The Harmony

Jerusalem, Israel

By Anthea Gerrie, November 12, 2009

The Harmony, just over a year old, is what Jerusalem has been crying out for — a chic but affordable perch in the lively, western side of town.

And you can’t beat Nachalat Shiva, west Jerusalem’s dining and clubbing playground, for location — though taxi drivers must be told to head for the back entrance of the Harmony parallel to Yoel Moshe Salomon Street, which is pedestrianised. The hotel sits on the upper floors of a small shopping centre.

Bedrooms are smart and contemporary, with retro-patterned wallpaper and animal-print upholstery jazzing up the cool black, grey and white colour scheme.

Only the bathrooms let the interiors down — as if the designer went AWOL and left the builders to put in the fixtures, patch up the plastering and sign off.

But who cares, given a comfortable bed, enough hot water and proximity to the clubs, bars and cafés? Even breakfast is buzzy, served in a colourful dining-room, while the hotel’s tour de force is its Happy Hour. In late afternoon, the Harmony turns into a salon for travellers from all over the world, who gather in a surprisingly sumptuous, club-like lounge to enjoy free wine and snacks, chat round the fireplace, read or play billiards. In summer, guests can spill out onto a sundeck offering a ringside view of the street life below.

And there’s free wi-fi in a city where most hotels charge a hefty whack for internet access and a computer in the lobby where those sans laptop can check emails.

Rates: doubles from about £120 per night

Last updated: 9:57am, November 24 2009