Happily Married couple Christopher Valiante and Victor Valiante
Piece in the Middle East
Fragrance designer of Blöke Christopher Valiante and his new husband, international architect Victor Valiante, married in March 7, 2020, were anxiously planning their honeymoon before the pandemic that not only affected our country but the world as a whole. Because of Blöke Christopher was fortunate enough to travel the world, however there one part of the world he had yet to experience and that was the Middle East. Due to the very strict rules on homosexuality in the Middle East Christopher’s family and friends tried to get him to change his mind, but as we know once Christopher has something in his head it’s hard to get it out. After doing some research on the internet Christopher’s searches brought him to Lebanon. Lebanon is considered to be the most accepting country in the Middle East for the gay community. After finding the right country the next step was the right hotel and almost instantaneously he had found it. The Intercontinental LeVendome Beirut. Voted in countless gay publications as not only a 5 star boutique hotel, but also equipped with a gay friendly staff, lavish rooms, suites overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and the gem of it all their in house award winning restaurant “Sydney’s” the very pinnacle of luxury dining. Christopher said, “I have been to many restaurants across the world and never have I seen such a spread of of luxury in my life!” Besides the ambiance of royal beauty and elegance Christopher said he had never felt so pampered by their staff. “No matter who they were or the job they performed was executed extremely well, and everyone treated me like I was the most important person in the world!” Christopher and Victor were whisked away to a nearby town Byblos known to be one of the oldest cities in the world where they got to inspect (and get this) purchase sea fossils dating back to almost 100 million years old. The city itself equipped with helpful tour guides takes you back in time to a period barely noted in books.
Then it was back to the hotel the lap of luxury where they would walk the esplanade at night and embrace local cuisine and dine right there on the water. Sharing the freshest hummus, the most authentic toum, and what night in Lebanon would’ve complete without smoking a coal fired hookah smoked directly out of a pomegranate.
With only a one hour plane ride and a 100 USA dollars round trip the boys found themselves in Cairo Egypt. In Christopher’s words, “I have been lucky enough to see some of the wonders of the world but renting a camel and making our way through the dunes was like nothing you will ever experience in your life.”
We at FHM asked Christopher what his final thoughts were on being gay in the Middle East. He states: just respect the same rules you would anywhere you go including Manhattan. There’s no need to flaunt your affection for one another in a tacky tasteless way. Not only did we fall in love with the hotel, the shopping which I’m still recovering from, and the country itself but also the people. I am still friends over social media with Anthony Massoud, and Ahmed Kayali of the hotel and I know if and when I need a new reservation at the Intercontinental LeVendome Beirut I simply just have to reach out to Nathalie Hany the hotel manager and luxury, mystery, and beauty is just an airplane flight away. We seriously can’t wait to go back.
FHM: The boys actually had an around the world ticket with stops in Tokyo, Moscow, Paris, and London but due to Covid 19 there honeymoon was cut short. However, if you know Christopher as well as I do those trips will be made and sooner than you think. And when they are FHM will be the first publication to give you the play by play.