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Beirut: Summer’s Top 10 Picks

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Four Seasons Hotel Beirut Chef Concierge Roxane Fersane shares this season’s top ten picks and other suggestions for shopping, dining, activities and more, to make your stay in Beirut this summer a memorable one.

1. Hike and Swim in Jannet Chouwen Valley and River

Hike a swim in the splendid wild nature of Jannet Chouwen valley and river, located 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Beirut. Jannet Chouwen is one of the most picturesque places in Jbeil Caza. Experience the pleasure of hiking in majestic nature, mixed forests with oak, pine and many other plant species, until you reach the lake. There you can relax under the shade of the trees or swim in the clean transparent water.

2. Explore the Lebanese Coast by Boat

Get out of the comfortable confines of your room at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut and into the sunshine and sea breeze of the Mediterranean Sea. A boat trip along the Lebanese coast is the ultimate backdrop to your vacation and a great way to experience some of the best attraction spots in Lebanon such as the Pigeon Rocks, Jounieh Bay and Byblos, while allowing the country’s breathtaking scenery to unfold before your eyes.

3. Visit the Baatara Gorge Waterfall

The Baatara gorge sinkhole is a waterfall in Tannourine near Balaa and a popular destination for nature lovers as well as outdoor enthusiasts. The waterfall drops 255 metres (835 feet) into the Baatara Pothole, a cave of Jurassic limestone located on the Lebanon Mountain Trail. Make sure to visit during the warm season while the bridges are in full bloom.

4. Discover Al Shouf Cedar Reserve

With an area of 550 square kilometres (210 square miles), Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve is the largest nature reserve in the Middle East and is an important bird and eco-tourism area. It hosts 32 species of wild mammals, 200 species of birds and 500 species of plants. Hike in the forest and admire its beautiful species or rent a bicycle from the Shouf Biosphere Reserve and cycle along the trail.

5. Take a Day Trip to Zahlé

Zahlé is the capital of the Bekaa Governorate. This city is famous for its pleasant climate, numerous riverside restaurants and quality arak. The main attractions of Zahlé and surroundings are the numerous wineries and vineyards, most of which offer free tours and wine tasting. Don’t miss having lunch at Tawlet Ammiq, an eco-friendly restaurant that celebrates food and traditions by supporting small-scale farmers and producers.

6. Shop for Souvenirs at Orient 499

An enchanting boutique in Clemenceau, Orient 499 showcases the finest of local and regional handicraft with a modernised twist. When visiting Orient 499 you feel like travelling the region – there are goods from Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, select fabrics and objects from India, linen from Belgium and Italy, glassware from Turkey and Sarafand in South Lebanon. Transcending time, Orient 499 is your go-to address for some Oriental souvenirs.

7. Escape Beirut’s Heat at Le Montagnou

The summer season in Beirut always promises to be quite sizzling. For those of you who prefer to head to the mountains to beat the excessive Beirut heat, Le Montagnou offers a cool mountain refuge with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Spend the day relaxing by the infinity pool surrounded by spectacular landscape, and watch the sun set while sipping on your favorite drink. Your day could not end any better.

8. Have a Tasty Lebanese Meal by the Sea at Jammal

A wonderful fish restaurant right on the sea in north Lebanon, with a beautiful setting in a tiny bay. Jammal serves high-class fresh seafood, including exquisite cold and hot mezze and salads. Their outdoor terrace almost touches the sea and there is a little spot for sun tanning and swimming.

9. Visit Tahet El Rih – The Little Greece Of Lebanon

A simplified replica of Greek islands with white and turquoise wooden cabins and chalets overlooking the Mediterranean, Tahet El Rih public beach, located in Anfeh, a little over an hour from Beirut, offers crystal-clear waters – ideal for swimming, snorkeling and deep-sea diving – and an array of delicious little cafés, with Lebanese mezze, sea views and beach access, perfect for a chilled day under the sun.

10. Experience Summer Music Festivals

With summer being the busiest season of the year, Lebanon hosts several large festivals headlining big name acts, including Lebanese and international performers. Extending over several weeks, these internationally renowned events are held at major historical sites, including Baalbek and Beiteddine, providing a spectacular backdrop for performers and unforgettable moments for you.

