History and luxury on the Golan Heights

Pereh – a new luxurious resort – opened its gates to the public last week

 THE PEREH Hotel on an historic site in the Golan.  (photo credit: AYA BEN-EZRI)
THE PEREH Hotel on an historic site in the Golan.
(photo credit: AYA BEN-EZRI)

After years of renovation and an investment of $15 million, the new Pereh Hotel was opened to the public, bringing a new standard of luxury to the Golan Heights.

Pereh was built on the ruins of the French Custom House, where in 1916 British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes and French diplomat Francois Georges Picot negotiated and signed a secret treaty between the United Kingdom and France known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, defining the two countries’ “mutual agreed spheres” of influence and control in the eventual partition of the Ottoman Empire. Regarded by many as a pivotal episode in the history of the Middle East, the results of this secret agreement are still influencing our life here today.

Used later by the Syrian army as an outpost, the Bauhaus buildings were neglected after 1967 until, in 2012, the area was purchased by visionary businessman Leo Glaser, who planned to open a hostel for tourists visiting the area. Nine years later, with new partners – Ishay Malka, one of the owners of the Alegra Boutique Hotel in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, and entrepreneurs Avi Levy and Yair Biton – the new resort opened last week to the public.

Since it is a historic location, the renovations – especially of the two Bauhaus buildings, which house the suites and garden rooms – were done under strict preservation regulations and took years, resulting in a beautiful and very unique resort that reflects, as Malka says, “the free, primal spirit of the Golan Heights, combined with our wish to provide our guests the highest standard of hospitality.”

There are 27 rooms and suites, offering different designs, layouts and sizes, which occupy four buildings.

The hotel was designed by the studio of Dannah Leitersdorf and Tamara Gleser-Shafran, who used mainly local natural materials in the buildings and furnishings, such as local basalt stone, natural mineral plaster and reclaimed wood collected in the area.

Attention to detail is apparent everywhere you look. The carefully chosen furnishings, the artwork, the plants and the materials used all provide a sense of quiet luxury, while still being very much local and reflecting the past. One can feel the history everywhere – walking between the buildings in the exquisitely renovated public areas, the beautiful gardens and the basalt-stone swimming pool.

The rooms, especially the suites and garden rooms, were restored to resemble the way the French Customs House looked at the beginning of the 20th century, including century-old wooden floors, rounded stone walls and high ceilings.

In Hebrew, “pereh” means wild, and Malka says that the name is “a tribute to the spectacular nature and wildness of the Golan Heights.”

The owners are focusing on domestic tourism for the time being, offering Israelis who “have seen it all” a high-end luxurious resort in an area that has no such accommodations.

Says Malka, “We believe in the Golan Heights, which is very much virgin territory in terms of tourism.”

There is a beautiful swimming pool which you will never want to leave, a spa with an excellent team of professionals, a chef restaurant, currently open only for guests, a wine cellar which holds mainly Golan Heights wines, many open areas and three historic buildings, one of which is a small gallery with photos that offer a peep at what used to be there.

Neri Eldar, the manager, says that “the Israeli guests are very sophisticated and they have seen it all. We are here to present them with an authentic and original experience, but we pay attention to even the smallest detail, from the pillow menu to the poolside cocktail,”

Rooms at the Pereh Hotel begin at NIS 2,600 per night per couple midweek and from NIS 3,000 on weekends and holidays.

“We are excited and proud to launch the most luxurious resort in Israel,” said Malka. “We invite our guests to enjoy the combination of luxury and nature, wine and culinary excellence, elegant relaxation and exciting adventures.”

For more details and reservations: https://pereh.co.il

The writer was a guest of the hotel.

Adventures in the area

The Israeli Land Rover Club has joined forces with Pereh Hotel to offer guests day tours of the area with the club’s experienced guides.

“We see a connection to Pereh which turned the neglected iconic buildings of the Custom House into a luxurious resort,” say the managers of the club. 

Tours include local attractions, such as the mountain headwaters of the Jordan River, where even at the end of a very hot and dry summer the water still flows strongly, and other secret spots.

“The connection of the Land Rover Club with Pereh is natural,” said Galit Eini Wolf, CEO of Eastern Automobile Marketing, the importers of Land Rover to Israel. “Pereh connects to the brand’s values of luxury, adventure and breaking boundaries.”