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WINTER 2011I sea&iI51cityguideBeirut. Abdel Wahab, named after the street it occupies in theMonot area, is set in an old Ottoman house and is great fortraditional atmosphere, mezze and Lebanese hospitality, as isAl Ajami. If you have the luxury of your own apartment whilein Beirut, call on the culinary services of private caterer to thestars Hussein Hadidfor a gourmet banquet at home.DRINK.Candles Loungeon the 16th floor of the MetropolitanPalace Beirut is the place to go for long, late evenings withspirits and cigars. Le Gray's Bar ThreeSixty is a circular cocktailbar overlooking the city, mountains and sea and serving upgreat live music, DJs and neon-lit style and comfort. The martinisare particularly recommended. DANCE.For an all-round entertainment empire, head to Casinodu Libanin northwest Beirut. It has a theatre showing plays,ballet, opera, Broadway productions and jazz concerts, alongwith restaurants,banqueting facilities and gaming casinos.SEE, SHOP, SAVOURSEE.The city is best explored on foot, only then can you reallysoak up its effervescent vibe. The old downtown area has a feastof discoveries, among them the Al-Omari, Amir Assafand AmirMunzirmosques. Also take in the Parliament Building, and theRoman columns on Nejmeh Square. Meanwhile, the BeirutNational Museumhas over 1,300 archaeological artefactsranging from prehistoric to Ottoman times. And save an hour ortwo to visit the Roman Baths and Phoenician ruins of the city.SHOP.the famous market at Martyr's Place, known as Souk elBarghoutis ideal for an outdoor coffee as you watch the worldgo by, while Verdun Street, one of the most prestigious areas inthe city, has boutiques, galleries and two malls. SAVOUR.stroll and people-watch along the stylishseafront Corniche, and catch the sunset at Pigeon Rocksoff thecoast of Raouché. While you're there, visit one of the manynearby restaurants and cliff-side cafés. DO, DISCOVERDO.Faraya- an hour from Beirut, these mountains doubleup for trekking in summer and skiing in winter, earning them thereputation of being the Switzerland of the Middle East. If you'rein the city on a Sunday, head trackside to the Beirut Hippodromeas it lays on the very best pure-bred Arab horse racing.DISCOVER.Jeita Grotto, just 18 kilometres (11 miles) from thecapital, is a six-kilometre (3.5 mile) labyrinth on two levels. Thecave, topped and tailed with stalactites and stalagmites, hasan underground lake on which you can take a boat trip, completingyour experience of this mystical and enchanting region.nOpposite page, clockwisefrom top left: the FourSeasons Beirut; theGefinor Rotana hotel; an aerial view of the city; the rooftop pool of the Gefinor Rotana This page, clockwisefrom left: the Al DenteRestaurant at HotelAlbergo; Bar ThreeSixtyat Le Gray; walking isone of the best ways to soak up the city vibePhotography: courtesy of Four Seasons Beirut

52Isea&iIWINTER 2011From the Virgin Islands to the Windwards to theLeewards to the Grenadines, there are hundreds ofCaribbean islands offering dramatic scenery, fantas-tic watersports, world-class cuisine, fascinating his-tory and welcoming locals. Whether cruising as a couple, as afamily or with a group of friends, the Caribbean's cruisinggrounds have something for everyone. BeachesBeaches are what the Caribbean does best. Antigua alonehas 365, one for every day of the year, and further norththe British Virgin Islands are circled with shimmering bluewater and coral reefs protecting silky soft sands. But whichbeach is right for you? Some suit families, others are onlyaccessible by yacht and are therefore perfect for those insearch of complete privacy, others are ideal for partygoersor watersports enthusiasts. The British Virgin Islands are famed for their beaches, thebest of which is said to be White Bayon Jost Van Dyke. Animmaculate crescent of ivory sand, White Bayhas a reef lyingjust offshore running nearly the full length of the beach. Blessedwith calm waters, perfect for children to swim in, the reef hasa convenient break providing access to the shore by tender.Equally impressive, and better suited to those looking foractivity and people-watching, is the one-and-a-half kilometre(one mile) stretch of white sand at Cane Garden Bay in Tortola. On to the Leeward islands and St Barths. Needless to say itis the beach scene that attracts most visitors to St Barths. Theisland has 20 to choose from, but the best for chilled relaxationand sheer beauty are Saline(an unofficial nudist beach) andGouverneur. Those looking for something a little livelier shouldhead to the cosmopolitan St Jean.A short hop away, the exclusive island of Anguillahas morethan 30 beaches, andMaundays Bayis one of its best. A longcurve of flawless white sand, the beach is located on thesouthwestern coast of Anguilla. The island has beaches that arequieter and more secluded, but Maundaysis popular foractivity, be it strolling along the water's edge, or swimming andsnorkelling in the calm waters. Further south, at the bottom of the Leeward chain, Antiguahas so many beaches it is hard to choose just one but top ofthe list are Half Moon Bayon the east coast and Dickenson Bayon the northwest corner. Both are everything you would expectfrom the Caribbean - long stretches of sparsely populatedwhite sandy beach. Just over the water, Pinney's Beachon Nevisis another perfect crescent of sugar-fine white sand. The nearly deserted stretch of Pink Beachon the neighbour-ing island of Barbuda reaches from Spanish Pointto PalmettoThe Caribbean is a playground for superyachts. Brimming with islands thatinspire and impress, it offers countless options for dining and relaxation. Here,we profile the finest beaches, restaurants, night spots and leisure highlights ByMiriam CainBest of the Caribbeanisland guide