Beirut Re-emerges With a New Waterfront

Four Seasons and InterContinental are part of Beirut’s comeback as the Paris of the Middle East.

Long regarded as the Paris of the Middle East, the capital of Lebanon faces the Mediterranean Sea to the west with the Lebanon Mountains to its back. The influences from a long history of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Arab and French rule have left their mark in this city where synagogues, mosques and churches stand side by side.

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Beirut Benefits From a New Face Forward

Beirut-LebanonTake a stroll on the Corniche to sample the real flavor of Beirut along with the most fabulous sea views. Get into the local groove at the big Beirut Souks marketplace, completely rebuilt since 2009. Curious visitors can learn more at the famous Sursock Museum and the National Museum of Beirut.

Massively popular as a destination, Beirut’s time in the limelight was cut short by the disruption of a civil war in 1975. Today, reconstruction in Central Beirut has been moving forward since 1990, projecting the city once again to the top of the league tables as referenced in recent years by Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet and The New York Times. InterContinental has a number of hotels in and around the city, including the large Phoenicia and Le Vendôme, a boutique property down the street. Riviera Hotel has Beirut’s only hotel beach. Four Seasons opened a stunning property capped off by a 26th floor open-air rooftop pool and lounge.

Notably, the new waterfront built on reclaimed land called Zaitunay Bay Promenade opened in December 2012. This quarter of new hotels, restaurants, art galleries, clubs even offers its own summer music festival. Lebanese talent which has branched out internationally has planted stakes in the new Zaitunay Bay. Among the gleaming new restaurants, find Zabad from Chef Karim Haidar, who runs three excellent restaurants in Paris. Momo at the Souks is one happening spot from Mourad Mazouz, with sister places in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, three more in Paris and two in London. North American influences come to fruition at Cro Magnon Steakhouse and St. Elmos’s Brasserie, reminiscent of a New England seafood outpost.

What’s trending in nightlife? At the intersection of investment and entertainment, Mybar, in the Central District has crowdsourced the vision of a contemporary club open to the public in order to benefit from its extended network.

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