The joy of vacationing inside Israel - Jerusalem

The number of Israelis going on holiday here at home is expected to rise significantly now that we are heading into the summer season.

HALLELUJAH! ON show at the City of David (photo credit: KOBI HERATI)
HALLELUJAH! ON show at the City of David
(photo credit: KOBI HERATI)
Now that we’ve survived this challenging year, during which we could not fly overseas cheaply or at the drop of a hat, many Israelis have set out to vacation inside the borders of our small country. As such, we’ve seen a resurgence of guesthouses and hotels all across Israel. 
The number of Israelis going on holiday here at home is expected to rise significantly now that we are heading into the summer season. Although many people are still choosing to enjoy a holiday in bed-and-breakfasts located far from population centers, more and more Israelis are returning to booking vacations in hotels in city centers so that they can pamper themselves with all the indulgences they’d been prevented from experiencing over this past year during the pandemic. 
One of these hotels that has excitedly reopened its doors to guests is Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel, one of the capital’s most veteran hotels. When most people picture vacationing in Jerusalem, they imagine dashing from one exciting spot in Jerusalem’s Old City to another and arriving at their hotel only late at night, exhausted from a long day of activity. 
The Inbal Hotel, which has been welcoming Israeli guests for a few decades now, is taking people’s love for the Old City and merging it with guests’ desire to be pampered and thoroughly enjoy their accommodations. In this way, lodgers can combine their desire to enjoy the unique vistas of Jerusalem and the atmosphere of this unique city with a truly pampered hotel experience.
The Inbal is different from all the other hotels in the capital, and recently has attracted a large number of Israeli tourists who are looking to take a break from their routine lives, downshift and truly relax. 
The hotel, which has 331 rooms, 52 of which are suites, offers vacationers a five-star-plus experience, in addition to a supreme location in the capital that is near the Old City, the lively downtown area and other local attractions. 
Closed for many months during the pandemic, the Inbal underwent extensive renovations this past year, and a large number of rooms and common areas have been upgraded. Moreover, the luxury hotel is known for the highest of standards at its swimming pool, gym, spa and restaurants. 
Veteran Jerusalemites can surely attest to the fact that the hotel, which is located adjacent to Liberty Bell Park, is an integral part of the city, and has hosted numerous intellectuals and celebrities hailing from all around the world.
Originally planned by renowned Israel Prize recipient and architect Yaakov Rechter, the hotel gives the impression that it is a large fortress. More recently, Studio Michael Azoulay has carried out a bit of a face-lift on the hotel’s interior, while preserving the iconic hotel’s famous exterior structure.
The upgraded rooms offer a magnificent combination of chic, comfort and functionality, including rooms with balconies that have stunning views of the surrounding area. The common spaces are furnished with classic colors, and are now open to guests, while of course following COVID-19 health regulations.
In the hotel dining hall, at breakfast as well as at dinnertime, service has been adapted to new hygiene guidelines, while continuing to offer the array of dishes guests have been accustomed to over the years. Instead of the vast variety of salads and cheeses, meals are currently served on smaller, tastefully designed dishes, with plates being prepared by servers on the other side of glass partitions. 
Even if you are not residing at the hotel, but just happen to be in the capital for a special night out, I recommend dining at the hotel’s excellent restaurant, 02, located on the ground floor. The kosher restaurant offers a taste of modern Jerusalem cuisine, as well as a bar that is the perfect venue for enjoying a drink overlooking the unique Jerusalem cityscape. 
Location: Liberty Bell Park, 3 Jabotinsky Street, Jerusalem.
Price: Beginning at NIS 1,350 midweek per couple, including breakfast, and NIS 1,630 on weekends. 
Emek Tzurim National Park
If you’re traveling with children, you should probably have a few ideas for activities to do in addition to walking around the Old City and meandering through the narrow alleyways in the Mahaneh Yehuda outdoor market.
One of my favorite ones is the Emek Tzurim National Park, which offers fun adventures for the whole family that include archaeological and historical treasures. Participants should be on the lookout for ancient discoveries and finds, such as amulets belonging to Egyptian pharaohs, arrowheads from the Babylonian period, rare jewelry and ancient coins. 
In addition, visitors can join an exciting family-wide navigation activity for which use of your smartphone is necessary. All you have to do is download the app and access the map that will enable you to navigate your way between the various points within the park, solve riddles and discover new locations, through which you will learn a great deal about the history of Jerusalem and the remains found on the Temple Mount. 
Hours of Archaeological Experience: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (site is open until 3 p.m.). Activity lasts 90 minutes. 
Price: NIS 19-24. 
Price of navigation activity: NIS 85 (maximum 7 participants).
Details: *6033.
Hallelujah
Even after the sun goes down, the city does not rest. There are nighttime shows in the City of David, including Hallelujah, an outdoor audiovisual show that tells the story of the revival of ancient Jerusalem.
Over 2,000 years ago, with the destruction of the First Temple, the Jewish people was exiled to Babylonia. Later, Nehemiah was sent back to Judea to supervise the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This story is told using exciting special effects, making this show a favorite among children. 
Hours: Nighttime shows are 75 minutes long and begin at 7:30, 8:15, 9 and 9:45.
Price: NIS 54-65.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.