Yawn, stretch and let it all hang out on these gorgeous secret terraces, from brand new city sun-traps to mysterious mountain retreats.
Inspiring fanatic devotion in all who visit, this secret garden in Ghazir seems to have developed organically over the winter months. Its multi-leveled terraces, lounge areas, nooks and crannies arranged along the narrow valleyside are now paved with floral mosaics, decked with turquoise boards and hung with more lamps, scattered with more cushions and loaded with more extravagant plant life than ever before. The staff are charming and the food, if you’re able to concentrate on it while ogling the scenery, is great too – proper home-made Lebanese meals, including fabulous ice cream.
(09 921121, 03 345506) Upper zone, Sacred Heart Str,Ghazir. Fri-Sun 11am-4pm, 7pm-11pm. Meal for two with drinks LL75,000.
Take your steaks outside this summer and show them a good time on Gaucho’s new terrace, in its prestige position on the Phoenix Tower corner with all the hum of people passing from Downtown to Ain el Mreisseh to gaze on. It just so happens to go perfectly with their new menu as well, which is updated seansonally and is now bursting with summer flavours. Tuna ceviche with green apple. jalapeno and tomato in orange and grapefruit juices? Sold.
(01 364801) Phoenix Tower, Minet el Hosn. Daily 12noon-2am. Meal for two with drinks LL250,000.
Mir Amin Palace
Beiteddine’s best-kept secret? An authentic miniature mirror image of the famous Ottoman palace, whose fantasy Oriental corridors, arches, pools and courtyards have been transformed into a hotel and restaurant. The huge, verdant terraces with their azure swimming pool are possibly the most romantic location in Lebanon. As the building’s golden stone blushes pink in the sunset, with a glass in your hand and a heart-stopping view of Beiteddine Palace below, look over at Deir al Amar and the mountains and luxuriate. If you can avoid the pop-up guitar- strumming one-man Arabic band, that is.
(05 501315, 03 900024/5) Mir Amin Palace Hotel, Beiteddine. Daily 7am-12mid. Meal for two with drinks LL105,000.
This much-loved seafood emporium is spawning like the salmon after which it’s named. It’s spread itself out the back into a spacious yet secluded leafy corner under towering lemon trees and prehistoric jungle-like vines. With this new development comes a new cocktail menu, with special concoctions like the ‘Salmontini flute’ – vodka, a hint of passion fruit and a float of Prosecco – and some non-alcoholic fresheners as well. Divine.
(01 320920, 03 151616) Facing Banque Libano Française, Accaoui Str. Daily 12noon-2am. Meal for two with drinks LL150,000.