Boutique hotels and rental homes are quite popular these days. These establishments cater to travelers who crave a local experience. Unlike chain hotels, boutique hotels are smaller, usually with less than 100 rooms. They are unique through their personalized design, decor, and service.
Their main appeal stems from the fact that they sort of merge with their surroundings so that you feel like you get to authentically experience the country itself. Some can be in the countryside and give off a rustic, home feel while others can have a more relaxed, beach vibe. Many also serve locally sourced food.
If a boutique hotel is on your bucket list, then you should head to Lebanon. A country overflowing with its diverse beauty, from its white-capped mountains to its beautiful shores has its own exceptional selection of boutique hotels to unwind and detox from our fast-paced lives.
Beit al Batroun
Giving you a taste of the quiet countryside coupled with the lapping waves of the Mediterranean sea, this Bed & Breakfast owned by Collete Khalil is a perfect place to relax and escape the loud bustle of the city. Located near the town of Tehoum, it is designed to give off that rustic wholesome feel with its rooms of pastel green doors, mosaic tiles, and white walls. In the living room area, you can lounge and relax. There’s a guitar that you can strum some tunes to as well as a cozy rocking chair. You can notice Collete’s touch all over the house especially as she filled it with antique collectibles that she picked out over the years.
Outside, there are lemon and almond trees surrounding the premises as well as large archways. Every morning, guests can enjoy freshly made manakeesh (a Lebanese pizza-like flatbread) by a lady called Asmahan as well as locally sourced fruits. Every night, Collete would host her guests as they enjoy a locally sourced meal.
Prices: 120 to 190 US Dollars per night (Depending if it is a Sea or Garden View Room)
Nestled in a quiet and serene neighborhood of Beirut lies this luxurious yet also antiquated 1930s pale yellow building adorned with sky blue shutters. It gives off an air akin to the Grand Budapest Hotel mixed in with Lebanese Oriental decor. Each of its 33 suites houses old-fashioned furniture as well as Ottoman rugs and upholstered bedroom benches. At its lounge and lobby, you get to be transported back in time as you read through its old rare book collection or view old photographs of Beirut lining its walls.
The star of the hotel is its rooftop pool surrounded by lush greenery overlooking the city of Beirut, its sea and mountains. Guests also get to enjoy its variety of dining venues, from their classic style vintage indoor restaurant to their more laid-back green-house-styled swim club.
Bear in mind, in comparison to the other boutique hotels, Hotel Albergo’s prices are on the higher side, possibly due to its location in the heart of Beirut.
Prices: 265 to 460 US Dollars per night (Depending on Room Type)
In the mountains near the village of Kfour, hidden behind pine trees stands the Beit Trad stone house owned by Sarah Tard. Open since 1985, it carries with it a special story. On that same year, her father bought the house. It was during the Lebanese Civil War and it acted as a sanctuary for the family. Years later, with a little refurbishment, Sarah transformed it into a guesthouse for others to come and escape their troubles.
With its high ceilings, gentle archways with hanging vines, and whitewashed walls, it boasts a serene environment. Each of its nine rooms is personalized and unique; one with a brick wall behind the bed and another with floor-to-ceiling framed illustrations of flowers. Guests can relax while enjoying a game of backgammon, swimming at the pool overlooking enormous trees, or tapping into their adventurous side by hiking the mountains of Kfour. They can also dine and enjoy both locally harvested non-vegan and vegan options including dishes like half-roasted beetroot with zaatar.
It is important to bear in mind that the food portions are said to be small and the prices can be hefty. The weather sometimes may also be an issue. Due to being located in the mountains and near the Mediterranean sea, at times, it can get foggy and sticky.
250 US Dollars per night (No Meals)
350 US Dollars per night (Full-Board)
For a touch of history, located in the city of Tyre, one of the oldest cities in the world, is the Dar Alma guest house. Overlooking the Mediterranean sea, the building’s bright yellow façade is surrounded by old, brick waterfront structures. Guests can hear waves crashing onto its walls due to the building’s proximity to the water. The sea can be viewed from many points within the building including the bedrooms as well as its terraces.
To tap into the city’s history, right near the hotel is the Crusader Citadel dating back to the Crusade Era. Guests can also head to the city’s Hippodrome, built in 2 AD. Its grounds were used for chariot races. The guest house itself also holds historical significance because within its basement, which is now a restaurant, is an engraved stone with Sumerian origins; the stone is still displayed at the restaurant.
An important note is that several guests mentioned that it’s better to dine outside the guest house as the food was mediocre. You can check out their local fish restaurants as an alternative.
Price: 150 to 250 US dollars per night (Depending on Room Type)
Blue Marlin Batroun
Situated along the Mediterranean coast at the seaside village of Batroun is Blue Marlin Batroun beach house. Its interiors include large arching windows casting a bright light on its furniture as well as walls lined with brick. They offer entire apartments, each one with its own character. The majority of them are bohemian styled with faded wooden furniture as well as light blue shutters giving a beachy, calm vibe. Their beach house style is also evident from their furniture made of wicker including chairs.
As the beach house is surrounded by a historical village, guests can go out and explore some of its landmarks including the Phoenician Wall which was originally made out of sand dunes that were then reinforced with rocks by Phoenicians. Or they can head to the Old Souk to get a taste of Batroun’s culture as they walk along its cobbled streets and check out their shops made of sandstone.
Price: 110 to 280 US Dollars per night (Depending on the Apartment chosen)
In the area of Batroun, high up in the mountains stands the 19th Century Villa, Beit Douma. It was restored and renovated by Souk El Tayeb, known to be a farmer’s kitchen and market situated in Beirut. Many of the old facets of the villa remain including a hharounn, which is a hole found in the ground, filled with hot coals to warm up the room. Its interiors consist of white-washed walls contrasting with bright, colorful elements like green chairs, yellow bordered windows, and floral dining covers. Outside, the villa is surrounded by orchards, mountains, and olive groves.
Guests can head to its open-faced kitchen and enjoy their meals made with local ingredients such as their breakfast which includes Lebanese favorites like Labnah, hummus and manakeesh zaatar. They can also take part in cooking up their meals.
120 US Dollars per night (standard double room)
140 US Dollars per night (large double room)
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