Four Seasons Beirut, open without the basic standards of the famous luxury chain
With Beirut becoming one of the key business and leisure hubs in the Middle East, the Four Seasons has been a much awaited opening, with an unmatched location on the famous Corniche with a direct view on the Mediterranean. Years of war and political instability which recently culminated in the 2006 all out war with Israel, have hindered the development of tourism infrastructure in a city which has always been considered the ”Paris of the Middle East”. Until the end of last year, Phoenicia InterContinental and Moevenpick have been holding a monopoly position, running at full capacity especially thanks to the constantly growing corporate traffic.
That is why, most of the hotels could afford to continue business operations without making any renovations, international hotel management chains being unable to convince hotel owners of the vital importance of such works and improvements to maintain a good level of customer service. This context has created ”monsters”, with hotels such as Radisson, Sofitel or Sheraton being some of the worst in their chains at an international level.
For more than four years, the sleek impressive tower of the Four Seasons has made foreigners and locals dream of an international standard five star hotel, which would claim back Beirut’s reputation as the ”Paris of the Middle East”. Unfortunately, the Four Seasons Beirut was opened without being ready, with many of its amenities such as the SPA and pool estimated to open 2011. One of the most striking aspects is how the hotel has passed the rigurous testings of Four Seasons management which have given the go ahead for the opening.
Among the many negative issues: very small rooms (much smaller than the regular Four Seasons standard), the lack of a welcome desk at the airport, uncleaned construction dirt in all rooms, malfunction of airconditioning, the constant construction noise from the site opposite to the hotel (otherwise a park which is set to take years to complete), staff with a superior attitude, less than 30% of suites are functional and all are booked by the end of the year etc.
All in all, the Four Seasons Beirut should not have opened before being ready !