Hotel Review: Four Seasons – Beirut

I began the day in a bit of a tizzy.  First a hectic, fast paced Arabic class that left my brain spinning, then emails to return, and following up on leads for a room to rent in Beirut that i need to secure by the end of the month.  By the time I stepped into the cool lobby of the Four Seasons – Beirut, I felt like an unorganized mess.  But the welcome I received at the revolving door, the soothing colors of cream, tan, gold and black, and the fresh flowers in tall planters and in small table settings quickly began to put me at ease. Whatever craziness the morning had brought could wait at the curb – there was no place for it inside.

Overall I had a wonderful stay at the Four Seasons – Beirut and would gladly recommend it to any readers who are planning a trip to this amazing city. After a lovely night’s stay where I got a chance to check out the property’s spa and restaurants, I give the hotel 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Big wins for the hotel included the extremely comfortable beds, attentive staff, the full service spa and the great atmosphere at the roof top bar.  Today I’ll write about the overall hotel and my room on the 11th floor and in a separate post I’ll focus on the food and spa services I enjoyed at the hotel.

From outside the Four Season’s property looks like a shiny, modern high-rise building, but once inside, the feeling is more of warmth and comfort mixed with a bit of formal luxury.  Still nothing stuffy or judgmental; just welcoming and relaxing. There are two critical traits that I look for in any hotel I visit: friendly staff and clean facilities. If a hotel has those two things, I’m satisfied. Its not a lot to ask, but you’d be amazed at how many hotels seem to forget they are in the hospitality business and make you feel anything but welcome.  Right off the bat, I could tell that the “friendly staff” requirement would be met. Everyone I came in contact with was kind, helpful and friendly, from the person who opened the main door, to the room attendants I passed in the hall. So far so good.

First impressions at the Four Seasons Hotel

I could have stayed in the lobby and enjoyed a coffee or a cocktail at the Boulevard Lounge, but instead I decided to hurry upstairs to check out my room. A hotel stay is always a special treat for me. Even if its just an average hotel in an average city, I enjoy being able to take a little break from the norm. But when I get to indulge in a top rated hotel in a brilliant city like Beirut – well, I’m about as close to giddy as I’ll ever be.

Delux King Room at the Four Seasons – Beirut

My room was a deluxe king room on the 11th floor with a sea view.  The room decor was consistent with the other parts of the hotel. The same colors that I saw in the lobby (creams, golds, blacks, tans and whites) carried over into the guest rooms.  First check: was the room cleaned properly? I’ll have to say yes. Now I don’t go in there with a white glove or a blue light, but you can just feel when there has or has not been a proper room cleaning between guests. Luckily there was no problem here – everything seemed clean, in order and up to my slightly neurotic standards.  I was a little surprised to see some level of wear and tear in the room (frayed curtains and lamp shade and the carpet seemed a little worn) but nothing that was so serious that it detracted from my stay.  The crisp white sheets on the bed were calling me for a little nap, but I did my best to resist…there was more of the room and the hotel to check out.

As there are a number of business travelers who use this hotel, the room had all the basic technology needs covered. Plenty of plugs for your appliances including one by the bed so you can work (or in my case attempt to work) from the most comfortable spot in the room.  There is wifi access in the room (free for basic service and about $20USD for higher bandwidth needed to stream movies or upload larger files) and an ipod docking station so you can play your tunes as you get ready for bed. I also noticed a DVD player in the room, and of course a large plasma television with a wide range of channels.

Fluffy robes await in the closet

While the room size seemed fairly standard for a upmarket hotel, it was the spacious balcony and bathroom that really blew me away.  Both could have rivaled the size of a New York studio apartment.  The balcony had two chairs and a small table where you could relax and have a morning cup of coffee from room service while wearing the plush robe I found hanging in the closet.

Loved the Spacious Balcony

As for the view, my advice is to look out, not down.  If you look out towards the horizon, you’ll have a lovely view of the Mediterranean Sea with the hills north of the city center in the background. If you look down…well, you see a construction site.  Not exactly picturesque, but fairly typical here in Beirut. Plus, the good news is that they are building a green space and not another high rise building to block the view.

As for the view – gaze out (sea)…not down (construction).

The bathroom was also a great size and well stocked. Plenty of soft, spotless white towels, amenities from L’Occitane and great lighting.  The shower was so large that I’ll go ahead and call it a shower room and the water pressure was fantastic (a huge bonus when you have hair as thick as I do).  While there was no bathtub, this was not a problem for me. I can’t remember the last time I got into a hotel tub.

Large shower with perfect water pressure

Often its the details that make a good room even better. At the Four Seasons, it was the little things like a small flashlight in the bedside table, a filled ice bucket every evening in case you want a beverage from the minibar, a full sized hairdryer in the bathroom and nicely scented bath products. Also, while not small, the well-placed full length hall mirror was fantastic. It made the last minute outfit check quick and easy.

Its the little things that make me smile

But the ultimate question for any hotel room is how did you sleep?  All the extras are wasted if your tossing and turning all night or if you wake up sore from a bad mattress.  When it comes to this aspect, the Four Seasons was a 10!  I am normally a very light sleeper, but once I slid between the sheets, it was all over. I didn’t even have the chance to turn off the television before I completely conked out.  For one the bed was incredibly comfortable and second the room was so well insulated that I didn’t hear a thing either from the street or from other guests on the floor.  I woke up feeling so well rested that I decided to get up for a work out in the hotel gym (more on the gym and other hotel services in a follow up post).

While the hotel caters to both business and leisure guests, I’d say the overall impression of the hotel was slightly more business than leisure.  There are plenty of amenities for those who are not at the hotel to wheel and deal (roof top pool and bar, casual dining options, full service spa and the upscale restaurants and shops of Zeitunay Bay just across the street), but still the overall atmosphere was a bit more business minded than leisurely fun.

I tried to be picky during my stay but I can honestly say that the Four Seasons – Beirut has a top notch property that deserves all the high ratings it receives from both guests and industry experts.  Check back shortly on the blog for my experiences at the hotel’s restaurants and spa.  And please feel free to leave a comment below. What things are important to you for a great hotel stay?  Anything else you’d like to know about the Four Seasons – Beirut?

Disclaimer: My stay and services at the Four Seasons – Beirut were paid for by the property, but all opinions expressed here are my own. 

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