Places to Stay: The Hoxton – Amsterdam

Post by Mark


Every time I visit Amsterdam I tend to stay in a different hotel but this time I think I’ve found my favorite place. This weekend while in Amsterdam I stayed at The Hoxton which is a pretty cool boutique hotel that opened up back in July.

I ended up staying in one of their “Roomy” rooms overlooking the canal and it was pretty spacious. The room looked great, slightly retro but not overdone to a hipsterish level. It wouldn’t look out of place in an All Saints look book. The hotel has a pretty popular restaurant that was busy all day long but my favorite thing about the hotel was the location. The hotel is located across the canal from The Nine Streets and just few minutes walk from a bunch of my favorite places. Literally all the shops I wanted to visit were less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel including Baskèts, Concrete, Carhartt WIP and ETQ. That made going back and forth to the hotel to drop shopping bags a breeze.


Price wise I thought it was really reasonable especially considering how weak the Euro is right now. I booked last minute and two nights set me back €648. That around KD105 for a night for a pretty big room with a great view, in an amazing location and in a great hotel. I’d definitely stay there again. [Link]

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Revamped Duty Free

Post by Mark


The Kuwait Airport duty free has been under construction for awhile now but I noticed they’ve now partially opened parts of it. The new revamped Duty Free looks a lot better and fancier than the older one, but the rest of the airport still looks like crap.

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Jazeera Airways to London and Paris

Post by Mark

Jazeera Airways hoped to synergies its processes with Kuwait Airways, including operations at Kuwait International and using the Kuwaiti national carrier’s long-haul network to feed its own regional flights.

According to Hubbard, the low-cost hybrid carrier is looking at starting flights to London, Paris and possibly Singapore, if it can no longer purchase a controlling state in Kuwait Airways.

I wouldn’t mind flying to London with Jazeera Airways as long as the planes are clean. I stopped flying with them to Beirut and Dubai simply because the plane interiors got so old and worn out.


Jazeera Airways plans to build its own terminal, including valet parking — an oddity for low-cost airlines in Europe but not the Gulf where a hybrid model has seen the introduction of business seats and included baggage allowance.

The terminal construction, built onto the four gates Jazeera Airways is operating from at Kuwait International, will likely start in the first quarter 2016 and take a year to complete at a cost of €20 million (Dh112.67 million), Hubbard said.

There has been talk on Jazeera building their own terminal for some time now, in fact there are two Jazeera terminal renderings I am aware of which I’ve shared in this post. If they have their own entrance separate from the current airport thats going to be a huge plus for sure until the new airport is built. Check out the full article [Here]

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United Airlines Ending Flights to Kuwait

Post by Mark


Effective January 13th 2016, United Airlines is stopping their service to Kuwait. A reader emailed me a link yesterday with some information about it and there seems to be a bit of conspiracy to why they’re ending the flights. Originally the article stated its in retaliation to the whole issue with Kuwait Airways refusing to fly Israeli passengers but the article was later updated stating it was due to financial reasons.

I called my contact at United Airlines and they confirmed to me that they will be ceasing operation in January. No official reason was given to the stoppage but according to my contact they hadn’t achieved their target and also maybe because of security reasons. Not sure what kind of security reasons but it did remind me of the rumor that British Airways were going to stop flying to Kuwait unless the airport upped their security game.

In any case its disappointing we’re losing United. I flew with them a few weeks back to Knoxville, Tennessee and they were by far the fastest way for me to get there. Their plane sucked since it was old, dark and cramped.. but it was a direct flight straight to Washington so saved me a lot of time. Next year would have marked 10 years of United Airlines operating in Kuwait.

Thanks Michelle

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Stuck in Washington

Post by Mark


I missed my flight to Kuwait a few hours ago because my connecting flight was delayed. I took the picture above as I was stepping off the plane, my flight to Kuwait had just backed away from the gate and was getting ready to taxi to the runway. I missed my flight and was pretty upset. I was supposed to be back in Kuwait later today because tomorrow I was supposed to fly out to Abu Dhabi for a CTS V test drive event at Yas Marina but thats not happening now. The next available direct flight back to Kuwait is October 3rd since the flights for the next two days are all fully booked. So I’m stuck in Washington now for 3 days.

