A tour of Downtown Allentown’s renovated gem: The Americus Hotel

Written by on August 11, 2021

A tour of Downtown Allentown’s renovated gem: The Americus Hotel

By Genesis Ortega

August 11, 2021

The lobby of the Americus Hotel in Allentown. Photo | Genesis Ortega / WLVR

The Americus Hotel in Allentown reopened at the end of July. The owner took WLVR on a tour of the 94-year-old building, which has been waiting years to tell stories of its past.

Listen to the story.

It’s a blockish 13-story building at North Sixth and Hamilton streets, with the top floor set back. The ground floor has storefronts and the second is crowned with arched Moorish-style windows. 

Owner Albert Abdouche stands in the vast lobby, which includes a restaurant and a bar. On the wall behind the guest check-in, there’s a timeline of the hotel’s history.

WLVR’s Genesis Ortega interviewing Americus Hotel owner Albert Abdouche. Photo | Genesis Ortega / WLVR

“This is the history of the hotel, how it’s built, what’s the process, what happened to the hotel,” he said. Abdouche’s portrait is on the far right side of the timeline with the date 2009. To which he says, “Well you know, I’m part of the history.”

Abdouche, who immigrated from Syria 40 years ago, decided to purchase the vacant and deteriorating property in 2009.

The Americus is on the National Register of Historic Places. And Abdouche says that means that “everything you see here is original.”

That includes two giant chandeliers in the ballroom past the lobby.

The outside front door of the Americus Hotel in Allentown. Photo | Genesis Ortega / WLVR

“Not too many hotels in Pennsylvania have green crystals,” he said. On closer inspection, there’s a green hue to them.

“A lot of crystal chandeliers today have white crystals. Green crystals are very expensive. This is the original,” Abdouche said. 

A walk up the sweeping staircase and into the mezzanine provides an overlook view of the lobby and bar area. 

Into the elevator, Abdouche shows us to the guest room floors. The fifth floor holds a special surprise. 

“I’m going to show you this room where President Nixon stayed,” he said. He knocks on the door. “Anybody home?” he asked before opening the room.

Americus Hotel owner Albert Abdouche showing WLVR reporter Genesis Ortega around the hotel. Photo | Genesis Ortega / WLVR

The room maintains the same layout as when Richard Nixon visited Allentown during his presidential campaign in 1960. “I haven’t changed a thing,” Abdouche said. 

As the tour comes to its end, Abdouche has a hopeful gaze and says he’s proud of what he’s accomplished in reopening the 80-room hotel. 

He says that after 11 years of renovations, he finally has a modern hotel with a style that recalls the 1920s.

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