Rabih K

Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut wins award for ‘Best Luxury Hotel’ in 2018

The Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut has been named the ‘Best Luxury Hotel’ in 2018 by MEA Markets, a monthly investors publication based in England.

Four Seasons received GCC Enterprise Award, which honors the accomplishments of “innovative entities and individuals” across the Middle East region.

Four Seasons Beirut is just a one minute walk from Zaytounay Bay (Booking.com)
Four Seasons Beirut is just a one minute walk from Zaitunay Bay (Booking.com)

The luxury hotel has several nearby gourmet restaurants, a spa room and a rooftop pool with a 360-degree view of the Mediterranean sea, mountains and city.

Rami Sayess, the hotel’s general manager, said the hotel staff has worked hard to develop its luxurious brand in the region.

“I am delighted to receive this accolade on behalf of the team at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut,” Sayess said. “This recognition belongs to each and every one of them for all that they do to make the Four Seasons brand an iconic symbol of luxury.”

RELATED: This hotel suite in Broumana costs $80,000 per night!

The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the Beirut airport, near Zaitunay Bay along the Beirut Marina.

To find out more information about the hotel, click here.

British-Lebanese banker now executive vice-chairman of Swiss Bank UBS

British-Lebanese banker Paul Raphael is now an executive vice-chairman of the Swiss multinational investment bank UBS, a source told finews.asia.

According to the website, UBS said it was discussing options to terminate Raphael earlier in the year but he made a comeback. He will now be Head of Europe and Emerging Markets for the company.

The 56-year-old banker is fluent in Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish and English. Raphael received a bachelors in Economics from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Raphael is now the head of Head of Europe and Emerging Markets at UBS Wealth Management (finews.com)
The latest move marks a dramatic shift from news reported earlier this year (finews.com)

Paul Raphael previously served as a managing director for Credit Suisse and Merill Lynch. His experiences include Chairman of Central Europe, Middle East and Africa & Head of IBD for the Asia-Pacific Region.

A spokesman for UBS did not confirm or comment on the story.

Sleepless in Beirut: Study shows 40% of the city sleeps less than six hours

A sleep expert at the American University of Beirut Medical Center estimates that nearly 40 percent of the 2 million people living in Beirut sleep less than six hours every night.

While this is common in other Arab countries, associate professor Hassan Chami says this could be more common in Beirut than any other place in the region.

“I have good evidence based on my surveys that about 40 percent of Beirutis sleep less than six hours, which is a shocking number,” Chami said.

RELATED: Lebanon: ‘Best party place,’ says guy who visited every country

Chami believes these numbers are problematic and can lead to sleep deficiency. He believes the sleep deficiency among Beirut residents is approximately one third higher than the rate in the United States.

Lebanon has one of the most active nightlife activities in the region (POSH Club Beirut)
Lebanon has one of the most active nightlife activities in the region (POSH Club Beirut)

Sleep specialist and researcher Neil Stanley said the number of people who are short on sleep is high, and it’s a problem.

“In the past, people would have taken a siesta (Nap) in the Gulf, which allowed them to stay up at night,” Stanley said. “But that doesn’t happen anymore… People are still living like that but are missing out on the afternoon nap.”

Soccer star Mohamed Salah vacations in Beirut as World Cup continues

Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Salah and his family arrived in Beirut late Friday for a vacation, reports said.

According to the daily newspaper Al Liwaa, Salah, his wife Maggie and their daughter Makkah will be in Lebanon for three days. They will also meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during their trip.

Salah is staying at a hotel in downtown Beirut, but the exact location is not being released for security purposes, the newspaper added.

Salah was recently dumped out of the World Cup tournament in the group stages after his team lost all three of their matches and failed to receive any points to advance to the round of 16.

Mohamed Salah plays for the Egyptian National team (Express and star)
Mohamed Salah plays for the Egyptian National team. (File photo)

However, Salah led the national team to their first World Cup since 1990 and managed to score two goals himself during the tournament.

RELATED: Man stabbed to death during World Cup argument

Salah is expected to be at Liverpool FC training camp in three weeks.

The team will be at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan on July 28 for their showdown with rival Manchester United.

Two Lebanese women among Forbes top 10 entrepreneurs in Middle East

Forbes Middle East recently released a list of the top 10 women entrepreneurs in the Middle East that “have championed the most innovative ideas and received the most external funding” in 2017.

Two women from Lebanon made the list at numbers 6 and 9!

The list included women of Arab origin based in the Middle East who were “making waves” in their respective industries.

Nadia Moussouni, named number 6, is the co-founder of her startup Energy 24 that raised $3 million.

