I booked this hotel because you get access to their "beach club" w/ your stay, and it's apparently one of Beirut's must-see locations. And it really is quite a scene. If I ended up in a place like the Riviera club here at home, I'd probably run screaming from the premises. But that was the fun of it.
There was blaring music, crowds of oiled-up people in designer bikinis and sunglasses, people dancing by the swim-up bar and daybeds occupied by sunburnt revelers drinking buckets of champagne. It feels like the Jersey Shore, but in Beirut, with nargileh pipes and no brawling/PDA. You can rent jet skis, stick your kids in the kiddie pool and sit at a lounger by the main pool and people-watch. What you cannot do, however, is actually swim in the ocean. The place is more club than beach, really.
The hotel itself was fine: the room was small-ish, but tidy, quiet and perfectly adequate; the service was good. We didn't have much of a view from our room, but then, we also didn't have any noise from the beach club, which at night seems to turn into a teeny-bopper disco. The hotel's also in a pleasant neighborhood for strolling along the Corniche, enjoying the sea view and exploring Hamra and environs.
On balance, I'd say it's worth staying here for the a day or two of people-watching. But I wouldn't limit my stay in Beirut to this hotel when there are so many other good options.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riviera Hotel and Beach Lounge located on the Sea Side, 10 min away from airport and district center. Underground access to the Beach Lounge from the Hotel. The hotel has 120 rooms with 5 stars amenities. New Beach Lounge with Seaside Lounge The Island, 3 outdoor swimming pools open all year, 8 Jacuzzis and water sports. 24 hours service in all the hotel. ... more less
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