Two types of accomodation
- the standard or luxery hotels in Tripoli, Benghazi etc
- the basic campgrounds in the desert
No luxery, no AC, no roomservice - but a fantastic experience - just the basics - you, the desert and the sky
The light wents out naturally, desert foxes will leave their footsteps when you wake up and leave the tent - so you will never be alone
clean, quiet, good service and weak breakfast.
it is clean and fairly well-run hotel in embassy district, a decent choice for Tripoli.
large suite with kitchen and sitting room, balcony and decent view.
The Ghoz Ateek is Misrata's big state-owned hotel. It is the equivalent of the Al-Kebir in Tripoli or the Tibesti in Benghazi. And like them, from the outside, with its palm tree-lined driveway and fountains, it looks impressive. It's only when you go into your room or try to use the facilities that you begin to see that all is not well with the place.
I had to stay here for some time and was very glad to leave. The place was clearly built with great ambitions, but it has been badly neglected and is beginnning to fall apart. The service is eccentric to say the least. Anyone who has seen Fawlty Towers will know what I mean. Many of the rooms have damaged baths and sinks and are badly in need of a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture. The inclusive breakfast consists mainly of bread, watery coffee and artificial juice. The restaurant grudgingly serves the same poorly-cooked, overpriced dishes every night.
Most of the facilities , including the swimming pool without water, the internet cafe with the padlocked door, the locked cinema and the hair salon whose hairdresser has left, are permanently closed, even though the staff will tell you every day that they will open tomorrow. I know because I was there for three weeks.
Occasionally, Italian tour groups visiting Leptis Magna stay here for the night. A standard room costs 90 LD, including breakfast. There are also some poorly-maintained, self-catering studio apartments which tend to be used by local honeymoon couples at weekends.
The Dar Ghadames Hotel is the newest and best in Ghadames, if not the whole of Libya. It opened in February 2006 and is one of the new generation of private hotels beginning to spring up around the country to cater for the increasing influx of foreign tourists. It is designated as four star, but it is far superior to the state-owned five star hotels, like the Al-Kebir in Tripoli.
It has 64 rooms and 4 suites, all with airconditioning, en-suite bathroom and balcony or patio. They are bright and tastefully decorated. There are long, white corridors and a spacious lobby, giving the interior a somewhat palatial ambience. From the outside it doesn't look anything special, in fact it looks a bit like the museum, but once its new gardens have matured, it will have a a nice setting too. It is a bit out of town and VERY quiet. So much so that you almost feel that you ought to speak in hushed tones so as not to break the silence. The beds are the best hotel beds I've come across in Libya, so you can get a great night's sleep here.
I really enjoyed my stay here and would highly recommend it to anyone. It is definitely a cool, refreshing place to relax after a long, hot drive through the desert or a day spent wandering around the maze of the Old City.
I've been going to Libya since it opened, for business. The best hotel is the Corinthia (aka Bab al Africa) - it should be at USD 350 per night. Most western business people (translation - oil people) stay there. It takes credit cards and reservations over the phone. THis is remarkable in Libya. Most of the other hotels are government run (al-Kabir, al-Maheeri, Bab al-Bahr). They don't accept credit cards, and will only reserve a room with a cash deposit. Forget phoning up for a reservation. And don't just show up and ask for a room, for they are always sold out with government people. Plus, you're likely to get thrown out mid-stay because an important govt official has arrived. So unless you're traveling with a tour agency based in Libya, you should not get a room at these hotels. A newer private hotel is the 4 Seasons (no relation to the hotel chain). It has a sister around the block called the 4 Seasons 2. Neither is luxurious, but are very nice, totally acceptable for business travel. There is phone, TV in every room. In 4 Seasons 1, there is internet available in the room (although what that means is that there is an internet plug in the room...whether the connection works is a totally different matter). Rates tend to run around 100-120 LD per night, which is not bad. It includes breakfast. It is the best buy in town. They also take reservations over the phone, and accept credit cards (shock!). Visa is best, as Mastercard always is a problem for some reason.
