Discover Phoenician, Roman and Crusader ruins at Byblos, 40 minutes' drive away. This ancient port was a pre-war playground for Brando and Sinatra, and you can watch the new wave of glitterati cruising into harbour as you dine al fresco on fresh fish.
Da non perdere
Spring into the day with an early morning run along the palm tree-lined Corniche hugging the Mediterranean coast, 5 minutes away. Steal views of snow-capped Mount Sannine to the east as you break for hot nuts and fresh bread hung from vendors' handcarts.
The arrival of elegant boutiques and retail outlets has brought a new vibrancy to Hamra Main street. Step from Crowne Plaza Beirut to barter for Lebanese handicrafts or branded goods, or dine in thriving Thai, Moroccan or hummus restaurants.
Non tornare a casa senza
Travelling to Jeita Grotto's limestone crystallised caverns, where multi-coloured stalactites and stalgmites are illuminated in cathedral-like vaults. An electric boat transports you around a subterranean river and lake 18km north of Crowne Plaza Beirut.
Visit Beirut during Ramadan for a moving evocation of Islamic culture. Fasting begins with the early morning call to prayer from mosque minarets, ending at sunset when locals emerge to dine. A three day celebration with music and fireworks ends holy month.