Beirut is currently undergoing huge growth in construction, with a vast number of residential, office and hotel projects either in progress or in the pipeline. Here Business Traveller looks at the new hotel offerings in the Lebanese capital, along with some of the more established names.
For a guide to Beirut’s downtown district, see the Four Hour Guide supplement in the September issue of Business Traveller.
1) Four Seasons Hotel Beirut
The 26-floor Four Seasons Beirut opened in December last year (see online news October 23, 2009), and is located on reclaimed land overlooking the Mediterranean and the city’s recently-renovated marina.
The property has a superb rooftop swimming pool and bar, with stunning views of the downtown area and city’s coastline, and the Grill Room restaurant on the second floor has an outdoor terrace overlooking the marina.
Rooms start from 38sqm and have international feel, with touches of Indian and Chinese influences. The hotel has recently opened its spa facilities, and also offers over 1,500sqm of meeting space, including the 750sqm Grand Ballroom.
Business Traveller will be publishing a full review of this hotel in the October print edition.
2) Le Gray
The fourth property within the Campbell Gray Hotels collection, Le Gray joins Duke’s and One Aldwych in London, and Carlisle Bay in Antigua. Like the Four Seasons, Le Gray opened late last year, and it’s a superb addition to the Beirut hotel scene. The boutique property is located within the reconstructed downtown area of the city, and features 12 rooms starting at 40sqm, and a further 75 suites ranging from 60-220sqm.
Décor is contemporary and design-led, with over 500 works of art throughout the hotel, including an ultra-modern lobby area with an electronic flower wall display which lights up at night. Facilities include a rooftop infinity pool, and the circular Bar Three Sixty, with panoramic views of the city from its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Business Traveller will be publishing a full review of this hotel in the near future.
3) Raouché Arjaan by Rotana
The third property by this Middle Eastern hotel group in Beirut, Raouché Arjaan by Rotana joins the Gefinor Rotana Beirut close to the city’s American University of Beirut, and Hazmieh Rotana Beirut in the southeast of the city.
The hotel features 176 studios and suites with fully-equipped kitchenettes, a rooftop swimming pool, fitness centre, male and female saunas, two meeting rooms, all day dining Murjan Restaurant and Terrace, and Bella Vita Cafe in the lobby area.
The hotel opened in October last year (see online news October 21, 2009), and gets its name from the western coastal district of Beirut, popular for leisure visitors due to its proximity to Pigeon Rocks and the city’s corniche.
For a full review of the Raouché Arjaan by Rotana property, click here.
4) Ramada Downtown Beirut
Located in the reconstructed downtown area close to the Beirut Souks shopping complex, this new-build Ramada property opened in September 2008, and features 99 rooms and suites, all with balconies.
Facilities include a signature first floor restaurant and meeting space accommodating up to 70 guests. The Ramada Worldwide brand forms part of the Wyndham Hotels Group, meaning guests can earn points within the Wyndham Rewards loyalty scheme.
Part of the Relais & Chateaux collection, the boutique Hotel Albergo is located in the Achrafieh district of Beirut, a popular area for restaurants and bars, particularly on nearby Rue Monot.
The 33-suite hotel is housed with a heritage 1930s mansion, and offers individually designed rooms and suites, some with private terraces, and design features including Ottoman copper and crystal chandeliers, oriental rugs, treasure chests, stained glass windows and Damascus wooden furniture.
Facilities include a rooftop swimming pool and terrace with restaurant and bar, and Al Dente restaurant for Italian cuisine, with a private dining room accommodating up to 40 guests.
6) Movenpick Hotel and Resort Beirut
Billing itself as Beirut’s “only city centre hotel with resort facilities”, this established Movenpick property overlooks the Mediterranean sea close to Pigeon Rocks, and features 292 rooms, including 77 Club rooms and 30 suites.
The hotel has extensive leisure facilities, including two outdoor swimming pools (one Olympic-sized) and a 20-metre indoor pool, a 2,000sqm spa and health club, and water sports including scuba diving, jet skiing, sailing and fishing trips.
The resort also features seven meeting rooms including the 437sqm Mistral Ballroom, as well as Mediterranean and Lebanese restaurants, and Hemmingway’s Bar and Cigar Lounge.
7) Intercontinental Phoenicia
The grand dame of Beirut’s hotel scene, the five-star Intercontinental Phoenicia is located at the start of the city’s corniche, on the edge of the downtown district. The property was originally opened in 1961, but was badly damaged during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s, and remained closed for nearly 25 years.
Unlike the adjacent Holiday Inn property (which remains abandoned and is a stark reminder of the city’s troubles), the Intercontinental was eventually restored and reopened in 2000. The hotel features 446 rooms and suites, four restaurants featuring French, Lebanese and Asian cusine, a 24-hour fitness centre, swimming pool, and seven meeting rooms including the Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 2,000 guests for a reception.
Intercontinental also manages a second boutique property a few minutes’ walk from the Phoenicia. The Intercontinenal Le Vendome Beirut has 73 rooms, and guests at this property have complimentary access to the leisure facilities at the Phoenicia.
8) Habtoor Grand Hotel and Convention Centre and Spa
Worth mentioning for its extensive conference facilities, this 195-room property is located a few minutes’ drive from the city’s airport. According to the hotel the Emirates Hall is the largest multi-purpose hall in the Middle East, capable of accommodating up to 3,500 delegates, and divisible into four separate rooms holding up to 800 guests.
Other facilities include a 3,300sqm spa over three floors, a French restaurant and bar on the 31st floor, and a 20th floor Grand Club lounge.
9) Grand Hyatt Beirut
Currently under construction in the downtown area close to the Four Seasons property, the Grand Hyatt Beirut is due to open in late 2012, and will feature 351 rooms including 50 suites.
There will be two entrances to the hotel, with one serving a dedicated ground floor banquet hall, and leisure facilities will include a second-floor outdoor swimming pool. Interior design is being carried out by Pierre Yves Rochon, also responsible for the Four Seasons.
10) Hilton Beirut
The original 1970s Hilton Beirut never actually saw the light of day, as it was due to open just a day before the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. The building was badly damaged, and ended up being demolished.
This forthcoming new-build property is located within the downtown district, and according to Hilton will offer around 160 rooms. Although construction is complete on the project, Hilton remains tight-lipped on when the hotel will open, but according to constructors Butec the property will feature a rooftop restaurant, swimming pool and solarium, a French brasserie overlooking the rear garden, and a business centre, conference hall, bar and ballroom on the basement level.