As Beirut wakes up to the Mediterranean summer and the beach clubs start preparations for a busy season entertaining the city’s ‘beautiful people’, the marinas are also on standby, with a gleaming selection of sleek motor yachts polished and ready for prospective charter clientele.
The Lebanese yachting season gets underway in May, post Beirut Boat Show, and cruises through to late September, with the good weather continuing long after the beaches in the Western Mediterranean have been left to Riviera diehards and chic old ladies with manicured poodles. Beirut is a city that doesn’t sleep, and where looks matter, so spending the day dozing on the sunbed of an 80ft Azimut is the perfect after ‘after party’ before the day kicks off properly with an exquisite seafood platter and a glass of Moet at one of the fashionable beach club restaurants.
This is Beirut on the water. Glamorous and delightfully accessible from the two main marinas – the extensive La Marina in Dbayeh, and the elite Solidere close to Downtown. Take a yacht from a sporty 50ft up to a luxurious 200ft, and plan a programme that embraces relaxed cruising, a lunch stop ashore, and chilled cocktails served by the crew as the sun slips slowly below the horizon.
Beach clubs along the Lebanese coastline are moving steadily upmarket with Oceana, Edde Sands and Orchid providing destinations within easy reach of the Beirut marinas. The Lebanese are smart, they have a prime stretch of Mediterranean coastline and the lack of offshore islands and quaint little harbours, isn’t stopping them from embracing a yachting lifestyle synonymous with the glamourous Italian and French Riviera’s. With complementary dinghy transfers ashore and award winning chefs, there are plenty of good reasons to leave the yacht at anchor for a couple of hours and enjoy a sensational beach experience. Think Pampelonne on the French Cote d’Azur – style is all about making a great entrance and this beats the car park any time!
Lebanon is a popular destination with both expat Lebanese and visitors from across the region who love the exotic combination of Mediterranean ambience with a Middle Eastern flavour. The relationship of the Lebanese with the sea is as ancient as the Phoenician ruins which dot the coastline and although the pleasures of being on the water are these days more hedonistic than commercial, the spirit of Neptune continues to attract all those who embrace this country and her unique heritage.