Across the desert: one family’s move from Dubai to Beirut

Across the dessert: one family's move from Dubai to BeirutPierre and Clarisse Noujeim were already familiar with the services provided by Crown Relocations, having used the company 18 years ago to move them from Paris to Dubai. So when the time came to leave the emirate and move to Lebanon they didn’t hesitate to call on their services again.

Pierre is Lebanese with French citizenship and his wife, Clarisse is French. The couple originally moved to Dubai for business. With them was their young son, who, just four at the time, got fully involved with the proceedings.

18 years on, the Noujeims once again contacted Crown Relocations to handle their move to Lebanon. Here we talk to Pierre about the experience.  

What were the reasons for relocating the first time?

We moved from Paris to Dubai originally for business. An opportunity had arisen to join Reef Aviation, as Director of Development, Sales and Marketing so I decided to take the role and we moved to the Middle East. We settled in Dubai and raised a family there. As our interest in fine art grew we also opened a contemporary art gallery, which we ran for several years.

What brought about the second move?

A couple of years ago, I acquired an aviation company and now, as well as keeping an office in Dubai, I have decided to run the company from Lebanon. 18 years on, our now grown-up son lives in France but it seems the right time for the rest of the family (including the dog) to move to my home country.  

Why did you choose Crown Relocations?

Since we’d used Crown Relocations previously, they were on the top of our list. I also contacted and got quotes from several other firms to ensure that I had a comparison of services. But since we’d already had a very positive experience after our previous move with Crown Relocations we were assured that they were the right company for us.

The vital statistics

In Dubai, we lived in a 450 square metre villa with four bedrooms. We were moving to a 600 square metre duplex in Lebanon. So it was a big move. Sanaa Rejeb from Crown Relocations visited the house to conduct a survey and recommended a 45ft container to ship all of our possessions.

Did you have anything out of the ordinary to move?

As well as the usual clothes, possessions and furniture we had some gym equipment and a significant amount of fine art.

Once we’d closed the art gallery, we’d moved the collection to our villa so we have many valuable pieces of art. These include several large pieces of furniture and contemporary sculptures made from wood, metal and glass from countries such as Brazil and France. Many of these are quite fragile so we were obviously anxious that they wouldn’t get damaged in transit. We weren’t your standard relocation!

Once Sanaa saw how much art we owned, she suggested that her Fine Art colleague, Gus VanGeijtenbeek visit us too to give us his opinion. We were unaware that Crown had a Fine Art division.

“Gus responded very quickly, conducted a specialist survey and gave us some expert advice in line with our requirements and budget.”

What happened at the time of the actual move?

On the day Crown Relocations sent a team of six specialist fine art packers, who really knew what they were doing. They’d had 23 bespoke crates pre-manufactured so the art could be packed on site and then shipped to Lebanon. Myself and Clarisse were really impressed by the whole team’s professionalism. They worked efficiently over three full days, wrapping everything carefully in specialist materials to protect the items.    

As well as the art, of course, we had all our clothes and personal possessions, furniture and some gym equipment. In total we had 60 cubic metres for our personal belongings and 22.5 cubic metres for the pieces of art.

Clarisse supervised the packing and all the pieces of art going into the crates. Everything was recorded and photographed using Crown’s e-packing app which gave us peace of mind. The ability to track our possessions was very reassuring.

How long did the move take?

The shipment spent a week in Dubai clearing customs, a further two weeks at sea and then ten days at the port in Beirut. The last stage would have been quicker but there was a strike at the port. Crown Relocations were incredibly proactive in moving things along and their daily communication with us was first class. We also greatly appreciated the personal follow up by the local manager to check the delivery on site. 

Final words

Crown did an excellent job. I was particularly impressed with their regular updates and levels of communication, which is important when you’re waiting for your precious possessions.

Our art means a lot to us so it was good to have a relocation company who understood the issues, were able to advise on the best transit methods and provided a seamless and professional service.

While we’re not planning on moving again anytime soon, we do have a villa in France so who knows…. If we do, I would certainly choose Crown Relocations once again.