Accommodation in Beirut caters to all tastes and budget options. For a long while, a good stay in the city meant choosing one of the many five-star seafront complexes or a hotel in Hamra. Following a recent and welcomed wave of boutique hotels opening their doors, we bring you a handpicked selection of places to stay in Beirut, featuring anything from old-school charm to rooftop pools and plenty of character.
This list gives a fair share of attention to Beirut’s boutique hotels, but if it’s luxury you’re yearning for and don’t want to sacrifice on any of the charm that a beautiful mansion has to offer, Albergo Hotel is the one. Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood and surrounded by Achrafieh’s Christian heritage, this architecturally stunning hotel is a sanctuary of quality service and classic 19th century interiors, topped off with a calm and green rooftop terrace, sending the city’s bustling rhythms to rest far in the distance.
Nestled in a shady side-street of the trendy Mar Mikhael district, not far from Beirut’ historic center, Villa Clara is an authentic Lebanese villa from the 20s which only until recently risked complete abandon. Today, it’s one of the richest boutique hotels in the city, boasting a distinctive and simple blue façade matched by exquisitely decorated interiors, Andrée Putman furniture and all the modern amnesties one could wish for. Housing only seven bedrooms bestows the place with an air of exclusivity, shared by the villa’s own eponymous French restaurant run by Chef Olivier Gougeon.
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Dar Al Achrafieh combines the architectural joys of a Beirut family home from the 1920s and the impressive aesthetic vision of its host, Jamal. During his time in Paris, Jamal discovered a passion for fabrics and textiles, and a quick glimpse into the house will be proof enough of it. Masterfully decorated with his own oriental draperies, Art Deco furnishings, painted ceilings and pastel coloured walls, this centrally located guest-house offers a warm base from which to explore Gemmayze Street, the Sursock Museum and St. Nicholas Catheral, all of which are in close vicinity.
Address: Charles Debbas Street, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon.
Lounge Area l Courtesy of Baffa House
Situated on a street at the edge of bohemian Mar Mikhael, Baffa House is a converted family home, owned to this day by the descendants of the Italian family who built it in the 1940s. Whitewashed walls, adorned with local art and some family photographs, have bestowed upon the place a palpable modern touch which takes nothing away from the place’s authenticity and original Art Deco charm, hard to come by in present day Beirut. With only four guest rooms, gentle hosts and a calm and comforting atmosphere, Baffa makes for a rare intimate stay.
Le Commodore, situated on Baalbek Street in Hamra, is an institution in the city’s hospitality sector as much as it is a historical one. With over 50 years of excellent service behind it, this was the hotel of choice for countless foreign journalists flocking to the city during the country’s long civil conflict. The presumably chaotic atmosphere it was once home to is no more, but its quality remains. Comfortable surroundings and an enviable location – at walking distance from major historical sites and the charming American University of Beirut campus – places Le Commodore a step ahead from others in the same price range.
BEYt is a wonderful guesthouse located on the first floor of a traditional Lebanese building on the popular Armenia Street. As the owners themselves put it, this is the kind of Beirut house locals wish they were raised in. Featuring high ceilings, pointed arcades, typical tilework and flooded with natural light, the place manages to retain a feel of arty old Beirut thanks to its classic vintage furnishings and designer antiques. A delightful back garden, complete with an adjacent café, is the cherry on the cake of this charming hotel.
Slick, minimalist design sets Saifi district’s O Monot apart. First opened in 1958, it remains a noteworthy example of Modernist architecture in the city, kept up to date with carefully designed interiors. Sharp, harmonious lines give this place a Zen-like quality, which has been thoughtfully coupled with high-tech amenities, making sure business travelers have all their needs catered for. Fine dining is never far away with the house’s own gourmet restaurant, and neither is a patch of tranquillity: awaiting those who wander up to the rooftop pool and bar are exceptional 360 views of the city.
Character, charm, design: Hayete, translating to something between ‘my life’ and ‘my darling’, is one for creative types, or anyone with the capacity to enjoy friendly, if not a bit small, surroundings. Its not hard to appreciate the unique combination of traditional 20th century Lebanese architecture and art nouveau design that make this place a gem of a boutique hotel in Achrafieh district. Opened in 2009, this Swiss-managed venue was one of the very first guesthouses in the city and it’s highly unlikely it will ever exhaust its charm.
Address: Furn El Hayek Street, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon. +96170239912
Saifi Urban Gardens may very well be the only truly remarkable budget option in the city. Self-described as an ‘urban cultural center’, this hostel offers gender-separated dorms and a handful of single and double private rooms all enveloped by Saifi’s beautiful gardens. A popular hangout spot for tourists, foreign students and locals alike thanks to the adjacent Café Em Nazih, itself a green oasis serving staples of Lebanese cuisine at great prices, this is the place to immerse yourself in Beirut’s youthful and creative spirit.
Self-dubbed the trendiest hotel in Beirut, 35 Rooms is ideally located in the heart of Beirut, just one block away from the city’s commercial centre of Hamra Street. Above all else, it’s a definite all-rounder at a decent budget, featuring a balanced mix of comfort and originality, professional service, and stylish surroundings. Ideal for quick business trips or a family vacation, it stands out with unique urban designs and vibrant colours distinguishing each room from its neighbor.