We stayed at the InterCon Phonecia over a long weekend in April 2017. Beirut is a short flight from Cyprus and we had yet to go, so we thought we would check it out. We heard good things about this hotel and had plenty of IHG points to burn, so we booked our stay.
The hotel is located on Fakhrenddine St, right across from Zaitunay Bay and at a busy interchange. There are several luxury hotels in the surrounding area, including Four Seasons, but in my opinion it’s not a fantastic location. The street it’s on is very busy as it leads to a highway, and it is not within ideal walking distance to any of the nice sites or cool neighborhoods.
Arrival & Check-in
We arrived at the hotel via an extremely over-priced cab ride ($35) in no time flat–about 15 minutes. There was little to no traffic and the airport is just a short distance from downtown.
The hotel has a great interior lobby, which can only be seen after you walk up this grand staircase (going through metal detectors and having your luggage scanned first, as is normal in Middle Eastern countries).
Check-in was smooth and were upgraded to a “premium sea view room” (because of status and by my request). Sweet!
Here are some more pictures of the facade and common areas:
We were pleased with the size and layout of the room. Perfectly adequate, and we enjoyed the nice sitting area.
There are 5 restaurants in the hotel, each serving “international fare”. Per usual, we didn’t dine at any of them except to have a drink (for free) at the Amethyst Bar/Lounge.
No lounge for us at this hotel!
Pool & Spa
Veronica used the pool a couple of times while I was in the gym. She said it was a bit crowded with families, but otherwise the facilities were nice.
As I mentioned, we were upgraded to a premium sea view room, which retails for $318/nt. We got all 3 nights for free using 2x Free Night certs from our IHG-branded credit cards as well as one night with points (30,000). It was a great deal!
Another perk of having the IHG credit card is that it gives you automatic Platinum status. For IHG that means almost nothing except for a “welcome amenity” upon arrival–usually a free drink at the bar or 600 points (worth about $4). I took the ‘free drink’, and ended up getting a nice Aberfeldy 12yr Scotch and a margarita for Veronica at the bar for free–a $35 value!
This hotel suited us well during our time in Beirut. While I do wish having elite status with IHG would get us free breakfast, the property itself was nice and the gym was even better. FYI, if you plan to stay at the Intercon Le Vendome, a boutique hotel down the street a bit, you will have access to the gym at the Phonecia as they do not have their own.
That being said, the location isn’t fantastic as it’s a very busy and loud thoroughfare. It’s a bit far of a walk from the trendy neighborhoods and good restaurants, so we took cabs to get pretty much everywhere. But for the price ($0), it’s hard to beat!
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Brandon Chase is a writer, endurance athlete, and guide based in Maine. He is a former Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State and spent nearly a decade overseas serving at embassies in Egypt, Cyprus, and Pakistan.
Along with a 98-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, he has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the West Highland Way, fastpacked in the Himalayas, and trekked around New Zealand and South Africa. He also regularly competes in ultramarathons at the 50k, 50-mile, and 100-mile distances.