A little house in the big city

Little House in Baka, a spacious mansion built in 1930, today is a quaint 34-room hotel.

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November 26, 2017 00:45
2 minute read.
BREAKFAST AT The Little House in Baka – the ‘Little House’ chain is an affordable option to big hote

BREAKFAST AT The Little House in Baka – the ‘Little House’ chain is an affordable option to big hotels.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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As tourism to Israel and its capital city has skyrocketed in recent years – more than 3.5 million will have visited in 2017, an all-time record – a number of new hotels have opened in the city, while a number of more veteran hotels have turned boutique. Progress, alas, brings higher prices, and finding rooms at reasonable rates has become an ever-greater challenge. Enter the “Little House” chain of hotels, offering comfortable and clean lodging at affordable cost in the fascinating, fashionable Jerusalem neighborhoods of Baka, Rehavia and the German Colony.

Each locale has its own special story to tell. Baka was originally a Templar colony, started in 1870 by Germans who came to the holy land and bought up large tracts of land. In addition to Jerusalem, they created settlements in Jaffa, Haifa and what is now Sarona in Tel Aviv. When the worldwide depression came in 1929, the influx of Templers dwindled, and the land began to be sold off to the Arabs. In addition, the British – who had arrived in 1922 when the Mandate for Palestine was turned over to them – regarded the Germans as enemies, and transferred many of them back to Europe.

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The 1948 war saw most of the Arabs leave Baka and the area was largely abandoned.

Many of the homes were then parceled out to Jewish immigrants from Arab countries, who would divide the large houses into multi-family dwellings.

Little House in Baka, a spacious mansion built in 1930, became a guest house for members of the Likud, then a Jewish Agency facility and then a home for children from broken families. Finally, it was sold to private individuals who, in 2000, made it into the hotel it is today; 34 rooms of varying sizes with a lovely outdoor garden and spacious dining room.

Close to the Talpiot promenade, the Old City and the shops and cafes of Emek Refaim, the hotel is perfectly situated for anyone wishing to experience Jerusalem in a relaxed, casual manner.

Rooms are basic but comfortable; all are newly renovated and feature cable television and full baths. There are several rooms that can accommodate up to a couple and four children. Cost for a double room ranges from NIS 450 to 700 per couple per night, depending on the season. The hotel offers a substantial breakfast with an array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, cereals, eggs, breads and pastries; there are ample choices for vegetarians and vegans. There is a 24-hour front desk with very helpful staff, free WIFI throughout and parking, as well as coffee and tea always available. General Manager Oded Niv, who came to Jerusalem from a kibbutz in 1974, fascinated us with the history of the area, and we made friends with a number of guests, including a couple from Cardiff, Wales, who were staying a week in order to spend time with their Israeli children and grandchildren.

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Baka’s “sister” hotels – Little House in the Colony, the smallest hotel in Jerusalem, which opened in 1997; and Little House in Rehavia, which opened in 2007 – also combine affordability with great location and friendly service in a charming atmosphere. I highly recommend all three. A 10% discount is offered when booking through the hotel website.

Little House in Baka: hotelbaka@gmail.com; (02) 673-7944 Little House in Rehavia: littlehouse@ jerusalem-hotel.co.il; (02) 563-3344 Little House in the Colony: melonit@ netvision.net.il; (02) 566-2424

The writer was a guest of the Little House in Baka.

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