For a long time the Albergo Hotel, located in Achrafieh, was the only address in town for the discerning traveller in search of luxury, comfort and something authentic. These days, new hotels in Beirut are popping up all over the place, but the Albergo still packs enough charm and history into its four-storey Art Deco townhouse walls to allow it to keep up with the flashier newcomers.
The décor is a charming and eclectic blend of antiques and one-off finds (ranging from French and Lebanese through to Italian and Ottoman pieces) collected by the owners from across the world and beautifully put together by interior design legend Jacques Garcia. The result is that no two rooms are the same: one room might feel like the Kasbah, the next will be a French boudoir, but all have the luxury trimmings you’d expect like Frette linens, Dead Sea bath salts, beautiful coffee table books and enormous marble en-suite bathrooms. It’s the small touches, however, that really make it special, such as the fluffy robes, Molton Brown products and fresh fruit, macaroons and tiny Turkish delights that are delivered to your room daily.
Downstairs, there's a flamboyant Egyptian-style bar, a tiny well-stocked library and the main restaurant, Al Dente, which continues to dominate the Beirut restaurant scene with its Venetian meets Middle Eastern fusion cuisine. Upstairs at the Rooftop restaurant, more classic dishes are served up amongst huge Persian rugs, twinkling chandeliers and mother of pearl-inlaid tables. Then, on top of everything, there's a 24-hour rooftop terrace. The real high point (quite literally) of the hotel, it’s the perfect place to settle into a sofa with a mojito next to the small pool surrounded by jasmine plants and huge antique coffee pots and drink in the views of the surrounding city.
- Its authenticity - there's none of that sense of homogenised 'international luxury' here, the Albergo is unmistakably Lebanese
- The pleasingly old-fashioned feel
- The friendly and welcoming staff
- The rooftop terrace - a wonderfully intimate spot with views of the shimmering city lights at night
- Some standard rooms are on the small side
- Parking in Achrafieh is impossible
- WiFi is not free
Need to Know: Albergo Hotel
Number of rooms: 33
Check-in/check-out times: 2pm and 12 noon
Room service: Yes
Swimming pool: Yes, a small but very welcome swimming pool located on the rooftop
Dogs welcome: Yes
Eating and drinking: The hotel has two restaurants: the Al Dente, a chic Italian with an oriental Venetian feel, and the exotic Ottoman-style Rooftop restaurant for breakfast, Western classics, caviar and a very extensive wine list.
Near to? Albergo is located in the chic Achrafieh neighbourhood, just a quick walk away from downtown and the happening Rue Monnot, the hub of Beirut’s new nightlife and packed full of clubs, bars and restaurants.
Getting there: It’s just a 15-minute taxi ride from Rafic Hariri International Airport