Turns out, I had the same experience at the spa at The Efendi Hotel, a boutique hotel in the northern coastal plains of Israel.
By Sharon Feiereisen on March 11, 2016
Condé Nast Traveler
The specs: A pair of nineteenth-century homes in the middle of an Arab village—and ancient port town—on the Mediterranean, a two-hour drive from Tel Aviv. Along with 12 guest rooms, the hotel has a hammam (built by the original Turkish owners), a wine cellar and occasional restaurant, and a rooftop sundeck.
Leone Lakhani travels to the Israeli city of Acre, one of the best preserved and oldest settlements in the Middle East.
Akko, on Israel's Mediterranean coast, is wildly historic. It was called Acre in the Bible. Mark Antony and Cleopatra cocooned here. Europe's Crusaders made it their capital. Later, Ottoman rulers -- pashas -- built their palaces here.
Israel is a new nation, built on very ancient land that so many people in this world lay claim to as their own, their history. There are some newer cities like Tel Aviv, where the architecture dates to the 20th century and others like it’s neighbor Jaffa, an ancient port city that leaves your mind reeling when you think of the people that have walked these streets for centuries. An intrinsic part of visiting Israel is seeing this duality.
Voyage savoureux en Israël, formidable creuset de cultures gastronomiques. À Akko, l’ancien Saint-Jean-d’Acre, Uri Buri excelle dans la préparation des poissons. Quarante kilomètres plus au nord, Erez Komarovsky, père de la "nouvelle cuisine" en Israël, a su intégrer des saveurs venues de France, du Japon et de Californie. On découvre aussi le secret d’une bonne pita.
One pomegranate-braised lamb shoulder at a time, Zahav chef Michael Solomonov is putting modern Israeli cooking on the map in Philadelphia (and America). So when he travels to Israel a couple times a year, he does so with food squarely on the mind. This takes him to Acre, a coastal city 90 minutes north of Tel Aviv, where he pays his respects to Uri Jeremias: a legendary fisherman, bon vivant, and owner of the decidedly non-kosher seafood restaurant Uri Buri.
In Acre, Israel, chef Jeremias cooks quite possibly the country's best seafood.
"There is no such thing as Israeli cuisine," said Chef Roy Sofer at the hip Italian Bindela Restaurant in Tel Aviv. Over the next ten days, every person I spoke to in Israel gave me a similar answer. Just like the U.S., Israel is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Everyone here is from someplace else, and they have brought along traditional ingredients, spices and cooking methods that have become part of the new Israeli gastronomy.
Akko, a city rich with an action-packed historiography featuring remnants of the Romans, Ottomans, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Byzantines and British, has been deemed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Akko is also home to one of the oldest ports in the world. For a getaway unlike any other, join the Acre & Western Galilee Academic Seminar, hosted by the culinary guru Uri Jeremias of Uri Buri restaurant. It will stimulate your mind as well as your taste buds.
Hotel of the week the Efendi boutique hotel
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