A forgotten luxurious hotel built under Ottoman rule over 100 years ago, in the village of Sofar east of Beirut, officially reopened its doors to the public on Sept. 16 as it celebrated works honoring its past by British artist Tom Young, according to AFP.
AFP offered a look inside the grand space and spoke to Young about his exhibition paying homage to the hotel’s glamorous past, before the civil war forced the building’s doors closed.
“This place is just full of history… it was once one of the greatest hotels in the Middle East,” Young, a 45-year-old painter who has been living in Lebanon for a decade, told AFP.
“It was where kings and princesses and emirs and generals used to meet — also the most famous singers of the day.”
The paintings on display for Young’s exhibition showcase the exclusive parties of high society, lively dance scenes in the ballroom, card games played by the rich and powerful as well as historic political meetings — sometimes held in secrecy.
“Breezing through the Grand Hotel’s seventy five roomed corridors you can almost hear the secret deals being made between generals and ministers as celebrity love affairs nestled in the corners of the Monkey Bar,” Young wrote on his website.
Young’s show will run through Oct. 14, but programming at the Grand Sofar Hotel will also include: music, dance performances, kids workshops and art workshops.
The hotel and exhibition are featured in a video shared by Young on YouTube, take a look inside:
Throughout the exhibition, Young’s website says shuttles to the hotel are available every Saturday of the week from Beirut. Pick-up is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the return is set for 7 p.m.
For more information, visit tomyoung.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.