In mid-May of 2013, we had the good pleasure of spending one night at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem on the last night of our nine days in Israel, and it was a perfect way to end the trip. We were coming back from a two-day road trip in the Galilee, so we were utterly exhausted. We're more Days Inn travelers than Ritz-Carlton, so it was quickly obvious that we were out of our element at this sort of high-end place, but the staff made us feel very welcome as soon as we pulled into the driveway. And there was much about our stay that continued to impress me.
First, I was pleased to find plentiful and free parking. The check-in process was simple. The room was well-appointed, spacious, and luxurious, though in a very classic sense, not 21st-century extravagance. There were books on a bookshelf above the desk, including works by Dickens. The desk was huge, which was very helpful for some of the organizational stuff that we had to do as we wrapped up our trip.
The bathroom was also well-appointed and spacious, including a funky old radio on which we belted some delightful Israeli music. The towels were huge, large enough to dry a herd of ibex (though this was not necessary). The shower stall was enclosed by a half wall, always an odd choice to me, as this allowed some water to splash onto the bathroom floor. But this really turned out to be my only gripe about the place, and nothing could be more insignificant than a little water spillage.
We were so exhausted that we didn't feel like going out for dinner after we arrived or even strolling down to the restaurant in the hotel, so we ordered room service for the first time since our honeymoon ten years ago. Much to my surprise, the food was delicious, and the quantities were plentiful, such that we were stuffed by the end of the meal.
We enjoyed a great night of sleep and were so comfortable that we slept in longer than we expected in the morning, just to soak in our luxurious surroundings. We thoroughly enjoyed a delicious (and complementary) breakfast, which included not only the typical stuff that we had encountered at all of our other hotels throughout Israel (bread, yogurt, egg products) but also some Israeli rarities (bacon and smoked sausage!!) which delighted this American palate.
And when the time came when we finally needed to leave, the staff at the front desk were extremely gracious and professional. When I asked if we could leave our rental car in the parking lot for the rest of the day, even though we were checking out and no longer registered guests at the hotel, I was thrilled with an immediate "Of course!" response. And before we actually left, we spent a few minutes enjoying the beautiful garden courtyard and various sitting rooms.
We were easily able to find a taxi in the front driveway to take us to the relatively nearby Mount of Olives, and at the end of the day, it was a relatively short walk back to the American Colony from the Old City, through the Damascus Gate and past The Garden Tomb.
Paying $350 for one night was extravagant far beyond our normal travel plans, but if any place could be worth that amount of money, it would be the American Colony. The connection to Horatio Spafford, author of one of my absolute favorite hymns, was just the extra icing on the cake. If we ever return to Jerusalem, I will make every effort to spend at least one night at the American Colony, and I am happy to recommend it to anyone traveling to Jerusalem with the means to enjoy such wonderful accommodations.
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- Also Known As:
- American Colony Jerusalem
- American Colony Hotel Jerusalem