Founded in 2011, Moussoun’s Beirut-based startup seeks to create alternative energy storage and generators and currently consists of two technicians, plus four technicians on contract basis.

Nadia and co-founder Antoine Saab (Executive Magazine)
Nadia and co-founder Antoine Saab (Executive Magazine)

RELATED: Carla Haddad: From 14-year-old model to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ celebrity

At number 9, Loulou Khazen Baz raised $1.8 million for her startup Nabbesh.

Founded in 2012, Baz’s startup is the Middle East’s first online freelance work marketplace.

Loulou previously won the TV show “The Entrepreneur” in 2012 for the Nabbesh idea and oversaw the planning of new startups in the healthcare, education and technology sectors.

You can check out the full list, by clicking here.

JOBS: Emirates now hiring crew members in Lebanon

A major global airline is looking to add more Lebanese talent to its crew. The Emirates airline will be holding a career fair in Lebanon for two days in an effort to fulfill demand in the region.

The Dubai-based airline is looking for “open-minded, helpful, friendly and service-oriented” candidates to spend the day speaking to recruiters on July 3 and July 6.

  • July 3: Burj on Bay Hotel in Kfar Yassine, Lebanon starting at 8 a.m.
  • July 6: Mövenpick Hotel in Beirut starting at 8 a.m.

For both dates candidates are expected to bring their most recent resume (CV) and a photograph.

RELATED: Lebanese man wins $1 million jackpot at Dubai Duty Free for the second time

Two more open recruiting days in Beirut and Jouneh are scheduled for August. The specifics have not been announced.

This is the airline’s latest push to capture the market of Lebanese expats that travel to Lebanon every year.

On March 29, the airline’s flagship double-decker plane made its first appearance of an eventual service route to Beirut’s Rafic Hariri airport.

Emirates A380 made its first landing in Beirut this year (Emirates Media centre)
Emirates A380 made its first landing in Beirut this year (Emirates Media centre)

For more information about requirements and the selection process, visit their website here.

Samir Geagea’s Instagram account hacked, ransom asked for its return

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s Instagram account was hacked Monday, according to a statement released by the party’s office.

According to An-Nahar, the unidentified hackers “asked for a ransom in exchange for the return of the account.”

The former militia leader’s Instagram account’s bio read, “This account has been hacked.” There was also a post of an unknown male with text that read, “Black hat: hacking in the real world.”

Courtesy of An-Nahar
Screenshot posted by An-Nahar.

This comes nearly a month after the Lebanese Forces were able to win 15 parliamentary seats, almost doubling the amount of their party members in parliament.

Samir Geagea most recently lashed out at President Aoun’s decree granting Lebanese citizenship to over 400 foreigners, most of whom are wealthy Syrians.

RELATED: Lebanese Forces, Kataeb and PSP call on Aoun to nullify citizenship decree

The Lebanese Forces said it reached out to Instagram and it appears the account has now been restored and the hackers post was removed.

Geagea’s Instagram account can be found at this link.

One of Natalie Portman’s favorite restaurants in NYC is Lebanese

One of Natalie Portman’s favorite vegan restaurants in New York City is a Lebanese restaurant called ilili.

In an interview with Timeout.com, Portman was promoting her upcoming documentary “Eating Animals” when asked about her favorite vegan eateries in New York.

Portman, who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship, said “Ilili is a great Lebanese restaurant that I love.”

Ilili, which means “tell me” in Arabic, is located in New York’s Flatiron district and serves “creative Lebanese sharing plates, entrees & cocktails served up in a trendy, modern space.”

Ilili is located on 5th Avenue in New York City. (Facebook/ilili Restaurant)
Ilili is located on 5th Avenue in New York City. (Facebook/ilili Restaurant)

Some iconic Lebanese vegan dishes that are featured in the restaurant include variations of falafel, mujadara, foul and hummus.

RELATED: 5 Lebanese vegan recipes perfect for Veganuary!

In addition to a dine in experience, ilili also offers catering and delivery options through Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates.

The interior of Lebanese restaurant Ilili in New York City. (Facebook/ilili Restaurant)
The interior of Lebanese restaurant ilili in New York City. (Facebook/ilili Restaurant)

To check out their menu on their website, click here. Ilili is located at 236 5th Avenue in New York City.

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary: Lebanese heritage influenced my career

On TV, Kevin O’Leary is a staunchly money-driven businessman known for his big investments and blunt off-the-cuff remarks. But when the cameras are off, the multimillionaire is a proud family man who has passed down his Lebanese values to his children.

