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Reviewed May 8, 2011

My lonely planet guide wrote about this hostel that it was "a boutique hotel for backpackers". Well, I found that this was stretching the truth quite a bit. Although conveniently located near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, the place was dirty, crowded and falling apart. For a night without breakfast in a dorm, I payed more here than in any other hostel I visited in Israel. And it was definitely not good value for money. The beds were tiny, uncomfortable and, as rumor had it, full of bed bugs. The light in our dorm room was not working, there are only 4 showers in the whole place, all of the the toilet seats were broken and the kitchen was filthy. The staff did try their best to be helpful and friendly, but could not make up for this shockingly bad hostel. They are also pretty inflexible when it comes to check-in times and other requests. In addition, they have a permanent employee living in one of the female dorms who tries to missionary everyone into "accepting Jesus Christ as thy saviour" and tells you that you are destined for hell if you don't share her views. Shocking and wrong and upsetting!!
If you are looking for a nice place in Jerusalem, try the Austrian Hospice instead - their dorms are not more expensive, but far better. And they will not predict you a future in flames if you believe in evolution and science...

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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3  Thank Anna_R_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 4, 2011

I stayed here for a couple nights in November. I booked the "mattress on the roof" option, which in retrospect wasn't the best scenario; it rained both nights. I know that's not the fault of the hostel, but I soon found out that there was basically NO continengy for rain or inclement weather. Now, I'm not one to expect the red carpet rolled out to me for $20USD per night, but there was literally nowhere inside to crash - every square foot of space, from the hallways, lobby, kitchen, and dorm room were taken up by other roof dwellers that didn't wait as long as I did to get out of the rain. My proposed solution to the hostel management would just be to limit the number of roof guests in case everyone has to come inside, rather than squeezing everyone in like sardines. I understand that you can't expect a lot for the rate that they're charging, but I would hope that my money would guarantee at least a patch of floor to crash for the night.

None of that would have been an issue if the place weren't so tiny, but they need to scale to maximum occupancy of the hostel with the size of the location... obviously, this is an extremely historic and charming building (which is a great thing!), but there were just too many people.

As others have commented, the location of the Citadel hostel just inside the Jaffa Gate is fantastic, and the views from the roof are spectacular. It's a fun place to just hang out and chat with fellow travelers. Staying at this location, it's easy to get up early and get a head start on the tourist crowds in the Old City.

Front desk staff was fine to me (I know a lot of the other reviewers had issues), but I did witness a few altercations between the staff and some of the other guests, mostly over being nickeled-and-dimed for certain stuff. One woman was being charged extra because she setup a small tent on the roof when it started raining... I tried to figure out how management could justify charging her more for her foresight of bringing a tent along, but I guess that's the game they play.

Overall, I can't really recommend the Citadel hostel to others. The location may be great, but the one thing a hostel needs to deliver for a solo traveler is a good night's sleep, and I just couldn't get that here.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled solo
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2  Thank JustinCase713
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 3, 2011

Smelled like feet and urine. Dirty. Rude Staff. Overpriced. Loud.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled solo
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5  Thank gmarlenes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 17, 2011

Reception: You have to pay up front even if your not happy no refunds. No guest pass the front area.

Lobby: Lights out by 12am there is a dorm room right there!

Room: It was really cold, they don't tell you that you have to rent a space heater for 20nis/night. The sheets were from someone's house and they forgot to wash them or change them from the next person. Luckly, I had a blanket from home I could wrap myself in, but I was grossed out and cold! There is no ventilation place is musty everywhere.

Bathroom: We stayed on the first floor and the bathroom was used by everyone that step foot into the facility, rooms 18 and 19 share the bathroom with everyone too...The hot water gives you 3mins then goes to lukewarm.

Internet: only in one area...the lobby!

Key: You have to turn key in to the receptionist every time you leave the facility.

SPEND THE EXTRA CASH AND STAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank karlcast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 21, 2011

I stayed in the Citadel for 5 nights and found it entirely suited to what I needed. The location is unbeatable, the price was good and the facilities did their job. That said, yes the room (cave) I was in was a little overcrowded, and had no natural light, but for the price you're paying its worth it anyhow. The kitchens definitely need an upgrade as well. Staying for 5 nights I did get to experience all of the staff at different times. A special mention has to go to Michael and Adam who were both very helpful and friendly. Michael in particular made frequent mention to other staff of things that needed improving, which I thought showed a level of commitment to the standards they wanted to keep. On the other hand I found one older gentlemen (Jamil?) to be obstrustive and downright rude, organising a taxi should never be THAT difficult. Overall I would say the hostel did its job, nothing was outlandishly awful like other reviews have said (the toilet-showers are perfectly fine) and I would certainly come back.

Stayed: January 2011, travelled solo
Thank JonathonPynsent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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