Hotel Excelsior was one of Lebanon’s most famous hotels back in the 1950s and 1960s and its nightclub “Les Caves Du Roy” was one of Lebanon’s hottest nightlife spots. Excelsior was located next to Beirut’s Palm Beach Hotel in Ain el Mreisseh and was featured in several scenes from Georges Lautner’s 1967 film La Grande Sauterelle. The movie includes a scene “where Lebanese restaurant and nightclub owner Pepe Abed sits at the famous pool reading a newspaper”.
The Wilson Girls (3 English Girls) used to perform every night at Les Caves Du Roy and an old German band called Birth Control performed there as well. According to this article, Les Caves Du Roy was known for its crêpes and Chef Roulet’s famous L’escape Excelsior. The article says that the Shah of Iran may have visited the place.
After the hotel closed due to the civil war, it was apparently reopened shortly for one night during Bachir Gemayel’s era. There are a lot of untold stories regarding Hôtel Excelsior & Les Caves du Roy Night Club and it’s quite unfortunate that it has been closed and abandoned for tens of years now. I’ve never noticed where Hôtel Excelsior was exactly in Ain el Mraisse but I found it on Google Maps and gonna see if we can visit it.
All the info and pictures were taken from this [article].
This picture was taken by Charles W. Cushman back in 1965 from the top of the hotel.
The hotel is not too far from the Radisson Blu if you are going down that road to join the corniche.
Opposite the hotel is the Quo Vadis restaurant which – like the hotel – is also in a dire shape.
I was there in 1963 playing with a band called Les Witchdoctors, we stopped at the Palm Beach Hotel and played at the Caves Du Roy at night.the owner of the Hotel i believe was Mr Prosper Gay Para.
That is correct. My father Antranig Ipranossian, was the sculptor of the statues, etc,..I would appreciate much if you have photos.
I stayed regularly at the Excelsior in 1968-1970. I have 3 old colour postcards of the hotel from that time (aerial view, pool+garden, Caves du Roy interior showing statues) and I’d be happy to email scans of these to you or anyone interested.
Can u email them to firstname.lastname@example.org?
Just came across this site. In 1962 my dad was a helicopter pilot (Worldwide Airways) in Doha and he lived there for a couple of years with my mum and two younger siblings. I was 13 at boarding school in UK and used to fly out to Doha on my own three times a year, usually with a layover in Beirut. I think the airline was MEA. Next day we’d fly to Kuwait or Abadan and then down to Manama by Gulf Air (I think) for another layover at the Shell Guest House. Finally on to Doha in something like a DH Heron or Dove.
But Beirut! Heady stuff for a 13 year old. The airline put me up sometimes at Palm Beach, other times Excelsior. I used to trot over to the Quo Vadis to eat. Or walk around to the Phoenicia, a new hotel, which had a glass bottomed swimming pool that came into the bar. I also used to lurk around the St Georges. And shopped at newly opened Starco.
On a few occasions I was in Beirut for 2 or 3 days waiting for a connection and went on trips to Baalbek.
Zahle, Byblos, Tripoli, Sidon, Tyre…by taxi…it was very cheap. I remember that at Beirut airport you could buy flick knives and .22 pistols. Wonderful days…….over 50 years ago. I think I thought I was a teenage James Bond.
I was the drummer in a band called The Healers – We played at The Caves Du Roy for about 2 months in
1968. We stayed at The Hotel Phonecia opposite the club. During the day we could spend time at the pool –
visits sites etc. I was 17 at the time & this was my first professional gig abroad. The band were very popular as they were a good time soul outfit – all Jamaican – except me – a London based band that played all the clubs in town – Bag Of Nails – St Morittz – Play boy Club – Top Hat Ramjam Club etc.. I enjoyed my stay in Beirut – it was still peace time then – only ever heard one bomb going off.
Hello, sorry to bother you, but do you recall who was the manager who used to work there? was it Georges Chaoul?
Imbued with nostalgia as a great admirer of the Levant that once was, I took pictures today from my sixth floor room right next next door to the relic that is the Excelsior Hotel, at the Warwick Palm Beach Hotel. IN the morning, circling it in all directions I photographed its remains and location such that whoever would like to see what is left, just google me by name, Sheri Laizer.
There seems to be no real prospect for its renovation as with many historic buildings in Ain el-Mreisse, but the garden clings on and the tiling from the old pool area is still identifiable as are the sprawling crimson oleanders and palm trees. The high rise are dwarfing the area and the scale and proportion is being lost all along the Corniche and venerable old suburbs.
Sheri Laizer, 30 May 2016
Sheri, Can you please post the website address with the pictures you took from Palm Beach Hotel
Please can I see your pictures of this hotel as it holds many memories for my mums friend who has plenty of pictures of her partying there x