Akkotel hotel has a unique place in the city. The hotel is located next to, and in fact partially inside, the thick, ancient fortress wall that surrounds the Old City of Akko. The hotel’s discreet entrance on Salah ad-Din Street leads to a high-ceilinged, much-ornamented lobby where guests are likely to be greeted warmly by owner Ilya Morani, or a member of his family. The hotel, part of which once served as a customs house, has sixteen rooms; each is outfitted simply and uniquely, with wooden furnishings carved by Morani himself. All the rooms have thick exposed-stone walls in which deeply set windows look out onto Akko’s street life. You might hear the call of a fruit seller in the morning before heading down to the Akkotel’s lovely and ample breakfast buffet and then out to explore.
Guests can reach the Akkotel rooftop (with a key provided by the Moranis) via a hidden set of stairs from the hotel’s top floor. Here, the sky is an intense azure that competes with the darker blue of the Mediterranean, and the bleached stone cityscape seems near enough to touch with your fingers. At its center is the minaret of the Jezzar-Pasha Mosque, from which the muezzin calls Muslims to prayer with a drone that rings through the streets five times a day. From where you stand, the old wall of the city rolls away in both directions. (Akko is labyrinthine at street level, filled with small alleyways and sharp turns, but if you can find the wall, you can find your way anywhere—or at least from the Akkotel to the Uri Buri restaurant.) At night, seen from this rooftop, the moon completes a picture-perfect dream of what European Romantic painters might have termed “the Orient”: a bright, starry sky above and shadowed archways below, timeless stones, a silhouetted mosque.