Lebanon’s InterContinental Mzaar among 50 most scenic mountain resorts

The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa in Lebanon was recently listed in the 50 most scenic mountain resorts by U.S. News & World Report.

The resort was featured alongside worldwide favorites like the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland and Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado.

Located about one hour northeast of Beirut, the resort has over 135 furnished rooms and suites along with conference facilities and exquisite variety of dining venues, according to their website.

Related: Day3a of the Day: Faraya— a summer retreat and snow destination

Read the U.S. News full listing:

“Experience luxury amid snowy peaks at this InterContinental hotel less than 32 miles northeast of Beirut. Though you could easily spend your entire vacation skiing and snowmobiling in winter or hiking and rafting in summer, be sure to take advantage of the resort’s cinema, shops, heated indoor pool and kids fun center. Or, retreat to your Alpine chalet-inspired room or the on-site spa for a massage, facial or body treatment. When you’ve worked up an appetite, sit for a meal at one of six restaurants that serve everything from Japanese fare to Lebanese mountain cuisine to American classics.”

The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa was named among the world's most scenic mountain resorts. (Facebook/InterContinental Mzaar)
The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa was named among the world’s most scenic mountain resorts. (Facebook/InterContinental Mzaar)

To learn more about the resort and reserve your room for a future visit, click here.

Forgotten luxury hotel from Ottoman Empire re-opens in Lebanon

A forgotten luxurious hotel built under Ottoman rule over 100 years ago, in the village of Sofar east of Beirut, officially reopened its doors to the public on Sept. 16 as it celebrated works honoring its past by British artist Tom Young, according to AFP.

AFP offered a look inside the grand space and spoke to Young about his exhibition paying homage to the hotel’s glamorous past, before the civil war forced the building’s doors closed.

“This place is just full of history… it was once one of the greatest hotels in the Middle East,” Young, a 45-year-old painter who has been living in Lebanon for a decade, told AFP.

A sneak peak inside the Grand Sofar Hotel before it opened for public viewing. (Facebook/Tom Young Art)
A sneak peak inside the Grand Sofar Hotel before it opened for public viewing. (Facebook/Tom Young Art)

“It was where kings and princesses and emirs and generals used to meet — also the most famous singers of the day.”

The paintings on display for Young’s exhibition showcase the exclusive parties of high society, lively dance scenes in the ballroom, card games played by the rich and powerful as well as historic political meetings — sometimes held in secrecy.

“Breezing through the Grand Hotel’s seventy five roomed corridors you can almost hear the secret deals being made between generals and ministers as celebrity love affairs nestled in the corners of the Monkey Bar,” Young wrote on his website.

The Grand Sofar Hotel is open to the public for a special art exhibition until Oct. 14. (Facebook/Tom Young Art)
The Grand Sofar Hotel is open to the public for a special art exhibition until Oct. 14. (Facebook/Tom Young Art)

Young’s show will run through Oct. 14, but programming at the Grand Sofar Hotel will also include: music, dance performances, kids workshops and art workshops.

The hotel and exhibition are featured in a video shared by Young on YouTube, take a look inside:

Throughout the exhibition, Young’s website says shuttles to the hotel are available every Saturday of the week from Beirut. Pick-up is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the return is set for 7 p.m.

For more information, visit tomyoung.com or email grandsofarhotel@gmail.com.

Ottawa names street ‘St. Charbel Way’ after Lebanese saint

One of the largest Lebanese communities in North America successfully renamed a section of Donald Street in Ottawa, Canada to St. Charbel Way, according to the Ottawa-based news outlet CTV News Ottawa.

The celebration included fireworks, speeches and a visit from the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, who entered on a horse-drawn carriage.

WATCH: Patriarch Rai enters on a horse-drawn carriage:

Rai was present to mark the occasion while he was on a ten-day tour of eastern Canada, where he visited other cities to meet with members of the Maronite Catholic community.

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi visits the Lebanese community in Ottawa, Canada. (Facebook/Maronites Canada)
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi visits the Lebanese community in Ottawa, Canada. (Facebook/Maronites Canada)

RELATED: Pope approves Lebanon to list of ‘Christian pilgrimage’ sites

The day ended with a Lebanese heritage celebration mass and gala dinner.

WATCH: Unveiling of Saint Charbel Way in Ottawa, Canada:

The Lebanese community in Ottawa is one of the largest in Canada, and holds one of the largest Lebanese festivals in the world every year.

Mayor of Lebanon, Missouri celebrates ‘Day of Friendship’ with Lebanon

The mayor of Lebanon, Missouri declared Sept. 20 as a “Day of Friendship” between the Republic of Lebanon and the City of Lebanon, according to the Embassy of Lebanon in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Jared Carr issued a proclamation to celebrate the city’s “bond with the country of Lebanon not only through name, but friendship.”

