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- Reviews: 2572
Al Manara: Best choice by far
Privately owned and very well run, Susa's Al Manara Hotel is certainly the pick of the bunch when it comes to Cyeraica's hotels. Its location, set down beside Susa's small fishing harbour and right outside the gate of ancient Apollonia, is excellent. All the rooms have a view of some kind, most have a sea view, ours had a view of the sea and the ruins. The big rooms all have balconies. Clean, comfortable and fresh, they were a pleasure to walk into at the end of a long day.
As well as its proximity to Apollonia, the al Manara makes an ideal base for Cyrene, just 18km away up the mountain, and the Byzantine churches at R'as al-Hillal and l-Atrun further east along the coast. With helpful staff, a substantial buffet dinner and good breakfast buffet (just be sure you don't get elbowed aside by pushy coach-tourists) and top floor bar/tearoom with panoramic views, this is a very pleasant place indeed. I'd definitely recommend it over the other options in the area.
All the rooms are air-conditioned and have satellite TV.
The upstairs tearoom has a bank of shiny new computers all set up and connected but the cable connection had been cut.
Our laundry was well and cheaply done and delivered back to our room the same day.
- Reviews: 2572
Tebesti: By default
We weren't meant to stay at the Tibesti Hotel on our one night in Benghazi. Our agent had booked us in to the lower-rated but higher-regarded El Fadeel Hotel. There was just one problem - one that's not unknown in Libya - our booking was hijacked by a visiting football team and our guide had the unenviable task of finding us somewhere else at the very last minute, so the Tibesti it was.
It really doesn't live up to the 4 star rating it claims. The exterior style places it firmly in the 70s when it was built and by the look of the tired and dingy foyer, nothing has been done since. The rooms were marginally better - clean, large enough and thankfully not reeking of cigarette smoke. Pulling back the yellowing curtain in the early morning revealed a gorgeous view of the lake and the city spread out below.
It was getting on for 10pm when we arrived after the standoff at the El Fadeel and all we wanted was dinner and a bed for the night. We were too late for the former, the restaurant (and everything else) had closed by the time we arrived, and we were tired enough to sleep on whatever was offered in the way of the latter. I'm just glad I'm not one of the aircrew we saw checking out next morning - those unlucky people must get to stay here regularly!
If you're booked on a set tour of Cyrenaica, you probably won't have a choice of hotels. Currently, Benghazi's other 4 star hotel, the Uzu, is undergoing renovations and is closed. I've heard mixed reports - hopefully when they're done the friendly staff will ensure it lives up to its new look.
Tourism is going ahead in leaps and bounds in Libya. Excellent new hotels are appearing almost overnight in Tripoli. As the country's second city, it is likely that Benghazi will soon follow suit. For now, if you have any say in where you stay, the El Fadeel is probably still your best bet - just avoid the football season.
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