By Lauren Kmec
Beirut
Lebanon
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Sometimes referred to as the “Pearl of the Middle East,” Beirut is the capital of Lebanon, as well as its largest city. This Mediterranean seaport is rife with history, as it has been continually inhabited since the 15th century B.C. Though Beirut suffered extensive damage during the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990, much effort has gone into the rebuilding process, and the city is thriving once again. In recent years, Beirut has become the epicenter of cultural life in Lebanon, as proven by its flourishing cultural and nightlife scene.

EscapeWizard.com encourages you to visit Beirut for an authentic Middle Eastern experience. Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), Lebanon’s only commercial airport, is located just ~9 kilometers from the city center. Take advantage of our excellent rates and book your flight to Beirut with EscapeWizard.com (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php). EscapeWizard.com can also help you make hotel arrangements for your trip. Beirut has excellent choices like InterContinental, the Holiday Inn, and others; simply follow this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).

Upon arrival in Beirut, you will immediately notice the many beautiful mosques and their magnificent design featuring minarets, domes, and extravagant columns. One of the most prominent houses of worship in Beirut is the Al Omari Mosque, which actually began as a church built by Crusaders, although it was converted into a mosque by the Mamluks in 1291. Non-Muslim visitors can freely admire the courtyard gardens but will need to obtain special permission to enter the mosque. As is the case when visiting any mosque, visitors must be appropriately dressed and must remove their shoes before entering. Additionally, non-Muslims may only enter a mosque when prayer is not in session (and not at all during the month of Ramadan). Some other notable mosques recommended by EscapeWizard.com include the Emir Assaf Mosque, the Muhammad Al Amin Mosque, and the Mosque of Ain El Mreisseh.

To get a sense of how the locals live, EscapeWizard.com suggests spending a day in Beirut’s Central District (aka “Solidere”), a trendy downtown area full of shops, cafes, and stunning architecture. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the impressive stonework and arabesque arches of the buildings as you browse the shops that sell everything from artisanal handicrafts to designer fashions. The Place d’Etoile and Clock Tower stands at the center of Solidere—this is a popular space for families to gather and socialize. Solidere is also home to ancient Roman ruins, several religious landmarks, and the National Parliament Building. Solidere is surrounded by a number of picturesque gardens, as well as Beirut’s sea Corniche, a 1.3-kilometer-long promenade stretching along the coast. The Corniche also houses a marina and a port area and offers wonderful views of the Mediterranean Sea.

For those interested in admiring some of Beirut’s antiquities, EscapeWizard.com highly recommends the National Museum of Beirut located on the infamous “Green Line,” the dividing line of East and West Beirut, formerly separate halves of the city. The National Museum houses a truly wondrous collection featuring artifacts dating from ~9000 B.C. up through the period of Ottoman rule. Some of the collection’s treasures include prehistoric stone tools, Phoenician pottery, and textiles and mosaics from the Roman Period. The National Museum and some of its artifacts were badly damaged during the Lebanese Civil War, but the museum was restored soon afterwards and was reopened in 1999 for all to enjoy.

Beirut is currently experiencing a period of cultural growth and revival, led by the rise of theater and the dramatic arts. EscapeWizard.com urges you to take in a theatrical performance during your time in Beirut, as you are sure to be dazzled by the energy of the artists. We recommend the Beirut Theater, which is known for pushing the envelope with its avant-garde productions that mix drama and music with multimedia. The Beirut Theater hosts a number of contemporary shows from Lebanon and abroad. Other theaters of note in Beirut are the Al Madina Theater and the Monnot Theater, known for hosting international theater companies as well as encouraging local talent.

With its rich history, booming cultural development, and friendly people, Beirut, Lebanon is a terrific choice for a vacation at any time of year. Plan your trip today with EscapeWizard.com, and prepare to fall in love with this majestic city.
Hotels in Beirut
By Rose Overbey
InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut
P.O. Box 13, Ain Mreysseh, Beirut, Lebanon
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If you're looking for class, comfort and luxury, look no further than the InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut. The InterContinental has played host to prominent celebrities and world leaders for many years. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, the InterContinental is in an ideal spot to stay whether you're visiting Beirut on business or pleasure.

You'll be greeted with first class service upon arrival. The staff will be happy to show you how to get around town, and explore points of interest in the area, such as the National Museum of Beirut or the fabulous shopping in the area. If relaxation is your goal, you'll enjoy the full-service Health & Fitness Center and Spa at nearby InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut. While not in the hotel, complimentary transportation is offered from the InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut.

If you enjoy relaxing in a lounge, the InterContinental offers guests two places to sip drinks and munch on complimentary snacks. Le Petit Bar and lobby lounge are wonderful places to unwind after a long day of exploring the area or doing business. All guests are welcome to take advantage of complimentary cocktail hours and breakfast buffets daily.

You'll be incredibly pleased with the amenities of the room you're staying in while at the InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut. The spacious rooms include high speed internet,  a mini bar, state modern bathrooms, and comfortable beds.

if you do need to take care of business on your trip, the InterContinental offers complimentary meeting rooms and an onsite business center. The business center includes a fax, printer, PC and even secretarial services.

The InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut is the perfect place to stay on your visit to Beirut. The hotel also offers travel services in house and concierge services. EscapeWizard.com highly recommends booking your hotel room at The InterContinental Le Vendôme Beirut. You can do so by following this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).
Hotels in Beirut
By Rose Overbey
Four Points by Sheraton Verdun
Verdun, Boulevard Saeb Salam, Beirut, Lebanon
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The Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun is the perfect place to stay while visiting Beirut. Guests will enjoy fantastic views of the city and surrounding area from any room in the trendy hotel. Geared towards serving travelers, the Four Points by Sheraton knows how to make their guests feel at home, whether they are in Beirut on business or pleasure.

The location is ideal for exploring the area. Located close to the Beirut National Museum, there are also many shops and restaurants in the area. The hotel's concierge will be happy to assist in planning your adventure. The Beirut International Airport is also easily accessible from the hotel.

The hotel offers a variety of cuisine within its walls. Should you want barbeque, visit, the Blue Patio. If you're looking for a casual international menu, try Le Bistro. Or if you just want something light, the Hotel bar offers guests delicious snacks and drinks to choose from. The Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun aims to please and your taste buds will not be let down! The hotel is family friendly, and often runs specials where kids are able to eat free.

The rooms are spacious and stylish. All feature comfortable beds, cable TV and air conditioning. You'll also feel comfortable knowing there is a safe in the room to store your valuable items. Of course room service is offered 24 hours and you have your own personal refrigerator and coffee and tea maker. You'll be equipped to look your best as the rooms feature complimentary hair driers and ironing boards and irons.

Staying at the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun is a wonderful choice for someone looking for a comfortable place to stay while in Beirut. The hotel prides itself on being able to offer travelers simple pleasures. EscapeWizard.com highly recommends booking your hotel room at the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun. You can do so by following this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).