My son and I were traveling with a large family group (35 people all together), two boys were becoming b'nai mitzvot at Robinson's Arch. The tour was oriented around this event which came during the first week of our 10 day tour around Israel. We stayed at the Dan Panorama hotel for 6 nights so we grew very comfortable with it. The Dan Panorama is an excellent hotel with the usual amenities, e.g., great breakfast buffet, gym with weights and aerobic equipment (several hours in the AM and PM after 4 PM - note the times if you need to use the gym), small refrigerator, coffee/tea, nice bathroom, very good house-keeping, room service, bar - bright and relaxing, comfortable beds (the sheets are tucked in very tight so if you are like me and want them over your head you have tug a bit). While there was free wifi in the lobby, you had to pay for wifi in the rooms and it was expensive, about $15 per day, although there were some other wifi plans. We were able to tag on someone else's wi-fi for a day or two. In contrast, the Leonardo hotels we stayed at on the beach in Tel Aviv and by the Dead Sea had free wi-fi. Free wi-fi is a must. The Dan Panorama is in a great location, an easy 15 minutes walk to the Old City (Jaffa Gate) by way of the Manilla Mall (or Manilla Avenue if you don't want to go into the Mall). There is a 24-hour (except for Shabbat, of course) convenience grocery store which is about 5 minutes away (by walking). They have most everything you could need if you wanted to try to stock up on a few things (or more things) to put in your room refrigerator and take with you on various trips around Jerusalem. In U.S. terms, this store is a much better version of 7-11. Next to the store is a coffee/espresso shop (not open 24 hours). The Dan is around the corner from the YMCA, the King Solomon Hotel, and the King David Hotel, which is very, very expensive, but nice to look at as you walk by it on your way to the Old City, While we were there, President Putin of Russia stayed in the King David Hotel (lots of security for his overnight visit). Around the back yard of the King David are King Herod's family burial caves. If you don't want to eat your meals on the fly then you can go to a small cafe, pizza restaurant, seafood restaurant, all just a block away. If you are planning on going to synagogue, you can find one to match your religious practice within 5 minutes from the hotel and walk to the Kotel. Also a block or so away is a beautiful park, I'll call it the Windmill Park. If you want to take in more of the city than by walking then take a bus -the concierge will help you. With the bus, you see regular folks rather than tourists and you don't have to worry about negotiating a price with the taxi drivers. For those folks who prefer taxis, they are readily available in front of the hotel. On Shabbat, there are no buses and nearly everything (i.e., all things Jewish) are closed. However, you can still catch cabs if you want. Shabbat in Jerusalem is like no other place in the world. If only this spirit could be captured -- you feel better. If you keep strictly kosher and are shomer shabbas, no problem if you are staying at the Dan.The folks at the front desk can be nice and helpful, but it depends on the person. If you want English language newspapers then get to the front desk early because they go quickly. If you want to "hang out" then the lobby works quite well. Bring sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, etc. with you because of the air-conditioning in the lobby and in the dining room.
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