Lebanon, Missouri has a population of about 14,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Facebook/Embassy of Lebanon in Washington D.C.)
Lebanon, Missouri has a population of about 14,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Facebook/Embassy of Lebanon in Washington D.C.)

Lebanese photographer Fadi Boukaram planted a cedar tree in the city to mark the occasion. Boukaram has made it his mission to visit every city named Lebanon in the U.S.

RELATED: Lebanese man plants cedar tree in town of Lebanon, Tennessee

“Our bond with the city of Lebanon extends back well over half a century, and we look forward to fostering deeper cultural ties and cooperation through our mutual respect of one another,” the Embassy said in a statement.

READ: Full text of the mayor’s proclamation:

WHEREAS, The city of Lebanon and communities across America share a bond with the country of Lebanon not only through name, but friendship; and

WHEREAS, Americans have a growing social, cultural and economic ties to the global community, as we seek to communicate with and understand our partners from different language and cultural backgrounds; and

WHEREAS, our community has historic ties of friendship with the country of Lebanon; and

WHEREAS, the cedar tree is a fitting tribute to the country of Lebanon, its people and hospitality; and

WHEREAS, Though thousands of miles may separate our countries, our communities are bonded in friendship and a historic connection dating back to 1955; and

WHEREAS, The City of Lebanon seeks to renew our bond.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mayor Carr, City of Lebanon, Missouri, Do hereby proclaim September 20, 2018 as a day of friendship between the country of Lebanon and the City of Lebanon, Missouri, USA. I urge all citizens to become familiar with and be open to learning about other nations and exploring our share of bonds.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Lebanon to be affixed this 20th day of September 2018.

Mayor Jared Carr
Attest: City Clerk Laina Starnes

Queen Rania dresses in classic shirt by Lebanese designer

Queen Rania of Jordan looked glamorous in a balloon short sleeve shirt styled by Lebanese fashion designer Maison Makarem.

The queen wore the classic white shirt while accompanying King Abdullah II of Jordan to visit the Jordanian national martial arts team. The team recently participated in the Asian Games in Indonesia, and brought home 12 medals.

Queen Rania wore a classic white shirt by Lebanese fashion designer Maison Makarem. (The Royal Hashemite Court)
Queen Rania wore a classic white shirt by Lebanese fashion designer Maison Makarem. (The Royal Hashemite Court)

According to its website, Maison Makarem was launched in 2015 by political science graduate Layal Makarem. The fashion studio has grown quickly, and is working on opening a new studio and creative space in Beirut.

In a Facebook post, Maison Makarem said this is the fourth time Queen Rania appeared in public wearing from Maison Makarem.

“The Maison Makarem team and founder, Layal Makarem, are beyond honored, humbled and grateful to Her Majesty Queen Rania for believing in the vision of Maison Makarem and the cycle of goodness and giving back that we chose to be part of,” the post added.

WatchMojo lists Lebanon’s ‘Top 10 Attractions’ from St. Charbel to Baalbek

From the mountains of Faraya to the ruins of Baalbek, Lebanon’s top travel destinations are the highlight of a new YouTube video posted by a popular travel channel.

In collaboration with Lebanese Examiner, WatchMojo released its list of the ‘Top 10 Attractions’ in Lebanon — and the selections are spot on!

At number 10, WatchMojo features the city of Baalbek in the Beqaa Valley, followed by the Tomb of Saint Charbel at number 9, and the mountains of Faraya at number 8.

WATCH: Top 10 Attractions in Lebanon:

The full list includes:

  • Baalbek – Beqaa Valley
  • Monastery of St. Maron & Tomb of Saint Charbel – Annaya
  • Faraya – Keserwan District
  • Zaitunay Bay – Beirut
  • Byblos – Jbeil District
  • Cedars – Bcharre
  • Sidon – South Governorate
  • Central District – Beirut
  • Tyre – South Governorate
  • Jeita Grotto – Nahr al-Kalb Valley

RELATED: Beirut named in world’s top 15 cities by Travel and Leisure magazine!

The Old Souq Market in Jbeil, Lebanon is one of the country's top travel destinations. (Lebanese Examiner)
The Old Souq Market in Jbeil, Lebanon is one of the country’s top travel destinations. (Lebanese Examiner)

MojoTravels features “all things travel” on YouTube, with insider videos on food, hot spots and travel tips from around the world.

See incredible photos inside the Mikati family mega-yacht

The Lebanese Mikati family own one of the most prestigious mega-yachts in the world, according to Forbes Magazine.

Chopi Chopi is a 262-foot yacht currently docked in southeastern France.