Pool? View? Have you been to Tripoli?
In March 2006 we visited Jalu in the Libyan desert to watch the total suneclipse. There was a huge campement rather close to the heartline of the eclipse for thousands of visitors, set up by the Libyan government. We didn´t stay there, but had our own campement at a tomato-farm not far from the heartline as well. We were with about 80 people of four different eclips trips, organised by the Dutch travel organisation 'Baobab Travels'.
We had comfortable new tents provided by Baobab with more than enough space for two persons and the luggage as well. When we arrived at the place, the Libyan tour agency had allready set up a huge coloured tent and provided the matrasses. We did only bring our sleepingbags.
Our Libyan hosts brought a huge tank with water and dozens of bottles with mineral water. It was amazing how they prepared a great dinner and breakfast for 80 people in the middle of the desert.
Never before I had such a comfortable stay in the desert. Only the toilet was under the thousand stars like I am used to during my deserttrips, but in this place behind a fence of palmleaves.
In Al Bayda we stayed in the Ayatourist Hotel. From the citycentre we reached our hotel at dusk by an unpaved road driving between houses and apartments under construction. At that moment, being tired of a long ride, the hotel looked to be 'at the end of the world'. Later from our balcony at the third floor we saw that there was another road at the other side with shops, restaurants and terraces close to the hotel.
Taking the unpaved shortcut to the high street from where we arrived earlier in the eveningn the evening, we could walk to the citycentre very quickly within 10 minutes. So all the shops, restaurants and internetcafés were at walking distance from the hotel.
The hotel is nothing special, but OK for a short stay. We stayed in Al Bayda only as base to visit the ancient sites of Appolonia and Cyrene. The hotel offers the usual stuff like double rooms with private toilet and shower and a restaurant where we took only our breakfast.
At the entrance of the ancient site of Appolonia is the Al-Manarah Hotel. From the hotelrooms in the front at the east side and at the seaside you will have spectacular views at the ruins of Appolonia.
Within one minute from the hotel you are at the entrance and ticketoffice of Appolonia. The hotel dominates the western part of the ancient harbour town. You can miss it.
I didn't stay in this hotel myself. I only entered and had a look in the lobby and at the groundfloor.
The toilets of the hotel are among the best I saw in Libya.
In Benghazi we stayed in a beachresort south of the citycentre. In March it was not really the season yet, so the family cabins a the beach were still empty. We had a room in one of the main buildings, easily reachable indoors from the reception. Our bus could stop in front of the outdoor stairs close to our rooms to bring our luggage.
The rooms and bathrooms were comfortable. The breakfast buffet was the best of our trip, offering varied Libyan and international food. We didn't take our dinner here, but walked to the mainroad in front of the hotel. Here are some restaurants and a supermarket.
At the end of our stay the staff of the hotel offered us a cd-rom of the hotel, which I couldn't play at my pc back home.
The location of the hotel at the beach is nice, but during our visit in march it was still off-season. The two swimmingpools were without water. The windy beach was still empty and the sea did not look really inviting for a swim as well.
When we came back in Tripoli after our eclipse trip into the desert we could move into the originally booked hotel. The Aldafaya Hotel lies in an area of Tripoli with more hotels. It's not far west from the old medina, situated between the busstation and the Tripoli International Fair.
The Aldafaya Hotel is a friendly hotel. I liked this hotel more than the Cleopatra Hotel where we had to move to, when at arrival the Aldafaya Hotel seemed to be overbooked. The Aldafaya hotel has a restaurant and a bar at the first floor. The rooms were OK and this hotel has the most spacious bathroom of all the hotels during the trip.
We visited Tripoli during the period of the solar eclips in March 2006. There were no rooms available in the hotel we had booked, so the Libyan tour agency brought us to another hotel, the Cleopatra Hotel.
