American Colony Hotel

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American Colony Hotel
American Colony Hotel.jpg
American Colony Hotel is located in Jerusalem
American Colony Hotel
General information
Location American Colony, One Louis Vincent Street, Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°47′22.88″N 35°13′45.76″E / 31.7896889°N 35.2293778°E / 31.7896889; 35.2293778
Opening 1902
Design and construction
Developer Plato von Ustinov

The American Colony Hotel is a luxury hotel located in a historic building in Jerusalem which previously housed the utopian American-Swedish community known as the American Colony.


The building was originally built and owned by an Ottoman Pasha Rabbah Daoud Amin Effendi al-Husseini, who lived there with his harem of four wives. Soon after his fourth marriage, al-Husseini died. In 1895, the building was sold to a group of messianic Christians who arrived in Jerusalem in 1881 and set up a commune. Their leader was Horatio Spafford, a lawyer from Chicago and his wife, Anna. In 1896, the Americans were joined by two groups of Swedish settlers.[1] This Christian utopian society became known as the American Colony.[2]

Historic photo in the hotel gardens

In 1902, the Jaffa hotelier Plato von Ustinov (grandfather of the British actor Peter Ustinov) was looking for a place to put up guests visiting Jerusalem and asked the Spaffords to accommodate them. Soon after, the building was turned into a hotel.[3]


Today the American Colony Hotel calls itself an oasis of neutrality in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.[4] It is still owned by descendants of the Spaffords. A grandson, Horatio Vester, was the manager until he retired in 1980.[5] His wife, Valentine, lived in the hotel until her death in June 2008.[6] Since 1980, the hotel has been run by a Swiss company. The Effendis' original bedroom is called "Room One."

Famous guests[edit]

The American Colony Hotel, on the "seamline" between east and west Jerusalem, is the preferred hotel of many diplomats, politicians and foreign correspondents.[2] Its famous guests include Leon Uris, Lawrence of Arabia, Christiane Amanpour, Bob Dylan, Tony Blair, Philip Roth, Eric Frattini and John le Carré. Carre wrote one of his books at the hotel and Frattini, include information over the hotel in his last book fiction, 'The Labyrinth of Water' [2] In 1987, Peter Ustinov filmed much of the 1930s-set Agatha Christie mystery Appointment With Death at the hotel. In 1995, Peter Ustinov visited the hotel and planted a palm tree in the courtyard.[3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′22.88″N 35°13′45.76″E / 31.7896889°N 35.2293778°E / 31.7896889; 35.2293778