In 1886, this hotel was founded by the Drisco brothers, two Christian from Maine, who were among a few dozen messianic Americans who planned to colonize the Holy Land in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Unfit for the mission, the brothers soon sold the hotel to a Templer hotelier, who renamed it the “Jerusalem Hotel” and it became one of the most prestigious Holy Land hotels, hosting Christian pilgrims docking at the Jaffa port on their way to Jerusalem. Mark Twain wrote part of his satirical tourism novel “The Innocents Abroad” here. During the Second World War, as Templers were deported from mandate Palestine, the British military seized the hotel and converted it into military headquarters and in 1958, a decade after the state of Israel was established, it housed Jewish refugees.

The Drisco sat neglected for decades before a 12-year restoration project painstakingly reconstructed the building's Ottoman arches, hand-painted interior murals, and marble columns. Today, the hotel is among the classiest properties in town. The rooms have hardwood floors, teardrop-shaped hanging lamps, stream-ready TV’s, Nespresso machines and subtle, Ottoman-style patterned walls. Beyond the standard amenities, all minibars are stocked with complimentary Israeli chocolates and Israeli juice. Some rooms boast balcony space and the third-floor Premium rooms enjoy a coveted view of the city and sea. The in-house restaurant, George and John, cheekily named after the Drisco brothers is where the hotel’s spectacular breakfast, included in the room rate, is served, and feels like dining in the colonial era. You'll do well to make a reservation if you want to eat here on the weekends, as Tel Aviv's foodies amass at this restaurant, which serves innovative food inspired by Ottoman feasts.