Great central hotel in Beirut with family sized apartment options
On our recent trip to Beirut, we stayed at the Gefinor Rotana, centrally located in the Hamra area of the city. We chose this hotel as it offered several flexible room options for a larger group including suites, interconnecting rooms and small apartments – all within a stones throw of many of the cities top attractions.
We thought it was a great family accommodation option in Beirut in terms of space and location. Will it suit you and your family? Let’s take a look.
This post is part of our Family Accommodation Review series – Come and see our other worldwide family-friendly hotel recommendations
Gefinor Hotel – The Rooms
We stayed in a 2-bed apartment that could fit 5 people. They claim it can fit 7 which is quite unusual for a hotel room, but I’ll be honest, fitting 3 beds in the second bedroom was an incredibly tight squeeze. Having the fold out sofa in the living room would leave you with no wriggle room at all in the apartment.
The apartment rooms are actually in a small residences building which is based behind the main hotel building, but you still get access to all the facilities of the main hotel, just a little extras flight of stairs in between (lift option there for strollers). We were on the 5th floor with a small balcony (good high lock but the balcony balustrades probably wouldn’t meet safety standards in a lot of countries). No view to speak off but it was definitely nice to enjoy a little outside space in lovely summer weather of Beirut.
The bathrooms, on the other hand, are very generously proportioned. The master bathroom is huge and includes a bathtub and all the amenities you can think of are included. For once we actually seemed to be left with our right quota of bath towels throughout, though the quality of the towels varied significantly from huge bath sheets to small thin rags.
The room has a small kitchenette for a basic snack or baby food preparation. They obviously do let some rooms of this size on a more permanent basis, but as ours was a short-term hotel room there was no cooking or eating utensils, just use of the mini bar fridge.
One thing that was frustrations was that room service seemed to happen very late in the day, in fact, 4 of our 5 days the room was not serviced by the time we were back from our days out exploring late afternoon. We tried taking the kids out of the room again so they could get in and clean (about 5pm) but by the final day we simply gave up. I’m not sure if we were always last on their rounds or its just the Lebanese way?
We read that Lebanon would have all sorts of plug types and they’re not wrong! Seriously take your pick in the hotel room – and take your travel adaptor and a power board for all your devices! Always better safe than sorry when dealing with something like this!!!
Meal times at Gefinor Rotana
The all-day dining option at Gefinor Rotana is Olive Garden Restaurant and Terrace. It is nothing I would go out of my way to visit, the though courtyard is exceptionally pretty. Breakfast-wise for morning meal (which was included in our room rate) was fairly standard, nothing overly special. When there were nice staff on duty, the kids were provided with colouring mats and pencils. Other times despite repeated asking, nothing would appear.
There was also a patisserie counter but we never saw anyone there, and nibbles in the front entrance. It wasn’t clear if they were there just for Ramadan / Eid.
Another alternative especially if you’ve been out after a hard day exploring is to use the room service. They had an extensive range of Lebanese cuisine and international dishes available. Room service menu could also be ordered to the rooftop poolside… more on that next!
The Pool & Facilities at Gefinor Rotana
What really made the Gefinor Rotana special to us was the rooftop pool. Something the Globetrotters hadn’t really experienced before so made it exceptionally fun for them.
There wasn’t always a lifeguard on duty but we did see one there on occasions – the signs explicitly warn no lifeguard on duty. The pool itself is relatively small and we only found it to be quite crowded on one occasion over Eid weekend. The water is about chest height to a grown up with no shallow end so bring floaties or confident swimmers only.
Towels can be collected and returned from the gym next door. The deck chairs around the pool were limited and not much shade to speak of, this didn’t really matter to us much in the late afternoon sun.
For those who like to keep fit on the go, the rooftop also has a Bodylines fitness centre. I could vaguely see it from my deck chair by the pool…..
The views up here are spectacular though. Even if you visit in winter and it’s too cold for a dip come and get some amazing views over the city.
If you are looking for some time out while you are in Beirut (a MUST – the nightlife is a major part of the cities culture and vibe) then you can organise a babysitter via the hotel. At the time of writing, this costs $20USD per hour and can be billed directly to your room.
Visiting Beirut – things to do nearby Gefinor Rotana
The hotel’s location puts you in the heart of the action in central Beirut. You are very close to the American University of Beirut which is beautiful to walk around, and a short walk down the hill will see you on the bustling Corniche (just remember you will have the inevitable walk back up the hill at some point!). You are right on the cities entertainment district of Hamra so plenty of eating and shopping options nearby.
We have more to come soon on all the family-friendly activities and tourist must-sees in Beirut – subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date when this is released, and also join our Middle East travel discussion group for more great ideas on what to do in and around Beirut and Lebanon, many of our members are Lebanese and very happy to help answer your questions.
We found this to be a really comfortable family stay in Beirut. It’s not at the absolute top end of the budget scale but provides enough space and comforts. It is ideal for those who like somewhere nice to come back to after a long day exploring, the pool is an absolute winner!
If you want to be closer to the more touristy end of town, there is also the Raouche Arjaan by Rotana located near Raouche Rocks.
Please note our review was as of June 2018. Things can and do change so let us know how your experience was!
Fast facts & booking Gefinor Rotana Beirut
Rooms: 161 rooms varying from classic king rooms with/without sea views through to studios and suites – a lot of flexibility in group sizes but do check square footage, their claims on how many can fit in a room are a little exaggerated.
Price: Starting from $100USD for a classic 35sqm room per night through to their Royal Suite at $900USD! A family sized suite will be between $200-$300USD depending on the configuration you’re looking for.
Location: You are approximately 30 minutes taxi from the airport. We recommend pre-booking your taxi with a service such as Allo Taxi.
Other Inclusions: In room wifi for 4 devices, toiletries, daily water included.
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Disclosure: We paid for all accommodation ourselves, this is not a sponsored review. All opinions, as always, remain our own. This article also contains affiliate links that may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. Our full disclosures policy can be found here.
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