A destination unto itself, the Hotel Oloffson provides lodging near the center of Port au Prince, Haiti. Amenities include: wireless internet, swimming pool, a famous bar where the house band RAM plays most Thursday nights, a fine restaurant featuring local and international cuisine, gift shop, a lush tropical garden replete with fruit trees and Vodou sculptures, laundry service, 24-hour security, a friendly staff who can assist you in finding reliable drivers and guides.
Richard A. Morse, Puerto Rican-born, Haitian-American singer and songwriter, started the group RAM after moving to Port-au-Prince where he pursued his love for Haiti's music, spiritual culture and voudou rhythms.
A legendary tradition: RAM show most thursday nights.
December 31st is 17 year Anniversary of the House band RAM !
SAINT DAY FESTIVALS
Carnaval - February
Rara - Lent
Souvenance - Easter
Saut D'Eau - July
Plaine du Nord - July
Limonade - July
Soukri - August
Ghede - November
(More detailed event calendar coming soon)
Contact Voyage Lumiere for more info and guided tours
HOTEL OLOFSSON ROOM RATES IN US DOLLARS
Standard Room: $68.90/night
A, B, C, D, 19, 20, 21
Rooms 11, 14, 15
NB: $5 Energy Surcharge
$10 to add another guest to the same room
All prices include continental breakfast
We accept VISA, Master Card, American Express, Travellers Checks and Cash
To Make a reservation call: (509) 223-4000 or email us your room preferences,
date of arrival, intended length of stay, and number in your party.
Each door is affixed with a sign boasting famous former occupants such as:
Charles Addams, Alvin Ailey, John Barrymore, Madison Bell, David Blundy,
Ed Bradley, Jimmy Buffet, Ramsey Clark, Greg Chamberlain,
Harold Courlander, Edwidge Danticat, Jonathan Demme, Bryant Freeman,
Barry Goldwater, Graham Green, Lillian Hellman, Mick Jagger, Aubelin Jolicoer,
Andy Kershaw, Tonton Libman, Ann Margaret, Charlie Najman, Selden Rodman,
William Styron, Maggie Steber, Ian Thomson, Jean Claude Van Damme,
Fred Ward, Amy Willents, Virgil Young.
The hotel was constructed in the late 19th century as a private home for the Sam family. The head of a
prestigious and influential family in Port-au-Prince, Tirésias Simon-Sam was president of Haiti from
1896 to 1902. The mansion was built by Tirésias's son, Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. The Sams lived in
the mansion until 1915, when Guillaume himself was selected from among a group of powerful
politicians to assume the post of president, the fifth president in five years. Guillaume would be president
for a scant five months, however, before being torn to pieces by an angry mob. United States President
Woodrow Wilson, concerned that the Haitian government might be seized by Rosalvo Bobo, who was
thought to be sympathetic to the Germans, ordered the United States Marine Corps to seize Port-au-Prince.
The occupation would eventually extend to the entire nation of Haiti. The Sam Mansion was used as a US
military hospital for the duration of the occupation.
In 1935, when the Occupation ended, the mansion was leased to Walter Gustav Oloffson, a Swedish sea
captain from Germany, who converted the property into a hotel with his wife Margot and two sons Olaf
and Egon. In the 1950s, Roger Coster, a French photographer, assumed the lease on the hotel and ran it
with his Haitian wife, Laura. The hotel came to be known as the "Greenwich Village of the Tropics",
attracting actors, writers, and artists. Some of the suites in the hotel were named after the artists and
writers who frequented the hotel, including GrahamGreene, James Jones, Charles Addams, and Sir John
A Connecticut native, Al Seitz, acquired the hotel lease in 1960. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the hotel
enjoyed a brief period of fame and good fortune. Celebrities such as Jackie Onassis and Mick Jagger were
regular guests, and like Coster before him, Seitz named favorite rooms at the hotel after the celebrity guests.
After Al Seitz died in 1982, his widow, the former Suzanne Laury, continued to operate it. As the grip of
Duvalierism closed over the country, however, the foreign tourist trade dried up. The hotel survived by
serving as the desired residence for foreign reporters and foreign aid workers who needed secure lodging
in the center of town.
In 1987, with the help of his half-brother Jean Max Sam, Richard A. Morse signed a 15 year lease to manage
the Hotel Oloffson, then in near ruins after the final years of Duvalierism. In restoring the hotel business,
Morse hired a local folkloric dance troupe and slowly converted it into a band. Richard Morse would become
the songwriter and lead male vocalist and the name of band, RAM, comes from his initials. Throughout the
political upheaval of Haitiin the 1990s, RAM's regular Thursday evening performance at the hotel became
one of the few regular social events in Port-au-Prince in which individuals of various political positions and
allegiances could congregate. Regular attendees of the performances included foreign guests at the hotel,
members of the military, paramilitary attachés and former ton ton macoutes, members of the press,
diplomats,foreign aid workers, artists, and businessmen. Attendees included both black Haitians and
members of thenation's less populous racial groups.