Israeli-Palestinian Vacation in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a city of many religions and cultures. We stayed at the Legacy hotel, situated on the 1967 border and enjoyed an opportunity to experience both cultures - the Western Israeli, and the Eastern Palestinian: from a Mediterranean Chef Restaurant with an open kitchen and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains to a Hookah coffee shop.

The Legacy Hotel occupies the Eastern Jerusalem’s YMCA building, formerly Aelia Capitolina Hotel YMCA. The hotel was refurbished while preserving the history of the building and highlighting the beauty of the original décor. For example, you can see the original tree of life fountain as you enter the lobby. The hotel is small and intimate and service is friendly. The rooms are not big but are modern and well equipped. There is (free) access to the YMCA sports facilities (pool, gym) located on the lower level of the building. The 5th floor is the dining floor, where the hotel’s Chef Restaurant Cardo, the bar, and the breakfast room reside, along a terrace with beautiful views of the old city, Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives.

Legacy hotelLegacy hotel

Legacy’s restaurant, Cardo, is a Mediterranean Chef Restaurant with an open kitchen of Chef Johnny Goric, the famous Palestinian master chef. The restaurant serves a variety of local and International fusion dishes including Italian, French, Arab, etc. with fresh ingredients and local interpretation. For example, fried Akawi cheese and Pistachio Cream Kanafe, rich with tastes and elegantly presented.  You can read more about here: Cardo Restaurant.

Cardo restaurant JerusalemCardo restaurant Jerusalem

After dinner we went to the coffee shop, located in the front garden of the hotel. In the winter, seating is in a heated glasshouse. When we entered the place, a strong sweet scent greeted us – it is the smell of the fruit Hookah (Nargila) that the locals smoke - fruit and herbs tobacco (see below).  The lights are soft and there are large TV screens playing MTV and sports events.  The coffee shop is very popular with the local Palestinian residents, who also have birthday parties here. The menu is lighter and more informal than the Cardo restaurant. It is a wonderful opportunity to get closer to the younger Palestinian generation and see how they socialize.


Breakfast at the Legacy is a treat, not only because of the fantastic view; it is elegant and calm, with tablecloth settings and a rich buffet, including warm dishes on weekends.

Legacy Hotel Breakfast roomLegacy Hotel Breakfast room

The Hotel is located within a short walking distance to the old city, and close to the light rail. This is very convenient for trips in Jerusalem. Because the hotel serves mostly the international tourists and businessman, prices during Jewish holidays can be cheaper (the hotel is inexpensive) but need to book early, because it is a small hotel and gets filled quickly.

Additional information and photographs: Legacy Hotel Jerusalem