In the past, the axiom regarding hotel properties in Israel was that small hotels could not make a profit. Today small hotels not only are profitable, but also are expanding by buying additional properties. Their success demonstrates that the old mode of operation simply no longer holds true. In a world where guests make their own reservations via the internet and the most effective advertising is the reviews that guests post online, many old axioms must be reconsidered.
In this world, tribute is due to the man who opened what may have been the first boutique hotel in Israel. In 1961, long before anyone in Israel was thinking about themes and concepts for a unique hotel, Yehuda Avni decided to establish a horse ranch in the hills above the Sea of Galilee. Vered Hagalil (Hebrew for Rose of Galilee) was met with a lot of skepticism. But Avni, who passed away in 2012, persisted. Every year he added a few more bungalows, expanded the range of horseback excursions he offered in the Galilee, and continued to serve the only Chicago-style pancakes in Israel topped with real maple syrup at his ranch’s restaurant. Vered Hagalil can serve as an interesting prototype for today’s boutique hotels: It was a maverick for 40 years, before the idea caught on, and its marketing largely was by word of mouth thanks to the loyal following of people who loved the place. Avni’s spirit of rustic luxury still lives on there today, amid the bungalows with magnificent views of the Sea of Galilee.
Tel.: (04) 693-5785
Korazim Junction, Galilee