Before I headed to the Middle East, I tweeted that I was going during a few of the travel talk conversations I have there during the week. In typical Twitter-blogger fashion, someone replied immediately with an unsolicited offer of assistance.
I’ve never met Charles Yap, otherwise known as @HotelPRGuy, but it is safe to say that he is now one of my favorite ‘tweeps. He offered to introduce me to some of his friends at the Phoenicia Hotel, so they could give me some advice on what to do and see in Lebanon.
Typically, I didn’t do any research into the Phoenicia Hotel before flying over, but when I walked by it on my first day in Beruit, I realized that Charles’ friends worked at the nicest hotel in town — a far cry from places I am used to hanging out these days, in my current backpacking/hostel life.
My hosts were as beautiful and as distinguished as the hotel where they worked. They dedicated four or five hours of their busy schedule over two days to educate me on all things Lebanon (stay tuned for those posts — Lebanon is such an interesting, little country), they toured me around the fabulous and expansive property, fed me one of the best meals I have eaten in years, and then pleasant surprise on top of pleasant surprise, set me up with Indian Ayurvedic massage treatment at the hotel’s spa.
I could get used to living like this.
The Phoenicia has as unique a history as the city that it is located in. It opened in 1961 as a five-star luxury property and counted Kings and Queens, celebrities, powerful businessmen and various world leaders among its clientele, until it was forced to shut down during the lengthy civil war that lasted from 1975-1990.
It reopened its doors in 2000 as an InterContinental property and through various additions and renovations now has hundreds of luxury rooms and long-stay apartments, multiple restaurants, shops and night clubs and largest convention center in the country. It is truly a five-star property.
EDIT: the photos on this post were provided by the Phoenicia Hotel. I wish my skills were that advanced, but alas not.