Destinations

Destination Langkawi: Beyond the Beaches

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With 550-million years of geological history and generations of mythical folklore, there is always something new for guests of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi to uncover on the island.

A paradise of panoramas, the Langkawi archipelago is an amalgam of mangroves and mountains, rainforests and rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, legends and local charm, tidal flats and coral reefs, cliffs and caves. Whether appreciated from the vantage point of a bike, kayak, boat, cable car, sky-bridge or simply on foot, the islands’ thrilling topography ensures a truly breathtaking backdrop for myriad magical and memorable encounters.

Water Worlds

Beyond the beaches, water sports and diving, Langkawi offers visitors rainforests, mangrove “sea forests,” cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes and glistening paddy fields to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice.  The uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun offers an exhilarating rainforest immersion and lush wilderness trek to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun, a large freshwater lake.  Build an appetite biking through paddy fields to Durian Perangin Waterfall – 14-tiers of clear cascading water – perfect for a refreshing dip and picnic.  Or visit the island’s tallest waterfall, Temurun (30 metres or 98 feet), for another scenic natural swimming pool.

A mangrove kayak get guests unobtrusively close to the magic and mystery of forests that straddle land and sea. Traverse small, dense tributaries and follow the natural ebb and flow of this fascinating ecosystem to uncover hidden delights behind each corner. Alternatively, take a coastal kayak along the emerald seascapes of Langkawi’s less explored eastern rim, and paddle through a 15 metre (49 foot) cave tunnel for an unforgettable swim in a salt-water lake.

Mineral and Mystical  

Steeped in geological heritage, Langkawi has some of the world’s oldest and most intriguing naturally formed gems.  Shaped by plate tectonics, volcanic activity, ocean submersion and erosion, Langkawi’s many rock formations have evolved over millennia into exciting natural habitats, many animated by fantastical folklores and legends.

Adrenalin seekers can heed the call of the ancient limestone cliffs for an afternoon of rock-climbing and abseiling within the Resort’s grounds. Just a short distance away, the Langkawi Sky Bridge – suspended 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level and accessed via the world’s steepest cable car – offers an up close experience of Malaysia’s oldest rocks (the Machinchang Formation), not to mention far-reaching views extending to southern Thailand.

Fuel for the imagination, Langkawi’s craggy coastline of hidden coves, sunken caves and majestic peaks is straight out of a fairytale and sets the scene for a magical adventure. The intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) is the mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess. Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Lady) was formed when a huge limestone cave collapsed, resulting in a figure resembling a pregnant woman lying on her back. Locals believe that the lake, famed for the legend of celestial princess Mambang Sari, possesses mystical powers.

Back at the Resort, Spa devotees will be entranced by the element-based offerings at the Geo Spa, where the ancient healing energies of the Geopark meet bespoke natural treatments by ila.

Wildlife and Local Life

A bird watcher’s paradise – the open rainforest corridor, mist-covered Gunung Raya peak, and local village ponds provide the opportunity for ornithologists to tick a fair few flying friends off their must see list. Langkawi is home to approximately 200 species including: flower peckers, hills mynas, dollar birds, sun birds, eagles, woodpeckers, lesser whistling-ducks, little egrets, Chinese pond herons, striated swallows and the largest of them all, the great hornbill, measuring in at 1.3 metres (more than 4 feet).

Animal lovers will not want to miss the mangrove boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and its maze of meandering mangroves for exciting up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Cultural connoisseurs will be enthralled by the Malaysian book village of Kampung Buku and the bucolic beauty of stilted wooden houses in local villages. A visit to the fishermen’s village of Kuala Teriang enables visitors to quietly observe fisherfolk return with their day’s catch, or sample delicious deep-fried banana fritters with local milk tea at wooden roadside stalls. Back at the Resort, relish local spices and ingredients during a Malay-cuisine cooking class – available as both adult and child-size experiences.

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Green Bay’s Titletown is a travel touchdown

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Some travel trends come and go, but others have staying power. Sports-themed travel is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it’s only going to get bigger. If you like the thrill of competition, the history of the game and the joy of being a fan, consider sports-themed destinations for your next vacation.

