BEIRUT: The city’s penchant for the high life – fancy restaurants, weekly pampering and exclusive clubs – leaves its collective wallets a bit drained. Catering to this love for extravagance, “Beirut 365” is a massive book of coupons for various high-end spas, pubs, restaurants and outdoor activities around the country. “There are 1.8 million people in Greater Beirut and everybody wants to go out, and really it gets expensive, so everybody wants to save a bit of money,” said Mirna Hanna, art director and partner at “Beirut 365.”
This collection of coupons isn’t the average mailbox stuffer, selling for $80 a copy. Despite the price, the book’s creators hoped to lessen the financial burden of frequent luxury- and thrill-seeking, as well as provide a boost to local businesses with free ads and consumer incentives.
The deals in the book, including 15 percent discounts on sushi, free bottles of wine with dinner or complimentary massages with a purchased facial, total $10,000 worth of savings.
The book is available at most of Lebanon’s major bookstores, including Virgin Megastores, Librairie Stephan, Halim Bookstore, all Wild Discovery locations, and Librairie Antoine – both online and in shops.
As the name indicates, the book has more than 365 pages of offerings, all valid through June 1, 2013. Totaling more than 800 individual deals, even the most ambitious coupon clipper couldn’t make use of everything.
But Hanna assures the price of the book can be made back with just one of its more generous offers.
“Sometimes the privilege is a bottle of champagne with dinner. That bottle is worth more than $200, so in that case it takes just one voucher,” Hanna said.
For example, restaurants Indigo and Rose both offer bottles of champagne with dinner, while a sprinkling of other high-end restaurants offer bottles of specialty wines.
Other major deals include a 15 percent discount on a wedding and a complimentary stay at Indian Sioux Tipi at El Rancho and a 15 percent discount on renting event space at Bois de Roses.
There are also plenty of deals for those without a taste for champagne: 15 percent off at Waves waterpark; complimentary ski passes; beach entrances; pitchers of margaritas; and dozens of free pizzas.
Creators of “Beirut 365” took a cue from a similar high-end coupon book in Dubai, “The Entertainer.” The Dubai version has been around since 2000, and over the past 10 years has become a staple for most households, Hanna said.
“We thought we ought to do something like this in Beirut,” she said.
As for choosing the places, Hanna said its creators wanted to select those most popular and well-known.
The club and pubs offered include such popular places as the Angry Monkey in Gemmayzeh, February 30 in Hamra and Patrick’s in Downtown.
She also said in large part, it came down to personal preference.
“Honestly it’s a bit subjective because it’s all the stuff we like,” Hanna said. “You’ll notice there’s not a lot of shisha places,” she added. Those will be left up to another book, she laughed.