The Efendi Hotel

Old Jan 26, 15, 2:41 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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The Efendi Hotel


Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended



The Efendi Hotel (0 Photo)



We stayed in this room (last photo on the page is a different suite; all others are the same and the best on property) and the site pictures don't do it justice:


The service exceeded that of any five-star hotel I've visited and would easily be comparable to any of the finest small luxury hotels of the world.


The food was a particular highlight; truly outstanding and chef-driven. A deliciously fresh, homemade Middle Eastern breakfast feast is offered communal style (although we were the only guests on property!) around a knights' table in a centuries-old room that dates from the early Ottoman Empire, situated steps above an ancient Crusader cellar. A personal chef prepares your meal from a table-side cooking cart using the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Save room for the many interesting offerings at the old city shuk though! Creative artisanal cocktails & fresh juices, snacks and aperitifs are also served throughout the day.


I can say with absolute confidence that there is not another hotel in the entire Middle East that can compare to The Efendi. My wife and I both stayed in the Presidential Suite at the Ma'In Six Senses Hot Spring in Jordan on this same trip, and it paled in comparisson. The Efendi is truly a bespoke experience and a very special place that should be discussed more frequently on this forum. I doubt if any other members have visited besides myself, and that's truly a shame, as it fits comfortably right alongside the best luxury boutique hotels I've stayed at. It's not just a diamond in the rough for Israel, but a truly world-class property in it's own right.

I've said it before and I will say it again, the hotel matches any of the Aman properties I've stayed at (and even outdoes a handful!) with regards to it's design, restoration and architecture; it's sense of history and heritage, and the attentive level of service experienced. We truly felt as though we had been whisked away to an exotic faraway land, torn straight from the pages of Arabian Nights. Far moreso than any of the five-star Marrakech hotels, or similar destinations that one might possibly compare with The Efendi. Good luck finding that anywhere else in Israel!

The old town of Acre is a destination in itself. Situated on the Mediterranean and steeped in history (infamous as the sole city that Napoleon failed to capture in his conquest through the Middle East) it's somewhat similar to Jaffa in certain respects, only without the upmarket touristy element which detracts from the romance and exoticism of the surroundings. You won't find any high end tourist galleries or overpriced gelato shops with spinning racks of postcards. Just everyday people going about their daily lives; flowing in and out mosque at prayer time; children playing in the streets, dodging in and out of alleyways; crowds winding through maze-like corridors that snake through the the old quarter like arteries, carrying life from the heart of the bustling city center (where merchants trade in everything from enticing aromatic street foods to homemade trinkets, jewlery, clothing, toys and even bootleg electronics) all the way up to their cramped living quarters that rise above the boisterous streets like colorful and carefully placed building blocks, providing serenity and shade to the contrasting world below.

Above all of this rests The Efendi- at the end of a long and narrow lane which is blocked off to vehicles. Modest and unassuming from the outside, it naturally blends with it's surrounding environs. Once you pass through it's doors however, you are instantly transported back to 17th Century palatial opulence of the Ottoman Empire. The painstakingly thoughtful attention to the most minute of details is evident in every corner of the building. Our room itself was sublime! I'm told that archaeological surveys were done on the entire property and specialists from museums in Italy were flown in to restore the stunning painted murals which adorn the ceilings. The entire restorative effort took the better part of a decade. Make no mistake - this is first and foremost, an obvious labor of love!

We didn't get a chance to experience the beautifully preserved Turkish hammam, though I would watch the sun rise above the sea walls from the claw-footed tub in our suite each morning and wake to the chants of prayer from the nearby mosque. Sundown from the seaside terrace which peers out over the ancient ramparts is pure magic, as pink and orange hazes are cast over the emerald waters of the Mediterranean, reflecting off the waves. We would lay out on the day beds and watch the sun dip behind the horizon each evening with a glass of champagne. I could smell the sea air and feel the warm breeze as I type this!

If you are spending an evening in the old quarters of Akko, reservations at Uri Buri (the namesake of the famous chef who also happens to be proprietor of The Efendi hotel) are a must! A full two-nights are really needed to fully take advantage of the property and experience the highlights of the town at an enjoyable and leisurely pace. The old city of Akko is a UNESCO heritage site and a prearranged walking tour of the Crusader Fortress and Templars Tunnel would be highly recommended. If interested, Boaz Shalgi is an excellent guide. The rest of your time should really be spent enjoying The Efendi though. Spend some time walking through the marketplace and promenade in the late afternoon (no reason whatsoever to leave the old quarter as the modern town of Acre is not very appealing) but definitely reserve a full day to simply enjoy all that The Efendi offers.

I've posted these photos before, but here they are again in higher resolution. Unfortunately the only photos we have saved from this leg of our trip are taken from my wife's cell phone, as our camera was stolen from our luggage on our return. We don't even have a photo of the room. I think these still give a pretty solid overview of what you can expect though:

The Efendi Hotel

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