Leg­endary ho­tels

Le­banon’s his­tor­i­cal ho­tels have some amaz­ing sto­ries to tell, as travel blog­ger Krys­tel Ri­achi re­veals.

Lebanon Traveler - - ICONIC PLACES -

PHOENI­CIA BEIRUT

As in­vin­ci­ble as Beirut it­self stands the Phoeni­cia Beirut ho­tel, with its proud façade that has been glit­ter­ing for more than 55 years. One of the first ho­tels to de­fine lux­ury hos­pi­tal­ity in Le­banon, the Phoeni­cia was ini­tially de­signed by renowned Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect Ed­ward Durell Stone to be­come a hotspot for the in­ter­na­tional jet set. Ren­o­vated af­ter the Le­banese Civil War by in­ter­na­tional de­sign­ers Martin Hul­bert of Fox Lin­ton, Inge Moore and Sum­mer Wil­liams, the ho­tel’s fa­cil­i­ties were re-launched in 2000, with a so­phis­ti­cated taste wrapped in moder­nity.

With its 446 rooms and suites, a va­ri­ety of re­fined restau­rants, ban­quet halls, fancy shops, and out­stand­ing pre­mium ser­vice, the Phoeni­cia Beirut re­mains an iconic em­blem of Le­banon, and a world­wide ref­er­ence of ex­em­plary hos­pi­tal­ity.

Beirut, 01 369110, phoeni­cia­beirut.com

MIR AMIN PALACE

It takes only a 30-minute drive from Beirut to travel back to the 19th cen­tury as you reach Shouf, one of Le­banon’s best-pre­served and pret­ti­est re­gions. Here, you can’t miss Beiteddine’s im­pres­sive Mir Amin Palace Ho­tel. Orig­i­nally the res­i­dence of the last Emirs of the 19th cen­tury, more specif­i­cally the youngest son of Emir Bashir II Che­hab, the palace was turned into a lux­ury ho­tel that to­day hosts 22 beau­ti­fully re­stored and el­e­gantly dec­o­rated rooms and suites.

The Mir Amin Palace is no or­di­nary ho­tel. Whether you de­cide to sleep in the Haram­lek royal suite, the Salam­lek im­pe­rial suite, the ju­nior suite, or any other room, you will feel like an Emir, even if it’s just for a night. The ren­o­va­tions have pre­served the her­itage val­ues of the palace. The royal fur­ni­ture and im­pe­rial an­tique style, not to men­tion the ma­jes­tic set­ting of the palace it­self amid beau­ti­ful court­yards and flow­ing foun­tains, will make your stay sim­ply his­toric

Beiteddine, 05 501315/03 900924, mi­ram­in­palace.com

PALMYRA HO­TEL

With a stun­ning view over the an­cient Ro­man He­liopo­lis ru­ins, stands the Palmyra Ho­tel in all its majesty. Built in 1874, the ho­tel is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Baal­beck’s golden era. Deeply rooted in a cul­tur­ally-im­bibed city, Palmyra has al­ways been syn­ony­mous with Baal­beck it­self, the his­tor­i­cally doc­u­mented City of the Sun and the des­ti­na­tion of tourists from around the world. Hav­ing hosted roy­alty and fa­mous in­ter­na­tional icons such as Jean Cocteau, as well as Le­banese artists like Fairouz and Sabah over the decades, Palmyra is a true in­vi­ta­tion to a cul­tural es­cape in Le­banon’s breath­tak­ing Bekaa Val­ley.

Wak­ing up to the beau­ti­ful sight of Baal­beck ru­ins from one of the ho­tel’s 30 tra­di­tion­ally-pre­served rooms is not ev­ery­thing Palmyra has to of­fer. With an out­door gar­den, a sunny rooftop, a vin­tage bar, and an all-day restau­rant, not to men­tion a price­less col­lec­tion of art pieces and the ho­tel’s wall of fame, a day at Palmyra re­vives the glory of the past in a set­ting that faith­fully de­picts the charm and authen­tic­ity of a place and an era cel­e­brated by so many.

Baal­beck, 08 370230/08 370011

AL BUSTAN

Founded on the vi­sion of en­tre­pre­neur Emile Bus­tani to build a land­mark of hos­pi­tal­ity in the moun­tains of Le­banon, Al Bustan ho­tel opened its doors in 1967, four years af­ter Emile died. Achiev­ing her hus­band’s dream, Laura com­pleted the project, nam­ing the ho­tel Al Bustan in ref­er­ence to her hus­band’s fam­ily name and the word “gar­den” in Ara­bic.

Perched on a hill over­look­ing the Mediter­ranean Sea, Al Bustan, ren­o­vated af­ter the Civil War and run to date by three gen­er­a­tions of the Bus­tani fam­ily, of­fers a lux­u­ri­ous and in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence im­bued by fam­ily tra­di­tion and her­itage.

The ho­tel of­fers 117 thought­fully fur­nished rooms and suites, an art space and lush gar­dens. The L’espace Ham­mam and Spa is one of the new­est fea­tures at the prop­erty, where guests can en­joy out­stand­ing health and beauty treat­ments in a beau­ti­fully de­signed space.

Al Bustan also hosts an an­nual fes­ti­val of mu­sic and per­form­ing arts. Es­tab­lished in 1994, the Al Bustan Fes­ti­val re­mains one of the coun­try’s most ea­gerly awaited cul­tural events.

Beit Mery, 04 870400, hote­lal­bus­tan.com note­so­fa­trav­eler.com

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