This was a very enjoyable and varied trip and our guide Paul was knowledgeable and informative at all times. There were many varied historical sites to visit with Baalbek being the main highlight. The Lebanese people we encountered were all very friendly and seemed to be genuinely pleased that we were touring their country. The Lebanon may not be at the top of everyones travel list but I would definitely recommend it as a great experience. It is more 'westernised' than much of the middle east, although some may not necessarily see this as a positive. The only downsides to the trip would be that the hotel we were allocated on the first and last night (The Mozart Hotel in Beirut) was extremely noisey as there was a late night bar below the rooms! It was also on the main street so there were cars racing around until the early hours. Take some ear plugs but I doubt they will help very much. I have already contacted Explore regarding this and they have informed me they are looking into changing this hotel. Another issue I have raised with Explore is that this trip is advertised as 8 days. However we did not even arrive in Beirut until 10.30pm on the first day (followed by a sleepless night) and on the 8th day we actually flew out of Beirut at 7.30am, hardly what I would call full days. I would consider this trip a 6 days, 7 night visit. (I have also contacted Explore about this) (LL - 14th May 2011)
Explore reposnse: There is usually a compromise to be made between hotel location, and facilities (in which we would definitely include sufficient peace and quiet to get a proper night’s sleep!). Our customers like to be able to walk from a city hotel to sites and shops within the city, but we agree that this should not be at the cost of losing some well-earned rest. As SJ says, we are indeed investigating alternative accommodation in Beirut to ensure that we offer the best possible experience there for our customers. We understand the point about the way we calculate the number of days in a holiday, but this is an industry standard: so even if a flight left London at 11.50pm, and flew from the return airport at ten minutes past midnight, these would still count as days in the overall length of the trip. However we are always happy to give details of the flight timings before our customers confirm their bookings.