Grand Aley Hotel was built in 1926 on a hilltop overlooking the old resort town of Aley, just off the main highway linking Beirut to Damascus. The area was a popular destination for visitors from Beirut and neighboring countries and the 3 brothers who owned the hotel called on the services of an Italian architect working in Lebanon at the time to design Grand Aley Hotel.
During World War II the hotel was requisitioned by the British army and used as their headquarters in the region. Later, it also became the headquarters of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) who, along with British and French troops, invaded Syria and Lebanon.
During the next 20 years Grand Aley Hotel became again a popular venue for evening entertainment - gambling, concerts and dancing, while its garden was large enough to have a pool with rowing boats.
Then came Lebanon's civil war and the hotel was once more sporadically occupied by foreign mercenary allies of local militias. Damage suffered during the war was too expensive to fix and its owners were forced to sell the hotel for a fraction of its worth. The new owner turned a part of the hotel into a school that taught a bilingual Arabic and English programme. In 2008 an unpaid loan forced foreclosure. Since then Grand Aley hotel remains abandoned as there have been no potential buyers.
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