The ancient city of Byblos is a popular seaside holiday spot in Lebanon, meaning it’s home to a slew of excellent accommodation options. From cosy guesthouses to resorts brimming with amenities, here’s our pick – bookable on Culture Trip.
Perched on a sun-soaked corner of the Mediterranean Sea, Byblos plays a major role in the region’s history. Indeed, it’s one of the oldest continually inhabited towns in the world, once home to ancient Greeks and Romans. However, these days, visitors come to wander its Unesco-listed ruins (the remains of several successive civilisations) and relax on its quaint strip of beach. Then there are the first-rate hotels. Whether you want a historic haunt with original features, a wallet-friendly stay or a seaside resort that lets you stretch out by a pool, you’ll find it here.
With classic golden-hued rooms looking out to the surf, Byblos Sur Mer is so close to the Mediterranean Sea it feels like you could dip a toe into the water from your bedroom. Gaze out to its lick of white-sand beach, then dine on gourmet Lebanese classics at the on-site restaurant, Masa, with glass floors looking down to Byzantine ruins below. Save time to take in the various historical features on display, from pottery fragments to an Ottoman-era well.
It may be a five-minute walk from the epic ancient ruins of Byblos, but the Aleph Boutique Hotel channels a fresh modern vibe. Its slick rooms dressed in crisp whites, with the occasional pop of colour via a statement wall, come with minibars. The hotel also has laundry services and a rooftop restaurant dishing up grilled calamari and fresh salads. If you book a room with a jacuzzi tub, you can have a muscle-melting soak overlooking one of the oldest settlements in the world.
With its imposing columned exterior, the Monoberge Hotel channels some of the age-old grandeur of the Byblos ruins. Inside, things are more contemporary, with jacuzzis overlooking both the city and sea and splashes of colour coming from the curtains and rugs. A meeting room makes it a natural pick for business travellers, but the included breakfast buffet – a spread featuring local cheeses, meats and olives – will suit everyone from couples to families. A cosy bar area is a handy spot for a beer or an afternoon coffee.
If your primary motivation for coming to Byblos is the sun and sea, the Ocean Blue Resort is the pick for you. It offers beachy living in spades, thanks to cushy loungers perched right on the sand, and there’s a glassy, greenery-fringed infinity pool, too, and several outdoor restaurant spaces that put the surf front and centre. Families love it here, not least for the dedicated children’s playground with a ball pit and a basketball net.
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Courtesy of Eddésands Hotel and Wellness Resort / Expedia
Beachside chill-out sessions meet proper pampering at Eddésands, the perfect spot for couples looking for a feel-good romantic break in the Lebanese sunshine. Spend mornings in yoga classes in a shady outdoor pavilion, afternoons getting your muscle knots worked out at the éTropical Spa and evenings chowing down on vegetable-packed detoxifying meals designed by an in-house nutritionist. Private cabanas for hire and rosé-soaked dinners on the sand let you escape for moments à deux.
From the illuminated, stony check-in desk and statement lobby chandelier to the rooms dressed in warm woods and juicy pops of colour, the Maximus Hotel wouldn’t look out of place in a big city. Even the gym, decked out with the latest equipment, and the spa – complete with a sauna and a steam room – focus on contemporary comforts, despite the age-old locale. When evening falls, and you’ve finished dinner on the terrace, retire to the atmospheric Cigar Lounge for a nightcap.
Byblos isn’t only about its ruins and beach. The throwback souk is a must-visit for its cobbled streets bursting with clothing, trinkets and crafts, and the Byblos Guest House places you right by it. Homely but stylish decor – whitewashed walls and colourful pops of art and bedspreads – join with friendly staff to give you a more local, personal experience than you get at some larger hotels. Too tired to head out for dinner? There’s an on-site restaurant, too.
Some rooms, painted in soft blues, at the Byblos Palace Hotel reflect the Mediterranean Sea views that shimmer just right outside its windows. But when you need a refreshing dip, you don’t have to go down to the beach – the on-site pool is a dreamy place for cooling off. In the morning, after enjoying the complimentary breakfast, head off to explore the must-see ruins.
With their distinct beach-hut vibe, the rooms at CFlow Beach Resort celebrate seaside living with wood-panelled walls, turquoise hues and views out to the sea and palm trees. A sunny private terrace for taking your morning coffees and OJ is a bonus, as is the outdoor pool. Spend your days down at the beach working on your tan, while evenings are best spent sipping drinks and soaking up live music at the nearby Nomad Beach Club.