I defy even the most hardened of hearts not to burst with wonderment as Akko spills into view from the train ferrying arrivals along the coastline. Turquoise domes and copper minarets rise from behind the storied walls of the Old City, while orderly rows of palms line up against the cerulean horizon.
Some of the swankiest bars can be found smack in the hotel where you are laying that pretty little head of yours.
This grande dame of Old Acre is an enchanting boutique hotel from revered Israeli chef veteran Uri ‘Buri’ Jeremias.
Let’s start from one of the most well-known luxury hotels in Israel – The Efendi Hotel. This is another project of Uri Jeremias from Uri Buri restaurant. Uri bought two old decaying buildings in 2001 and decided to renovate them and turn them into one of the best boutique hotels in Israel.
In the thriving, modern marvel that is the ancient port of Acre, I learn from Uri Jeremias Buri, fish cook extraordinaire, Byzantine expert, and owner of the Ottoman-era Efendi Hotel, that mujaddara has been enjoyed here since the 13th century.
Chef Jerome Ferrer describes the Efendi Hotel as "one of the best hotels he experienced in his life," and Uri Buri as a" spectacular culinary destination". He highglights his "deep amiration for the philosophy and cooking skills of Uri".
The Efendi Hotel, a 12-room luxury property, is accessed through the picturesque alleyways of Old Akko.
Recycling old walls isn’t a new concept, and that’s abundantly clear at the Efendi Hotel, where two Ottoman palaces built on the foundational remains of Byzantine buildings have been re-envisioned as a 21st-century boutique hotel.
Close your eyes and imagine you are an effendi or a pasha – a lord living in a palace in the mid 19th century. Your large salon, windows from floor to ceiling, overlooks the ocean and you are being fed sweetmeats and other delicacies cooked up by the city’s most famous chef.
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How To Spend It
The Efendi’s story is one of faith and perseverance. The owner – eminent Israeli chef Uri Jeremias, also known as Uri Buri – likes to say that when he first bought these two old Ottoman-era buildings in 2003 with several “silent partners”, everyone thought he was crazy.
Travel + Leisure
Inside the walls of the 5000-year-old city of Akko, bustling markets are squeezed into alleyways that meander past incredible historical sites.
Built within the historic walls of the Old City of Acre (declared a UNESCO World Heritage site), just discovering the Efendi, is an experience in itself.
Rise back up the chalk cliffs and, as you’re already in Acre, a 4,000-year-old port city, spend the night at Efendi Hotel. The 12-room property, a fusion of two Ottoman Era homes, overlooks the coast while guests sleep under ancient frescoes, simmer in the original Turkish Hammam, and trade the grottoes for a different type of cave altogether: a Byzantine-era wine cellar.
Bon Vivant Magazine
Israel’s food and flavours are a well-regarded part of the nation’s identity, but the gastronomic evolution taking place north of Tel Aviv is elevating things to a whole new level.
More than three decades have passed sice Uri Jeremias opened one of the most recognized and stable restaurants in Israel.
There are some hotels that make an impression, and some that leave an impression so great – that you can’t help but continue to speak about your experience for years after you’ve left. The Efendi Boutique Hotel, located in the small coastal Northern Israeli town of Akko, is one of those places. A masterpiece in history, love, art and luxury – you cannot miss the opportunity to stay here and revel in every corner of its glory.
Up north, the town of Akko ticks a number of boxes for those looking for a side trip. History nerds will enjoy exploring the grounds of the Crusader’s Seaport, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that snakes above and underground.
A numerous amount of cultures found their way to Akko throughout history. Israelites, Egyptians, Greek, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans and the British, just to name a few. All of them left their mark on the city, some more visible than others.
Harper's Bazaar Turkey
For nearly 20 years, Uri Jeremias has been cooking fish and spreading the gospel of Israeli cooking. It’s about time the world listened.
The Jerusalem Post
Phil Rosenthal is always hungry. And, with a seemingly unlimited budget, he picks up on a whim and travels around the globe to find his next meal. When Rosenthal’s latest TV series, Somebody Feed Phil, debuts on Netflix on Friday, he’ll be hitting up Lisbon, Saigon, Mexico City, New Orleans, Bangkok – and Tel Aviv.
