July 14, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

A Cigar, A Single Malt and Classical Music Overviewing Downtown Beirut (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961 1 971111

Address: Martyrs Square, Waygand Street Beirut, Lebanon

Website: https://www.campbellgrayhotels.com/le-gray-beirut/

Price Range: 30-200 $


Welcoming: 1/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 7/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 26/30

Architecture / Interior: 7/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 4/10

Value for money: Soon

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The choices of places where you can go to enjoy a good cigar have become few in Lebanon. Puffing a cigar around the city is close to impossible nowadays after Eau de Vie, Sydney's, Up on the 31st have all banned smoking indoors and they don't have an open space to compensate for. Le Gray, my favorite hotel in Lebanon, as I have mentioned many times before, has a unique cigar lounge up on the 6th floor, overviewing Downtown Beirut. A colorful space that feels just like home.
Cozy corners, where wood is married to orange and violet fabrics all perfectly lit by the high glass facades. Leather sofas, books, paintings and a few art pieces add the needed finesse to this unique lounge hosting dozens of whiskeys and malts.
As you walk into the lobby of Le Gray hotel, take the lift up to the sixth floor and here you are, welcomed into a cozy lounge for people who enjoy a good cigar and a glass of malt... something soothing... Choose from a large selection of malts or ask for the wine list offered at Indigo restaurant and indulge into an afternoon of wonders.
Something was not right today.
We arrived at 14:35 to an empty space where no one was there to welcome us. 'Mr. Lazy' arrived at 14:50, no smile on his face and counting the seconds for us before we leave so he can continue his nap. The ambiance felt tense.
An old piece of carton, not up to standard of this hotel used as a menu:
  • Cigars
  • Single malt whisky
  • Scotch whisky
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Beer
  • Champagne by glass
  • White wine by glass
  • Rose wine by glass
  • Sweet wine
  • Red wine by glass
  • To share
  • Dessert
  • Cognac
  • Armagnac
  • Calvados
  • Porto
  • Rum
  • Soft drinks
  • Hot drinks
The space was quieter than a hospital. No music but the flow of air passing through the air conditioning ducts. We asked for couple of drinks, two cigars and waited for something entertaining to happen. 15:10 we found the waiter, hidden in the back area and asked him for some music. Nice background jazz tunes entertained our afternoon until 6pm.
We chose to drink: Laphroaig 10Y.O Islay, 27,000L.L (5cl)
  • Nose: This opens on big, smoky muscular peat notes. There are spices, and liquorice, as well as a big dose of salt. This whisky is slightly sweet, and is beautifully on the nose, amidst the classic iodine plasters and cool wood smoke
  • Palate: Seaweed-led, with a hint of vanilla ice cream and more than a whiff of notes from the First Aid box. The oak is big, and muscles its way into the fore as you hold this whisky over your tongue. An upsurge of spices develop
  • Finish: Big and drying, as the savory, tarry notes build up with an iodine complexity
The pluses:
  • I could literally stay here for hours. So beautiful, calm and serene. A finger thickness of whisky, a nice Cuban cigar and let yourself be transported into another dimension.
  • Delicious, fresh and crunchy nuts are always used
  • High-end crystal Rosenthal whisky glasses make your experience even better
  • A cozy place with inside and outside seating, wooden flooring, leather relaxing sofas, a diversified fully loaded cigar humidor and a complete library of books from all kinds for all tastes.
  • A small terrace that is well organized giving a mountainous feel.
  • Very nice cigar ashtrays and cigar colored matches make the experience even better
  • It makes me happy to always see my book on one of their tables
The minuses:
  • The service should be much better and I already mentioned that in my previous review
  • Usually carrots and cucumbers are offered but we didn't receive any today
  • Paper coasters should be branded in a five star hotel, no?
  • The lounges prices are a bit too high
  • Valet Parking: An unprofessional security company, car drivers with no experience in the hotel industry. Cheap polo shirts that do not reflect the high-end identity of this hotel. It's a shame to have such a bad first impression when entering a majestic five star like Le Gray
A year passed since my last visit and the same problem is still unsolved: The staff is simply lazy and they don't feel like working. They are often out of sight, hiding behind the bar for long periods of time with nothing to do. You keep looking for them, with no success.
I love this hotel, its decoration and classy ambiance. A very nice cigar lounge and enjoy coming back to it every once in a while, but I feel sad to see such minor issues disturbing my experience.


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