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“THE PLACE to be in Jerusalem - if you can afford it...”

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The American Colony Hotel
Ranked #11 of 99 Hotels in Jerusalem
Certificate of Excellence
padova, italy
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“THE PLACE to be in Jerusalem - if you can afford it...”
Reviewed 22 July 2008

How many hotels in the world are significant to a given city like the American Colony of Jerusalem, Israel? Probably few, very few. When you walk past the front door of this little (not so little, as you'll discover after you'll have explored the annexes...) palace, you will enter the history of the last two centuries in Jerusalem. A history which you'll feel made of secret talks, agreements, compromises, offerings, requests - by diplomats, officers, spies, businessmen, common people - always in a low voice, while sitting in the shadow of the wonderful courtyard, or in the old rooms belonging to a bygone era. There is of course a lot of romance in it, but it feels pleasant, understated, relaxed...
Wonderful. And costly as well, but worth the price. The rooms of the old building are somehow dusty, nicely (if you like the taste) furnished, wide with lots of flavour. The rooms of the new building are certainly less intriguing, although very comfortable. The restaurant ranks among the best in town, and you'll not be disappointed by the quality of the food. The service is sloooow, and the waiters could easily be a bit more friendly.

  • Liked — the feeling
  • Disliked — two hours for a meal...
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank antoniosecchi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Leicester
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2008

My first night in Jerusalem was not at the American Colony but across the road at another chain hotel. As a war was going on at the time (it is Israel) that hotel was full of refugees from the north of the country and disgruntled young americans confined for their own safety. The latter were so rude and resentful I checked out and checked into the American Colony.

This was the best impulse decision. The AC is a lovely eccentric historic place with attentive staff and decent food and rooms. It is also a meeting place for all sorts of people who normally do not speak to each other in public (this is Israel after all). Lots of interesting guests to chat to in the outdoor courtyard restaurant.

The area does need a little care (it is East Jerusalem) but nearby oases of sanity are the Anglican cathedral of St George and French Dominican Ecole Biblique.

Many of the hotel staff are Palestinians and Israel Arabs so it is possible to hear sane alternative voices amidst the general madness that is Israel and especially found in Jerusalem

If I ever return to Jerusalem - it is to the American Colony that I will return with much pleasure and gratitude.

  • Liked — The history
  • Stayed June 2006, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Durer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berkeley, CA
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 July 2008

Our extended family recently returned from an eight day stay in Jerusalem. We chose the American Colony Hotel because of its excellent reviews, but also because we didn't want to stay at a big generic stone edificed West Jerusalem hotel. We wanted a more exotic, authentic Middle Eastern experience. We have stayed at very fine hotels, so our expectations were high. We were not disappointed.

Thanks to Chantal at Regent Tours (I highly recommend them), we got excellent rates on our rooms, all of which were beautiful and in different parts of the hotel. My husband and I stayed in Room number 14, one of the Pasha Deluxe rooms off of the central courtyard. It was enormous, with a large terrace overlooking the pool.

This is an unusual hotel, one of a kind in Jerusalem. You won't find busloads of Americans here, but an eclectic mix of people. On our first morning at the hotel, we sat next to Tony Blair's entourage (he had already left), and saw across the courtyard a famous artist/film director. The people here are as colorful as the hotel -- different races and nationalities, non-Jew and Jew, straight and gay. The grounds are beautiful -- palm trees, tropical flowers, jerusalem stone and vibrant bird life. A gentle warning -- You must get used to the "Call to Prayer" if you stay at the A.C,, as you will hear it loudly and clearly five times a day from the neighboring mosque. If you are a light sleeper, use a pair of earplugs at night.

Although we are solidly identified Jews, we felt completely at home and welcome at the American Colony, a mostly arab run hotel. Still, if you are a strictly observant Jew, or are politically very right of center, you might not feel wholly comfortable here. It is obviously not a kosher hotel, and lies on the border of East and West Jerusalem. As to the location, it was not an issue or us. We felt comfortable walking to the Domascus Gate by day, and there were always taxis in the evening. The hotel is literally acoss the street from three newish big Jewish hotels, so don't believe it when you hear that the A.C. is in the middle of East Jerusalem.

Now on to the service -- We found the service at the hotel consistently excellent. Everyone seemed quite willing and anxious to make our stay a special one. I will say, however, that we Americans have to get used to the slower pace of Middle Eastern service in bars and restaurants. This is uniformly the case, we found, all over Israel. You will be graciously served your drinks or food, but don't expect the waiter to dash over and ask you if you need a refill soon. In Jerusalem, everyone takes their time. The A.C. is no exception, but I would say the service is BETTER and more gracious here than at the big hotels. We had drinks at the King David, and dinner at the American Citadel. Their service was not at all as good as at the A.C.

