BEIRUT: BEACH CLUB GUIDE
Go for: Chillaxing in style
While it’s a 45 minute drive from Beirut’s centre, Iris Beach Club (from the same people as Iris Lounge, which if you haven’t been to yet, why not?), takes a secluded spot along Lebanon’s coast line and makes it achingly cool. Private cabanas each have their own infinity pools so make sure you book one of these if you don’t want to share swimming space. The chilled EDM music doesn’t get louder than sociably acceptable here, so it really is the perfect place to unwind or recharge again. Closing time is 6pm too which means most people are off home, or somewhere more lively, as the sun goes down.
2. Bonita Bay
Go for: A long day of sun and partying
Set in Batroun, an hour drive North from the city centre, Bonita Bay makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a little pocket of Ibiza. Set up along and across a hillside, with sunbeds on different levels of leafy and green terrain, get to Bonita about midday so you’ve got plenty time to soak up the sun. The sea here is one the best coasts we’ve encountered in the region, so don’t waste your time sitting by the pool, get a beach-side spot. Take a break from the sun mid-afternoon to pop up to the covered dining area, where locally caught fresh fish rivals some of the best seafood restaurants we’ve ever tried. Chilled house music gets turned up the lower the sun gets here, but if you really want to keep on partying after sunset, nip next door to the bar Pierre & Friends where the music is even louder. You can join the beautiful people dancing in their swimwear, or choose to quietly observe with shisha, both won’t have you feeling out of place.
3. Madam Bleu
Go for: People-watching
Located in the heart of the city, Madam Bleu (previously where old fave La Plage was located) is the place to see and the place to be seen. We went on a Monday afternoon and were surprised how busy it was considering most people should have been at work. But nope, magnum’s of rose were being ordered left, right and center in this stylish pool venue. Get their early and nab a poolside bed, because once you’re there you’ll be surrounded by Beirut’s most beautiful bodies. Make sure you book a table at the adjoining restaurant, Sea Salt, for lunch, which combines Mediterranean cuisine with classic Lebanese dishes in generous portions. It won’t won’t help your beach body’s self-esteem but it will be worth it.