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.
Um, hello HotelPRGuy, I’m going to be in Dublin soon… 🙂
one of the amazing things about the travel Twitter world is how amazingly friendly and helpful so many people are — I am pleasantly shocked so often.
That looks gorgeous! I’m jealous! I don’t usually go to hostels, but my hotels are just the next step up a dorm, would love to stumble on such a lovely invitation 😛
I am the same way. I walked into this place and my first and most immediate thought was…. “I clearly am not dressed appropriately for this wonderful location.”
Hello! Wowzers-those are some sweet digs! Living the dream
I don’t even dream in images this nice 😉
Love it! I think we all could get used to some luxury every now and again!
You and me both!
Gorgeous – my kind of place! Looks like the nightlife might really get going poolside there (?)
I loved Beirut. Our own ‘thank you’ post to our hosts there will be up in a few days. By no means did we enjoy the same luxury as this but nonetheless it appears we both received hospitality typical of this part of the world. Did I mention I love Beirut?
it was such an interesting city, to be sure. Can’t wait to read your posts!
Oh yeah I am jealous… that looks nice & amazing. Lucky man for being able to enjoy all that thanks to a tweet.
Charles is such a nice guy. One of my favorite tweeps!
Well done, looks like you hit the big time 😀
Nah, just lucky, but it sure was wonderful to meet Maya and Ariane.
WOW – absolutely incredible! I’m gonna have to ad Lebanon and the Phoenicia Hotel to my bucket list.
Lebanon is well, well worth a visit (look for my posts coming up) and this hotel…. fabulous.
If I wasn’t desperate enough to go enough to go to Lebanon already, you’ve pretty much sold me on the place now. It looks incredible!
Benjamin, put Lebanon right up at the top of your list. Such a great place with some of the nicest people in the world.
That lounge is lush. I stayed at some dump near the Hard Rock. I think there were rats in my lobby…
I could have lived in the lounge. LOL.
(the hotel is nice too…)
my hosts were even more beautiful than the surrounding country… which is a high hurdle to overcome!
That hotel looked spectacular. I think we’re all going to be best friends with HotelPRGuy!
he is a great person to follow for many reasons — do it!
Wow! I’m always telling myself that budget is better for my style of travel but…um…wow!!
A little bit of luxury wouldn’t stink, would it?
.Wow you did a great job on those photos, it looks like a fantastic place to visit
whoops — I should have noted that. These are their photos. I’ll add an edit at the end.
Where was my invite? 😉
The pics look amazing.
This place is much more in your league than mine — you’d be right at home there!
Nice. It’s amazing all the things we come across from Twitter, other bloggers, and just good people, no? I’ve been amazed at all the ways I’ve met people.
Just curious: Did you actually stay there or just visit? You said 4-5 hrs , so I am guessing you did not sleep there?
Also just wondering: are those your photos or the PR/marketing photos? They look professionally set & lit.
It’s always nice to ‘clean up’ a bit and feel like more than just a ragged straggler now and again! It’s nice variety and cool to meet people on all levels!
I didn’t stay there, just visited over a couple days. And the photos are their shots — I need to edit that into the post. Whoops.
Seriously, is this place even real? Wow. I am stunned. Nice pictures!
I know — almost unbelievable, isn’t it?
Man, those are awesome digs! I really want to visit Lebanon and reading your posts on this is going to make me want to visit even more! Back in 2004, I met a girl from Lebanon in Paris and learned so much about the country and food there. Today is her birthday so Lebanon is definitely on my mind! Can’t wait to read and see more!
And the Lebanese women are so beautiful… but you know that already, if you hung out in Paris with one. Head on over and buy her dinner for her birthday!
Sweet digs. Ahh the days when you get to splurge and sleep at a hotel…and such a gorgeous one…looks beautiful. One day!
All about being (or tweeting) in the right place, at the right time! Looks awesome.
the amazing powers of Twitter!
Lebanon tops my wish list!
Breathtaking…well written. I can’t pick which one is the best because they all look amazing in those pictures.
thanks — it was really a wonderful place
Wow! What a spectacular hotel. The interior has similar features to the Burj Al Arab hotel. Are you familiar with it? It certainly seems the Lebanese know a thing or two about modern luxury-great photos!
score! those are some swanky digs! wow the twitter travel community is amazing. good for you michael- i’m sure it was such a treat after so much of the hostel scene. 🙂
I’m currently reading Dining With Al-Queda by Hugh Pope. Have you read it? He talks about being in Lebanon in 1983 and then returning in 2000. Lebanon has changed fortunes so often. I wonder if it will ever be able to return to the glamorous city it was in the early 20th century.
1. Everybody knows hotelprguy!
2. loved the comments about my country, makes me feel so proud.
3. loved the comments about the leb women, hmmm naturally 😛
4. loved your posts about lebanon in general.
5. that’s all for now.