Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The guests of Hotel Oloffson

Hotel Oloffson. Image from

¨I am sitting on the verandah of the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince, sipping coffee and looking out over its tranquil gardens. So idyllic is the scene, you could easily imagine that nothing much has changed here for a century – or at least not since the 1960s, when this white-painted landmark was known as "the Greenwich Village of the tropics" and hosted the likes of Truman Capote, Mick Jagger and Graham Greene. The Oloffson even inspired the hotel that appears in Greene's 1966 novel The Comedians. "With its towers and balconies and wooden fretwork decorations it had the air at night of a Charles Addams house," wrote Greene, referring to the cartoonist who gave rise to the Addams Family, "but in the sunlight or when the lights went on among the palms, it seemed fragile and period and pretty and absurd, an illustration from a book of fairy-tales."

Steve Rose. For

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