Sneak peek into the reopening of the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut with Manrique Rodriguez

Sneak peek into the reopening of the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut with Manrique Rodriguez

Manrique Rodriguez, general manager of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut, takes us on a trip down memory lane and discusses the renovation of the legendary property, one of Lebanese hospitality’s great pillars.

What drew you to Lebanon?
Lebanon is a fascinating country, and Phoenicia is an iconic hotel for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. I have been working in the industry and for IHG for almost 35 years, but I never experienced life in the Middle East. Phoenicia has given me the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the region and, most importantly, work with exceptional people. Phoenicia is considered an institution and “la grande dame” of the hospitality industry in Lebanon.  

Why did the restoration of the hotel take almost two years?
Many obstacles delayed the reopening, including the financial crisis, the pandemic and the insurance claim. However, we were always optimistic and worked very hard to reach this point, as we were able to set a strategy allowing us to reopen the Residence building on July 1, 2022, followed by the rest of the hotel, including F&B outlets, the spa, gym and banqueting facilities, by October 3, 2022.
It’s been a difficult journey, one that has required immense commitment, but we were determined to send out a positive and optimistic message of recovery to local and international communities. 

As a hotel that represents the golden era of Lebanon, how will the reopening of Phoenicia impact the local hospitality and tourism sector?
Phoenicia is an intrinsic part of this country’s history, founded in the middle of the last century by Najib Ibrahim Salha, a visionary man. This institution already witnessed the glamor of Beirut in the 1960s, as well as many other chapters in the history of this lovely country: a hotel where visitors from all over the world basked in the soulful Lebanese culture, where singers, celebrities, heads of state, monarchiesguests and clients enjoyed the unique charisma of our hotel.  

What can guests look forward to experiencing in the newly renovated hotel?
The reopening of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut is a sign of hope. It demonstrates that we believe in Lebanon and its community. The Lebanese people are extraordinary, and with the support of our colleagues, customers and clients, we will reopen our doors with pride and work hard to prove, once again, that Lebanon is a country of resilience. 

What are your plans for Phoenicia Hotel Beirut?
We will reposition our hotel in the market, work hard to bring back our loyal customers and attract new clients and visitors to our city and country, offering them a truly unique experience that’s synonymous with Lebanese hospitality.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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