Beirut - Lebanon for one week

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Jul 30th, 2003, 10:33 AM
  #1
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Beirut - Lebanon for one week

Hi, I'm going to Lebanon from Aug. 19th to 24th and need a hotel to stay. I want a hotel in a convenient spot where i can tour and shop by myself.

Also what about car? Should I rent a car?

Dress code? is there a dress code? should i not wear certain clothes. I understand it is very hot right now.

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Jul 31st, 2003, 08:57 AM
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Halide, what is your budget. Do not rent a car unless you have experience of driving in say India or Egypt. It is the pits. i moved here last month, so will tell you more if I know your price - big variations. [email protected]
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Jul 31st, 2003, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for your reply.

My budget is $50/60 US dollars.

How about cabs? Can i easily take cabs to downtown Beirut? How about shopping? Where can I shop?

Dress code?

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Aug 3rd, 2003, 04:54 AM
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Ask for "service, downtown" if they nod yes, give them 1000LL without asking, (service means sharing). If you ask how much means you are a tourist and they will ask for more. they will drop you in the area. They may only want to offer taxi service (door to door) - if so do not pay more than 5000LL and agree in advance. These taxis are all clapped out Mercs. If you want better cabs, ring up for Allo or Premier. Pay by the meter. Will be more expensive but compared to Europe quite cheap - but then by the time you take taxis everywhere it starts to add up. buses are not practical as lots do not show where they are going or only in Arabic. Shopping is Verdun (3 upmarket small malls), Downtown (all boutiques), Hamra (lots of small boutiques, some ok some out of date) and Achrafieh.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 05:27 AM
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Hi, would be very interested in knowing more about Lebanon, some friends of mine have been there too....but because they stayed with friend they had an amazing guide and they saw the best of the country...
Travelnick, sorry do you live there?
is it difficult to communicate...i speak french and i think this is one of the official languages or not?
Any suggestions for Hotels?
thanks
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Jul 8th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Yes still living here.
Communication if you have French and English is OK for the most part - especially in old East Beirut. Shops rarely an issue, sometimes taxis can be a pain - especially if they have no idea where they are going (common).
Hotels - only old style boutique hotel is Albergo - nearest to trendy bars on Monot St, furthest from sea. Best hotels Movenpick & Intercontinental Phoenicia, best for sports & leisure Movenpick (very good attached health club; best spa facs in town; squash, 3 pools - 1 indoor, tennis) others to consider Riviera, Gefinor Rotana, Palm Beach, BayView, Intercon Vendome (last 3 all next to each other and near Phoenicia). Others you will see - Bristol (busy road location but central); Marriott - AVOID- locations sucks; Sheraton Coral Beach - resort but inconvenient location; Meridien Commodore, central city but soulless; Crowne Plaza - OK in centre with views; Holiday Inn - in shopping mall of Verdun - OK for indoor facilities, eg underneath is 4 screen cinema and small amusement arcade including 10 pin bowling.
I can recommend a couple of taxi drivers that are not rip offs - one very good driver with bit clapped out car and a bit limited English (but super pleasant), the other more Lebanese style driver (dodgem cars) with better car and good French. For the day it will cost $60-$65 with either of those. Top cab company corporate rate is 120.
If you want recs re: restaurants etc ask.
It is an interesting place to visit and you can have a good time if you are a night person -tons of up market clubs and restaurants - you can spend $10 on a small beer at the trendy places here (profit margin is ginormous!). But of the 50+ countries I have visited, I would not put it in my top 10 - with the exception of a beautifully done up down town - which is overpriced but the only place you can stroll in Beirut. Personally I think there is too much destruction of environment here - not just the war, but all the beautiful buildings that were torn down replaced by ugly condo blocks or now left to rot - waiting for the time that they will be replaced by more modern crap (invariably to be sold to Kuwaitis or Saudis) - and the built-on coast line - when the locals talk about the beach, they nearly always mean a swimming pool complex, next to the sea. Beirut especially has seen property developers leave hardly anything for public use - there is 1 pathetic little park and 1 public beach; and you cannot swim in the sea near Beirut - it is too polluted.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 06:29 AM
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Thats great info there, thanks a million. Somehow from your description Beirut looks less and less appealing!
I have a friend who is an Architect there and he speaks highly of his country, although he lived in italy for a long time.Now that I think about it Albergo is italan for Hotel funny!
Is italian any useful?
if you can give me some tips on restaurants and bars that would be great
also any chance of bus tours to see the mountains and the roman-ruins around the coutry?
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Jul 8th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Is there a special reason you would want to go to Lebanon at this point in time? It will also be very hot in august.
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Jul 12th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Tourist bus trips are easy enough to get to Roman ruins etc. They will work out cheaper for 1 person than private taxi although offering less flexibility.
Restaurants - 3 favourites of ours amongst Lebanese food: Al Ajami in Ramlet el Baidet, Cafe Andalus (bit of Andalusian food as well) opposite Pigeon Rocks in the Palm Springs Village complex, Kabaji - chain, but very good and very transferrable to the west. Downtown restaurants are more expensive and not necessarily better food. Some of the restaurants out of town are really good and cheaper than town - eg the main restaurant in Ehden is excellent. You will see there more of the older traditional Lebanese service than in Beirut. Trip is nice to get there as well, although like so many of these towns in Beirut there is not necessarily much of a centre to have a wander through - people go to these towns specifically to eat at the restaurant and then drive 2-3 hrs back.
If you want a change a good but expensive Asian restaurant is Asia in downtown. A good sushi and cheap is Japanese Please on Bliss St.
Bars - lots around Monot St - the trendy bar location for Beirut. I was outside Crystal on the weekend and have never seen anything like it - a row of new Porsches. The other cars were all big SUVs - you will see more Porsche Cayennes here than in London easily! Crystal is the maximum show off place for people with no taste and too much money and there is a lot of those in Beirut in the summer.
If you talk to Lebanese about Lebanon, you can get amazing variety of opinions from those that think Beirut is the best place in the world, where everything is the best - the girls (great viewing if you love push up bras and lip liner), scenery (they seem to ignore the hideous environmental degradation on the coast) etc and those that see the whole country as going down the toilet with its rampant corruption and behaviour where petty lawlessness and selfish behaviour is the order of the day - epitomised by the driving. The fact that my junior colleagues do not go to downtown restaurants ever because of cost (same price as Vienna, with 1/3 of salaries) illustrate the huge divide here between a small elite and a large increasingly poor population.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 04:58 AM
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this is very sad, because I am reading up on this country and I understand it was once quite beautiful...
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Aug 3rd, 2004, 06:26 AM
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Being on route via Beruit on a business trip I had a half day spare so I went to Ehden, North Lebanon, where my late grand parents were born. It was fantastic to see all the places I had heard about. Found a nice restaurant, Drop In, where you could eat from a roof terrace and enjoy the scene below in the main square. A great plus, with my Arabic not being that strong, was that they spoke English and French.
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