The Safed Inn (aka Tzfat Inn aka Ruckenstein B&B) was a wonderful Hostel / B&B. I would highly recommend it if you are in the area. The couple (Dubi & Riki Ruckenstein) that owns the place are very nice. Riki moved from America years ago, but retains her perfect English (not always the case in Israel). Riki & Dubi are also great at giving advice on the local area.
Their prices were very reasonable. A standard room for 2 people was NIS300. It was nice, very clean and had a fridge already stocked with ~3L of free bottled water. They have a deluxe for NIS400. I didn’t get to see it, but sounds like the big benefit was a jacuzzi. While still a reasonable price, we were just fine with the standard. They also had dorm beds, but I forget their price.
The place is very social when I was there as you would expect of a good hostel. They have an indoor/outdoor area where you can eat and drink in the evening. You can bring your own or pay reasonable prices (NIS12 for a domestic large beer, NIS35+ for a bottle of wine). They also seem to give out some type of nuts and packages of salty junk food (nothing I liked but others were devouring them). I met solo travelers from Denmark, Netherlands, South Africa, Chek Republic and the US and a family from Brazil. Everyone was very friendly, sharing their experiences and advice on the area.
– The area was targeted by Hizboella in the 2006 war. I wouldn’t go to the area during times of heightened tensions, but I felt comfortable during peace time.
– The free wifi doesn’t work smoothly with Mac’s for some reason. I showed the owners a stopgap way to get it to work, so check with them if you are having trouble logging in (or email me). For the technically inclined, you need to set TCP to manual and pick a non-interfearing IP address.
– It was very difficult to aim the shower head, but the owner plans to fix that.
– Their plastic toilet seats aren’t very sturdy, though this seems to be common in Israel so maybe there is an issue with what is available in the country.
– The continental breakfast costs NIS25 a person. It is not included in the room. We didn’t have it since that seemed expensive for what most places would normally include. If you give advanced notice, they will prepare a full Israeli breakfast for NIS50. This is a pretty normal tourist price for the area.
– The Inn is not walking distance from the center of Safed. You will need a car, use buses (they may not be the most convenient), hitch (I didn’t, but others said it was pretty easy) or walk a very substantial distance up and down hills. The owners are very clear about this if you read your confirmation.
– You must pre-arrange if you are going to arrive after reception closes (I believe at 8pm). You probably have some leeway since they owners may not leave right at that time, but call ahead. If you are flying in that day, give the owners your flight information and mode of transit. If you realize you may be late, call them before 8pm, even if you have to spend a bunch on the roaming fee.
Safed, 13100, Israel