Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand
Prestige issue 286, Oct-Nov. 2017
A lovely home in a 5 star
Finding a true warm and comfortable home within a luxurious five-star hotel is rare, even ideal. The Hilton Habtoor Grand hotel in Beirut is a prime example. A true five star to the height of its fame … A palace. Nestled in the heart of the capital, in a tower of thirty-one floors, it offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and Mount Lebanon. Royal environment, family atmosphere, professionalism, personalized service, Hilton HHonors loyalty program, attentive staff … Precious and rare qualities for a luxury hotel. Prestige has shared this exclusive Hilton experience for a weekend. It is difficult to forget at the reception, the kindness of Yéhia Kenaan, Rami Rahbani, Sleiman Bou Zeid, who spared no effort to make this stay memorable. A sumptuous Royal Room, reserved for the 24th floor, offers a unique panorama of the capital and surroundings. And a table generously filled with a range of delicacies, stands in the middle of the room, wishing a gracious welcome. Report.
Meeting with Naif Zureikat,
Cluster General Manager of Hilton hotels in Beirut
How long have you been in the hotel sector in general and in Lebanon in particular? For 35 years I have been working in the hospitality industry between Dubai, Doha, Amman, Cyprus, the United States, Canada … I have been in Lebanon for five years. This is the most important step in my life.
What does Lebanon mean to you? Lebanon marks a major turning point in my career. The country deserves it. It enjoys all the qualities required to be attractive in terms of tourism. An exceptional opening to the world, personalized services, and a unique geographical location. A crossroads for business tourism.
What is the future of tourism in Lebanon, in your eyes? I am very optimistic about the future of tourism in Lebanon. The potential for growth and development is enormous. I welcome the commendable efforts of Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian, who honors his mission. Despite the situation in the region, Lebanon remains a safe country. Within five years, he will return to full tourist development. Moreover, the Hilton channel mainly focuses its vision of expansion on Lebanon.
From 7th to 30th floor, the rooms
Georges Ghantous, «Senior Guest Relations» plays the guide to show me the spacious and comfortable rooms on the 7th to 18th floor, the Ambassador Suite on the 15th floor, the Royal Suites between the 20th and 28th floors, and the two unique penthouses that occupy the 29th and 30th floors.
31st Floor, Le Ciel
Le Ciel bears its name well. Idyllic view, refined French cuisine. Every Sunday, an open gourmet buffet is served. The affable Manager Mohamed Kanso takes care of the small details. Rich and exquisite table: salmon, siyadiye, sushi, meats … and a divine Umm Ali, among other desserts, closed this feast.
3rd Floor, Gym and Pool Bar
On the 3rd floor, trainer Sandy Zein in charge of the physical training in the ultra modern gym takes me to the pool, the Pool Bar, where Yehia receives us with the characteristic smile of the establishment. Two swimming pools for adults, and a third, funny, makes children happy, with a track for jogging, and a large space to host birthdays and other events.
1st floor, Al Diyafa
Exhaling delicious aromas, the restaurant Al Diyafa, on the 1st floor, is the image of its name. This is where a British, continental or Lebanese breakfast is served. Zaid Ghoubar, the «Restaurant Manager», offers me an authentic Lebanese menu. Minis-man’ouché with different flavors, omelette kawarma, and a succulent knafé with cheese coated with the honey of Jabal el Sheikh, specialties of the soil. Chef Gilbert Farah walks around the tables, while young chefs prepare live food for guests.
4th Floor, Spa
On the 4th floor, Roula, responsible at the Spa, tells the services offered by the Elixir, the Leasure spa equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, while insisting on the privileges granted to loyal customers. Samer and Shérine Kobrossi, a couple from Batroumin, Koura, are part of this faithful clientele. «We come here three times a year, they say with one voice. It’s our makeover. Nothing is missing here: friendly atmosphere, spa, gastronomy, swimming pool, shopping, quality services, facilities.»
The Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand opened in 2005 and is located next to the Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace, which opened in 2001. Owned by Emirates businessman Khalaf al Habtoor, Hilton Worldwide has managed both properties since 2011. The world’s second largest hotel group, with more than 4,660 hotels, its Hilton HHonors loyalty program brings together more than 29 million people worldwide. Equipped with the largest conference room, the Hilton Habtoor remains a magnet for business tourism, which is an important part of Lebanon’s tourism industry.
31st Floor, Jazz Bar or Up on the 31st
The Jazz Bar is a pure moment of happiness. A magical view of the country sparkling with a thousand lights, a warm welcome from the Manager Mohamed Kanso, and a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. Couple of guests are accustomed to the place, greeted familiarly by Managers Chafic Khawli and Frédéric Youssef. «Our clientele is faithful, says Mohamed Kanso. Lebanese, but also tourists from Jordan, Iraq, Norway, Germany, France and the United States». Chef Michel Dib does not hesitate to enter the room, and the round of dishes begins. A delight, salmon salad with quinoa, filet of sole and vegetables … and Citrus Iced perfect with exotic fruits. Sublime also, Mireille Harboyan, with the golden voice, which ignited the room, interpreting songs-headlights in English, Spanish and French. «I did it my way», «Besame mucho» «My own guy»and others were picked up by a bewitched audience.