O’Leary is best known for his role in the ABC television series Shark Tank, where he is one of five ‘shark’ investors who listen to entrepreneur pitches and choose whether or not to invest in their startups. He is also the co-founder of the billion-dollar tech company SoftKey Software Products.

The Canadian-born businessman was raised by an Irish salesman father and Lebanese businesswoman mother. He spoke candidly to Lebanese Examiner about his rapid success in the world of business, and how his Lebanese values still carry on to this day.

“Lebanese culture is one of the most successful entrepreneurial cultures on earth,” O’Leary says. “I’m very proud to say that because it’s true.”

All In the Family Business

Growing up, O’Leary was surrounded by business and hard work. His grandfather immigrated to Montreal, Canada from Hasbaya, Lebanon and built a successful clothing manufacturing company called Kiddie Togs.

“That’s how I learned family values, and I think those things are very important,” O’Leary says. “You don’t realize that until you get older. The work ethic in Lebanese families is legendary.”

Kevin O'Leary and his mother Georgette Bookalam. (Twitter/Kevin O'Leary)
Kevin O’Leary and his mother Georgette Bookalam. (Twitter/Kevin O’Leary)

O’Leary’s mother, aunts and uncle all worked hard to keep the family business running, but they always made time for family. His mother Georgette Bookalam died in 2008, and her sons credit their successes to her teachings.

“My mother Georgette was one of the most influential people in my career,” O’Leary says. “To this day, her wisdom and advice guide me in almost every business choice I make.”

The O’Leary home valued family. Sunday dinners were an important part of his life growing up, and it started a special tradition that continues today.

Kevin O'Leary and his family. (Facebook/Kevin O'Leary)
Kevin O’Leary and his family. (Facebook/Kevin O’Leary)

“I remember every Sunday if you didn’t show up for dinner that (my grandmother) prepared all day long, you would burn down in perpetuity,” he says. “I appreciate that because I have those same rules now. I try to get my family together no matter where we are every Sunday to keep that tradition going.”

Lebanese DNA

O’Leary once lived in Cyprus, and would visit Beirut often in the sixties before troubles broke out in the region. His experience in global investments have taken him around the world – and he always finds a Lebanese friend with an incredible business story.

“Lebanese are very smart investors,” he says. “If you go to any city in the world, you’re going to find that the core Lebanese community is very successful. Very often, they own all the real estate in town and lots of different businesses.”

Through his travels, he always finds a good Lebanese meal, too.

“It’s no surprise to me when I go to South America, Cambodia, Europe, wherever, I always go for a good meal,” he says. “I look for a good Lebanese restaurant.”

Kevin O'Leary on the set of the ABC series Shark Tank. (Disney ABC Press)
Kevin O’Leary on the set of the ABC series Shark Tank. (Disney ABC Press)

The entrepreneurial spirit flows through the Lebanese blood, he adds. Today, when he lectures at universities all over North America, he shares these stories with American and Canadian students.

“Some of us are born to create wealth, and others are meant to work there,” O’Leary says. “That’s just the way it is. They are both noble pursuits, but Lebanese have built businesses, they take risks and they support their families – they have a cultural disposition to do that.”

Kevin O'Leary and his mother Georgette Bookalam. (Twitter/Kevin O'Leary)
Kevin O’Leary and his mother Georgette Bookalam. (Twitter/Kevin O’Leary)

O’Leary believes his grandmother and mother played a central role in his career. He calls them “powerful matriarchs,” and says they exist in every Lebanese family.

“I’m a big supporter of women entrepreneurs – women are very good at business,” he adds. “I think the Lebanese culture was one of the first to support the concept of matriarchal values.”

These values, he says, are part of his career decisions, every day.

WATCH: ‘Frooza Booza’ turns any dessert into rolled ice cream

A Beirut-based ice cream shop is serving up ice cream in a unique way!

The ‘Frooza Booza’ shop in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael district will turn any of your favorite desserts into rolled ice cream.

The viral INSIDER YouTube channel featured them in 2017 for their speciality menu items.

Rolled ice cream fillings include red velvet cupcakes, Oreo cheesecake, coffee and various fruit flavors.

(Instagram/Frooza Booza)
(Instagram/Frooza Booza)

The rolled ice cream trend is already gaining popularity around the world, but ‘Frooza Booza’ put the dessert on the map in Lebanon!

It is also one of the first rolled ice cream shops in the Middle East, INSIDER reports.

The shop is run by Elias Saade and his fiancee Lea Abi Ramia, who opened the location about two years ago. They also sell ice cream sandwiches, macaron sandwiches and ice cream with Bailey’s liqueur.

Check out the video by INSIDER here:

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