Beirut City Guide

Gay Beirut Beirut City Guide

Beirut is a sexy, fascinating, city that would likely be one of the world’s top urban destinations if it weren’t for the political unrest in the Middle East and the lingering reputational effects of its civil war back in the 1970s. But the Arab world’s most gay-friendly city is not letting any of that hold it back. The Mediterranean hub is a hotspot for food, wine, nightlife, art, design, fashion and anything else you could ever want from a city. Get ahead of the pack and make this ancient-city-slash-cosmopolitan-playground your next big trip. Word is already getting out–the number of tourists from the US, France, Canada, UK, and Australia has been steadily on the rise for five years running. The gay scene is more developed than elsewhere in the Arab-speaking world, which means there’s still a long way to go. Well-established gay clubs are tolerated by the authorities and Beirut launched the Middle East’s first Gay Pride in 2017 but never got off the ground due to threats from Islamic radicals. The courts have thankfully begun poking holes in the law that criminalizes gay sex but it still stands (for now).

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Baffa House is the product of a love story between an Italian who fell in love with a local gal

The best hotels in Beirut

The Albergo Hotel dishes out elegance and charm in spades. The 33 suites, each with its own character, are decorated in Lebanese-oriental. The boudoir-style rooms are appointed with crystal Ottoman chandeliers, Persian rugs and four-poster beds. And with a wood and glass Art Deco lift that deposits you onto a leafy roof terrace with views to the city and the Mediterranean, Albergo is the place to stay in Beirut. A funky boutique hotel in a 1920s house, Villa Clara is filled with both colour and character. With just seven rooms, the blue villa is run by a French chef and his wife who designed it so that contemporary pieces by local artists sits alongside antique furniture. The hotel’s French restaurant is considered to be one of Beirut’s best. A light-filled guesthouse with high-ceilings, tiled floors and vintage furnishings, BEYt Mar Mikhael is lovely. Take your breakfast in the garden courtyard. O Monot landed a spot on the Small Luxury Hotels of the World for the simplicity of its sleek minimalist design set in a Modernist building. It’s got a rooftop bar and pool and plenty of high-tech amenities. The Baffa House is the product of a love story. Italian immigrant Francesco Baffa Volpe came to Lebanon after WWI and fell in love with a local gal. They built this house in the 1940s and his family has lovingly converted it into a four-room guesthouse. Local art and family photographs adorn the whitewashed walls and the owner’s mom makes the breakfast for you each morning.

Baffa House

Baffa House

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