Ana Sultan al-Sheikh
As soon as I entered, I was overcome by the smell. It was like a mix of urinal cakes and spearmint chewing gum, and was more than a little off-putting. But the decor was nice, very Oriental, yet somehow making me feel like I was in Polynesia.
Al-Sheikh was definitely obviously more gay-friendly than the other gay hammams. No one seemed to hide the fact that they were gay, and I saw more than one could being affectionate. (I mean mildly affectionate!)
I wasn't horribly enchanted by the amenities, however. The hot tub was lukewarm, the steam room was tiny, and the stairs precarious. The staff, however, was extremely friendly and there was a nice cold pool which was dark and cavernous.
One thing immediately struck my eye: there were no condoms! Shame! We're living in the 21st century, and such an omission is tragically careless. AIDS is currently not a huge problem in Lebanon, but it can easily become one.
Secondly, I noticed that most of the masseurs, who were rather goodlooking, were foreign. When I was leaving, I spoke to two, one from Iraq and one from Syria. I don't know if they were gay, doing it for the money, or both. I didn't buy a massage, so I don't know how they are or how much they cost. But I feel that says something important about the situation in Lebanon, but I don't want to delve too far into ethnic politics.
Anyway, I will definitely go back. Well, probably. I don't have 15,000 LL to throw around whenever I feel like it.