American Colony Hotel
|American Colony Hotel|
|Location||American Colony, One Louis Vincent Street, Jerusalem|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Plato von Ustinov|
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. This Christian utopian society became known as the American Colony.
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.
Today the American Colony Hotel calls itself an oasis of neutrality in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is still owned by descendants of the Spaffords. A grandson, Horatio Vester, was the manager until he retired in 1980. His wife, Valentine, lived in the hotel until her death in June 2008. Since 1980, the hotel has been run by a Swiss company. The Effendis' original bedroom is called "Room One."
The American Colony Hotel, on the "seamline" between east and west Jerusalem, is the preferred hotel of many diplomats, politicians and foreign correspondents. 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'  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.
- Street People, Helga Dudman, Carta, Jerusalem, 1982, pp. 83-104.
- The Englishwoman who ran an oasis in the heart of the conflict - Haaretz - Israel News
- Saudi Aramco World : Hotels With a History
- Jerusalem Hotels | American Colony Hotel Jerusalem | Introduction
- Unusual hotels of the world http://www.unusualhotelsoftheworld.com/HotelDetails.aspx?HotelID=339&sender=search&keyword=&location=&budget=&type=
- Valentine Vester, owner of famed American Colony hotel in J'lem, dies at 96 - Haaretz - Israel News
- Ohad, Daniella Smith, "Hotel Design in British Mandate Palestine: Modernism and the Zionist Vision". Journal of Israel History. 29 (1). (2010).
- The Spafford Hymn - It is Well with my Soul - the original manuscript penned by Horatio Spafford
- Globe and Mail article
- The American Colony in Jerusalem Collection of images in watercolors including the original Ustinov Palm Tree