The Jewel of the Mediterranean

Good day to all of my friends! It is always a nice day on the Cloud but today is particularly beautiful with warm temperatures and a light breeze. I hope it is nice where you are!

lebanon - mosque al amin

The Landmark that is the Al Amin Mosque

I was recently asked the location of my favourite ‘hidden treasure’ and I replied, without hesitation, Beirut in the gorgeous country of Lebanon. Everything is special in Beirut; the scenery, the lifestyle and especially, the people! Before their civil war, Beirut was the party-capital of the Mediterranean and the entire Middle East. Well, my friends, I can tell you that Beirut is back on top and its better than ever!

Here’s a pro-tipSolidere, once the cultural centre of Beirut, is strangely quiet these days. While it is still beautiful to walk through in the warm sunshine with its iconic art deco architecture, the Lebanese now avoid the neighbourhood for more lively locales. So, take a quick peek then head for Achrafieh!

Visit Lebanon

Stunning Marina views and a favourable hot spot for socialising

The Beirut Sporting Club on La Raouche is the iconic summer location in this fantastic city. The denizens are astonishingly gorgeous and welcoming! It is aging gracefully and it’s my favourite place to relax in the golden sunlight. The place to be seen right now, however, is the promenade at Zaitunay Bay close to the Four Seasons Hotel and down toward the crumbling St. George Hotel. This is where perfectly tanned Beirut natives worship the sun and relax before a long night out.

Outside of Beirut, Lebanon is an exciting country with so much to see. The Mediterranean coast offers ancient towns like Byblos and Crusader castles like Sidon. The mountains rise up quickly from the coast and provide temperate zones that appeal to all tastes – right up to high alpine locations which offer several ski resorts. East of the mountains is the historic and mysterious Bekaa Valley with its awe-inspiring historical sites including my favourite, Baalbek.
BEIRUT - Byblos Alleyway

Escape the chaos of Beirut for the fishing town of Byblos

One very cool place for a relaxing afternoon or evening is the picturesque village of Broumana which perches about halfway up the mountains with panoramic views of Beirut spread out below. It is warm but always has a cooling breeze during the long springtime and summer. I love to entertain friends at the Mounir Restaurant because of its excellent food, perfect service and outstanding views of Beirut and the coast.

Mzaar Ski Resort

To Ski or to just Après Ski? You decide!

When I visit Lebanon in the Winter or early Spring, I enjoy winter sports at the Mzaar Ski Resort in Faraya. The slopes are challenging, rising to over 3000m (over 10,000 feet), but the après-ski is the most fun anywhere! There are constant parties and frequent fashion shows. The slopes are only about fort-five minutes outside of downtown Beirut. So, during April, you can ski or snowboard in the morning and swim in the warm Mediterranean waters in the afternoon! Recently, Faraya has also become a chic Summer venue for ‘Sunset to Sunrise Parties’. There is no other place, above the Cloud, that I like better than Faraya!

There are hotels that range from opulent to budget and every option in between. The Four Seasons is a recent architectural masterpiece that dominates the new marina, but my favourite is the Phoenicia. The Phoenicia has been the place to stay in Beirut for decades and, for me, it is still the very best. Its service is delivered to the highest standard in the world.

There are fantastic restaurants catering to all tastes throughout Beirut. The French, Italian, Japanese and Cuban specialties are fantastic, but I crave the scrumptious Lebanese food when I am there. My favourite Lebanese restaurant is Abdel Wahab in Solidere; it is always a treat!

BEIRUT - temple ruins

I recommend a day trip to the colossal Roman Temple ruins

Shopping is to Beirut what water is to fish; it is right at the core of its existence! I recommend you take home beautiful Islamic-design souvenirs. You should also take a selection of hand-made chocolates, fresh nuts and the local pastries or your family and friends won’t forgive you! The Lebanese wines are excellent quality and exceptional value.

Here’s a final pro-tip: La Casa Del Habana in Beirut Airport Duty-free is the least expensive place in the world to buy Cuban cigars for the aficionado in your family. My boys beg for them like puppies for treats! Lol!

Beirut is great for a fun-filled adventure. Just remember to pack your sunglasses and a relaxed attitude!

 

 

Love,

Isabella

 

 

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see:  Neighbourhoods of Solidere & Achrafieh, Zaitunay Bay, Byblos and Crusader Castles, the historical sites in Bekaa Valley, National Museum of Beirut and one my favourites is to go Skiing in Winter and early Spring months at Mzaar Ski Resort in Faraya (http://www.mot.gov.lb/, http://museebeyrouth-liban.org/en, http://mzaarskiresort.com/)

Where to stay:  The Phoenicia Hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel but there is something to suit everyone’s budgets. (https://www.phoeniciabeirut.com/, https://www.fourseasons.com/beirut/)

Where to eat:  Mounir Restaurant in Broumana & my absolute favourite place is Abdel Wahab for amazing food, there are a few locations dotted around (http://www.mounirs.com/)

Where to party: Faraya for late night to early morning party go-ers, Gemmayzeh neighbourhood for pubs, music and good food and great company

What to buy:  Beirut is a shopper’s paradise so enjoy it! Buy some chocolates, nuts and pastries and I never forget to pick up my fav Cuban cigars from the airport!

Marhaba Beirut!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see:  Neighbourhoods of Solidere & Achrafieh, Zaitunay Bay, Byblos and Crusader Castles, the historical sites in Bekaa Valley, National Museum of Beirut and one my favourites is to go Skiing in Winter and early Spring months at Mzaar Ski Resort in Faraya (http://www.mot.gov.lb/, http://museebeyrouth-liban.org/en, http://mzaarskiresort.com/)

Where to stay:  The Phoenicia Hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel but there is something to suit everyone’s budgets. (https://www.phoeniciabeirut.com/, https://www.fourseasons.com/beirut/)

Where to eat:  Mounir Restaurant in Broumana & my absolute favourite place is Abdel Wahab for amazing food, there are a few locations dotted around (http://www.mounirs.com/)

Where to party: Faraya for late night to early morning party go-ers, Gemmayzeh neighbourhood for pubs, music and good food and great company

What to buy:  Beirut is a shopper’s paradise so enjoy it! Buy some chocolates, nuts and pastries and I never forget to pick up my fav Cuban cigars from the airport!

Marhaba Beirut!

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