Exactly one year ago, I wrote about Beirut being named the 20th best city, ahead of cities like Paris, Barcelona and Venice. That post got shared a whopping 12 thousand times on Facebook, despite it’s somewhat wonky criteria. After all, no matter how much I love Beirut, it’s hard to justify how it can beat cities like Paris and Barcelona. It showed though, that Beirut remains one of the favorites for seasoned world travelers, and worthy of recognition for the second year in a row, with an even higher rating despite everything happening.
Beirut at 14th place was just ahead of Vienna in 15th, and other famous cities like Sydney (19), San Francisco (20), Chicago (23) and Kyoto (25).
Of course, the criterion is based on the Conde Nast’s “Readers’ Choice Awards 2014″. So, by no means are living standards, infrastructure, security, etc. anywhere nearly as good or better than most of the other cities on that list. But, it’s undeniably “boost of serotonin” worthy that despite all the crap happening, we still land a pretty sweet spot in the CN Top 25.
Here’s what the description says:
Though the Middle East’s current political climate is volatile (and, admittedly, has been for much of the last three millennia), Beirut remains a popular port of call for seasoned and in-the-know travelers. As editor David Jefferys says, “it’s simply a city that won’t die.” This immortality is buttressed by a thriving dining and shopping scene—try Tawlet, the ‘farmers’ kitchen’ of Souk el Tayeb (every day, a different regional Lebanese chef is showcased) and Artisan du Liban et d’Orient for traditional local garments and crafts. Adding to Beirut’s appeal as a top world city is the presence of numerous fabulous hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, Le Gray, and Hotel Albergo come to mind.