Resort

Lebanon,
Beirut

Introduction

Beirut has always stood its ground as a playground for Arabs and Europeans in search of oriental frisson. Hotels such as the Four Seasons and Le Gray have opened their doors and fashion brands such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton are gracing the new Souks. Add in legendary hospitality, a famed party scene and layers of history and you have a city with a unique patina that visitors and locals cannot get enough of.

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Essentials

  1. Make sure your passport is free of Israeli stamps.
  2. Visas can be obtained at the airport.
  3. Arrange pick-up to avoid being overcharged by airport taxis.
  4. Don't sweat the Arabic, or indeed the Lebanese pounds: answers will invariably come in English or French and the bill can be settled in US dollars.
  5. Tuck into a plate of 'kibbeh nayeh', Lebanon's traditional dish combining raw meat, bulgur and onion – but make sure it comes from a trusted restaurant.

Two-hour tour

  • American University Beirut — Historical campus located in a cradle of trees overlooking the Mediterranean sea.

    Cairo Street

    +961 1 350 000

    Visit website
  • Walk in downtown Beirut — The city centre, a no man's land during the war, is now home to restored souks, with dozens of shops and restaurants.

  • Beirut National Museum — Meet the Phoenicians, the mysterious civilisation that created the alphabet.

    Museum Street

    Visit website

Hotels

  • Affordable and well located

    Palm Beach Hotel

    Phoenicia Street, Ain el Mreisseh

    +961 1 372 000

    Visit website
  • Dependable and stylish

    Albergo (Relais & Chateaux)

    137 Abdel Wahab el Inglizi St, Achrafieh

    +961 1 339 797

    Visit website
  • Premium

    Four Seasons

    1418 Prof. Wafic Sinno Avenue, Minet el Hosn

    +961 1 761 000

    Visit website

Dining

  • DInner for two

    Chez Jean-Claude

    Georges Kamel Building, Achrafiyeh

    +961 1 201 190

  • Fast Lebanese breakfast

    Zaatar w Zeit

    Bliss Street

    +961 12 11 711

    Visit website
  • Leisurely breakfast

    Café Paul

    581 George Haddad Avenue, Gemmayzeh

    +961 1 570 170

  • Mid-morning coffee

    Rawda

    Chouran Street, Manara (next to Luna Park)

    +961 1 743 348

  • Lunch with friends

    Tawlet

    12 Naher Street, Chalhoub Bldg (facing Spoiler Center), Mar Mikhael

    +961 1 448 129

    Visit website
  • Lunch on your own

    Urbanista

    Yanni building, Gouraud Street, Gemmayzeh

    +961 1 567 811

    Visit website
  • Fish restaurant

    Babel Bay

    Beirut Marina, Zaitunay Bay

    +961 1 370 846

  • Afternoon tea/drink

    Balima

    Ghalghout Street, Saifi Village

    +961 1 985 295

  • Dinner with friends

    Seza

    Patriarche Arida Street, Mar Mikhael

    +961 1 570 711

    Visit website
  • Big dinner with friends

    Sud

    Mar Mikhael Street, nr. Mana Station, Achrafieh

    +961 1 560 900

    Visit website
  • Late drinks

    Torino Express

    7 Gouraud Street, Gemmayzeh

    +961 3 611 101

  • Midnight snacks

    Barbar — (open 24 hours)

    Spears Street, Hamra

    +961 1 379 778

  • Midnight snacks

    Kabab-ji

    Hamra Street, next to the Masrah Madinah theatre

    +961 1 741 555

    Visit website
  • Late bite

    Barbar (open 24hrs)

    Spears Street, Hamra

    +961 1 379 778

Reading

  • Bookshop

    Papercup

    Agopian building, Pharaon Street, Mar Mikhael

    +961 1 443 083

    Visit website
  • Books

    Dar Bistro & Books

    Roma Street, Hamra

    +961 1 37 33 48

    Visit website

Shopping

  • Something you can't get anywhere else

    Les Artisans du Liban et d'Orient

    Rafik Hariri Avenue, Ain el Mreisseh (opposite Palm Beach Hotel)

    +961 1 362 610

  • Lost luggage - where to buy shirts

    ABC Mall

    Achrafieh

    +961 1 212 888

  • Something for the kids

    Sunflowers Boutique

    Mkhallassiye Street, Saifi Village

    +961 1 972 727

    Visit website
  • Something for someone you love

    Monocle Shop-in-shop at Officina Slowear

    Patriarch Howayek Street, Bab Idriss (Central District)

    +961 1 999 230

    Visit website

Basics

  • Basics

    Pharmacie Le Gabriel

    Park Tower Building, Elias Sarkis Avenue, Achrafieh

    +961 1 324 686

Transport

  • Buses — If you don’t speak Arabic you'll have no way of knowing a bus's schedule or route – and there are no bus stops. In fact, in light of some recent kidnappings, it's probably best to steer clear of public transport altogether for the time being.

Fitness

  • Good gym

    Lifestyles Health Club

    Al Mada Building, Ras Beirut

    +961 1 366555

    Visit website

Monocle 24

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