This year Beirut yachting action is in the heart of the city at the newly opened Zaitunay Bay, an eclectic development of retail outlets, restaurants and cafes which line the water front all the way from the old St. Georges Hotel to the not yet open Le Yacht Club Beirut.
An updated incarnation of Avenue des Francais, once the palm fringed sea front promenade at the centre of smart Beirut, it offers a chance to fully embrace the yachting lifestyle with privately owned and charter yachts berthed in gleaming rows in front of the Riviera style cafes and restaurants. A haven from the pressures of day to day life, the marina is ideally positioned for Beiruti locals as well as visitors staying in the Downtown area. Stroll along the extensive board walk around the marina’s edge to get a better feel for this vibrant project, or even better arrive for an early cappuccino in one of the waterside cafes as a precursor to a day out on the water.
Chartering from the marina allows visitors the benefits of easy taxi drop-off, or convenient covered parking, only a few steps away from a selection of yachts ranging in size from 30 to 100ft. Plan a break from city living or a demanding sightseeing schedule and make the most of being right next to the sea with a surprise afternoon out for a loved one, a day with the family, or an onboard party – there is a yacht to suit every occasion. The marina is just a short cruise from the rocks at Raouche, the wide expanse of Jounieh Bay, and a number of thriving beach clubs which offer a pick-up service for guests on anchored yachts who want to come ashore for a taste of the chillout beachfront ambience. Back onboard, there is no better place from where to appreciate the full panorama of the Beirut coastline against its dramatic mountain backdrop.
Returning to the marina as the sun sets over the Mediterranean, there are plenty of reasons not to rush home. Restaurants and cafes are serving everything from traditional Lebanese fare to unpretentious French cuisine, and a glass of nicely chilled Chateau Musar as you enjoy the evening finale is a must.
The new Zaitunay is going to be a great success – it’s accessible, it’s stylish, and it manages to capture the fun loving international flavour of pre war Beirut whilst remaining strictly contemporary – it’s really not to be missed!