Guesthouse Lebanon

Top Lebanese Guesthouse Success Stories: Tales of Hospitality Triumphs

In recent years, authentic tourism has been rising in popularity, as visitors worldwide seek more intimate experiences over commercial itineraries. In Lebanon, many people have opened their homes to guests, and guesthouses and guest tables are taking the tourism game by storm, revolutionizing rural tourism and bringing people back to basics, back to the land, and to human connection. Exemplifying the success of guesthouses are the stories of three hosts whose dedication to Lebanese hospitality and warmth has turned their homes into little corners of heaven.
Noha Abi Rached's journey began with serendipity. The notion of turning her family home into a guesthouse first emerged when a group of students from the American University of Beirut were looking for lodging in Ain Zebdeh, Western Bekaa. Her friend suggested she host them for a few nights, and Noha’s Guesthouse was born. While it was a challenge adapting to having people share her home, Noha now looks forward to meeting visitors from all over the world, and what started as a spontaneous gesture has blossomed into a renowned spot on the guesthouse tourism map.

Noha’s Guesthouse embodies the true spirit of authenticity. With concrete floors and little to no modern renovations, it welcomes hikers of the Lebanese Mountain Trail into a raw, unadulterated village experience. Here, at this Chez l’Habitant, Noha cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner with her own hands, and makes “mouneh” for guests to leave with a little taste of their temporary home.

Over the years, Noha has welcomed diverse groups from Canada, Australia, America, and Jordan, cherishing the unique imprint each visitor leaves behind. Within these walls, guests become friends, united by Noha's unwavering presence and the love that permeates every corner of her home.
In another corner of Lebanon, Ama’s La Maison du Bonheur offers a slightly different experience. Returning to her family house in Deir el Amar after years abroad, Ama Tabet faced a daunting task: restoring a home stripped down to its bare bones on her teacher's salary. Bit by bit, with perseverance as her ally, she resurrected the house, transforming it into a haven for travelers seeking solace in its simplicity.

For Ama, hosting is a labor of love. Her cozy “Maison d’Hôte” began with two bedrooms and a living room, gradually expanding to include a separate shed surrounded by a blossoming private garden. At La Maison du Bonheur, coffee, tea, fruits, and Ama’s homemade treasures—olive oil, jams, and honey—are tokens of her boundless hospitality.

What sets Ama apart is her personal touch. Unlike many, she doesn't merely manage a guesthouse; she embodies the spirit of a true host, embracing every visitor as an extension of her own family. Her little golden book, filled with words of gratitude and joy from departing guests, drives her to keep going, knowing that her innate passion for hospitality and her love of people make it all so easy, and worthwhile.

Our third guesthouse is characterized by its distinguished beauty, and a story spanning nearly four decades of history and heritage. What began in 1986 as a 200-year-old Lebanese house has evolved into a revered family home and now stands as Indira, a “Boutique Guesthouse” exuding elegance and cultural opulence.

After countless restorations and numerous milestones, Indira's metamorphosis has been a labor of love passed down through generations. Today, it is home to an exquisite art collection, a harmonious blend of diverse cultures stretching across continents. Led by the visionary Lebanese designer Carla Baz, Indira's transformation was a collaborative effort. Teaming up with esteemed craftsmen from MAISON TARAZI and the versatile interior stylist Carole Tarazi Nasnas, the dynamic trio curated an ambiance that seamlessly melds the past with the present, birthing a refined and understated luxury.

Guiding the helm is Isabelle Edde, a luminary in diplomacy, art, and communications, infusing Indira with seamless operational finesse. Complementing her expertise is Dany Baz, Carla's mother and the onsite host, whose personal interactions with guests weave an intimate touch into the Indira experience.

This boutique gem owes its success to a passionate team dedicated to crafting an ambiance where comfort meets elegance and refinement. The personal touch by Isabelle Edde ensures an unforgettable stay while an array of activities, from nature hikes to the iconic pool and spa, elevate the guest experience.

Three hosts, three distinct places, united by a common thread of hospitality. Noha, Emma, and the Indira team epitomize the essence of Lebanese culture—where home transcends its physical boundaries, embracing visitors and weaving unforgettable tales of warmth and friendship.

In their homes, the richness of Lebanese heritage meets the world, creating moments that linger in the hearts of travelers long after their departure.

We would like to thank Noha, Ama, Carla and the Indira team for inviting us into their homes and lending their stories for us to share with the world.

This article is part of a joint project between the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Le Passeport Culinaire to strengthen guesthouses and guest tables in Lebanon and enhance their competitiveness.

The content of this article is the sole responsibility of Le Passeport Culinaire S.A.R.L. and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID and the United States Government.