What To Do If You Have 48 Hours In Beirut, Lebanon
Beirut, the capital of Lebanon is known as the “Paris of the Middle East” for good reason. The sprawling metropolis boasts an East-meets-West charm that gives rise to its miniature yet characterful neighbourhoods. A weekend in Beirut means seeing the city in its element—feast, party and feel the true meaning of living in the moment.
2:00pm—Check in at Hotel Albergo
There’s no better way to experience Lebanese high society than a stay at Hotel Albergo, the only Relais & Châteaux property in the country. Tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood in East Beirut, only a stone’s throw from downtown, Hotel Albergo is an urban oasis where old world charm meets classic five-star service.
Each of the 33 Lebanese-Oriental style suites has a unique interior of its own, furnished Boudoir style and appointed with antique pieces from the Orient and the West. The bathrooms are thoughtfully designed, featuring salt from the Dead Sea, handmade Lebanese soaps and Molton Brown bath amenities.
With a chic rooftop pool perched above Beirut, a restaurant decorated with Persian rugs, Ottoman chandeliers, Damascus mother-of-pearl tables and a landscaped terrace offering some of the best sunset views, the Albergo embodies the charm of old and modern Beirut.
4:00pm—Coffee at Sip
A quick pick-me-up before exploring a new city is always a good idea. Sip in Gemmayzeh serves up perfectly brewed coffee, light bites and homemade cakes and good vibes fit for the trendy neighbourhood.
The quirkiness is reflected in the exterior of the cafe, where pastel blue and pink frame the entrance to reveal the vintage-inspired interior, adorned with traditional Lebanese tiles, leather furniture and bronze chairs—it's no wonder this space is always filled with stylish locals.
6:00pm—Sunset at Corniche El Manara
Join the locals on their evening stroll at Beirut’s seaside promenade, where the iconic rock formations—Raouche Rocks—set the backdrop for a beautiful sunset.
Lined with palm trees, the 4.8km esplanade boasts views of the Mediterranean Sea and the summits of Mount Lebanon to the East.
(Related: 4 Luxury Resorts With Stunning Views Of The Red Sea)
7:00pm—Dinner at Baron
No visit to Beirut would be complete without trying the classic Lebanese dishes such as hummus, manousheh (traditional flatbread), kibbeh (beef croquettes), tabbouleh and fattoush. But once you're familiar with traditional local fare, you'll find Beirut’s dining scene has a lot more to offer.
Tucked away just behind the main street of the happening neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael is Baron, an unassuming eatery that delivers a cool vibe and an ever-changing menu that will make you rethink everything you know about Mediterranean cuisine.
Each item on the menu—which is categorised by vegetables, dairy, seafood, fowl, pork, lamb, beef and sweets—highlights a singular main ingredient jazzed up with unexpected combinations of spices and sauces.
Something as simple as sweet potato is served as gnocchi paired with housemade bacon, sage butter and piave vecchio. Other crowd pleasers include halloumi with grapefruit and orange, roasted carrots with jalapeño yoghurt, and Baron’s signature dessert—baklava served with walnut nougatine, rose petals and mastic nigella seed ice cream.
10:00pm—Dance the night away at Bau
Just opened in June, Bau is one of the most exciting rooftop bar openings in Beirut this summer, levelling up the city’s nightlife scene with a stylish open-air space overlooking the Beirut skyline, outstanding mixology and a DJ line-up like no other.
When at Bau, party as the Beirutis do, or simply enjoy a casual nightcap under the stars.
9:00am—Breakfast at Souk el Tayeb
Start the weekend the local way at Souk el Tayeb, an open-air weekly farmers market that takes place every Saturday at the heart of downtown Beirut.
Created as a platform to celebrate Lebanese food and traditions, the farmers market gathers farmers, artisan food makers and home cooks to share specialities from their regions.
There's also a handmade crafts section featuring artwork, traditional soaps and pottery if you're looking for unique souvenirs to bring home.
1:00pm—Lunch at Tawlet
A no-frills gem in the heart of one of Beirut’s coolest neighbourhoods, Tawlet in Mar Mikhael prides itself in simple, honest food and a homey space with warm hospitality.
Every day a female cook from a different area of Lebanon, likely a mother or grandmother who has cooked meals for her family in the villages for years, prepares a “producer’s buffet” of traditional dishes that represent each locale’s signature flavours.
Come hungry, as you will be fed as if you are one of the family.
5:00pm—Sunset tunes at Iris Beirut
Perched from the roof of the Seaside Pavilion on Beirut’s new waterfront, Iris Beirut boasts a seaside location with modern decor, offering spectacular sunset views in a laid-back atmosphere.
Come for sundowners, soak up that Mediterranean sea breeze and enjoy the refreshing fruit bar—you may want to come back later to catch one of the talented DJs or live artists in action.
7:00pm—Dinner and drinks at Ferdinand
A vibrant hub with an ever-growing bar and restaurant scene, Beirut is chock-full of cool and quirky hangouts, but few tick all the boxes like Ferdinand.
The decor is rustic and masculine yet elegant, with dark wood furniture, leather seats and dimmed lights to set the mood. The venue attracts a sophisticated crowd with its top quality food, and you shouldn’t leave without trying the Ferdinand burger made with homemade blueberry jam (trust us, it’s a winning combination).
Cocktail creations at Ferdinand are crafted by the talented team of mixologists, and any request for a customised concoction will be satisfied beyond expectation.
10:00—Breakfast by the pool
Spend the last few hours of your trip relaxing at luxury beach club, Orchid, just a 35-minute drive from Beirut’s Central District. Take advantage of the Lebanese seaside from a sunbed on the private sundeck, complete with an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the sea.
Lounging on a secluded 50-metre stretch of white sandy beach, enjoy dishes from Orchid’s poolside menu that range from hot and cold mezze to refreshing fruit juices made from local produce. You'll leave Beirut feeling sun-kissed and satisfied.
(Related: 5 Best Luxury Hotels In Beirut)
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com.