Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Four Seasons Beirut

30 Sep 2010 by BusinessTraveller

What’s it like? Open since December last year, the Four Seasons Beirut is one of several new upmarket hotels in the Lebanese capital, another being the Campbell Gray property, Le Gray, (see next month’s issue of Business Traveller for a review). It is built on reclaimed land, the foundations for which came, at least in part, from the rubble left by buildings demolished as a result of the city’s wartime troubles. There is a lot of construction work going on in the area, including a Grand Hyatt property going up just behind the hotel (set to open in 2012), and an underground car park and a marina being built between the Four Seasons and the coastline. Visitors will note a big piece of land next to the marina, part of which will be a public park.

The Four Seasons is a curved white tower with 26 floors. Featuring interior décor by Four Seasons regular Pierre-Yves Rochon, it has an international theme, with Chinese, Indian and Western elements and a sleek gold, cream and black colour scheme.

Where is it? In the downtown area, overlooking the marina. The hotel is within walking distance of attractions including the Beirut Souks, Place de L’Etoile and the bustling corniche.

Room facilities Rooms start from 38 sqm and feature a furnished balcony, king-size bed, DVD player, iPod dock, armchair and ottoman, as well as a marble bathroom with a separate tub and shower. The décor is beige, with contemporary fittings. Just inside the door of my 51 sqm Four Seasons room (the category goes up to 69 sqm, with the Deluxe Four Seasons Sea View suites being the largest) was a striking wooden unit that served as the minibar. There was also a section with a sofa and coffee table, a 42-inch LG flatscreen TV, a large workdesk with two chairs, a spacious walk-in wardrobe and a safe. Bathroom amenities were by L’Occitane, and a robe and slippers were supplied. Wifi costs US$30 per day.

My bedroom was located on a corner with a large window overlooking the park construction site and coast. It’s not a particularly stunning vista at the moment but should be once the park is finished. A balcony afforded views of downtown, the Gemmayzeh and Achrafieh districts, and the mountains beyond.

Restaurants and bars The Grill Room, on the second floor, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and has an outdoor patio overlooking the harbour. Cuisine is Mediterranean seafood, and there is a private dining room that seats eight. Next door is a lounge, and then through a pair of plush red velvet curtains is a bar, open until 2am and offering Asian-style tapas and a collection of blended Scotches and Cuban cigars. Boulevard, in the lobby, serves continental breakfast, snacks and pastries, and there is a rooftop bar next to the swimming pool.

Business and meeting facilities There is more than 1,500 sqm of meeting space, the largest venue being the Grand ballroom, accessed either by a grand staircase or two dedicated lifts. Occupying the entire first floor, it has a large outdoor terrace and can accommodate up to 800 guests for a reception. Four more rooms are located on the third floor and hold ten to 70 delegates. Also on this level is a 24-hour business centre, with facilities including translation, photocopying and binding, and a meeting room for six people.

Leisure facilities One of the highlights of the hotel is the 26th-floor rooftop pool, from where you can enjoy great views of downtown and the corniche. According to the Four Seasons it’s the highest hotel pool in the region, at 119 metres above sea level, and it’s sheltered from the wind by glass walls on all sides. There are plenty of sun loungers, shades and seats, along with a bar, and attendants hand out free water, fruit skewers, sun lotion and newspapers.

The spa had just opened when I visited in early July and it is located on the mezzanine floor. It has seven treatment rooms, including one double with a huge bathtub, and offers a range of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, with products from Australian company Sodashi. On the same floor is a well-equipped gym overlooking the marina, with machines fitted with USB ports and screens. A simple jogging map can be obtained from reception and includes the distance to local landmarks – the Lighthouse is 3km away and Pigeon Rocks 5km. Visit business traveller.com/city-guides for more tips on things to see in the newly reconstructed downtown district.

Verdict An excellent upmarket addition to Beirut’s hotel scene. It features stunning rooftop views, comfortable rooms with large bathrooms, and extensive meeting facilities.

FACT FILE

How many rooms? There are 170 rooms across eight categories and 60 suites of four differing types.

Room highlights The large walk-in showers and separate bathtub, and the extremely comfy beds.

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in November started from US$385 for a Standard Courtyard View room.

Contact Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, 1,418 Professor Wafic Sinno Avenue; tel +961 1761 000; fourseasons.com

Mark Caswell

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