Stephanie Holmes checks into a hotel in the heart of high street shopping heaven
In West Jerusalem, by Mamilla Mall — an avenue of high street shops, cafes and restaurants, and a short walk from the historic Old City.
Getting there: Jerusalem is about a 45-minute drive from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
History: The Mamilla neighbourhood was built in the 19th century Ottoman Empire as one of the earliest commercial districts outside of the Old City. The site's history dates back to the first century BCE — it was a water reservoir built by King Herod, and was used as a Mameluke (slave soldiers) cemetery by the Crusaders. Mamilla was also a key contested area between Israel and Jordan between the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and 1967's Six Day War. After extensive redevelopments, and the joining of a new building to a historic one, the hotel is now a fantastic combination of old and new Jerusalem.
Check in experience: We arrived 10 minutes before the breakfast buffet was about to close. After more than 24 hours travelling time from Auckland, I was definitely ready to eat, so we were allowed to head there first, stuff our faces, then come back to check in, which was friendly and fast.
Room: A large, modern suite on the fifth floor with some nice nods to the history of the area, including photos of the area as it looked in the early 20th century.
Complimentary Wi-Fi: Yes, and available in all areas of the hotel. Slow to load at times, but unlimited.
Bed: Two king singles joined together, so the dreaded ridge down the middle of the bed. But each side was very comfortable.
View: Not a great view from my room, but on the eighth floor, the rooftop bar and restaurant has incredible panoramic views of the Old City.
Bathroom: Spacious and modern with glass walls that could be made opaque for privacy at the touch of a button.
Toiletries: A range of L'Occitane products.
Food & Beverage: The aforementioned breakfast buffet is top notch, with an extensive range of western and Israeli options. The shakshuka, Israeli cheeses and salads come highly recommended. There's also the rooftop restaurant/bar, a seafood restaurant called Happy Fish, and a wine and cigar bar all on site.
Facilities: A gym is available to hotel guests, as well as a timetable of yoga, pilates and group fitness classes. The Akasha spa offers a range of wellness treatments, a Turkish Hammam, a relaxation room and indoor swimming pool.
Entertainment: Step out of the hotel and you're in high street shopping heaven. Walk for 10 minutes and you'll be at Jaffa Gate, the entrance to the Old City where you'll find the Holy Land's biggest attractions — the Western Wall, Tower of David, the Jewish Quarter, the Arab markets, Church of the Holy Sepulchre ... it's a history buff's dream.
Perfect for: A luxury retreat in the beautiful, baffling city of Jerusalem.
In a nutshell: A beautiful blend of old and new.
The Mamilla Hotel is at 11 Shlomo Ha-Melekh Street, Jerusalem, Israel.
Phone: +972 2548 2222.