Adjacent to the old cobbled streets and traditional buildings of the newly reconstructed Downtown Beirut stands Le Gray – in all of its contemporary glory. A relatively new fixture on the Beirut skyline, the hotel, part of the Campbell Gray Hotels chain, has quickly become a familiar sight in Downtown Beirut and a welcome addition to the Beirut social circuit.
What Le Gray has achieved is quite magical. Step inside and you will immediately forget that you are in Beirut. This is in large part due to the breathtaking, modern design features it boasts, and in small part due to the uninterrupted internet connection and electricity, which are rare to come by in Lebanon nowadays. But here is the twist: the architecture and design of the building itself act as a constant tie to the outside, to Beirut. The living room in my suite, for example, boasted a gigantic glass floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the bustling streets below. Sitting in the infinity pool – essentially a see-through, elevated glass box on the roof of the hotel – you can’t help but be immersed in the sounds of Beirut once again, looking down at Martyrs’ Square and the port. Having breakfast at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Indigo, between a skyline of church domes and minarets, modern glass buildings and crumbling structures, you are reminded of the city that lies outside the hotel’s doors.
And that’s exactly how I spent my weekend at Le Gray – somewhere between East and West – marveling at the design and five-star service of the hotel. From the metal wall in the hotel lobby with cherry blossom cutouts to the upside-down leafless branches hanging from the ceiling of the corridors, there is always something to catch your attention in the hotel. The rooms are incredibly spacious without ever being cold, and you can enjoy the luxury of a plasma TV in your bath or simply grab a book from your in-room library to pass the time before the sun sets and the streets of Beirut come to life again. Did I mention you’re in walking distance of some of the best restaurants in town – I would recommend Kampai for great Japanese – and the hottest nightlife, including Gemmayzeh, Iris, and Uruguay Street?
Whether you’re visiting Lebanon for the first time or returning to one of your favorite destinations, Le Gray provides the perfect, serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city around it – until it’s time to go out and hit the town again.