Grand Hotel Casino Ain Saoufar
Ain Saoufar, Lebanon

Following the construction of the Beirut-Damascus railroad in 1880, the village of Saoufar experienced a boom due to its location in the Mount Lebanon highlands, transforming it into an attractive summer resort town. By the late 1880’s Beirut’s bourgeoisie began building lavish villas in the area immediately adjacent to the train station and in 1890, the Sursock family constructed a Grand Hotel and Casino opposite the train station. 

The Grand Hotel Casino Saoufar was the first casino in Lebanon and immediately acquired great prestige and importance amongst the local and international bourgeoisie in Lebanon and the Arab World regularly hosting Emirs, politicians and celebrities from across the Eastern Mediterranean. It was destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War as the villages of Saoufar and Bhamdoun became key localities on the upper frontline in Mount Lebanon.  

In 2018, the Grand Hotel was reopened for the first time following the war after quick renovations to its ground floor. It’s reopening was part of artist Tom Young’s collaboration with one of the hotel’s inheritors Roderick Sursock Cochrane whose long term vision for the hotel includes its transformation into a hub for artistic production and public use. 


Location
Old Damascus Road , Ain Saoufar, Lebanon
Events
Constructed by the Sursock Family
Shelled, Looted & Burned during the Lebanese Civil War
Ongoing light restoration to convert structure into a public art venue
Variant Names
Grand Hotel Casino Ain Saoufar
Original
Grand Hotel Saoufar
Alternate
Grand Hotel Sawfar
Alternate
غراند اوتيل صوفر
Transliterated
فندق صوفر الكبير
Variant
Building Usages
hotel
commercial
art gallery
public/cultural