Social media and the Holy City

In case you still think Twitter is just a bunch of narcissists discussing what they had for breakfast, a couple of months ago, while tweeting about pitching to editors, I got a public reply from Jane Knight, travel editor at the Times, asking why I never pitched to her anymore.

Laziness? I um’d and ah’d for a bit, then emailed her an idea for a story about a new hotel opening in East Jerusalem – in fact, the first new luxury hotel to open there in almost 50 years, the St George.

Luckily, she commissioned me – and the piece appeared in the paper today (subscribers only). She also took two more ideas from me. Thank you, Jane. Travel eds: please form an orderly queue. Travel hacks: Twitter works.

As for the story itself, I think it’s a cracker – how many hotels can claim to have been their city’s first new luxury property twice? Click here to view the article – or click on the embedded image to enlarge.


  1. Simon Varwell

    Lovely. I wonder (as you mention in your recent Wanderlust article) quite how aware some visitors are of these places and how they are not, technically, Israel. It’s a beautiful portrayal of something that I suppose is easily missed.

  2. Matthew Teller

    Thank you, Simon, much appreciated.

    You’re right – I suspect the huge majority of visitors to Jerusalem have no idea, and are not told, that the eastern side of the city is not only not Israel (there’s no “technically” about it) but has been occupied and annexed in contravention of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

    In the face of Israel’s monopoly on tourism promotion and marketing, and its claim that a city whose status remains undetermined in law is its national capital – a claim unrecognised by any other country – Jerusalem’s Palestinian character is, as you say, easily missed. Let’s hope that growth in Palestinian tourism infrastructure can go some way to correct that imbalance.

  3. Jon Killpack (@eculturesjon)

    Great article Matthew. I love the human side you put to the city. It’s something we all need to pay more attention to.

  4. Matthew Teller

    Much appreciated, Jon. Thank you.

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