HOTEL, n. : A building or establishment where travellers or tourists are provided with overnight accommodation, meals, and other services. Etymology:  French hôtel

HOST, n. /həʊst/: A man [sic.] who lodges and entertains for payment; a man who keeps a public place of lodging or entertainment; the landlord of an inn. Etymology: Old French oste, hoste […], modern French hôte host, guest. Latin hospit-em (hospes) host, guest, stranger, foreigner.

GUEST, n. /ɡɛst/: A temporary inmate of an hotel, inn, or boarding house. Represented also by Latin hostis, originally ‘stranger’, in classical use ‘enemy’ (whence the compound *hosti-pot-, contracted hospit-, hospes guest, host).

HOSTILE, adj. and n. /ˈhɒstaɪl/ /-tɪl/: Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an enemy; pertaining to or engaged in actual hostilities. Etymology: Latin hostīlis, hostis enemy […]


Beirut’s former international hotel seafront was a hub of international mobility and entertainment until the mid-1970s. Its hotels flourished along shopping malls, banks, embassies, bars and restaurants, all located besides a new system of highways connected with Beirut’s international airport, granting maximum flows in and out of that cosmopolitan Mediterranean metropolis that was the capital of Lebanon.

But In 1976, from a pinnacle of cosmopolitanism, the hotel district became one of the bloodiest sectarian front lines of the Lebanese civil war (1975 -1990) and a three-dimensional battleground fought over by numerous militias.

Hotelgeopolitics.com is the fruit of a 2-year research project exploring the delicate interface between hospitality and hostility in Beirut’s former hotel quarter, and tracing the mechanisms of power, space and architecture at the basis of a complex passage from peace to violence in this area of Beirut.

Hotelgeopolitics.com is an archive collecting research findings, oral and visual testimonies of one of the most diverse and yet violent urban areas in the Mediterranean. Responding to the official amnesia maintained by the Lebanese state, Hotelgeopolitics.com aims to be at once a public repository and a laboratory for the memory of Beirut’s modern past.

Source: An-Nahar Information Center. Reproduced with permission.

Source: An-Nahar Information Center. Reproduced with permission.

Project details

Project title: Views from the Holiday Inn, Geopolitics, urban war and memory in Beirut

Principal investigator: Dr Sara Fregonese (University of Birmingham)

Period: 1 May 2011/31 December 2012

Project sponsor: British Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Award: British Academy Small Research Grant (SG102042), £ 7,301

Collaborating artist & web design: Rupert Griffiths

Research Assistants: Imad Aoun, Simona Loi (2011-2012), Waleed Serhan (2005)

Contact: s.fregonese@bham.ac.uk