Acre is a city in the north of Israel, adjoining the Mediterranean Sea, where a rundown Ottoman property revived under the wings of an effective renovation. Nowadays, this can be your travel destination, because the building’s new function as a boutique hotel was written in the stars. Here, you are floating somewhere between old and new.
Since this fresh start, the property was given the name Melisende, referring to the eponymous queen who ruled over Jerusalem a long time ago, when Acre was its capital. Today, the old city is Unesco World Heritage: not a surprise if you’ve ever had the chance to be enchanted by this place yourself. Interior architect Michal Matalon, active as Home-Maker, was given the opportunity to get to work with this special complex, which consists of buildings that are approximately five hundred years old. The stay contains six special units that are perfect for both romantic and adventurous travels. However, it took some time before the team came to understand the full potential of this place. For example, the former interior was covered by plaster, and you needed to look twice to realise that the authentic stone was in a good state. Little by little, the original story of the property was being told. During the renovation, it was decided to reduce the buildings again to the shapes they had during the Ottoman period, instead of enlarging them. A noteworthy and admirable decision, especially in a time where architects usually opt for a maximum of space.
Little by little, the original story of the property was being told.
The renovation happened under the watchful eye of the Antiquities Authorities, which meant that excavations only took place with their permission. An important ruling was to enlarge the garden. By doing this, there was room for a jacuzzi and tropical plants, which look astonishing in combination with the Ottoman limestone. Moreover, there is a patio, completed with a pool and seating area. There are three suites among the stays. The units differ concerning surface area, but the best possible layout was developed for all of them, and a pleasant functionality guaranteed. Namely, the two largest rooms contain a bathroom that is divided by walls, whereas in the smaller residences they worked with an open bathtub. An element that is universally the same, however, is the grey porcelain floor of granite. The wooden furniture was custom made and consists of light oak. For the thin lamps, they called on the services of a local artist, with the help of a sketch from the interior architect. Restoring a property in an old city like this takes respect and patience. With exactly these ingredients, boutique hotel Melisende had the privilege to grow into the unique stay it is today. Those who stay here are completely submerged in the language of Akko. A pleasant game of push-and-pull between the classic from the past and the wishes of the future resulted into something marvellous.
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Photography by Karin Ravenna