My three sisters and I chose to visit our parent’s homeland for three weeks this spring. We researched tripadvisor for the best place to stay in Palestine and we found that the Khouriya Family Guesthouse was the best rated in the area. I was very excited to finally experience what everyone was talking about: true Palestinian hospitality, knowledgeable tour guides, and friendly service. Unfortunately, my experience, as well as my sisters’ was not enjoyable. We arrived at the Khouriya’s house on June 1, 2013 and were given the private entry area, which is a room with a private door and we did not have to enter through the main gate of the house. One of our hosts, Issa, was friendly enough when we arrived, but his wife, Rawda, was nowhere in site. We later found out that she was leaving on a trip to England the next day, something she never told me in our email correspondence weeks before the trip. The first day, Issa told us a little about the area and how we could get to Ramallah. We were in for a really long first few days.
The room was muggy, the bathroom smelled of fish and sewer and the room was FULL of mosquitoes. We were bitten a million times each, and were woken by mosquitoes buzzing in our ears every hour. We dealt with this for three days, and during these three days Issa did not change the overflowing garbage or give us toilet paper. We had to ask for anything we needed. Finally, when we did tell him about the mosquitoes, his response was that their guests had problems with mosquitoes. He did not offer a spray, we bought our own spray. He said there was a machine in the room but did not help us in getting it started up. We told him we needed a new room, he did not offer, we had to ask. After we asked, he gave us was appeared to be a much nicer section of the house. The veranda was beautiful and the living room was cleaner and less hot/stagnant. Our stay extended a few days, but the family did not change overflowing garbage regularly and we had to ask for toiletries. The bathroom was absolutely disgusting and smelled of urine and feces. There was leaking urine behind the toilet and the smell was unbearable. Issa changed the garbage and obviously smelled and saw the leak and did nothing about it. He also blamed me for turning off a switch to his water pump which was right next to a light switch in the room I was staying in. He was honestly one of the rudest hosts I have ever encountered. He was also very lazy and was always laying down on the couch in their living room.
Throughout our stay, we arranged a few trips with Issa (at a high cost compared even to service and private taxis in Ramallah) to the Dead Sea/Jericho and Al Khalil (Hebron), as well as the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. His tours were basically useless and he did not articulate his points clearly about the conflict. He was an impatient and rude driver. He swore in Arabic several times while driving, and these were vulgar swearwords we could all understand. He was not friendly or welcoming and even said the people in Al Khalil are known as “dumb.” For someone who professes to be a Palestinian supporter, this was unbelievable to me.
The last straw with the Khouriyas was their blatantly rude treatment towards us during our stay. They were loud and slammed doors late at night and there were a number of different relatives and young boys in the house yelling loudly at any time. One night my sisters and I danced to music that couldn’t have been that loud because it was playing from a cell phone. About an hour later, Issa’s niece came up to tell us we were too loud. She attempted to say it in a kind way but it was very rude. From the very beginning Issa told us we could pay week by week or at the end. Toward the end of the 8th day his niece came upstairs and told us we were supposed to pay at the end of the week. When we went to pay Issa he acted as if this was not a big deal and acted like he was our friend but he was very concerned about his money.
Overall, this was probably the worst stay at any hotel/B & B I have ever had. The Khouriyas were not hospitable and certainly not in tune with any Palestinian hospitality I know of and were very concerned with making money. I do not know if they were more rude to us because we are also Arab Palestinians and they felt they could be themselves, but the above reviews make no sense to me at all. We left after the eighth day and went to a cheaper and better hotel in the Ramallah/Al-Bireh area which included breakfast and was actually concerned about its guests. I really regret having given any of my money or time to the Khouriyas. I recommend the second hotel we stayed at called Retno Hotel for their excellent service and cheaper rates.
- Also Known As:
- Khouriya Family Guesthouse Hotel Ramallah