IC Phoencia vs. Le Vendome Beirut: Either Way, Time to Splurge

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IC Le Vendome Beirut Hotel Review is part of the ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.


Getting There: Uber if you can. Warning: T-Mobile doesn’t have international data supported in Lebanon.


Location

Unlike the Hilton Habtoor, the IC Vendome is located right in the heart of Beirut at the Corniche coastal promenade. The location is noteworthy because it is only meters away from the former St. George Hotel, the site of a 1000 kilo bombing that rocked Beirut and killed the former prime minister. There is now a memorial statue commemorating the attack.

On a sunnier note, it is also a five-minute walk to the IC Phoenicia.

Back in the day


Present day Phoenicia

Due to the Eid al-Adha holiday weekend, the Phoenicia was sold out for points on one of the three nights. In no mood to rotate hotels, I stayed at the Le Vendome. Both hotels were going for $700 a night, though both only required 30k points to stay. That’s an insane redemption.

Room

No upgrade given. It was a room with two twin size beds that were pushed together, Club Carlson style.

Welcome Amenity

Each day fresh fruit and chocolates were provided.

View

Insert your own comment. Clearly the neighbors need to start renovating.

Bathroom

 

 

 

Breakfast

$35 or no breakfast. I went with zzz (see Free Breakfast?! The InterContinental Bora Bora Says No).

Recs

I took the hotel recs for good shawarma. The restaurants were quality (see Searching for the Best Shawarma Beirut), but I prefer street shawarma.

Amenities

Le Plaige

Guests at Vendome are given a discount to Le Plaige, a beach club that hosted wonderful parties. I went twice.


Once

Twice

TPOL’s TIP: TPOL often travels solo. That is frowned upon in the Middle East. Restaurants hated seating one person. And clubs, including pool parties, try to impose a phony policy whereby single gents need to have a companion with them. I avoided this at Le Plaige thanks to its relationship with IC.

Phoenicia Spa

Following said pool parties and a night out (see Guns & Butter: Overrated Beirut Travel Guide), I made use of the Phoenicia Spa. There’s an indoor pool and hot tub for both male and females. There’s a separate sauna and steam room in each locker room.

Pool

The Phoenicia pool was nice, but I spent my pool days at Le Plaige.

Pool Bar: Amethyste Lounge

The best part of the Phoenicia hotel is the bar. I made friends with the bartender, Tarek, and ended up sampling drinks like I was at the Centurion Lounge. Here were my favorites:

  1. Bloody Mary: Try it with a full-body cabernet.
  2. Not a Painkiller: Out of respect of not having Pusser’s rum, the word ‘not’ was included on this BVI piña colada twist.
  3. Piña Colada: worthy of my Top Piña Coladas on Earth list
  4. Vodka Sour: simple and perfect
  5. Daquiri: if a bartender can’t make this, go to another bar.
  6. Bloody Maria: More tomato juice
  7. Rum Swizzle: and then I was dizzy
  8. Can’t Recall:
  9. Espresso: sober up?

Surprisingly, for a five-star hotel, the prices were not outrageous. 20k is $13.

A Note on Taxis

If you don’t Uber, be sure to ask what the price of the taxi is. It should only be 2 to 3 thousand Lebanese pounds to areas around the hotel. I got into a nice argument with a taxi driver who asked me for 20k at night because I didn’t confirm the price ahead of time. I ended up paying 15k which is $10. I didn’t appreciate being ripped off, but at least I was able to practice my Arabic while fighting (see “You’re a Bad Tourist.” Words From Luxor Tour Guide).

Overall

Given the choice, quality, and location I would stay at either the Phoenicia or Vendome. Both are great choices.


Fountain=fancy

Who didn’t enjoy the IC Le Vendome Beirut Hotel Review? Read the entire ANA, Take Me ‘Round the World Trip Report.

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