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09 December 2023

Le Gray is one great weekend proposition

By Colin Simpson

Some years ago a new luxury hotel called One Aldwych caused a stir in the London hospitality sector. It combined striking contemporary design, sumptuous comfort and outstanding service in a way that had not been seen in the UK capital before, and went on to win a host of awards and accolades.

The company behind One Aldwych is CampbellGray Hotels, a group founded by industry veteran Gordon Campbell Gray that also operates Dukes in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua.

Now the Middle East is experiencing its first taste of the distinctive CampbellGray style following the opening last October of Le Gray in Beirut.

As soon as you step inside you are struck by the smart interior design – the work of Mary Fox Linton, who gave One Aldwych its distinctive look. More than 500 pieces of art hang on the walls – all selected and placed, we are told, by Mr Campbell Gray.

The lobby is quite modest but the ground-to-roof atrium is impressive and the rooms and suites combine restrained taste with cosseting luxury – fabulous beds, comfortable armchairs, lots of space, splendid combinations of colours.

There are loads of thoughtful touches. A wooden box by the desk opens to reveal power sockets and connecters that enable you to link your iPod or laptop to the Loewe TV on the wall. There's a TV that you can watch from the bath – complete with waterproof remote control. A card is left by your bed each evening telling you the weather forecast for the following day. Lots of hotels have features and services like these, but few manage to combine so many in such a well-thought-out way.

Dining options range from Gordon's Café at ground level, which offers light dishes and has quickly become a favourite of discerning locals, to Indigo on the Roof, a fine dining venue with great views. I found the food impossible to fault – and this in a city renowned for the quality of its restaurants. In addition there is a pool lounge, a cigar lounge and a glass-walled rooftop lounge.

The roof-level infinity pool lets you admire views of the Mediterranean and the mountains as you swim. The gym is equipped with the very latest equipment – the treadmills and other machines have iPod docks and touch screens. And there is a spa called PureGray that offers a range of massages, body treatments and facials.

Add a great location in Beirut's newly renovated Downtown area and you have an unbeatable proposition for a weekend away.

Rooms at Le Gray Beirut start from $500 (Dh1,834) a night for a deluxe room all the way up to $5,500 for the 220 sq m two-bedroom presidential suite with its own private terrace. (www.legray.com)


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