majestically large. Bus to West Jerusalem stops outside the door.
Norma, you mentioned west Jerusalem, just curious why? (Shrine of the Book?)
If you want a good, as in seriously good, hotel (with price attached), the historic and magnificent King David Hotel is not in the Old City but is in a lovely older neighborhood just a ten minute walk from the Jaffa Gate into the Old City. I've been very happy with the Jerusalem of Gold Hotel, about a 20 minute walk from Jaffa Gate in a more bustling neighborhood with lots of shops and restaurants.
Kent, when we were there it was for an Urban Planners Congress, being held in West Jerusalem, but the favoured hotel was too expensive for us, so we found the Jerusalem Hotel by chance. Others in our group were envious and some moved to it after the Congress.
Norma, ok, thanks for clarifying your mention of west Jerusalem.
For Jerusalem, unlike most European cities, you do not want to stay in the "old town section." The Old City of Jerusalem not only closes down at night, it's poorly lit and almost deserted. It's probably safe, but more than a bit creepy, and with no restaurants open, it's not convenient at night either. There are only a few guest houses there, in any case
West Jerusalem is what the area west of the Old City is called. Some parts are right next to the Old City, while some parts are quite far away. In the parts of West Jerusalem close to the Old City there are lots of restaurants, stores, etc, that are open at night. There are also hotels of every description. This is the best place for visitors to stay.
What is your budget? And, how do you define a "good hotel?" I stayed at the City Center Jerusalem, which was pretty basic but met my needs. If you don't like plain and cheap (albeit very central), you'll want to stay elsewhere - but be aware that hotels in Jerusalem aren't cheap.
The King David if you want a conveniently-located, full service hotel and if price is not a consideration.
To save money, consider renting an AirBnB. There are many in Jerusalem.
I agree, the Old City is not a good place to stay, because it's pretty quiet after dark (not much in the way of eateries and no entertainment venues) and can feel unsafe. Notre Dame Centre has a good hotel (nice rooftop bar and views) and is across the street from the Christian quarter of the Old City, and also just a few minutes' walk to the heart of the "new" city. With a lower budget, try the Scottish Guest House and the Three Arches (YMCA 3-star hotel). YMCA is closer to the Old City, but the Scottish Guest House is also reasonably well located for the Old City, quite good for cafes, restaurants and buses to the center (or a 15-20 minute walk).
To be clear, Jerusalem's center is more or less in 3 parts, East Jerusalem (Arab), West Jerusalem (Jewish) and the Old City with its 4 quarters, Muslim, Christian (mostly Arab and mostly Greek Orthodox and Catholic), Jewish and Armenian (also Christians). While there's lots to see in the Old City, many of the sights and virtually all the good restaurants are in the new city. The Israel Museum is top-notch, everyone should visit the Holocaust (Shoah) memorials and museum at Yad VaShem, there's the Mahaneh Yehuda market, parks and gardens, the Supreme Court (architecturally interesting), the Knesset (parliament), the Bible Lands Museum, and interesting neighborhoods to explore.
We stayed at the Notre Dame Center Hotel right beside the Old City (Christian area) and really enjoyed it. The rooms are modern, and the breakfast buffet was really great. They have amazing views from their rooftop restaurant and bar, even if you stay somewhere else you MUST go there just before sunset to see the Old City and Mt. of Olives. It's also along the rail line that can take you into the livelier areas easily.
A note about the Notre Dame Center.
I've never stayed there but I've visited been in the lobby and public areas and eaten in the top floor restaurant. While it is close to the Old City and modern, it's also about as un-Israeli as you can get and still be in Israel. They even take American cash for payment. The restaurant serves a very Americanized menu, and not very good, but high-priced food. There is an abundance of great, fresh, and not expensive food to be had elsewhere in Jerusalem. Try it!
Great view though.
It kind of reminds me of what I imagine traveling on a cruise ship is like ... a very sanitized experience. So if you are looking for that, great. But if you want to feel more like you're actually in Israel, skip it.
Well, I wouldn't go to any Jerusalem hotel for lunch or dinner (except the Three Arches) and wouldn't choose a hotel based on a diner's experience. The lobby is reminiscent of the Ottoman era in Palestine and the architecture is similar to the Crusader period.