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Dar Sitti Aziza is the first and only boutique hotel in Palestine.
We opened Dar Sitti Aziza with the belief that many visitors to Bethlehem would like a comfortable, unique lodging experience without having to stay at either a large hotel built for the mass tourist trade, or a pilgrim’s house usually meant for a specific national or religious group.
At present, we have nine rooms and two pavilions.
Each room at Dar Sitti Aziza has its own name, with its own history. We’ve put a phonetic spelling of the Arabic name of each room after the English one to help you get acclimated to our local dialect!
The Bazaar’s Room (Ghorfet El-dukan) was once a green grocer’s room; the original room would open up to the street, where locals would come and buy produce, including fruits and dates carried by camels from Jericho. The original street entrance has been walled in, but you can still see the original masonry.
The Grainery Room (Ghorfet El-hobob) was a grain warehouse. Bethlehem has wet winters, and local Bethlehemites would often rent space in this room to store their grain so it would not spoil.
The Horse Room (Ghorfet El-faras) was a stable for horses and camels, as well as all sorts of domesticated animals and livestock. The image of the Holy Family in a manger with cows, donkeys and sheep is quite accurate; up until last century animals were kept in a section of the house in even the wealthiest family estates. Unsurprisingly, this room is one of the largest we have.
The Well Room (Ghorfet El-bir) is where the traditional well of the house is. The well is still there, although it is now sealed, so it won’t bother you if you happen to stay here. This room was also a kitchen of sorts.
The Wine Room (Ghorfet El-Nbid)….you can guess for yourself what this room stored. Grapes are plentiful in Judean Hills that Bethlehem is a part of, and wine-making extends back to the Biblical era. You can sample some of the local wine at our coffee bar if you so care to; just ask for Cremisan.
The Olive Room (Ghorfet El-Zeitun) is another room for storing produce; specifically olives. Olives are harvested in October in Palestine, and then are dried and stored until the next year.
The Bride of Bethlehem Room (Ghorfet Arros Bethlehem) was the room that Aziza’s mother in-law, Jamileh (Arabic for beautiful), stayed in when she came from Syria to be married a generation before. Hanna, her husband-to-be, was anxious to show her and her family that she would be well looked after, so this room was extremely well-kept, and includes some ornate stonework on the windows similar to Little Emily’s Room.
The Balcony Room (Ghorfet El-balcon) is our coziest (ok; smallest) room, but still spacious enough for two people. It has a balcony that looks out into Bethlehem; which members of our family used to speak to our neighbors, friends on the street, or to remind family members leaving the house about an errand.
Little Emily’s Room (Ghorfet Emily Ezghereh) was where Emily, the youngest daughter of Azizah grew up. As a child, she was known in our local dialect as Ezghereh, which means “Little". This room has some unique stonework around the window and is quite a treat to stay in.