Cherry-picking the best from the vast pool of luxury hotels in Beirut was never going to be an easy task. The city may no longer be the cosmopolitan playground for the rich that it was in the ’50s, but its impressive range of plush accommodation speaks to its enduring appeal for the international jet set. All tastes are catered for: whether you’re after a rooftop pool or a vast seaside spa complex, cutting-edge art or old-school boutique charm, Beirut will oblige. Sleep well.
Couched in the comforts of boutique plushness and nestled in the heart of Achrafieh, the Albergo is the place to go if you want your luxury with a strong dose of character. Parakeets squawk at you as you pass through the foliage to the foyer, where you’re greeted with top-rate service. With its velvet-lined couches and walls studded with curious ephemera, the decor is as sumptuous as a 19th-century academic’s study. Jump into the tiny Art Deco lift and take yourself to the rooftop terrace where calm reigns and lush leaves sway, oblivious to the rhythms of the city. Meticulously decorated suites each have their own distinct character, making sure Albergo gets boutique down to a tee.
Iconic, striking and decidedly modern, the 26-floor Four Seasons Hotel exerts a powerful presence over the Beirut skyline. Elegant decor (courtesy of Pierre-Yves Rochon) illuminates terraced rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, which ensure that the guests aren't deprived of the view. Secure in its own sophistication, the hotel features a (self-described) 'see-and-be-seen' rooftop lounge, complete with a pool, a luxurious spa and a wealth of refreshment options, from The Grill Room’s steaks to The Boulevard’s cocktails and coffee. This landmark hotel is at the vanguard of Beirut’s renaissance and an unmissable site on the city's luxury circuit.
Cross the threshold of the Phoenicia and walk into the world of ‘60s Lebanese luxe, when luxury ruled and the country was starting to be described as the Switzerland of the Middle East. Fast forward a few decades, and while Lebanon may not have delivered on its promise of opulence, the InterContinental Phoenicia still reigns supreme. Chandeliers shimmer, fountains pour, marble gleams and staff attend to your every need at Beirut’s 'Grande Dame', situated in one the city’s most desirable areas looking right over Zaitunay Bay. With rooms fit for the jet set and an internationally recognised art collection, you’re sure to be amazed at Phoenicia’s majesty.
Like the Phoenicia, the other InterContinental hotel in the city, Le Vendôme offers luxury in a spectacular location on the coast. More intimate than its big sister, Le Vendôme nevertheless exudes a grand Gallic charm, with its stylish interior inspired by French châteaux. Rooms are classically plush and comfortable, while the hotel’s two restaurants boast world-class dining in distinctly different settings, from the sumptuous seaside views of Sydney’s to the chic informality of La Petite Maison. Service is predictably impeccable, as the hotel staff strive to cater to your every whim.
Soaring over the curves of the Mediterranean shore in Raouché, the Lancaster Plaza stands in a world of its own. The hotel offers the comfort and stylish interiors that you'd expect from luxury accommodation, but it's the small touches that set it apart: the fresh flowers perfuming the foyer, and the exceptional welcome you get from the staff upon arrival. A range of restaurants, offering everything from Lebanese to steak, cater to all your gastronomic needs in comfortable settings. Be sure to catch sundown from the rooftop pool and bar on the 21st floor, which affords a picture-perfect panoramic view of the coastline.
Situated slap-bang in the most happening part of Downtown, right by Samir Kassir Square, Le Gray is the hotel of choice for those after contemporary cool and minimalist chic. Rooms are spruced up with the latest technology and a strikingly modern design, supplemented by cutting-edge art from the Ayyam Gallery. The suites are only a part of it: Le Gray also graces its guests with impeccable service and a sensual spa, not to mention panoramic views of the Mediterranean, the city and Mount Lebanon from its numerous outdoor gardens. Make sure to check out its terrace lounges, including local favourite Cherry on the Rooftop and the appropriately named Bar Three Sixty.
Squirreled away down the winding streets of Downtown and the Beirut Souks area, Le Patio is a rather intimate hotel that revels in its own boutique status and prides itself on its top-drawer service. With its Uruguay Street address, it’s ideally situated for all the hedonistic fun that Downtown has to offer; if you're looking to unwind after a night on the town, the hotel obliges with a rooftop terrace and pool that afford great views of the city. For those wanting to make the most of what revamped Beirut has to offer, it’s a sure bet.
Searching for five-star luxury but don’t want to miss out on the sparkling seas of the Mediterranean? Look no further than the Mövenpick Hotel, a luxurious resort in Beirut’s Raouche area, featuring four indoor and outdoor pools, five restaurants and an expansive spa. It’s a world away from the bustle of city life – a haven of beach glamour. Rooms are modern, and come with views of the sea, city or courtyard. Don’t forget to feast on a traditional meal of Lebanese mezze in the Burj Al Hamam restaurant, then wind down in the ultra-chilled Hemingway’s Bar and Cigar Lounge.
Beirut’s not a city that lends itself easily to calm, but that’s exactly what the Zen-like O Monot, in the city's Saifi district, has to offer. Contemporary in character but designed with soul, the hotel is a sanctuary of serenity and style on the distinctly French Monot Street. Rooms are equipped with the latest technology, and the gourmet restaurant offers exceptional dining and stunning views of the city. But the vistas don’t end there: O Monot would be harder to recommend without its rooftop pool and bar, a tranquil eyrie from which you can absorb the sights and sounds of the city.
Secreted away on a quiet side-street in Mar Mikhael, Villa Clara is the definition of refined, intimate luxury. Romanticism is the order of the day in this boutique hotel of just seven rooms, sculpted with Oriental flourishes and dutifully furnished with the likes of Andrée Putman furniture. Contemporary art and antique classics (think ’50s Murano chandeliers meet local Lebanese graffiti) decorate the rooms of this distinctively blue 1920s villa. It’s a renaissance: Villa Clara brings back the Belle Époque to a city welcoming it with open arms. The eponymous restaurant is worth a visit in its own right, featuring high-end French fare prepared by joint owner Olivier Gougeon.