Le Gray Beirut, Lebanon – Hotel Review
Having spent the entire day on my feet working with ALO Cultural Foundation volunteers to fit hundreds of hearing impaired locals with hearing aids donated by Starkey Foundation, it was a blessing to return to this high profile address for an evening of low-key relaxation. I was still smiling after seeing child after child hearing clearly for the first time so arriving at the Le Gray just continued my spiritual high. Newcomers are greeted at the sit-down reception in a truly Middle Eastern fashion, but I was immediately struck by the bright artwork and trendy décor that was more in keeping with a trendy night club than a business hotel. I knew as soon as I entered that this boutique hotel would offer something different.
The organization that brought me to Beirut was founded by Lebanese-American philanthropist Wafa Kanan, the publisher of ALO magazine. She explained that the neighborhood around the hotel is the city’s elite shopping and dining district. While security, as with all other hotels in town, is tight with metal detectors at the entrances, the safe neighborhood is alive with Hermes bag-toting glitterati and business people.
The real highlights here come in the 87 oversized guest rooms, which are decked out with every modern accessory one may desire. While disappointed I did not have one of the striking views of the neighboring Rafic Hariri Mosque (at night it looks like a postcard), I did enjoy my streetfront perch, which included a small Juliet balcony and provided fresh air.
A fruit plate and bottled water awaited in the room, and an espresso machine sat tucked away in a cabinet. The bed swallowed me up with its plump duvet and giant pillows. Sliding doors opened to a bathroom, bigger than a New York apartment, with deep soaking tub facing a flat-screen TV, a stone vanity lined with a stash of REN Neroli toiletries, and a powerful rainfall shower that de-stressed me in seconds.
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