Travellers looking for the real East-meets-West need look no further than Beirut. Despite ongoing political turmoil, the city remains a stunning mishmash of verdant hills, labyrinthine streets and crumbling architectural gems, all set within a sea-cradled peninsula. These days, it is affectionately referred to as “Bey” and its hedonistic mix of fashion, food, art, music and nightlife make it a vital, addictive city. One of the oldest districts, Ashrafieh, attracts everyone from crystal-toting yogis to sharp-suited entrepreneurs, but, despite the heat and the hip vibe, the look is overwhelmingly glamorous. Here, people dress up to go to the grocery store, so immaculate grooming and polished silhouettes are the order of the day in this city’s go-to style quarter.
Off-beat tableware with a difference: think, playful pieces such as Cutipol cutlery, outré accessories from Fornasetti and statement-making, porcelain Seletti vases. Weygand Street
Beirut jewellery duo Dima and Tania Nawbar infuse an age-old tradition with a contemporary edge in their cool collections of charms and stackable rings.
Mukhallassiya Street, Building 162, Saifi Village
Looking for glamour with an edge? Label Queen delivers with a mix of high-street and high-end labels including Lebanese designer Bashar Assaf’s beautifully minimal gowns. Mukhallassiya Street, Building 741, Saifi Village
Using regional vintage textiles to give new life to old furniture, this is the go-to place for brightly coloured pieces handmade by local craftisans.
Mukhallassiya Street, Building 332, Saifi Village
Expect idiosyncratic design pieces and cool, individual souvenirs within by far one of the most beautiful former private residences in the country.
Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street, Beirut