FROM COAST TO COAST

With over 35 beach clubs in Le­banon, LT rounds up the hottest des­ti­na­tions this sum­mer for ever y taste. We also speak to con­sul­tant Ralph Nader on the new trends and de­vel­op­ments that are tak­ing the countr y’s coast­line by storm

Lebanon Traveler - - HOT TOPIC -

The face of Le­banon’s coast­line has seen sig­nif­i­cant changes over the last decade as beach re­sorts con­tinue to evolve to chang­ing trends. Gen­eral Manager of Am­ber Con­sult­ing, Ralph Nader, whose grand­fa­ther opened the first Le­banese beach club, St Ge­orge, in 1936, is cer­tainly an ex­pert. He man­aged both St Ge­orge and Riviera in the ‘90s and pi­o­neered the first beach club out­side Beirut, Oceana. In 2003 he de­vel­oped Eddé Sands, be­fore launch­ing Am­ber Con­sult­ing, which has de­vel­oped beach clubs across the en­tire MENA re­gion. “The beach mar­ket has evolved a lot in the last 15 years, since 2001 when we opened the first beach club out­side Beirut,” Nader says. “Ever ybody thought I was crazy, but it hap­pened to be a huge hit and [has] en­cour­aged more than 35 beach clubs to open out­side Beirut.” He then talks about the huge evo­lu­tion in the beach club con­cept, which used to be con­cen­trated in Beirut and Jounieh and was more of a con­crete re­sor t. “Damour now has some ver y nice beach clubs such as Ir is Beach and Damour Beach Re­sor t, which is cur­rently in devel­op­ment to be­come a full re­sor t man­aged by an in­ter­na­tional chain and will com­pletely change the con­cept of hav­ing a re­sor t by the sea in Le­banon.”

Nader is quick to pick up on new trends for beach go­ers. Re­cently, he’s no­ticed peo­ple re­turn­ing to their roots, drawn to the or ig­i­nal beach clubs such as Spor ting and Long Beach. “We see a dr iver [drop­ping of f] a lady wear­ing a few thou­sand dol­lars’ worth of clothes and go­ing to a beach club just to pay LL15,000 as an en­trance and stay­ing on a sunbed that is not of high qual­ity, on con­crete that still shows traces of the war.” Beach clubs are now also mov­ing to­wards cre­at­ing and man­ag­ing their own restau­rants, rather than rent­ing out the space, which is bet­ter for “qual­ity” and to match “con­cept and vi­sion.” The beach spa is also a grow­ing trend, Nader re­por ts. “There are sev­eral re­sor ts in the south with spas, which are re­ally just a few treat­ment rooms, such as Or­chid in Jiyeh, and By­b­los Sud. But, Eddé Sands has re­ally pushed the con­cept, with sev­eral in­door and out­door treat­ment rooms and a new in­door pool with a spe­cial treat­ment room. I think the con­cept of the spa was never adapted to the beach and it could be de­vel­oped to [fur ther] at­tract peo­ple.” Nader ex­pects a pos­i­tive sum­mer for the beach clubs, af ter a dif­fi­cult few years for some. And with new open­ings and ren­o­va­tions up­ping the game, the Le­banese beach ex­per ience is max­i­miz­ing its im­pact.

White Beach, Ba­troun

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