Dining Out Magazine

Beit Al Batroun: An Eclectic and Charming Maison D’Hôte

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion
Anthony's Hotel Rating: 94/100 X

Welcoming:10/10 Menu Choices: 9/10 Food Presentation: 9/10

Food Temperature: 9/10 Food Taste: 18/20 Service: 9/10

Ambiance/Music: 10/10 Architecture/Interior: 10/10 Air Quality: 10/10

Total: 94/100

Beit Al Batroun: An Eclectic and Charming Maison D’Hôte More about: Beit AL Batroun

I may always say this and I will say it again, simple because I am positively surprised… There are places in Lebanon that inspire me, as well as people who remind me that Lebanon is a beautiful country we should not give up on. The positivity such places and such people share with others is outstanding. It’s worth putting the spotlight on them. One such person is the lovely Collette Kahil and one such unique place is Beit Al Batroun.

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Reach the army check point of Barbara, then take the first right up to Saint Rafka, to reach the village of Thoum. Drive through a rocky road on a hill, into the heart of a secluded area stands Beit Al Batroun. The first minute I laid eyes on this place I fell inlove…

Located in the heart of Thoum, a small village situated at the same distance from the historical cities of Byblos and Batroun. Just three minutes from the highway, take a steep left at Ajdadna Bakery just before reaching the village’s church. Down the rocky road, follow the electricity line cables and reach a small house: “Beit Al Batroun” owned and managed by Colette Kahil.

Hidden behind rich greenery, a house “Beit” stands strong with a welcoming feeling. Blending perfectly with the environment, this house is really a jewel box. An eclectic mix of hundreds of tiny little objects, furniture and accessories collected from different parts of the world including Oman, Jordan, Syria, the Gulf as well as many corners of Lebanon. Each and every item has a story to tell which Colette knows by heart and tells with a smile on her face.

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The owner fell in love with the area and wanted to build something there. She built a dream home with extra fully furbished guest rooms where she can welcome people for the weekend or short breaks to stay for bed and breakfast.

The house looks authentically old, yet it was built recently. Using natural stones collected around, white fresh painted walls, brown warm wood, unique items collected as well as mosaic arts created by Collette herself, create an interesting space.

Slowly and calmly, together, every item Collete has collected was made use off from old window shutters turned into tables, to wind charms hung on trees, disposed crates turned into table legs… and so much more. Walking around the premises, Colette tells me the story of each item placed in her house.

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So many things define this place. But Collette must have a soft spot for one item. Although she loves all her things, as each has a story to tell, but she showed weakness towards the dinning table.

“This dinning table was actually one of the tables an old tailor factory used. People sat one next to the other with their sewing machines… now it’s my dinning table. I love it.”

Walk up the stairs into a nice yard, where nice seating areas are created… walk into the house and you’re welcome by a swing inside the middle of the living area – it’s usable, mind you… so you can just imagine the characters that surround this little piece of heaven in the North.

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Around a long corridor open on both sides and delimited with two high arcades, the square shaped house is a kind of open space where a salon on the right and kitchen on the left are separated by a chimney. Continue to reach the famous arcade that constitutes the heart of the house. A long five meters dining room on the left and sofas on the right. Covered with a mix of concrete and old Lebanese tiles and decorated with carpets. A simple yet innovative design that just relaxes you.

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While Nora Jones plays in the background, I continued my tour around the house, appreciating every detail. Here and there, details don’t seem to have an end… On this 2000sqm of land facing the sea, the serenity felt is close to none.

The details of architecture:

  • Colette took ideas from magazines and built the house slowly a year after the other
  • Two arcades, her dream come true…
  • A square house, covered with pieces of stones found inside the land
  • Wood windows and steel grills protect the many windows surrounding the house
  • The salon, welcoming and facing the chimney and LCD screen
  • An open kitchen, beautifully decorated with a mezzanine over it
  • The arcade corridor is a cultural encyclopedia of discoveries, natural sunlight comes in, while fresh air dances around the space all day long
  • Two rooms for rent in front of the arcade with their individual bathrooms
  • Below the welcoming area, another two rooms are available with a nice seating area in front, with more privacy
  • A terrace, bamboo chairs and a parasol is what you need to spend a full day of meditation
  • Next to the terrace is a small pool

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The little things I liked:

  • The entrance on stone stairs
  • The old feel of the house and its authentic decoration
  • Flower pots all over the area perfectly taken care of
  • Look up the salon, to see a stone cross in the middle

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The rooms:

  • Four Rooms for rent. 16 sqm each with double beds of 180cm or 200cm, individual bathrooms, simply decorated, fresh with small flowers welcoming new guests. I loved the small and colorful “baladi soaps” in the bathrooms
  • Old Lebanese tiles cover the floors
  • Bathroom with an Italian shower
  • Towels packed nicely on the beds
  • Bar with its sink
  • Air conditioning

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Beit Al Batroun Amenities:

  • A small pool
  • Garden around the premises you can explore, expect to see chickens producing fresh eggs every morning
  • An ideal place for relaxation and serenity
  • A swing inside the salon area is definitely for while adding charm to the space
  • 3 minutes to the beach
  • 9 minutes to Byblos
  • 6 minutes to Batroun
  • 2 minutes to the Rachana village

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Good to know:

  • Dogs are welcomed to sleep outside the rooms only – check on the details upon reserving
  • 160$/night is the price to pay, including breakfast
  • No credit cards are accepted
  • You can pass by just for breakfast even if you’re not staying at the house, for only $25, Colette will be pleased to serve you the best homemade preparations before continuing your day at the beach – make sure to call ahead.

Breakfast:
Breakfast at Beit Batroun is simple and includes typical Lebanese tasty bites among other items. Items may include labneh, cheese, fresh local vegetables, four kinds of jam, honey, orange juice, and corn flakes, eggs served in a pot, manakish, Knefe and sometime a fig tart. Toasted bread, square bread, Kaak, craquottes, coffee, tea and more…

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And if you are lucky enough, you might just get to taste Collette’s signature fig tart. Simply majestic:

Colette is a great cook and one of her specialties is the fig tart. A simple yet innovative creation you will fall in love with the minute it enters your mouth. It’s a tart that will enchant you like Sleeping Beauty’s apple. A fig tart, served warm: A thin crunchy pastry dough covered with rich green figs cut in four pieces left in their skin. Simple and clear: figs, sugar on puff pastry. Simply awesome!

“Dear Colette, my newest friend, I will be coming back soon to spend the weekend with the family, have lunch with you and taste your unique culinary creations…”

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