Lebanon Traveler

Legendary hotels

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



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


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


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


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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