Then it hit me. I’m stuck in Washington for 3 days, that’s not a bad thing. I hear its really humid in Kuwait now so don’t think I’m missing much.

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Buy Travel Insurance Online

Post by Mark


One thing I tend to do before I travel is get travel insurance. I think I’m already covered by my credit card company when I buy the airline ticket but just to be safe I always buy extra insurance since it’s not that expensive and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Previously I used to be able to buy insurance from within my NBK Online page but that no longer seems to be an option. So, the only other way I’ve been able to buy insurance online before I travel is with Gulf Insurance. They have an online page where you could buy travel insurance (along with other insurance) and the process takes just a few minutes and payment is done with knet or a credit card. So if you’re looking to conveniently buy travel insurance before you trip then check out their website [Here]

Update: A reader highlighted another insurance provider called Columbus Direct which you can order travel insurance from online and they seem to offer more bang for the buck. Check them out [Here]

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Flying Kuwait Airways First Class to London

Post by Mark


Yesterday I asked if Kuwait Airways were flying their new planes to London and it turns out they are. One of my readers put me in contact with a friend of his who recently flew to London with Kuwait Airways and he sent me a few pictures. At first I was really impressed thinking I was looking at pictures of the Kuwait Airways business class but then I found out this in fact was the Kuwait Airways first class and my excitement dropped. But I was only looking at pictures so I decided to ask the reader about his experience flying Kuwait Airways and this is what he had to say:


Considering Kuwait Airways history with appalling planes, these are brand new and clean. You can see that the staff are glad and proud to serve you because of the state of the plane. They’re more lively now and very friendly. The touch-screen is huge and has a 3-D map of the trip. The movies are not old, I can say that much. The food, I feel, has always been good but the variety now is vast and tasty. The bathrooms are clean as well. The seat is very spacious and you can slide it down all the way to make it into a bed (Not completely flat, maybe 150-160 degrees).

I haven’t traveled first class on KA for a long time but since they got the new planes, I felt like I needed to experience it again. It is worth it but obviously nothing compared to Qatar Airways and Emirates. KA have a long way to go but they’re on the right track IF they can keep the planes clean and up to standard because I feel like they won’t be able to keep them like that. It was first class and they send you a chauffeur to pick you up and drive you to the airport and vice versa. Its all included in the ticket. Very fancy Mercedes. Qatar Airways have their own lounge in Heathrow, I was granted access to Gulf Air lounge, which isnt bad but Qatar Airways and Emirates is much better because of the benefits. For example, if you book first class on Qatar Airways, you can ship your car with you for free. Furthermore, in business class on Qatar Airways, you flatten the seat completely and they give you a comfy bed to put over your seat and the lounge is amazing.

Oh yeah! Theres no wifi on the plane! Once there will be, it won’t be for free on KA. In Emirates first class, you can take a shower on the plane and the bathrooms are quite large for an airplane. On either Emirates or Qatar first class, the chef can cook you anything you like.

According to the same reader the business class seats on that flight were just over-sized economy seats with larger screens.

I flew economy with Kuwait Airways a few months back to Lebanon and had a positive experience. They’re now my second airline of choice when flying to Beirut and the only reason they’re not the first is because MEA flies over Syria making the trip an hour shorter as well as the fact they serve alcohol.

If you want to view a larger version of the first class images above here are the links:
[Image 1] [Image 2] [Image 3]

Thanks David and Khalid

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British Airways Deny Rumors – Flights to Kuwait Will Not Stop

Post by Mark


On Friday Al Arabia published an article stating that the British Airways had given the Kuwait Authorities a warning to fix the security lapses at the Kuwait Airport or risk having all BA flights to Kuwait canceled. According to one of my sources close to British Airways, BA are denying this story, no warning was given to local authorities and no flights to Kuwait will be stopping.

Since we’re on the subject of British Airways, last month they finally announced that they will be refurbishing their aging Boeing 747’s which currently operate on the Kuwait – London – Kuwait route. The current planes are in pretty poor condition with an outdated entertainment system while lacking amenities like USB ports to charge your devices. Does anyone know if Kuwait Airways are operating their new planes on the London route? If they are they might be a good alternative until BA finally upgrade the planes.

