Two decades of regeneration has helped remodel Beirut's historic centre and waterfront, with a skyline of cranes and new skyscrapers showing continued optimism in Lebanon’s capital. The banking and tourism sectors are two of the linchpins that stabilise the economy, while the metropolis continues to re-invent itself within the creative industries.
Commanding a prime location on Martyr’s Square, Le Gray Beirut (pictured below) is a flagship property of the Campbell Gray collection. This hip hotel has just completed an extension project that includes updates to its business and events facilities. The Mövenpick Hotel has state-of-the-art business facilities and two dedicated club floors suitable for business travellers.
Kaléo manages to mix informal brunches by day with fine dining by night, with a dose of art and design. The menu offers seasonal dishes sourced from the owner’s organic garden in north Lebanon. Le Gray’s Indigo on the Roof is a sophisticated restaurant with an extensive terrace area, offering everything from brunch to glamorous evening dining.
Enjoy rooftop bars such as Sky at BIEL (Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Centre) and Square at the Mövenpick Hotel & Resort, before moving on to the Gemmayze and Monot districts. B 018 nightclub, with its sliding roof, is Beirut’s most iconic dance venue.
Taxis are plentiful and pretty much the sole means to get about the city. Regular taxis have red license plates and an official tariff. Certified airport taxis are recognised by an airport logo on the door and are located outside arrivals. The journey time to downtown Beirut is 20 minutes.
Dip into Beirut’s history through the Lebanon National Museum, Canaanite and Ottoman era archaeology on Martyr’s square and the Ottoman-style Al-Amin mosque. Much of downtown can be explored in a day thus making it possible to trek further afield to Jeita Grotto, Byblos (pictured below) or Lebanon’s oldest winery, Ksara, in the Bekaa Valley.
British Airways operates a daily service to Beirut from London Heathrow; Middle East Airlines operates the only other direct service from the UK to Lebanon, with two services a day from Heathrow to Beirut. One-stop options via their respective hubs include Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.