One of the most popular hostels in the center of Jerusalem is the Cinema Hostel. This hostel is located just off trendy Ben Yehuda Street, in a renovated building that once housed the Orion Cinema. When it operated in the mid-20th century, it was one of the leading cinemas in Jerusalem. It was officially shut down in the 1990s and stayed abandoned for many years until it became the Cinema Hostel. I really loved my stay here!
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Here’s a promotional video of Cinema Hostel, published by Christian James Lee, which includes some shots from inside the hostel:
Short summary about Cinema Hostel Jerusalem
Location: 5 Stars – Perfect location, just off Ben Yehuda Street, a pedestrian street with many shops and restaurants. It is also very close to many bars and nightlife venues. The distance from the hostel to the Old City is about 15 minutes by foot, and to Machane Yehuda Market – it’s about 10 minutes by foot.
Cleanliness: 5 Stars – When I stayed there, the hostel was clean and tidy.
Staff: 4 Stars – The staff was notably friendly. But the guy who did my check-in seemed like he wasn’t sure about which activities are happening in the hostel. Also, I saw one of the receptionists struggling with English when checking in other travelers. I think a good grasp of English is a must.
Security: 4 Stars – The hostel has CCTV, but the front door is always open, which means anyone who wants to enter can enter without any security measures. I guess this is because the hostel bar is open to anyone who wants to come, also people who are not hostel guests. In other hostels, the front door is usually locked. The dorm key is a card, which you receive upon check-in, which is good!
Facilities: 4 Stars – The reception works 24/7, there’s a cool bar, there’s a beautiful and well-equipped guest kitchen, and there are plenty of common areas. There is also free WIFI, which works fine. But if you want a towel, you have to pay for it. Also, there’s nowhere to hang your clothes in the room. There are also no lockers in the room; only storage units beneath the beds, which you can lock with your own lock.
Atmosphere: 5 Stars – This is a party hostel. They offer plenty of activities and have a very active bar, which operates till the late hours. So, you can expect to hear noise till very late. Though, they do try to keep the volume down in the common area near the rooms.
Value for Money: 4 Stars – This isn’t the cheapest hostel in town, but it offers you free breakfast, beautiful facilities, lots of activities, and a perfect location. Still, at this price, they could offer free towels and make a bigger portion for breakfast.
Cinema Hostel is a beautiful hostel in the center of Jerusalem, offering a great atmosphere for the younger crowd (18-45). With a bit more attention to the small details, this could definitely be the coolest hostel in town!
Detailed review of Cinema Hostel Jerusalem
It’s located in a perfect location, right in the center of Jerusalem. Cinema Hostel stands right next to Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Street, where you can find many restaurants and shops. It is also a short walk away from plenty of nightlife venues. The “Jaffa Center” and “City Hall” light-rail stations are nearby, and the hostel is just 15 minutes by foot from the Old City and 10 minutes by foot from the Machane Yehuda Market.
The common areas
The common areas are beautiful! It seems they have put a lot of effort into the interior design of the hostel. The common lounge has several levels. On the highest level, there is a small room with desktop computers. On the other floors, there’s table football, a reading area and a LOT of chairs. The chairs aren’t very comfy but have pics of movie stars on them. The different floors of the lounge are not so accessible for people with mobility issues. But, there is an elevator connecting the reception area and the dorms and common area.
Another common area is the beautiful terrace, which overlooks the street below. There’s also shade from the sun.
Another cool area in the hostel is the Orion Bar, located on the second floor. It’s a great place to have a drink and party until late. And hostel guests get 20% off the menu!
Besides going to the bar, you can also participate in a wide variety of activities. Every day there’s a different activity. They even have Movie Nights, which is cool because they are located in an old cinema! When I came, the receptionist told me there was a jam session in the evening, but I couldn’t make it.
I slept in a female-only 6-beds dorm. Like the rest of the hostel, the dorm is also beautifully designed and it was also quite spacious. The beds are very comfy and there’s a reading light, a small shelf, and a charging point next to the bed. There’s also an en-suite bathroom.
But I felt that there were some things that were missing. First of all, there were no hangers in the dorm (or at least I couldn’t find them). This means I couldn’t hang my towel anywhere in the dorm. The only hangers available were in the small en-suite bathroom, but I didn’t want to leave my towel there. There are also no lockers. What you can do is put your stuff in the bedding case below your bed. You might even be able to lock it with a lock, but in my view, it’s not ideal. I understood you can store your valuables in a safe at the reception, but I don’t think it’s ideal to have your stuff stored on a different floor than your dorm.
The en-suite bathroom is also very beautiful, but very small. After taking a shower, the floor gets wet and it could have been great if there was a mop to dry the floor up after every use of the shower.
Location of the dorm
Another thing you should be aware of is that you might stay in a dorm that isn’t soundproof. I stayed in a dorm quite close to the common area and you could hear the noise of people over there. There are also some rooms with doors facing the common area. I wonder if people who stay in these rooms suffer more from the noise. Anyway, if you plan to stay up till late this shouldn’t be a problem for you. If you sleep early and have trouble falling asleep with noise, you might want to ask for the dorm that is farthest away from the common area.
Besides dorms, Cinema Hostel also offers some private rooms. 2023 Update: I also heard the hostel has started offering single and double capsules. But haven’t tried them yet.
Breakfast and guest kitchen
Breakfast is free and quite varied. The breakfast is served between 7:30 to 10:00 AM in the common area and includes sliced vegetables, different types of cheese, cornflakes, pita bread, and shakshuka. The shakshuka is made from fresh eggs by one of the hostel’s staff members or volunteers.
The problem is that each time only one pan of shakshuka is made, and when there are a lot of people who come to eat breakfast, the pan is finished quite quickly. It takes several minutes until the next round of shakshuka, which could be problematic if you’re in a rush. As in other hostels, you also need to wash your dishes after yourselves.
If you prefer to make your own food instead of going out to the many restaurants that are in the area, you can use the beautiful and well-equipped guest kitchen, which is in the common area.
The WIFI is also free, and you can get the password from reception. If you want, you can also work on the desktop computers in the common area. Bed linen is also given upon arrival, and you need to put the bedding on your bed (as in other hostels). If you come early you can also use the free luggage storage room.
If you’ll need a towel, you’ll need to pay 10 ILS as a deposit and an extra 5 ILS. The 5 ILS won’t be returned to you, but you’ll get the 10 ILS back when you return the towel at the end of your stay. I recommend bringing your own towel.
The friendly and attentive staff are at the reception 24/7. I always saw someone at the reception, at day and night. They were also very welcoming at check-in and were attentive to my questions. Though, I felt that the receptionist at check-in wasn’t too sure about the activities of that specific day. Also, I saw another receptionist struggling a bit with English when talking to a couple of travelers, which left them a bit confused. Bottom line, I felt they were a bit unconfident. These are little things, that could make the overall experience better.
The front door of the hostel is open the entire day with no security measures, but I guess this is because they don’t want to block the entrance to people who want to go to the bar. The place is fully networked with CCTV, and the dorms are accessed by a hostel card given upon check-in.
To sum it up, Cinema Hostel Jerusalem has a great young vibe and is the perfect place for those of you who want to experience Jerusalem in style!
Review written on October 2019. My stay in Cinema Hostel was part of a personal trip and was not sponsored by Cinema Hostel or any organization.
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