Walking up to the hotel, past the vodou sculptures in the garden, I remembered another visit, another lifetime, decades ago. Wandering around the hotel, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what, if anything, had changed since then. Time comes to a standstill at the iconic Oloffson.
Graham Greene wrote 'The Comedians' here in the sixties, immortalizing the hotel under the fictional name 'The Trianon'. Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis and Mike Jagger were regular guests in the seventies and early eighties. The 19th century Gothic gingerbread mansion has stood strong through Haiti's turbulent history, housing travelers, artists, writers, diplomats, UN representatives and many others. The old lady is beginning to show her age, and although she only 'danced' in the massive earthquake that shook Haiti to the core in 2010, she's in desperate need of restoration.
The Hotel Oloffson, not far from the Hotel Marriott Port-au-Prince, is a must visit for anyone who wants to get close to Haiti. A rum sour on the terrace provides the perfect reprieve from Port-au-Prince, and most Thursday nights, there's the hotel manager's kick-ass band RAM playing totally infectuous 'vodou rock', an evening not to be missed!
A big thank you to JetBlue (http://www.jetblue.com) for flights to and from Haiti, and of course the Marriott Port-au-Prince (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/papmc-marriott-port-au-prince-hotel/) for accommodations.