Al Bustan Hotel
The Al-Bustan Hotel is a piece of Lebanese history, one of the oldest hotels in Beirut, located high up in the hillside village of Beit Mery, and commanding a wonderful view over the whole of the city and the surrounding areas. Built in 1962 by the entrepreneur Emile Bustani, who died in a plane crash soon after, the Al-Bustan – which means ‘the garden’ – is possibly the only Beirut hotel to have an Arabic name and is imbued with plenty of Lebanese style, charm and authenticity to go with it. Still privately owned, it is clean and well kept; and while not as modern as the central Beirut hotels, each room contains a painting or sculpture from part of the Bustani art collection. This is the hotel to stay in if you want to be on the fringe of Beirut, and in the summer the mountain air makes it a cool alternative to the often-sweltering town centre. Just 20 minutes down the hill to Beirut, and about the same time to the airport, the Al-Bustan is an original Lebanese gem.