The evening we arrived the breakfast hall wasn't furnished yet, they just cleaned it, I think after renovation. The next morning there were tables and chairs, so we could have our breakfast here as first guests. The hotel is situated at a narrow street. We had a room at the backside and from there a view in the direction of the harbour and Mediterrenean.
The rooms have private bathrooms. In the lobby is a small bar for softdrinks, tea and coffee. The hotel is OK, though not really special.
Opposite the Marcus Aurelius Arch we looked into a lovely inner courtyard (picture 1). The people invited us to have a look around. It seemed to be a hotel. The original hotel was allready created in 1816. The hotel was installed as a rendez vous for convoys of merchants coming from Africa and Europe.
The hotel is restored and furnished with traditional handiwork. When we visited the hotel in 2006, it was almost finished to receive the first guests. In the inner courtyard we could have a look at the picture (picture 2) how the building looked like before restoration and the plan (picture 3). We also looked at one of the 17 traditionally furnished rooms (picture 4). There are 4 suites as well. It has also a arabic session hall and an restaurant. The staff at the reception desk was vey helpful to explain us everything about the old and new hotel.
During Christmas we had our bivouac high in the sanddunes south-east of Ghat. It was a fabulous place with stunning views all around at huge sanddunes and mountainridges. The sunset, sunrise and desertskies at this magic spot were incredible, feeling almost unearthly.
Luckily the night here was not really cold, it was about 15C in my tent. After our basic meals we stayed around the campfire all together for some time, singing Tuareg songs accompanied by drumming at a jarrican. The most memorable christmas ever and at the same time ramadan and friday.
Before I could go finally into my sleeping bag, I sat in front of my tent under the sky full of uncredibly bright stars.... meditating without any notion of time.
Far from the civilization and crowded world it was the most HOLY and SILENT night I ever experienced in my life.
During our desert crossing from Ghadames to Ghat we had three times a bivouac in the desert. For the night I brought my own tent (a small umbrella one), a light weight sleeping bag (comfortable till 2 degrees below zero), thermic underwear and a fleece pullover.
At 5 pm we looked for a place to camp. I had just enough time to pitch my tent and to cook my own meal before it became dark and really cold. I brought a lot of dried food from home and bought some tins with beans and fresh vegetables at the market of Ghadames.
After the first night I found out, that the best way to keep warm during the night was to put on allready the thermic underwear before starting with cooking and not to wait till the moment of going into the tent. After dinner I sat at the campfire to get as warm as possible before going into the cold sleeping bag.
In the tent it was 5C, while it was freezing outside. In the morning I found ice at the outside of the tent. I took my breakfast in the tent and after striking the tents we went to the campfire of the drivers to burn our garbage and warm our hands before leaving.
This part of the trip was rather rough, but at the same time it was an incredible experience to be able to manage these circumstances. It was my 'fire' baptism of 'surviving' the cold desert nights. Luckily all my later desert trips were a little bit less cold and harsh.
And during the day, driving in the stunning desert landscapes, the harsh experiences of the night 'melted down very soon as snow in the sun'.
After crossing the desert from Ghadames to Ghat in four days we stayed at a campsite south of Ghat. Some of my fellow travellers slept in their tents, but I prefered to sleep in one of the huts at a bamboo bed, though I had to protect my self inflatable mattress against the sharp bamboo. At the campsite were two hot showers and a room with a table, chairs and electricity. I experienced this as luxury after camping in the dark and cold of the desert. And here we met the first local people. In the desert we passed only one police post and didn´t meet further any human soul.
After our trip of 5 days through the spectacular Jebel Acacus we stayed at a campsite a bit outside Serdeles. The ten thatched huts looked nice, though we had to bend deep to go in and out. There were four hot showers. We were the only visitors and took the opportunity to use all the low walls in front of the huts to re-arrange our luggage. For dinner we went to another more crowded campsite in town. This one looked a little bit better and had more facilities than our campsite, but was very noisy because of many visitors with motorbikes.
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