Where to stay in Jerusalem: Abraham Hostel

Written by on June 30, 2014 in Hotel, Israel, Middle East, Reviews - 14 Comments

When it comes to hostels, I tend to think bigger isn’t better. Why? Well, in my experience, the more people crammed into hostels, the more chances of loud, obnoxiousness (although those travelers can be found everywhere, regardless), and a less safe vibe. Before arriving to Israel, I had planned on staying at Abraham Hostel, despite the 250 (!) bed count.

As far as hostels go, Abraham Hostel is one of the bigger hostels I have ever stayed at.

But, Abraham Hostel, located near the heart of the action and a 20-minute walk from the Old City of Jerusalem, isn’t like those other big-bed hostels. At all.

Reception

Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem

Check-in at Abraham Hostel

When we arrive around 10 p.m. on Friday night, after a quick drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, there are a few people sitting on the couches and using the tables, computers propped open. It’s not loud … at all, which takes me by surprise.

The staff at reception checks us in quickly and provides us a map outlining what is open on Shabbat nearby, since the holy city is pretty much being holy and shops are closed for 24 hours while Shabbat is celebrated. Before go to our room, we are each given one free drink ticket per person to be used at the bar on the second floor (which also serves food), and told about the complimentary breakfast in the morning.

The dorm

Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem

Cramming into one bed at Abraham Hostel. Photo: Mindful Wanderlust

After that, we head upstairs to check out our room. It’s four of us and we’ve got a four bed dorm, complete with a shower and bathroom en suite.

It’s been awhile since I’ve stayed in a dorm room, and this is the first time I’ve ever stayed in a dorm room with only friends, so instead of it being one of those places where I tip-toe around, carefully hide my technology gadgets and worry if I will snore, I’m excited at the idea of all of us being together.

Our first night is a slumber party, where camped on each other’s bottom bunks, we laugh and talk for hours before we all agree it is lights out and prepare for our weekend of exploring Bethlehem and Hebron with Abraham Tours.

We have two nights in the dorm, and both nights were fine and peaceful. The street where the hostel is located is a rather quiet one (despite a slew of Hasidic Jews running down the street yelling and celebrating just before sundown on Saturday).

Common areas

Roof top at Abraham Hostel

The roof top at Abraham Hostel

Like any good hostel, having a common area where people can mingle is key. Abraham Hostel has plenty of this going on. On the main reception floor, there are couches parked around coffee tables, tables and chairs, a traveler center, hammocks and books to check out and encourage conversation.

But, it gets better.

The bar at Abraham Hostel

Yes, he would have. Right?

The second floor is home to a bar, dining area and lounge complete with pool tables and free concerts. At night, thanks to the free drink tickets, people from the hostel gather here to enjoy wine, beer and snacks. Plus, plenty of seating. It’s also got a huge kitchen for travelers to beat the sticker shock of the shekel and make their own grub.

On the top floor is a lovely roof bar with big cushions to sit on and views of twinkling lights. While we were there, even though it was late May, it was still a bit chilly, so the roof bar lost after one drink.

Breakfast

Every morning, Abraham Hostel serves up a rather large breakfast of eggs, veggies, cereal and toast, included with the cost of the room. While it isn’t anything special, and I saw people use their hands and double-dip stuff, it certainly isn’t bad and given the cost of food in Israel (pricey!) it’s a nice thing to have included.

The guests

With so many beds, its easy for things to seem like it Abraham Hostel would just be one mad party hostel filled with dicks, but during my time there, it seemed nothing like that. And, as hostels go, this one isn’t just geared towards gap year backpackers. Here, there was a range of people from families with their kids to older people and then travelers like us.

Location

As I mentioned earlier, Abraham Hostel is parked in a great spot. It’s right next to the tram station (which does not operate during Shabbat), a 15-minute walk (downhill, natch) from the central bus station and about five minutes from the amazing Ben Yehuda Street which is packed with restaurants, bars and shops.

The bottom line

With a price point to cater to all budgets, and a reputation as one of the best hostels in the world, plus polite and helpful staff, free wifi, free drinks, free breakfast, super clean rooms and tours of Israel starting right there, and even free SIM cards at times, Abraham Hostel is a fantastic place to stay while visiting Jerusalem. It helps that it was started by five well-traveled backpackers who know what a hostel should offer, and its clear that this hostel does just that. Prices start at 79 NIS nightly for a 10-bed mixed dorm room.

This post is part of  the D Travels Europe (and Israel) series. Stay up-to-date on all of my adventures by following along on Twitter (#dtravelseurope), Instagram,TroverG+ and Facebook. And, for a look at the health and wellness side of European travel, be sure to follow along at The Comfort Zone Project and on TCZP’s Facebook.

 Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Abraham Hostels and Tourist Israel, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is a former career breaker and long term solo traveler. Today, she helps promote responsible elephant tourism and is the co-founder of #RTTC, a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. When she isn’t writing, Diana handles the PR and social media for Save Elephant Foundation, which runs the popular Elephant Nature Park. Her writing as appeared in About.com, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

14 Comments on " Where to stay in Jerusalem: Abraham Hostel "

  1. Juno July 1, 2014 at 1:56 am · Reply

    I especially liked the message on the tip jar. It’s all about the little thing, right? :)

    • Diana July 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm · Reply

      I know! It is the little things!

  2. Laura July 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm · Reply

    I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I’ve never stayed at a hostel. If I ever get to Jerusalem, I think the Abraham would be a great one to start with.

    • Diana July 3, 2014 at 7:10 am · Reply

      Abraham would definitely be a great hostel for someone who has never stayed in one before. The dorms aren’t massive, it is clean and it has a nice social atmosphere without being a ridiculous party hostel filled with gap years.

  3. Mindy & Ligeia July 2, 2014 at 1:25 am · Reply

    Wish we had known about this place when we were in Israel! Looks fabulous and well worth it to avoid the daily commute we did from Tel Aviv.

    • Diana July 3, 2014 at 7:10 am · Reply

      Next time!! The drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is scary!! It is so hilly and steep!! I felt like it was a big roller coaster highway.

  4. Alex July 2, 2014 at 9:31 am · Reply

    There’s nothing like a good hostel! I look back on my favorites so fondly. This one definitely looks like a winner!

    • Diana July 3, 2014 at 7:09 am · Reply

      It is a GREAT hostel.

  5. Dale July 3, 2014 at 1:53 am · Reply

    I think it makes a huge difference when it’s backpackers who start the hostel. They’ve been there and done it, they understand exactly the kind of mindset of a regular traveller and organise everything accordingly which I obviously love to feel the benefit of, and so did the three of you from the looks of it!

    • Diana July 3, 2014 at 7:07 am · Reply

      Oh, absolutely! I used to always talk about how I would LOVE to start a hostel. After staying in more than 50 in seven months, I kind of felt like I knew what would make a good hostel. There is a definite difference!

  6. Federico July 3, 2014 at 11:09 am · Reply

    Good hostels make a difference, it makes the place something more than just one where to sleep…

    • Diana July 4, 2014 at 3:24 am · Reply

      Precisely!

  7. Angie Away July 3, 2014 at 11:17 am · Reply

    I’m SO not a hostel person, but I’ve stayed here and I loved it. Great people, clean and cozy, and they make it so easy to connect with other travelers. It’s been a while since I was there, but I’m so glad to see Abraham is still awesome!

    • Diana July 4, 2014 at 3:23 am · Reply

      I’m really not a hostel person anymore … and if I am, I really try for private rooms, but this one was really great! It’s still awesome! I hope to make it back over that way sooner than later!

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