Ain al-Mraisseh and Minet al-Hosn
The Ain al-Mraisseh and Minet al-Hosn neighborhoods essentially straddle the area between downtown and Ain al-Mraisseh Corniche and are known primarily for their large number of luxury seaside hotels, foremost among which is the stunning, 5-star Phoenicia Hotel.
Another prominent example, just across the street, is the salmon-colored St. George Yacht Club, built in 1933. Both hotels were badly damaged during the Civil War, and between them, only the Phoenicia has been restored, though the St George continues to host events on the ground outside.
Zaitounah Bay stretches out to the right from the St. George to the Four Seasons Hotel. This relatively new addition to the SOLIDERE project is a modern, minimalist public space in dark stone. It features a double promenade, starting at street level and offering several points of access to the bay itself, which is lined with an exciting array of upscale restaurants and cafes, all of which feature extensive outdoor seating that looks out onto Beirut’s most extravagant yachts.
Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated a few steps away from the St. George 2005, and a rather moving monument now stands there to commemorate the massive explosion that is still being investigated at The Hague.
Other hotels in the neighborhood boast fine French dining and rooftop polls and bars, among which is a strangely well-guarded secret: Sydney’s, a rich, plush lounge open 24 hours a day, with impeccable service, a fine array of scotches and cigars, and one of the finest views of the Beirut waterfront anywhere in the city. This is an excellent place to unwind in luxury and watch the evening light change from blood orange to midnight blue.