In the middle of the second polar vortex this week (is that what we’re calling winter now?), it felt a wee bit like torture to edit these photos of the Efendi Hotel in Acre (a port city in northern Israel) where it’s 75 degrees. I was fortunate enough to travel to Israel twice when I was a child, but if make it back to the country, the Efendi hotel is at the top of my list. The hotel, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, is composed of two adjacent Ottoman-era palaces. In 2001, hotel owner Uri Jeremias spotted an abandoned building from atop his restaurant and, before even knowing if the building was for sale (it wasn’t), he hatched a plan to renovate the space and convert it into a boutique hotel. The buildings that now make up the Efendi Hotel were in completely decay but Uri assembled a team of preservationists and artisans (many of whom were flown in from Italy) to not only restore the buildings’ exterior walls but all to restore all the interior detailing – from wall and ceiling painting to the window lintels in each room. The renovation of the hotel (and the original 400-year-old Turkish bath) took eight years. These days, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. A big thank you to Israel-based travel photographer Sivan Askayo for sending us these beautiful images. -Amy
The interior designers are: Ronit Oliver-Rike, Orit Kolonimus with the inspiration of Uri , the owner of the hotel. Uri Jeremias.
Image above: A common lobby (called Wizo lobby) on the second floor. The hotel has 12 guest rooms that are spread out over three floors, on each floor is a communal salon. Uri worked closely with the interior designer who chose the decorative wood table that was imported from the Himalayas. It served as a counter to grind flours. The armchair at the back is a Damascus chair which was at the original Efendi house for 160 years.
Image above: The view from the North Balcony, a shared terrace for the hotel’s guests. The terrace is overlooking the Majadia Mosque and pointing toward the Shazliye, a Sufi center of pilgrimage located next to the mosque.
Image above: A common lobby leading to the common terrace, called Shukri lobby. The ceiling paintings and murals were restored and re-hand painted by specialist artists for restoration who came especially for this purpose from Venice, Italy.
See more of this amazing Israeli hotel after the jump!
Image above: The North terrace with a traditional seating. (pillows on the floor). The designer chose the turquoise color to match the Mediterranean Sea.
Image above: Original Arc Windows, originally from the Ottoman period. Part of Wizo lobby.
Image above: Shukri lobby. In the center of the lobby there is a wide dining table for the usage of the hotel’s guests
Image above: Each room has coffee and tea Porcelain dishes, bought from PIP Studio
Image above: The Damascus armchair on the second floor’s lobby
Image above: The Shukri lobby – a look from the north terrace indoors toward the lobby. The painted ceiling reproduced from the Ottoman period.
Image above: The Presidential Suite with the brown ceiling, marble floors and a sea view. The bed is covered with Egyptian cotton linens and goose down pillows and blankets. Furniture in room is from Penthouse Furniture and Tollmans
Image above: Wizo lobby. a part of the Damascus chair.
Image above: Each of the 12 guest rooms is different. This is the Royal Room. (Rugs are made of wool.)
Image above: Porcelain dishes in the Royal Room, bought from PIP Studio
Image above: The Main lobby, This is the entrance to the hotel’s reception. The armchairs are imported from Italy. Also on the lower level is the spa with its 400 year-old Turkish bath.
Image above: An original mural of Istanbul. As of 1878. The restoration of this mural took over a year. The mural is in Shukri lobby.
Image above: Shukri lobby.