On my last trip to Israel, I spent a few days at Uri Buri’s Efendi Hotel, renovated from two Pasha’s palaces in the old city of Akko. I had heard of the legendary Uri Buri, a larger-than-life presence whose name is synonymous with seafood and fish; in the hotel’s restaurant, of course also called Uri Buri, we tasted his creations such as mackerel with eggplant and salmon with wasabi ice cream.
Image: Eyal Yassky Weiss
Two ancient houses were reconstructed and merged over a period of eight years, restoring original features such as colourful ceiling frescoes and a 400-year-old Turkish bath. Think natural light-filled, roomswith high ceilings and views ofthe Mediterranean ocean and nearby mosques. Calls to prayer float on the breeze as you watch the sunsetfrom the rooftop bar. Absolute perfection.
Global Travel Media
Trip Advisor, the travel planning and booking site, this week announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards, recognizing travelers’ favorite destinations around the world in 2017. Chef, restauranteur and hotelier, Uri Jeremias, is the proud winner of three separate honors.
Layers of history and charming cobbled streets meet stunning boutique hotels and legendary hummus joints in the enchanting Old City of Akko (Acre), on Israel’s northern Mediterranean coastline.
Intimate, stylish and unique, each of these small hotels – possessing 15 rooms or less – are home to an abundance of personality and charm that belie their size. Havens in their own right, yet undeniably rooted in their locales, these hotels are worth the trip alone.
Uri Buri is an immaculate example of what a seafood restaurant should be. It’s not fancy and it’s not over-the-top – but its comfortable, homey, real and, above all else, offers superb cooking. The founder and proprietor, Uri Jeremias, is a simple fisherman, or at least that’s what it appears to be. But, he’s so much more than that. He is a genius – turning everything he touches into gold, including the nearby Efendi Boutique Hotel. Come see what all the fuss is about here – I promise it’s worth it.
From desert resorts to renovated historical landmarks and urban boutique hotels, Israel boasts a variety of design hotels of all sorts to ensure you get the best out of this little country. With scenery, culture, and amazing design, these are Israel’s top design hotels.
Get Lost Magazine
Look out at the Mediterranean Sea and over the ancient city walls from the rooms of this historic hotel in Israel's far north.
The Efendi Hotel represents the vision of Uri Jeremias, whose fish restaurant, Uri Buri, located in the historic city of Akko, is one of Israel's best.
Long Island Pulse
The Efendi in Akko is about an hour from Tel Aviv in the northern coastal plains of Israel. The luxury boutique hotel was the site of two early Ottoman Empire mansions before the founder, chef Uri Jeremias.
The Times of Israel
With a luxury hotel and plans to revitalize the harbor area, one of the world’s oldest settlements is undergoing a modern-day renaissance to the benefit of Arabs and Jews.
Happy in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv, we love you and all your brilliance, beauty and breathtaking views but we have to tell you the truth: we cheated on you. Hear us out: Akko is more ancient, Herzliya has more bling, Haifa is more laidback and Jerusalem is more artistic.
New York Post
A hidden gem in the historic Arab-Israeli village of Acre. The property features a 400-year-old Turkish hammam and more than 2,000 Israeli wines set in a magnificent 12th-century stone cellar.
Fathom's Daniel Schwartz recently came back from his first trip to Israel (and no, it wasn't on Birthright) with five reasons to make a return pligrimage to the Holy Land. Lo and behold, none of them have to do with religion.
Gulf News Journal
Tours commence from the Efendi boutique Hotel and showcase aspects of Acre’s legacy, including details of the Second Crusader kingdom in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Washington Post
Today, it might as well be the fief of Jeremias, a self-taught, white-bearded prophet of fish and seafood whose simple whitewashed restaurant, Uri Buri.
Old Akko has been upgrading over the last decade. Treasures that had been hidden deep under the detritus of centuries, neglected or abandoned, have now been exposed in all their glory.
While it’s easy to get stuck in the Tel Aviv bubble, it’s equally important to remember one simple rule: Israel is only the size of New Jersey, making day-trips and short-excursions not only feasible, but encouraged.