Finally, if your budget allows it, and you are looking for a beautiful, unique hotel in Jerusalem, than I highly recommend the American Colony. We absolutely loved it and can't wait to return one day.

  • Liked — Beautiful hotel and accommodations, excellent service
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Kenya2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 July 2008

Service was very attentive and superb, and there's an interesting crowd there, journalists, businessfolks, diplomats, stimulating conversations around the outdoor bar at night. Breakfast buffet is delicious. Almost all of the staff are arab Israeli or Palestinian. As an (obviously ) American Jew I felt totally comfortable there. I noticed prosperous Israelis coming by to eat there on the Sabbath when everything is closed in West Jerusalem, and there seems to be a warm ambience between them and the staff. This cool hotel is on the border of East Jerusalem which some visiters to Israel might not think a safe neighborhood, but we found it fine and its near Hebrew University/Mt. Scopus. Also, close to a Hassidic neighborhood Mea Sharim. Walking distance to the Old City. We checked out the King David across town and it looked really in need of a major makeover, like it was stuck in Vegas circa 1970s. But the American Colony was a lovely place and we were glad we made that choice. We met the new manager, Paolo Fetz, an Italian or Swiss Italian fellow who was extremely warm and welcoming. We gladly will stay there next time we visit Jerusalem.

  • Liked — Service
  • Stayed June 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank billeeto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2008

I was enamored with this hotel immediately when I started looking for rooms. We stayed in a Classic Pasha room which was very interesting and unusual. However, several days I found long black hairs on my sheets (neither my husband nor I have long black hair).

The service in the restaurants the two nights we ate in the hotel was very, very slow and forgetful. It took over an hour to get our food both nights and we ate in the main restaurant the first night and the bistro the second. We complained at the main restaurant the first night and the head waiter lectured us on why we didn't have the right to complain--although they did end up giving us the meal for free because it took over an hour for our salad to arrive. After the second night we just resolved not to eat in the hotel again. Note: The breakfast buffet service was fine.

If you are looking for an unusual hotel with a lot of history, The American Colony is for you--otherwise I would investigate others. Having stayed in luxury and boutique hotels in almost every continent, my husband and I did not feel the service was commensurate with the price. There are other, newer hotels in Jerusalem that would be just as enjoyable if you are just a general tourist and want more of an upscale hotel. Those hotels may not have the history but they may be more convenient and have better service.

  • Liked — The unusual rooms
  • Disliked — The hotel service
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank fabulassy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2008

We spent just one night in the American Colony but this was my best experience in Israel. All staff spoke good English and were generally very helpful. Restaurant prices were moderate ($109 for dinner for two including wine) and the food was excellent. Breakfast was served in a beautiful sunlit courtyard with lots of sparrows flying around. I loved it! While rooms in this hotel are expensive I found that the hotel services in general (private guided tours, restaurant, etc.) are affordable. I was quite disenchanted with Israel but I would gladly go back to this hotel.

Stayed April 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank GoosyO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
belgium
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 409 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2008

The highlight of the American Colony is the building, a lovely Ottoman house with a courtyard (cafe / restaurant, weaher permitting) and a garden.

While the location is good to explore East Jerusalem, the immediate surroundings of the hotel are somewhat neglected. There is a mosque right next to the hotel, and you will hear the call for prayer at night from many rooms.

I stayed in a Deluxe Pasha room in the original building with a large terrace overlooking the small pool. Because it was cold, I could not use the terrace, but this would be nice in spring and summer. The room was large, well furnished, with high ceilings and a very elegant bathroom with a free standing bath and a separate shower.

The hotel has a small but good fitness room overlookign the pool and a small spa.

The food is ok but nothing special, and I expected much better.

The service is not bad, but it is not outstanding, and I was surprised to learn that the hotel is managed by the company that runs the Lausanne Palace. It certainly was not like a 5-star Swiss hotel.

The smoking ban is not properly implemented, since smoking is allowed at least in the bar.

Overall, I was impressed by the charm of the place but the service and food were disappointing.

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank topsmed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The American Colony Hotel

Property: The American Colony Hotel
Address: 1 Louis Vincent Street, Jerusalem 9720071, Israel
Phone Number:
Region: Israel > Jerusalem District > Jerusalem > American Colony
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Jerusalem
#5 Family Hotel in Jerusalem
#5 Romantic Hotel in Jerusalem
#9 Luxury Hotel in Jerusalem
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — The American Colony Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 93
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Also Known As:
American Colony Jerusalem
American Colony Hotel Jerusalem

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