Beirut is one of this year’s hottest travel destinations, with art, food, hotels and nightlife to rival London, Shanghai and New York. We asked local insider, Joanna Laura Constantine—a jewellery designer whose designs are worn by Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba—to recommend her favourite places to work, rest and play. Don't forget to check out all five of our insider guides to Beirut (links at the end of this article)

1. Right at Om 

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Yoga Souk

“Yoga Souk in Saifi Village is my favourite place for yoga and meditation. It’s a beautiful space with great energy and fantastic teachers. Drop-ins are welcome.”

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2. Lebanese zen

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Al Bustan Hotel

From its hilltop perch on the outskirts of Beirut, the charmingly retro family-owned Al Bustan Hotel offers great views over the city but the star attraction is its spa. Housed in a restored 200-year-old stone mansion that sits within the lush hotel gardens, L’Espace is a sanctuary of Lebanese Zen, with grand archways, intricate mosaic tiling, ornate screens and glowing glass lanterns.

Recharge with the help of ancient Middle Eastern cleansing and purification rituals or steam away stress in the luxury hammam. “I love having a glass of wine in the garden after a treatment and soaking up the serenity of the place,” says Joanna. 

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See also: A Food Lover's Guide To Helsinki

3. Stores with substance

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Orient 499

“Le 66 Champs Elysées Beirut on Foch Avenue is a cool concept store selling gorgeous things. It’s my go-to place for fashion, accessories, books—everything really. I’m also a regular at Orient 499 on Omar Daouk Street. The store promotes sustainable luxury and sells handicrafts made by artisans from the region. It helps preserve local cultural traditions but its products also have a modern twist. I’ve bought so many things here—candles, handmade soaps, homeware and clothes.” 

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4. Coffee stop

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Kalei

“Kalei is a super-cool coffee shop and micro-roastery tucked away in the backstreets of the buzzing Mar Mikhael neighbourhood. The design is bright and minimalist, with distressed walls, turquoise wooden shutters and a cute little courtyard shaded by towering trees decorated with lanterns. I like to sit outside on the patio, sip coffee and work on my designs.” 

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See also: Travel By Design: 10 Places In Bangkok For Design Lovers

5. Fine wine

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Château Ksara

“Château Musar, Domaine des Tourelles, Ixsir and Châteua Kefraya are just a few of the estates producing world-class wine in Lebanon. Make sure you sample as many as you can. It’s also worth visiting the beautiful Château Ksara in the Bekaa Valley where they offer tours and tastings.”

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6. Party time

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Capitole

“For cocktails and dancing there is nowhere better than the rooftop bar and nightclub Capitole, which serves amazing cocktails with great music and incredible panoramic views over the city. Beirut people love to party, so this is a must if you want to experience the nocturnal spirit of the city. We’ll usually warm up with drinks at Hotel Albergo’s rooftop bar.” 

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Check out more travel tips from our other Beirut insiders: Gregory Gatserelia, Interior 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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