We had a terrible experience, your mileage may vary.
The apartment was materially different from the description on the website. It was advertised as on the 2nd floor, but was actually on the 3rd floor, with no elevator. They have since modified their website to "two flights up," which is accurate.
The pathway to the apartment is paved with broken and uneven stones and at night, when we arrived, was pitch-black without any light to show the way. I used a keychain flashlight to see where we were going.
We specified that we planned to use two bedrooms, one per person, and asked that the beds be made up or linens be left within reach since we were arriving very late at night. Only one bed was made up, with two hand towels laid out, in the master bedroom, which was furnished and equipped normally.
The only furniture in the second bedroom was a couch that, when opened up, did not turn into a bed but instead had a hollow space like some kind of storage space. There were two mattresses propped up against the wall. There was a small bookcase. This room had no bedside stand or lamp and no storage space at all. Presumably, anyone using that room would be living out of their suitcase throughout the trip and, if you want to place a clock, or glasses, or medication or whatnot, next to your bed, you'd have to place it on the floor.
There was no hot water. The stove did not work. There was air conditioning in the master bedroom and main room, but no instructions on how to regulate it, and we could not figure it out by intuition. The refrigerator was plugged in but was warm inside.
We were told that there would be a book awaiting us that explained the apartment's features. There was no book. In its absence, we could only use guesswork, and that wasn't enough to figure out how to get hot water, get the stove to work so we could heat water, adjust the refrigerator, or use the air conditioner.
The fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom were grimy, stained, and streaked. There was an old toaster on the kitchen fire that had obviously caught fire at some point.
It was way past midnight at this point. We were exhausted and upset about the misrepresentation of the floor where the apartment was located, the condition of the apartment, and the various fixtures and appliances that didn't work and for which we were not given instructions. We decided to stay the night and leave immediately. I camped out on the couch in the second bedroom, because I wouldn't have been able to maneuver the mattresses that were standing against the wall, and anyway, there were no bedlinens for them. I took a sheet from the bed in the master bedroom and slept a few hours.
At 7:00, we were woken by the sounds of construction. There is a major renovation going on next door. But at least it helped hurry us out of there by 8:00, and we left to a nearby hotel. I sent them an email explaining what we encountered and that it was unacceptable, in particular the climb to the third floor when we had been told the apartment was on the second floor.
They wrote back noting that if there really had not been any hot water or air conditioning, we would have called them. Since they screen their calls and never pick up directly, I don't know how leaving a voicemail message would have helped. Also, it would never occur to me to call someone after midnight unless it's at a hotel with 24/7 front desk staff.
Since 2001, I've rented apartments in Jerusalem about 9 times. Two of the apartments were rented three times from the same owner, respectively. I would have returned to any of my previous rentals in a heartbeat but they were not available for the dates I needed.
I've always had accommodations that were somewhat spartan, but generally comfortable, shiny clean, and with owners so helpful they even called during the visit to see if I needed anything. This time, we encountered that rental nightmare that everyone hopes to avoid.
I took some pictures of the conditions of the apartment which I will try to figure out how to upload and post, so you can evaluate whether this would be satisfactory for you.
Here are the pictures:
Dang, I was hoping that would be a clickable link but I don't know how to create that on this site.Edited: 2:53 pm, June 30, 2012
Sorry you had a problem. Many of your problems would have been solved had there been instructions. Some comments
1. the bed in the second room IS a bed. That is the type of bed that is used in Israeli when they want it to double as a couch. It is, imo uncomfortable, but when I spend Shabbat at Israeli friends--that is frequently what i sleep on. ( that is why the sheet was on it--it WAS made up.
2. Stoves in Israel do not have pilot lights. Usually you need to turn on the burner and then hit the ignition switch. It may have been that the gas was off, and then would have been a lever near the wall--a simple two second action BUT you are not at fault, they should have left it open for you OR given instructions.
3. Hot water also--problem was most likely no instructions--Hot water in Israel is sometimes sun and other times a combination of sun and electric. You don't indicate what time of the year you were in Israel. The electric may or may not come on with a scheduled frequency. To save $$ many people only turn it on as needed, and there should be a switch on the wall outside the bathroom--again a BIG deficiency that you weren't told. YOU are NOT a mindreader, and should not be expected to know how an older Israeli apartment works.
4. In Israel ( and many places in the US) the lobby/ entrance is NOT the first floor. so floor one apartments are 1 flight up, floor two apartment are two flights up etc. etc. You were in a second floor apartment but you counted differently.
In summation, while the fixes were probably easy you were right to get out of there. The company was deficit in not providing you with what you needed to know.
Sabena is unreliable and basically not very honest in her dealing with people
Thanks for your comments,I ask for an apt to Sabena and (i dont know) why I havent trust her..its very fine for me ,read these posts! Can you suggest a good place for rent or an apart hotel to stay in Jerusalem,close to the old city? thanks!!
I would recommend http://www.rentalsofdistinction.com/
I am looking to go in January and they have been extremely helpful and responsive in my dealings with them and the apartments look great. They were recommeded to my by a coule friends that have stayed in their apartments and raved about the accomodations.
thank you very much!!
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Aliza- though you may be offering a great service - this is not the way to promote your business. You keep coming back and having your posts removed because there is no advertising here. I'm sure that if someone who has used your service was pleased and they come and tell us about it - it will be just fine.
From looking at these reviews its clear , that my Jerusalem Apartment headed by Ariella and Niv Marili are scamming people. I have reported them to the Israeli police-fraud department. They have asked me to paid upfront 1,200$ for a studio in Nachalot. I have rented other short-term rental apartment in Israeli, and normally they ask for a deposit and for the rest after. I was forced to do so, since they said they will not reserve the apartment otherwise. This should have been a warning sign. When I arrived to the so called apartment I was shocked. It was not a studio apartment but a hole in a wall the size of a utility closet. It had a “2nd floor” which was a size of a shelf, with a small one size person bed. The way to get into that 2nd floor is to climb a bunk bed style ladder and crawl into the space since it is only 3-4 feet tall. We were promised an apartment which is for 2 people, this apartment is not even suitable for animals. Not only this apartment is not what was promised, it is not a livable apartment for anyone. We left the apartment and demanded for a refund. After 3 days of not responding to emails and phone calls, I got an email saying that they will not give me my money back, despite the fact that I am not staying in the apartment, and that it is not the apartment they promised. I have filed a complaint with the Israeli police department for fraud. Don’t be tempted to book with them, because you will find yourself without your money and without a place to stay. They ruined our vacation don’t let them ruin yours!