The Efendi Hotel, a historic 12-room boutique property in Acre owned by restauranteur Uri Jeremias is set to officially reopen on September 1st, three months after rioters set fire to the location during clashes in the city.
Meanwhile, the hotel had a soft launch on Tuesday, opening its door to guests interested in reserving a room in the landmark space. A spokesperson for the hotel tells NoCamels that Jeremias is already offering guests a 15 percent discount on reservations.
Jeremias’ popular seafood restaurant, Uri Buri, located next door to the luxe hotel, was also torched during the city’s recent wave of violence. While renovations on the original site are ongoing, Jeremias has already opened a temporary location.
The mixed Arab and Jewish coastal city of Acre became one of the country’s focal points of escalating tension and nationwide violence as riots erupted in Arab-Jewish communities across the country during May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls. Businesses, cars, police stations, and a synagogue were burned and vandalized and mobs of Jews and Arabs attacked each other on the street.
The Uri Buri restaurant was almost completely destroyed, while portions of the Efendi Hotel were firebombed by rioters. Israel Prize winner Aby Har-Even, former director general of the Israeli Space Agency, was a guest at the Efendi Hotel when this happened and weeks later died from smoke inhalation and burns.
Jeremias has put his heart, soul, and finances into rebuilding the hotel and eatery. Last week, Israeli national daily newspaper Maariv reported that he told North Radio 104.5 FM that he was “excited” to announce that the Efendi Hotel would return to its usual activities as early as next month.
In with the new
In Acre, a 5,300-year-old city where coexistence between Muslims, Jews, and Christians are part of the culture, the Efendi Hotel has been a standout example of character and cooperation. Nestled in Acre’s Old City, the Efendi Hotel is housed in two historic Ottoman buildings overlooking the Acre harbor that had been renovated when the hotel officially opened in February 2012 following a meticulous eight-year restoration process headed by Jeremias.
Jeremias also hand-painted motifs and frescos along the walls and ceilings, including a fresco of ancient Istanbul. Archeologists and antiquities experts were hired to restore the Byzantine and Crusader-era cellar. The main lobby of the hotel includes a foundation from the Crusader era and the Efendi Hotel dining room was once a church built during the Crusader period in Acre.
The Efendi Hotel was named the #1 “Best Small Hotel In the Middle East” in TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2021. Jeremias’ famous fish restaurant Uri Buri, housed in a 400-year old Ottoman-era residence overlooking the sea, was named #1 “Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the Middle East.” In 2019, it was named to TripAdvisor’s list of Top 25 “Best Fine Dining Restaurants” in the world as part of the annual Travelers’ Choice Awards for 2019.