An anniversary to remember in Beirut

by Jill Rhyl
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For our wedding anniversary we decided to visit somewhere new. We had meant to visit Beirut for years, and had been told about the fabulous views over the city from this well-loved hotel.

We chose the Al Bustan not only because of its reputation for excellent service, but also because of its rich romantic history. The hotel was built in 1962 by Lebanese entrepreneur Emile Bustani. He chose to embark upon this massive project because of personal ties to the location, and his wife Laura joined in on the project. Al Bustan literally translates to ‘the Garden’ – and was Lebanon’s first hotel to have an Arabic name.

We were given a beautiful room – comfortable, classically designed, with a spacious marble bathroom and all the amenities we needed. But the pièce de résistance had to be the massive balcony showcasing the stunning views over the ancient city. The extensive buffet breakfast featured a selection of old favourites with some Lebanese specialities. Try the Zataar Manakeesh with cheese – a delicious Arabic flatbread with herbs and spices.

Our days were spent sightseeing or lazing by the pool. We ate healthy snacks from the pool bar and enjoyed a couple of nights sampling the expertly made cocktails in the Scottish Bar, listening to the resident pianist and making some new friends. The city of Beirut is a destination to fall in love with – and you’ll find yourself wanting to return as soon as you’ve left. Al Bustan is a home from home; we were captivated by the wonderful panoramic views, warm friendly staff and luxury surroundings. Everything was handled with care and attention.

On our first night we booked a candlelit dinner at Les Glycines restaurant. The meal was a delicious selection of traditional Lebanese dishes along with wine from the hotel’s cellar. After dinner, we made our way back to our luxurious suite, and enjoyed unbelievable views from our windows. The next day, we visited the Phoenician, Byzantine and Roman ruins at Deir el Kalaa, adjacent to the hotel – a glimpse into the city’s illustrious history.

In the afternoon, we decided to check out Al Bustan’s extensive art collection. I was informed that the collection is constantly growing, and that the hotel is always looking to showcase talent – when we inevitably return, we’re bound to find a new selection of pieces on display. We loved taking walks around the area – the calm and quiet made us feel totally relaxed. It’s fair to say that the family-owned Al Bustan took care of all our needs.

To enjoy together
  • Stunning panoramic views
  • Landscaped gardens
  • Private art collection
  • 24-hour room service
  • Al Bustan Classical Music Festival (February-March)
  • Private sedans with experienced chauffeurs
  • Access to sports club Al Bustan
Hotel facilities
  • International gourmet cuisine at Les Glycines; authentic Lebanese specialities at Le Village; Italian dishes at Il Giardino
  • The Scottish Bar is a national landmark
  • Access to sports club
  • Health Manicures, pedicures, massages and other treatments

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