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A traditional-style Middle Eastern inn built some 300 years ago, but redesigned in 2006, the Al Hashimi is set around a handsome interior atrium. It boasts spectacular views eastward toward the Dome of the Rock and the rooftops of the Old City, especially from its panoramic terrace. In fact, we’ve met guests who spent more time on that lovely terrace than they did in their guest rooms. That may be because this is a terrifically social inn, one that attracts both Muslim and non-Muslim guests (it’s in the Muslim quarter), people of all ages and nationalities, and has a staff savvy and friendly enough to make sure that everyone gets acquainted. The other reason for all the terrace time may be the ultracompact (read: tiny) size of most of the guest rooms. In its defense, rooms are kept spotlessly clean and boast quality mattresses and decent showers (in the small attached bathrooms). Spacious VIP rooms can be secured for higher rates. With any size room, make sure you’re facing away from the bazaar, as it can get quite noisy.

Four small warnings: Reservations can be held with a credit card, but actual payment is cash only. And if you have heavy baggage, phone ahead from Damascus Gate so that a porter can be arranged. Finally, alcohol is not allowed on the premises, and unmarried couples are not allowed to room together here.