Cover Photo: Walid Rashid

Beirut is one of this year’s hottest travel destinations, with art, food, hotels and nightlife to rival London, Shanghai and New York. We enlisted the help of local insider, Gregory Gatserelia—who was recognised by Architectural Digest as one of the top 100 interior designers in the world—to share a few local hotspots that are close to his heart. Don't forget to check out all five of our insider guides to Beirut (links at the end of this article)

1. Life’s a beach

“When I need to escape the city I head south for around 25 minutes to my favourite private beach, Lazy B. The sandy beach is clean, there’s a natural sea pool and it’s very peaceful. Like many of the best beaches in Lebanon, you need to pay but it’s worth it.” 

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2. Creative scene

“Saleh Barakat Gallery has its finger on the pulse of the local art scene, so I drop by regularly to keep up to date with the best established and up-and-coming Lebanese artists.” 

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See also: Will Travel For Art: 10 Global Exhibitions To See This Summer

3. Seafood and sunsets

A 45-minute drive north from Beirut, in the coastal town of Batroun, is Chez Maguy, a wonderfully rustic waterfront restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean and serving freshly caught fish. Gregory says: “the sunsets here are like nowhere else in the world.”

4. Farm to table

Founded by social activist and entrepreneur Kamal Mouzawak—who also launched Beirut’s first farmers market, Souk el Tayeb—Tawlet is one of Lebanon’s most remarkable restaurants. Different chefs (amateur and professional) cook each day using seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients to showcase dishes from their home region.

“The lunch buffet is superb and changes daily," Gregory shares with enthusiasm. "I’ve never been disappointed.”

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See also: The World's Best Private Islands And Villas According To Travel Experts

5. Take a dip

Very little has changed at Sporting Beach Club since it opened in the 1960s and its shabby-chic charm continues to attract new generations keen to sunbathe, swim in the seawater pool, play backgammon under blue parasols or feast in its famed seafood restaurant. “I love it because it’s simple,” says Gregory.

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Check out more travel tips from our other Beirut insiders: Joanna Laura Constantine, Jewellery Designer | Nour Salamé, Founder of Kaph Books | Eli Rezkallah, Artist and Photographer | Nour Al Nimer, Tableware Designer

Portrait photography: Walid Rashid

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