The beauty is valued at over $100 million, and features more than 20 cabins and luxurious space for 12 overnight guests and 33 crew members.

Chopi Chopi was built in Ancona, a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy. (CRN Yachts)
Chopi Chopi was built in Ancona, a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy. (CRN Yachts)

According to its builder CRN Yachts, Chopi Chopi is owned by former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his brother Taha Mikati, who together own the Beirut-based holding company M1 Group.

VIDEO: Inside Chopi Chopi, one of the largest yachts ever built in Europe:

The brothers have a net worth of nearly $2.5 billion, and have investments in South African telecom firm MTN, fashion retailer Pepe Jeans and prime real estate in New York, London and Monaco, according to Forbes.

The mega-yacht is the largest built by CRN Yachts in its over 50-year history. (CRN Yachts)
The mega-yacht is the largest built by CRN Yachts in its over 50-year history. (CRN Yachts)

The brothers also founded Investcom in 1982, and sold satellite phones at the height of Lebanon’s civil war.

Chopi Chopi features an entire deck for the owner. (CRN Yachts)
Chopi Chopi features an entire deck for the owner. (CRN Yachts)

Chopi Chopi is the largest mega-yacht ever built by the Italian-owned CRN Yachts company.

See virtual map of Chopi Chopi docked at Port Hercules:

WATCH: Incredible Lebanese wedding proposal on a yacht!

Wedding season is here, and like other people around the world, many Lebanese couples are wasting no time getting hitched.

In a YouTube video posted by Ali Wehbi, Ali is seen taking his blindfolded girlfriend out on a boat covered in red roses.

When she took the blindfolds off,  Ali popped the question — “Will you marry me?”

His now-fiancée Maya said yes!

Ali proposed to Maya on a yacht in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. (YouTube screen grab)
Ali proposed to Maya on a yacht in the beautiful Mediterranean sea. (YouTube screen grab)

RELATED: Epic wedding entrance captures Lebanese and Assyrian cultures

The two celebrated and danced together on the backdrop of a beautiful Lebanese sunset.

Mabrouk to Ali and Maya!

WATCH: Amazing Lebanese proposal on a yacht:

PHOTOS: Best snapshots from iconic Jounieh fireworks display!

A group of photographers are being recognized for taking the best photos of the iconic fireworks display in the coastal city of Jounieh, Lebanon.

The fireworks celebrate the Jounieh International Festival, which aims to highlight the Mediterranean coastline.

The festival committee shared photos of the winners on Facebook. The winners are:

1st place: Bachir Mouawad

Bachir Mouawad won first place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)
Bachir Mouawad won first place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)

2nd place: Georges Samaha

Georges Samaha won second place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)
Georges Samaha won second place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)

3rd place: Georges Hanna

Georges Hanna won third place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)
Georges Hanna won third place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)

4th place: Carine Assaf

Carine Assaf won fourth place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)
Carine Assaf won fourth place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)

5th place: Jean Daoud

Jean Daoud won fifth place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)
Jean Daoud won fifth place in the Jounieh fireworks photo contest. (Jounieh International Fireworks)

Lebanese man plants cedar tree in town of Lebanon, Tennessee

A Lebanese photographer planted a cedar tree in the small town of Lebanon, Tennessee as part of his mission to visit every city named Lebanon in the U.S.

Fadi Boukaram told WKRN-TV he is on his second tour of U.S. cities named Lebanon. By his count, there are 47 total ‘Lebanon’ cities in the U.S., including in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

Boukaram said the journey was done as a road trip to explore America’s heartland and any potential connections to the country of Lebanon.

Fadi Boukaram visits towns around the U.S. named Lebanon. He posted a Facebook photo in Lebanon, Kentucky. (Facebook/Fadi Boukaram)
Fadi Boukaram visits towns around the U.S. named Lebanon. He posted a Facebook photo in Lebanon, Kentucky. (Facebook/Fadi Boukaram)

Surprisingly, Boukaram told the Nashville ABC-affiliate he found a connection involving a goodwill tour in 1955 from Lebanon to Lebanon, Tennessee.

“What’s interesting to me is the Vice Mayor, who went from Lebanon is actually Lebanese-American. His name was Frank Baddour and he was a dentist and a prominent citizen of Lebanon, Tennessee,” Boukaram said.

The photographer planted a cedar — Lebanon’s national symbol — in a community park near the town’s downtown area.

Boukaram said the town of Lebanon, Tennessee made a special impression on him.

“I started in California and this is the first big Lebanon I passed through,” he added. “I passed through two smaller ones before but they were too tiny, and the weather there is too hot to be able to grow a cedar tree. I love Lebanon, Tennessee. I spent a week here in 2017 when I first came and I just loved it.”