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Where to stay in Beirut

Beirut is a city reborn. Relics of the Lebanese Civil War may still exist, but development is running riot with new skyscrapers springing up every year; Rolex clocktowers keeping lookout over mosques and churches; and the city's former bustling souq has been transformed into a high-end shoppers' paradise, infiltrated by designer brands. This city was the jewel of the Middle East in the 1960s: a place of showy opulence, casinos, yacht clubs and ostentatious hotels. But its heyday isn't over. In fact, downtown Beirut has been painstakingly returned to its former glory, and its immaculate-yet-antique streets are lined by Lamborghinis and Ferraris, parked outside effortlessly glamorous hotels. The sumptuously crumbling neighbourhoods of Achrafieh, Badaro and Gemmayzeh are full of boutique and offbeat accommodation and Beirut's waterfront is dotted with big-name resorts, crowned with rooftop bars; while the mountains that form its backdrop conceal historic forts and palaces, reimagined as luxury retreats.

For beaches & bling: Eddésands (£££)
A little like being in a rap music video, the beaches of Eddésands are full of beautiful people bronzing themselves on sun loungers. Situated next to the must-see ruins of Byblos (home to archaeological remains dating back to around 8,800BC), Eddésands is a family-run resort, which - while claiming kid-friendly credentials - looks more like one for the Kardashian crew. The spa is its trump card; therapists are skilled, welcoming and friendly. Sipping on gin and juice in the spa's huge hot tubs is a distinctly Kanye experience.
Rooms: $277 (£204), B&B.

For indoor explorers: Remhala Guesthouse (£)
Raymond Yazbeck's peculiar little hotel is more a labour of love than a business. He's been endlessly extending, renovating, decorating and even adding ramparts to his extraordinary home on an infinite basis. Set in the valley village of Remhala, just seven miles from Beirut's airport, many of its rooms and terraces overlook the mountains. Its five guest lodgings range from pokey to cavernous, and all are decorated like fairytale grottos and littered with antique clocks, brass lamps and an eclectic collection of objets d'art. Rooms: $66 (£49), B&B. T: 00 961 3 377 098.

Follow @JamesDraven Published in the November 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/destinations/middle-east/lebanon/where-to-stay-in-beirut/