Hotel Review: Mir Amin Palace

Posted in Hotels| Lebanon| Luxury| Reviews
From the moment I walked into the reception area of the Mir Amin Palace, I felt my pace slow down. Instead of walking around the gardens, pool deck and restaurant, I strolled.  I did actually stop and smell the roses…and the fresh herbs grown in the hotel’s gardens. At the Mir Amin Palace, you just want to take your time and savor the beautiful surroundings.  

Housed in a 200 year old palace that Prince Bashir II created for his favorite son, the Mir Amin Palace is a hotel that not only takes you out of the hustle of the big city, but also takes you back in time.  The thick stone walls, the signature kiosks jutting out from the upper floors of the palace and the traditional musicians who stroll around the palace terrace are all from another time.

The Mir Amin Palace’s signature Kiosk

While the hotel grounds are idyllic and the staff were all quite welcoming, I did find the rooms to be a bit outdated and missing some important features.  Overall I gave the hotel 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Mir Amin Palace is opened year round and is well equipped to serve business as well as leisure travel.  A one of a kind pool with a tiled oriental rug at the bottom beckons leisure guests for a swim, while meeting rooms and catered lunches will appeal to business travelers.  The hotel is located just a few minutes drive from the Beiteddine Palace grounds, so you can spend hours wandering around this famous historic site, then spend the night in very similar surrounding.

Traditional musicians perform throughout the day and often get whole tables singing along to popular Arabic songs

There are only 24 rooms at the Mir Amin palace which helps the hotel maintain an intimate setting.  The small courtyards with fountains and cushioned seating areas are perfect places to relax or catch up with friends. While the weather was quite hot on the June day that I visited, I could easily find covered alcoves for a bit of shade and the restaurant on the patio was cooled by large fans and umbrellas.  

A look towards the inner courtyards

I could have spent hours lounging in this rose colored alcove

While I didn’t have a chance to view any of the Palace’s suites as they were all occupied, I did stay in a very nice sized guest room. The rooms were quite spacious and had plenty of room for a large bed and a separate seating area. 

The large guest rooms

The rooms are spacious enough to have a separate seating area.
Aside from the size, though, I did not think the rooms fully reflect those of a luxury property. The mattress were a bit soft for my taste and they felt like they needed to be replaced. Some of the furniture, like the bedside tables, was drab and needed a fresh paint job.  While the old wooden doors represent the character of the hotel, there were no additional locks or safety mechanisms besides the key lock for security (something I often think about as a single female traveler). 
I expected a bit more from the furniture in the room 

For an upscale property, I was surprised by little things like chips in the toilet seat porcelain, bathroom toiletries that were quite basic and I can’t remember the last time I saw a hair dryer as old as the one I found on the wall.

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Also, while wifi internet access was free throughout the hotel for guests, it was not available in the rooms due to the thick palace walls.  But while the thick walls kept the wifi from working, they also kept out the hallway noise so things were pleasantly quiet at night. Once I got used to the mattress, I slept like a log. It must have been the mountain air they often talk about which put me right to sleep.

The next morning I left my room around 8:30 to have a bit of breakfast at the restaurant on the patio. Sitting there with my coffe and my continental breakfast, you would have thought I owned the place. I didn’t see another soul aside from a few staff members. I don’t mind a bit of alone time to so I took my time just enjoying the peace and the fresh squeezed orange juice.

  
I used the time between meals (which is how I normally gauge time on a vacation) to check out the famous pool.  Like the breakfast area, the pool deck was mine all mine.  There were a few visitors who strolled through to take a picture of the pool and the mountains beyond it, but otherwise I was left alone to bake under the hot sun.  While the pool is always open for hotel guests, day visitors can also use the pool for a fee of 20,000 Lebanese Pounds (just over $13.00). 
One thing that could definitely use an upgrade in the room
View of the pool area from the upper patio

Amazing rug tile work at the Mir Amin Palace pool.
After dozing off under one of the large white umbrellas for about an hour, it was time to change, pack up the room and then dig in to a nice al fresco lunch.  Apparently they had opened up “my” palace to other guests as lunch was much more lively than my quiet breakfast.  Tables of Porche test drivers lauhged and joked while digging into plates of Lebanese food and enjoying a different flavors of hookah pipes. I got to sample a well flavored fattoush salad, a generous serving of quiche and two desserts. Zalebieh which is a delicious cross between a donut and a beignet and a fresh fruit tart which was perfect for a hot summer afternoon. 

A very tasty fattoush salad
Ham and cheese quiche

Make sure to save room for the Zalebieh for dessert
Fresh fruit tart – refreshing after a hot day in the sun

With lunch finished and a good night’s sleep under my belt, it was time to make my way back to busy Beirut.  I took one last stroll around the palace courtyards and soaked up the idyllic calm that I’d have to leave behind as I traveled back to the big city.  While there were definitely some upgrades I’d like to see in the hotel’s guest rooms, I think the overall experience of staying at this unique property more than makes up for them.



Disclaimer: My stay and meals at the Mir Amin Palace were paid for by the property, but all opinions expressed here are my own. 
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