The hotel was conveniently located within a short walking distance from the garden tomb and the Damascus Gate. The charming antique Mediterranean décor generated a unique ‘stepped back in time’ cultural experience. This is a small boutique hotel with character. The staff at the restaurant and front desk were friendly and helpful.
Whilst our experience at the hotel was great it is unfortunate that they associate themselves with the tour company, ‘Alternative Tours and Transportation’, who were absolutely awful.
The hotel arranged a private tour to “Nazareth – Tiberias – Sea of Galilee” on our behalf (the reason for the private tour was that the tour company was not offering this as a group tour for the dates we were in Jerusalem). We were met in reception by a man who with a flick of his wrist indicated we should follow him (he was talking on his mobile so we did not even get a hello out of him). We followed him to a van and took a seat. He commenced driving (still without any greeting as he was still on his mobile). About 10 minutes into the drive he finished his phone conversation and since he still did not make any attempt to speak with us I approached him and asked what was happening. He informed us he was our driver (still no introduction) for the day. We were a little shocked as given his unprofessional and unfriendly demeanour we assumed he was just picking us up to take us to the real ‘tour operator’. We advised that we didn’t book a driver we booked a private tour (we could have just arranged a taxi if this was the case – which we had the previous day and it turned out much cheaper and the driver was friendly and knowledgeable –what you would expect). He advised he was just a driver and couldn’t explain anything as he had no knowledge and we could read the free brochures provided at the sites. He then continued with “if you’re not happy I’ll drop you back to the hotel”. We were a little shell shocked, my partner was adamant that we should just go back to the hotel as given the initial experience the day was not going to get any better. I on the other hand, really upset at the thought of not visiting these sites prior to leaving Israel (we were leaving the next day) went against my better judgement and continued with the trip. It was, as expected, a big mistake and has left a very bad taste in our mouths of our experience in Jerusalem, Israel. By the end of the tour the driver had still not introduced himself or provided any insightful information on sights or his country. In fact, when we returned to the hotel I advised that I would like to speak to Management prior to making payment. He then started getting verbally and physically aggressive. He was calling us ‘idiots’ (which in fairness we obviously were for continuing on the trip) and whilst he did not touch me, he was physically threatening by flailing his arms around and getting right up in my face screaming and pointing at me. The hotel staff had to interject and hold him back – unbelievable! We remained calm and requested the hotel to call the tour management so we could express our disappointment in what I felt was in effect fraud, at a minimum false advertising. They sold me a private tour (which we paid good money for) and gave us a driver who was rude, unprofessional and completely unknowledgeable about any of the areas/sites we were visiting. The Manager of the tour company was not willing to offer any concessions and advised he would talk to the driver. We kept our word and paid the full amount – a shame the Manager did not feel he needed to keep his word. The grievances I highlighted to the Tour Company and hotel are as follows:
1. The service should not be advertised as a ‘tour’ or ‘private tour’. We should have been informed upfront that it was just transportation.
2. Staff/Drivers should always exhibit a friendly and professional demeanour. At a minimum I would expect a driver to introduce themselves at the start of the trip. At any point of the trip would have been helpful in this instance… how could someone who is so rude and unprofessional be representing the travel industry for his country??
After complaining to the hotel staff (who were actually present through the interchange and very understanding and helpful) we were advised that the hotel had received numerous complaints from hotel guests in the past and the hotel management continues to support them as they have a commercial deal whereby the tour company transport hotel staff home at the end of their late shifts for free. If only we had known this before being subjected to the terrible day with this tour company. This is disturbing that such a terrible tour company would be recommended to guests for the hotels own gain, especially when complaints had been made previously. We also asked to speak to the hotel management to share our experiences as he was not arriving until later and he did not bother to meet with us.
I would recommend the hotel, but stay away from ‘Alternative Tours and Transportation’.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A family run hotel situated in an old Arab mansion located only a few meters from the Garden Tomb and The Damascus Gate and within a short walking distance to major historical and cultural sites.Originally built by a feudal lord in the heart of the ancient city of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem hotel has been carefully renovated.Accentuate its 19th century Arab character and refurbished with Arabesque furniture.This distinct architecture is evident in the arched windows.High ceilings, cool stone flagging and secluded vine garden.The thick stone walls, cut from unique creamy Jerusalem stone,Have been exposed and pointed with a traditional Arabic plaster.Rooms are timelessly decorated with antiques inspiring a Middle Eastern oriental milieu.Each of our 14 rooms is custom-furnished, air conditioned and provides a state of the art, fast internet connection, network facilities, wireless internet, two direct dial, separate phone lines, and a Yes cable receiver for guests comfort viewing.Once upon a time a gentle women and men but are start our speech and pleasantries reach, we must offer greetings!and peace!Shall we tell tales tonight .or sleep?we'll tell tales ...once upon a time the storytellers tells such quenching grapes fell upon a place, named KAN ZAMANwhere doors open wide where nerves do unwind where friends and dear ones and visitor who loved once from every neighborhood and home do stay...Enjoying the charms of nights, and joys of the day...The two eating places, the airy 'VINE' garden-patio restaurant and the authentic Diwan (indoor) offer a rich variety of Mediterranean dishes as a full meal or as a snack at reasonable prices. Live Arabic music is organized weekly. The Diwan is ideal for parties accommodating up to forty guests.Whatever the reason for you to visit Jerusalem, our hotel offers the relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere for you to enjoy. ... more less
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