Hotel Tivoli
Ancon, Panama Canal Zone

From The Panama Guide by John O. Collins, ICC Press, Quartermaster Division, Mt. Hope, C.Z., 1912 - courtesy of

''The Hotel Tivoli was built for the threefold purpose of furnishing quarters to employees who had arrived on the Isthmus and had no quarters assigned to them, for the use of persons whose business with the canal administration forced them to come to the isthmus, and the recreation of employees, whose chief dissipation is a trip to the city about once a fortnight.  To further this latter end, a dance hall containing 3,200 square feet of space was constructed, and an organization of employees known as the Tivoli Club is given the privilege of holding a dance here the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. The building was begun in August, 1905, and opened to the public on January 1, 1907, although a part of it was used in November, 1906, for the entertainment of President Roosevelt, on the occasion of his visit to the Isthmus.

It is situated on a knoll named after the Tivoli Hill of Rome, and overlooks the city of Panama and part of the bay.  It is built in three sides of a rectangle, the main part being the base, and the two wings the sides.  The open court in front is occupied by a carriage-way and flower-bed.  In 1912 an addition was made, which increased the sleeping accommodations from 180 guest-rooms to 220, and the dining-room accommodations from 400 to 700 persons.  The building is 314 feet long, wings 156 feet deep, and courtyard in front 193 feet across and 91 feet deep.  This hotel has lately become more for transients than for people resident on the isthmus, because the tourist trade has increased so rapidly in the past two years.  yet it is still the place where bachelors from the canal villages come to get a different kind of meal from that served in the messes, where concerts are given by the official band once each month to balconies crowded with canal workers, and where the best dances on the Isthmus are held.''

Completed in 1906 and located on the Pacific side of the Isthmus near Balboa and Panama City, the Tivoli had many famous guests during its existence.  Originally built for canal employees, it later catered to anybody who enjoyed gracious hotel living.  Even as recently as the 1960's, it was almost the same as it was back during the beginning of the century, except for some modernization and addition of a few "modern day" facilities.  It still had the ambiance and appearance  of an old colonial hotel, complete with a long veranda on which one could find rocking chairs, and was well-maintained over its many years.  If you wanted slick and ultra-modern, it was wise to go somewhere else - this grand old hotel was from a different era.  Many parties and dances were hosted there over its lifetime and their delicious buffets (my mouth is watering just thinking about them) were well-known for their food.  I stayed and enjoyed myself at the Tivoli many times and found that it wasn't hard to imagine how it must have been so long, long ago.  Due to termites, old age, and many other problems, the old hotel's life was terminated around 1975, much to our sadness.

Although she is no longer standing, for most of us who spent time in the Canal Zone she will always occupy a special place in our heart.  She served us well over her lifetime and contributed to many memories that will be stay us for ever.....

Hotel Tivoli - 1912, Ancon
Hotel Tivoli - 1908, Ancon

Hotel Tivoli - Aerial View - Probably 1960's

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