Posts tagged “Holiday Inn


Posted on January 31, 2012

I first visited Amman in the winter of 1980.  It was cold, wet and windy and the capital’s 500,000 inhabitants retreated behind the stark concrete walls of their houses and apartments that stretched over the hills surrounding the city. It was relatively small compared with bustling Cairo or Damascus and appeared to have little of their charm, intimate architecture or extensive historical heritage. There were just two international hotels, the Intercontinental and the Holiday Inn, and these were packed with consultants, businessmen and the occasional traveller. Returning there in 2010, I was shocked by the scale and density of the city with its population now standing at over 2.4 million – almost half that of Jordan.  High-rise tower blocks dominate the horizon, a testimony to Amman’s new status as…


Posted on January 26, 2012

The morning call to prayers echoes around the city, rousing its occupants from their sleep and jolting them back into the nightmare that has engulfed them. The first rays of the sun radiate outwards over the sea, illuminating the devastation and destruction below. The Corniche, hugging the seafront with its famous hotels, the Saint Georges, the Phoenicia and the Vendome all shattered, pock marked and charred black; the shops and chic boutiques on Beirut’s Fifth Avenue, Hamra, shuttered, padlocked and empty, their terrified owners sheltering in the cellars below; the up-market apartment blocs around Raouche, their windows boarded up, their walls peppered with bullet holes; and behind them on the airport road, the squalid refugee camps of Chatila and Borj Al-Barajneh barricaded and guarded…