A Swanky Sunday Brunch at Kempinski Summerland Hotel

Even the road leading there feels distinctly un-Lebanese: wide, serene, evenly paved, with residential high-rises spaced noticeably apart for breathability. You’d never know you were mere miles from Beirut International Airport to the south and Pigeon Rock to the north.

The Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort beautifully embodies its descriptor. Featuring its own private beach and marina, the hotel is defined by a maze of pools and secluded Jacuzzi bungalows. As we passed through the main gate and descended toward the complex, images of Kassandra in northern Greece – specifically the Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort – cascaded through my mind with longing and nostalgia.
Beirut’s newest five-star property perches on the Mediterranean as prominently as the Manara Lighthouse, boasting 153 rooms and suites designed to exploit the breathtaking views of the sea. There’s a venue for every breed of guest, from a Cigar and Single Malt lounge for the stogie-whisky aficionado, to a gourmet restaura…

Up Close & Personal with Wesley’s Wholesale

I recently sat down with Farrah Berrou, Creative Strategist at Wesley’s Wholesale, a major Lebanese wholesaler of American products with a flagship store in Jnah and a massive three-story stronghold in Hazmieh.

Wesley's is owned and operated by the Berrou family, who transplanted from Southern California to Beirut more than a decade ago and yearned to import the American shopping experience with them.

DI. When and where was Wesley’s Wholesale incorporated? Who is it run by? How many staff members are there? Is it an international enterprise?
FB. As a family, we've been in imports since 2005, but Wesley’s as a brand didn't come to life until 2013. We decided to rebrand and restructure our concept as an American grocery megastore similar to the big-box stores of the US while also paying tribute to my late uncle Wesley, who passed away a few years before. Between sales staff and management, we’re about 40 people involved in the day-to-day, but the purchasing & procurement is…

Scam Sagas: Buying a TV Without Its Remote

Buying a major appliance or gadget in Lebanon can be a telling lesson in both ethics and the treatment of women as second-class citizens, as I recently unearthed.

We were shopping around for a Smart TV. You know the sort: Ultra High Definition broadcast, 4K resolution, 65-inch screen. In short, state-of-the-art technology. Blame my husband’s Netflix fetish and occasional PlayStation dabbles – these pastimes can command a pretty penny!
After comparing prices at the big retailers like Khoury Home and Agha Sarkissian, we were directed to a discount liquidator in Zouk Mosbeh who has apparently been thriving for years. Lo and behold, our TV of preference listed at 10% off published prices elsewhere. A one-year manufacturer’s warranty was also guaranteed.
Done. Bought. We were thrilled at the savings.
In fact, we left the shop with close to US$ 4,500 in purchases to equip our new flat in Greater Beirut. The tally included a refrigerator, washer, dryer, microwave, and two UHD TVs.
A couple of day…

Embracing Motherhood: Four Months In!

Since the day my son was born, everyone’s been exhorting me to savor each moment, because it’s going to pass by in a blur. Well, Stephen’s been alive and kicking for precisely 18 weeks now, and tis true – I can’t quite account for where those 125 days have gone.

The good news is my nerves have subsided. When he was merely 40 days young and we departed for Beirut from Los Angeles, I was a frenzied mess. Up until then, my mom had been helping me considerably with his bath times and evening whimpers. I was frantic every time Stephen burst out screaming or crying, but she’d reassure me it was completely normal. This is the only way infants can communicate, I learned, and though his tears have really tapered off, I still go berserk every time he bawls.
In Lebanon, I’ve struggled to summon the courage to take him out on my own, unless our destination is a relative’s house, where safety and security reside. Up until last week, I’d never independently taken Stephen to the mall for fear that I w…