Jerusalem’s Old City dates back millennia. Mandatory sites include the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Israel Museum that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many visitors will also wish to take a half-day trip to Bethlehem, which lies just six miles to the south but is separated from the neighborhood of Har Homa by the controversial West Bank barrier. Bethlehem is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and a visit to the Church of the Nativity requires a Palestinian guide.
For many years, the two primary places for affluent travelers to stay were the King David Jerusalem and The American Colony Hotel. The former is a large (233 rooms) and imposing resort-like property, set amid extensive gardens overlooking the Old City. The American Colony is smaller (94 rooms) and offers individuality and charm (see right). The newer Mamilla Hotel (194 rooms) will appeal to those who prefer contemporary design.