Author Archives: Nabila Rahhal

The slow rebirth of Valentine’s Day

The slow rebirth of Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day looms closer, store displays turn red, email inboxes are flooded with wine or chocolate promotions and prices for the day’s favorite mascot — the rose — doubles. Falling after the sluggish month of January, retailers see in Valentine’s Day an opportunity to bring life back into the sector. Lebanese retailers are no

Playing profits

Like most things in Lebanon, it all began with sectarianism. Or, more accurately, with one basketball team’s efforts to break free from the yoke of patronage.  The year was 2001 — the Syrians were rounding up opposition activists in unprecedented numbers, the South was basking in its freedom and basketball was booming in Lebanon. Riding

Lebanon’s newest bottle

Lebanon’s long history of wine production dates back to 2,600 BC when the Phoenicians used to export the wines of Byblos to Egypt; many believe the story of Jesus Christ’s first miracle of converting water to wine at a wedding took place in Lebanon’s Qana. When the Ottoman Empire took control of Lebanon, wine production

Villa Clara restaurant review

It’s truly a family business,” says Mary Helene Gougeon, describing Villa Clara, a restaurant and boutique hotel in Mar Mkhayel she owns with her husband, Olivier Gougeon. With Olivier, a French chef, preparing the food for the venue, Mary Helene managing the hotel, and their two young children Clara and Patrick on the premises, her

Government’s failing grade

Since the beginning of the academic year, public school teachers, and many from private schools too, have abandoned their classes on an almost weekly basis and taken to the streets. The reason? They are demanding that the Council of Ministers, Lebanon’s cabinet, stop stalling and honor its promise to refer the new salary scale draft

Off the flight path

Famed in the region as a holiday reprieve and named one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit by the New York Times in 2010 — the same year that more than 2.1 million visitors came to Lebanon — business in Beirut’s economy has always relied heavily on its hospitality and tourism

Retail’s year of the bargain

"The dropping numbers of tourists, the decline in the country’s financial inflows and the plunging consumer confidence have placed the Lebanese fashion retailers in a critical situation,” says Jamal Rayess, general manager of Hamra Shopping and Trading Company. “Confronted with these challenges, we were compelled as usual to think outside the box and improvise ways

Nicholas Chammas assesses 2012

In September, Executive sat down with Nicholas Chammas, head of the Lebanese Traders Association (LTA), to discuss the retail sector’s weak performance following the events this summer, from the warnings against travel to Lebanon by Gulf states, to the kidnappings of foreign visitors and the closures of the airport. Given all this, it was no

Dealing with trauma and depression

Life in Lebanon means regularly dealing with the unexpected, and often the unpleasant. From the civil war in 1975 and moving to the consistent bouts of armed conflict that strike the country every now and then, the Lebanese have become accustomed to living with the unacceptable. Less dramatic, though also stress-inducing, are how simple acts

Szechuan in style

Driving down the highway from Antelias into downtown Beirut, one cannot but notice several huge billboards advertising the latest Asian cuisine restaurant, Chenbao — the Chinese word for castle. Curiosity aroused, Executive decided to pay a visit. Chenbao is the newest conception of the Kazzami group, which brought us the high-end sushi restaurant Osaka and