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My Money Exchange Guy

Post by Mark


Years ago I started exchanging my money before I traveled from this small money exchange shop down the street from my place. It’s run by a grumpy sounding old man who always gave me great exchange rates, had odd currencies which I needed but nobody else had plus he memorized my name which is why he’s been my go-to guy ever since. Recently a bunch of new exchange places started popping up. I think there are around 2 or 3 in his same building, around 2 across the street and 2 more in the building next door. Not sure why all these exchange places started opening up on my street but it seems it’s affecting the business of my money exchange guy. So recently he’s been trying to attract more customers. One way is by giving guests water or a fruit drink but the other thing he’s been doing which caught my interest was trying to get people to spread the word about his shop. When you exchange money he now hands you back your money in an envelop with his businesses card and a small paper with the following message on it:


Friends, (His first line was definitely a lot more embellished)
Please use your phones to photograph Masood’s Exchange in Al-Salmiya business card and send it to all your friends and family. Please be sure to ask them to forward that image to their friends and family members as well. If it’s possible, post the photo of the business card along with the above paragraph on Viber, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and Tango.

Thank you!

Your brother,

I thought that was cute and since I like the place I figured I’d help him out by posting about it here. His shop is located near Burger King and Pizza Hut in the old Salmiya on Salem Al Mubarek Street. Here is it on [Google Maps] I don’t know where everyone usually exchanges their money, probably at the airport but if you’re in the neighborhood check his place out. Thats the picture of his shop on top.

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Things to do in Lebanon this Eid (Part 1)

Post by Mark

Lots of people travel to Lebanon during Eid because its so close, so this year I decided to ask two friends of mine to put together their recommendations on what to do and where to go. My friends also happen to have the two most popular blogs in Lebanon, Najib runs while Gino runs First up is Najib’s recommendations, check them out below and then make sure you check out his blog [Here]


La Creperie Jounieh
For those of you who don’t know La Creperie yet, it’s is one of Lebanon’s most authentic and beautiful restaurants and has been serving great food since 1968. The restaurant was recently renovated and relaunched and is originally an 18th century picturesque Ottoman house that offers a breathtaking view across the Jounieh Bay. An ideal place for a late afternoon meal, sunset drinks or a Sunday family lunch. [Link]

Garden State
One of the hottest outdoor venues this summer in Beirut holding a different theme on a daily basis. Thursday is the busiest with pop music from the 80s and 90s, Sundays are chill out Apero Electro with live cooking. Wednesday is a dog-friendly day where everyone can bring his dog. [Link]


Colonel Beer
A local microbrewery and restaurant located in the heart of Batroun. Colonel Beer is only few meters away from the beach and you can enjoy BBQs, freshly brewed beer, local artists and a great atmosphere. [Link]

Burgers at Smoking Bun
The best street burger in Beirut. [Link]

Helado Ice Cream
My favorite icecream shop in Lebanon. The flavors are quite original and delicious. There’s Baileys, Whiskey, Green Apple, Fig, Lotus, Oreo and others. Make sure you drop by on your way back from the beach. [Link]

Taanayel Ecolodge
A traditional village located in the heart of the Bekaa. A great place to walk around and enjoy nature, have great food at Al Khan Al Makssoud and have fun with the various outdoor activities. [Link]

Karting at RPM
RPM (Racing Park Mtein) is the newest and hottest karting circuit in Lebanon. It’s a long drive from Beirut (1 hour or more) but it’s totally worth it and there’s a lot of sightseeing to do on the way to Mtein. [Link]

Mir Amin Palace
The Chouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon (most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace), as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. It’s the perfect getaway from the city. The Mir Amin Palace Hotel is the ideal place to stay when you’re planning a weekend in the Chouf. [Link]

Pinea Campus
A gorgeous campsite surrounded by a large stone pines forest and located in Haitoura area in Jezzine (South Lebanon). It’s a great spot for camping, enjoying outdoor activities like ATVing, Skeet/Trap shooting (Tiro), mountain biking, horseback riding and Hiking and chill grills on Sunday. [Link]


Chez Sami’s Seafood Restaurant
Check out Chez Sami’s new terrace (Chez Sami Le Deck) and enjoy a splendid view while having the most delicious seafood. [Link]

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