100 Rue du Liban, Tabaris
Up the winding staircase of an Art Deco apartment building in the Tabaris neighborhood of Beirut is the fantastic Sarah’s Bag. The chic handbag line employs at-risk local women to hand-craft the exquisite purses, totes, and clutches. There are pieces designed with everything from beaded Arabic calligraphy proclaiming “passion” and “my heart,” to hand-painted psychedelic prints and lucite clutches in the shape of Backgammon sets.
Minet El Hosn
Built in 1961, the Phoenicia is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Recently renovated, it exudes Middle Eastern glamour with indoor fountains, an enormous marble staircase, and an in-house Arab patisserie. The five restaurants, extensive contemporary art collection, and the Spa Phoenicia (get the gold facial sheet mask), are all over-the-top decadent.
Martyr’s Sq., Downtown
With six bars and restaurants to choose from, plus an infinity pool overlooking the downtown skyline, and a full-service spa, this boutique hotel feels more cool Parisian than Middle Eastern. A cigar bar turns into a club at night (and has an impressive selection of Cubans).
Our Lady of Lebanon, Harissa, Jounieh
Set on a 1,880-foot summit, the Notre Dame du Liban (also known as Our Lady of Lebanon) is a huge tourist draw for a reason: The panoramic view is spectacular. Thought to be the guardian of Beirut, the molten bronze statue of the Virgin Mary can be reached by car or gondola, and at the top, there’s a small chapel inside the statue, cute restaurants, and a saint-studded gift shop.
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