The Phoenicia was - like the St George - always top of our list, but certain circumstances made it impossible until recently to accept it into the group of The Most Famous Hotels in the World. Here Lyndon Johnson stopped over in 1962, it was home to Kings and Queens, stars and gamblers

Together with the Holiday Inn and the St George, those three hotels were the hub of Beirut luxury.

It closed in 1990, it reopened in 2000, and those who travel to Beirut find it in higly recommended condition. Neither the Holiday Inn nor the St Geroge were able to reopen (so far), so if tourism can bring peace to this world, the Phoenician, together with Le Bristol, remains our ambassador in the Middle East.

The Phoenicia Hotel was a dream for Najib Salha – a prominent Lebanese businessman – who in the year 1953, during Lebanon’s Golden Era, envisioned to build a world class hotel on the shores of Beirut. With a group of investors, Mr. Salha founded “La Société des Grands Hotels du Liban” and invited leading American architect Edward Durell Stone to fulfill this dream.

Eight years later, in December 1961, the Phoenicia InterContinental opened its doors!

Combining a unique elegant exterior with a fabulous majestic interior, the hotel became in the blink of an eye, a reference in the world of hospitality: 446 luxurious rooms and suites, a wide choice of restaurants, shops and two swimming pools, indoor and outdoor, made the Phoenicia everybody's elite destination. Its reputation for class and luxurious living echoed around the globe.

Kings, queens, world leaders, celebrities, businessmen and the jet set alike, made Phoenicia Hotel their home away from home, contributing to the country’s golden age, an upswing period during which Lebanon was known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”.

Battle of the Hotels
The Battle of the Hotels was a subconflict within the 1975-77 phase of the Lebanese Civil War which occurred in the Minet-el-Hosn hotel district of downtown Beirut. This area was one of the first fronts of the war that opened up in 1975. The battle was fought for the possession of the hotel complex adjacent to the gilded Corniche seafront area on the Mediterranean, in the north-western corner of the downtown district of Beirut. It quickly spread to other areas of central Beirut. This episode of the civil war resulted in pushing the Christian militias out of the area, in particular the numerous hotels in the vicinity, including the St. Georges, Holiday Inn Beirut, Palm Beach, Normandy, Alcazar, Hilton, Excelsior and Phoenicia (then Inter-Continental) hotels.

In the mid 90's, Mazen and Marwan Salha, Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors of “La Société des Grands Hotels du Liban” respectively, decided to rebuild Beirut’s gracious “Grande Dame”.

The hotel reopened its doors in March 2000. Again attracting the rich and famous from the world over, Phoenicia effortlessly retook its position as  Beirut’s top-notch hotel.

Beirut is once again the destination of choice for world travellers. Hotels in the city have seen an exciting burst of activity over the past few years. New hotels with international standards have blossomed throughout, much to the satisfaction of selective tourists and business people. With higher expectations and rising competition, the world famous Phoenicia Hotel has remained a bastion of the city, a landmark for locals and visitors, thanks to its iconic heritage and endless dedication in defining the hotel scene
in the region.

As Beirut’s most sought after hotel, the Phoenicia constantly strives to raise the standards when it comes to fulfilling the sophisticated tastes of today’s more demanding clientele. In this essence, and to enhance the genuine experience connoisseurs expect to live, the Phoenicia Hotel is undergoing a series of awe-inspiring improvements that will characterize the hotel for the coming years.

Internationally renowned designers, Martin Hulbert of Fox Linton, Inge Moore and Summer Williams are evolving the design characteristics of the Phoenicia while maintaining its cultural and artistic heritage. Every room, restaurant, lobby, suite and banquet hall will be transformed into fabulous spaces of elegance and grandeur.

With every change, new expectations will be formed. With each unveiling, new memories will be created. With each transformation, new opportunities will take shape. The Phoenicia Hotel will continue making history, and will keep its place as Lebanon’s foremost hotel.


As a Beirut landmark, the Phoenicia has appeared in numerous feature movies across its history. It is featured in the 1965 Mickey Rooney film Twenty-Four Hours to Kill In Agent 505 - Todesfalle Beirut (1966) the hero stays in the city’s glamorous palace. In Die Fälschung (1981) (English title: Circle of Deceit), Volker Schlöndorff makes an ambiguous use of the Phoenicia. Characters seem to be lodging in the hotel while it has already been damaged by the war. In fact, the outside scenes were shot on location, while the interior scenes were done at Casino du Liban. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s Je veux voir (English title: I want to see)(2008), starts on the last floor of the Phoenicia: Catherine Deneuve says she wants to see the destruction of the 2006 Lebanon War.
418 Rooms
44 Suites
Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Country: Lebanon
City: Beirut
Opening date: 1961, December

Note from the Host

General Manager Georg Weinlaender


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