Location

A prime example of sports-themed travel is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Whether you are a Packers fan or a football fanatic, this distinctive area is ideal for couples or family getaways. The city’s new Titletown development offers travelers an array of sports-themed activities to explore, with something to tempt all of the senses.

A 45-acre development adjacent to Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts a variety of amenities, a brewery and an outdoor park experience with year-round programming. Check out a concert or start a pickup game of football on the artificial turf.

Accommodations

Located just yards from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler gives you a home field advantage in the heart of the action. The hotel design is rugged yet refined, and it commemorates the game with historic Biever family photos of the Green Bay Packers throughout the timeless brick building. You’ll find dining, a spa, pool and fitness center.

Attractions

The draw of Green Bay has been and always will be Lambeau Field — one of the most storied stadiums in the United States. At the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors can discover interactive displays, guided tours and the seasonal Packers Training Camp.

Explore more of the sports team’s past on the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends or the Packers Heritage Trail, which pays homage to the buildings, businesses and people that have historical significance to the team. Team history abounds around every corner of Green Bay’s scenic urban trail and may be traveled by foot, Segway or trolley.

Celebrations

There’s even more worth celebrating over the next year in Green Bay: The Packers have spent a century on the gridiron. The 100 Seasons celebration will feature events in Titletown and throughout Green Bay, culminating with a 100th birthday party on Aug. 11, 2019.

Want more than football? Neighboring Lambeau Field, the Resch Center — home of the Green Bay Phoenix men’s college basketball team and USHL Green Bay Gamblers hockey team — offers year-round entertainment, as it hosts national touring artists and family entertainment on and off the ice.

Eats and sweets

Hunger will lead you to Lodge Kohler for memorable dining. Meet at Leaps & Bounds Cafe for a quaint breakfast, lunch or coffee perk-up. Revel in the sweeping views of the stadium from the outdoor terrace and panoramic windows at Taverne in the Sky, which features modern rotisserie cuisine for lunch and dinner. For dessert or a sweet treat, get a taste of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.

Learn more about crafting the perfect sports-themed travel experience at https://www.lodgekohler.com.

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Destinations

Langkawi: Mile-Long Beach Blessings and Other Shoreline Secrets

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When it comes to defining a great beach resort, some people rate looks and location, others service and style. For those who want it all, there’s Four Seasons Resort Langkawi.

The Resort spans its own vast swathe of Tanjung Rhu (meaning cape or promontory, and casuarina tree) – undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in Malaysia: remote, expansive and tree-fringed, with beckoning waters and views that stretch towards mainland Thailand.

A mile (1.6 kilometres) in length, the beach lends the Resort an endless sense of space and privacy. Forty-eight acres (20 hectares) of botanical gardens lie parallel to the sands – punctuated with 91 beach villas and pavilions that echo the awe-inspiring drama of the surrounding UNESCO Geopark.

Testament to the beach itself, the island’s best water sports facilities can be found on-site – including Malaysia’s first and only high-tech X-Jetblades.

Complimentary use of kayaks, windsurfs and catamarans makes the water accessible to all, while complimentary hourly beach amenities keep sun-seekers happy and hydrated.

The Olympic-length Adult Quiet Pool also lies parallel to the water. Its 8 walled cabanas offer privacy from adjacent couples and frame a view that’s entirely one’s own.

Three restaurants flank the beach, while the Rhu Bar offers optimum beachside sunset viewing and swinging seats for two to make the most of the experience.

At every turn, stunning spaces and hideaway places beneath trees and towering cliffs make picture-postcard backdrops for beach weddings and events.

Private dining is no less impressive: under a cabana on the sands or a beach barbecue with your own private che.

Kids’ Club and the four-in-one family pool (complete with waterfalls, lounge areas, jets and shallow pools) are just a hop, step and a jump from the sand – where young ones (and young at heart) can also play beach football and volleyball, or fly handmade Malaysian kites.

And last but by no means least, the beach is the gateway to a host of adrenalin-fuelled adventures. Wander through the rainforest at the northern tip of the beach to the Resort’s rock-climbing wall and archery range. Or cruise directly into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park for a naturalist-led, National Geographic-style encounter with eagles, monitor lizards, walking fish and even elusive otters.

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