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“We LOVED The American Colony”

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The American Colony Hotel
Ranked #11 of 101 Hotels in Jerusalem
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 7, 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.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Kenya2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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795 - 801 of 1,083 reviews

Reviewed July 4, 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.

  • Stayed: June 2008
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3  Thank billeeto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 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.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank fabulassy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 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
2  Thank GoosyO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 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
1  Thank topsmed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2008

I love uniqueness, and this hotel certainly gave me what I like.

I booked a pasha room, and I felt in Turkey or La Alhambra. The bed was big and comfortable and the bathroom had the heated floor which was excellent since it was snowing when I arrived.

The hotel is a piece of history, and it felt wonderful to be sharing part of it during my stay. The whole building is interesting and has photos and displays throughout to show what it used to be (first a castle for a pasha and his wives, then a hospital).

Breakfast was good. There was variety, and the service was excellent. I had dinner at the main restaurant once and it was DELICIOUS. I had lunch one day at the pool cafe and it was also very good. It has a bar that seemed very lively, but I was always too tired to try it.

Another thing I liked was that internet was included and there was a business floor with several computers conveniently located (not one next to each other). Nice touch.

The location was also very good. A 10-15 min. walk from Damascus gate.

There is a mosque very close by, so you can hear the call to pray early in the morning. I got used to it, but if you're a light sleeper it might bother you.

I wanted to rent a car, and the concierge took care of everything for me. The service was great in every aspect.

On a different note. If you're buying anything, don't say you're staying here. Prices go up IMMEDIATELY.

I loved the room, the service, the food, the location, and the building itself. Great stay.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled solo
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2  Thank Psykiya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2008

The hotel itself is a real gem, an old Ottoman palace with nooks and corners that take several hours to explore. It's a real haven of peace in an otherwise hectic city, yet is a quick 10 minute walk to the Damascus gate. The mostly Arab staff is very friendly. The breakfast is fine, nothing special. The courtyard is a very pleasant place for lunch. We never ate dinner there. The hotel has a real buzz because it's a favorite with journalists, UN staff, politicians. It frequently hosts cultural events. We were quoted a different price upon arrival than we'd agreed by phone but after a bit of friendly negotiation we had a better room at a lower price. You are in the Levant after all. There's a small but pleasant pool.

  • Stayed: April 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank marcopolo1964
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

Address: 1 Louis Vincent Street, Jerusalem 9720071, Israel
Location: Israel > Jerusalem District > Jerusalem > American Colony
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Business Hotel in Jerusalem
#5 Romantic Hotel in Jerusalem
#5 Family Hotel in Jerusalem
#8 Luxury Hotel in Jerusalem
Price Range: $236 - $565 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The American Colony Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 92
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elegant, historical Boutique Hotel with complimentary hi speed WiFi in all guest rooms and public areas, complimentary use of business centre and 20 minutes free local & international calls. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
American Colony Jerusalem
American Colony Hotel Jerusalem

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