For the traveler, Beirut offers a fascinating array of architecture with churches and mosques standing side by side among the glass and steel of office buildings. The effervescent city features a variety of bars and restaurants that open their doors to visitors almost any time of the day too. Several premium hotels can be found in the city as well.
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For instance, the Golden Tulip Hotel de Ville, a 4-star rated boutique property, offers such amenities as cable TV, a desk, phone, DVD player, hair dryer, high-speed Internet access, housekeeping services, in-room massage, iron and ironing board, microwave and mini bar. You’re also provided with a robe and slippers for your comfort too. Only 2 ½ miles to the center of downtown Beirut, the hotel is close to other major attractions such as the Beiteddine Palace, a magnificent example of 19th century Lebanese architecture, which lies just beyond the city, and the Horsh Beirut, a pine forest on the outer fringe of Beirut, that is a “must-see” for nature lovers.
For five-star accommodations, you’ll, no doubt, like Le Royal Hotel in Beirut. Choose its Royal Blue Suite, which is decorated in Asian styling and is located on the top floor of the complex. For around $8,000 per night U.S., you’re offered a comprehensive view of the Mediterranean, marble bath with separate shower, Jacuzzi with the same breathtaking view, two living rooms, equipped bar complete with butler services, dining room, fully equipped kitchen, outside balconies to enjoy the temperate climate, satellite and interactive TV, safe box and Internet access.
Of course, the mentioned hotel might be slightly out of your price range. Nevertheless, you’ll find a number of luxury accommodations that are affordable in the city that will make for a memorable stay.
The Corniche and Pigeon Rocks
To start making memories and become better acquainted with the city, take a walk along the Corniche in downtown Beirut. The promenade begins at the Ras Beirut on Ave de Paris and stretches along the whole Mediterranean seafront to Pigeon Rocks, some magnificent, natural stone arches that rise out of the Mediterranean. Viewing the rocks is quite an experience, especially at the end of day when the silhouettes of the stone figures are outlined against the pink and gold backdrop of a sunset sky.
The Sanayeh Public Garden is also a nice retreat for anyone who enjoys walking or biking. In fact, bikes can be rented for use on the paved paths that wind through this scenic area. For art lovers, a trip to the Robert Mouawad Private Museum, located in the Pharaon Palace, is a memorable excursion as well. The museum is home to a variety of objets d’art, including regal clocks, porcelain objects, and a wide sampling of impressive watches and jewelry.
Should you be craving something to eat after visiting the aforementioned attractions, spend some time at the Chocolate Lounge. The restaurant, indeed, lives up to its name with its décor of chocolate wood in a contemporary setting and a scrumptious menu of chocolatey desserts. It’s a great place to go if you’re simply in the mood for a cup of coffee or a cocktail or want more substantial fare and one of the restaurant’s chocolate masterpieces for dessert.
If your tastes tend toward veggies and seafood, then a visit to Casablanca, located along the Corniche, is in order. Situated on the top floor of a historic Lebanese villa, the modern dining establishment offers dishes made with local Mediterranean seafood, such as lobster roasted in butter, along with fresh, organic vegetables.
Should you be more in the mood for some local cuisine, then Abdel Wahab El Inglizi serves up some fantastic fare. The fashionable Beirut restaurant offers delicious Lebanese food, such as Fatte, which is a specialty consisting of layered dishes of yogurt with garlic, grilled veggies, meat, pine nuts and fried bread. As a complement to your meal, indulge in one of the local wines or sample some arak, a Middle Eastern liquor made with anise.
As you can see, Beirut has a variety of interesting attractions as well as restaurants and accommodations. Keep it in mind for your next vacation or holiday.