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.
- 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