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Batroun: A Story of Genuine Hospitality
Batroun: A Story of Genuine Hospitality
Marian Hovagimian

Batroun is an area in northern Lebanon which boasts immense beauty for the eye to behold. Imagine being by the sea one minute, and then in the mountains fifteen minutes later. Or enjoying the quiet suburb life during the day and yet, still experiencing a lively evening with restaurants, music, and amazing nightlife. Zeina Bridi, the owner of Beit Bridi guest house in Abdelli, shared her take on the area with us.

“In Batroun, you can enjoy the peace of the Abdelli village, with the vibrant nightlife of the city of Batroun, and its wide variety of restaurants, pubs, and cafes, all in less than 15 minutes,” says Zeina Bridi. The host of Beit Bridi Guesthouse in Abdelli, Batroun hills, explains that the region is known for the hospitability of its people and the richness of what its nature can offer. “I’m not originally from Batroun,” says Zeina, “but I fell in love with this region as if I was born here. Quickly I became one of its people. From the beginning, I felt welcomed, and I can tell you that Batroun is always ready to welcome you. At any time of the year.  In any other place in the world, you may get lost in your ways. But here, you can easily find your way. Just ask and look around.  You will feel the generosity of the people who will help and welcome you as one of them. They do not wait for someone to come and ask them for help. They naturally come to you and make sure you feel like you belong.”

The Birth of Beit Bridi

The owners built this guesthouse with the ambition that it would bring the authentic feeling of Batroun and Lebanon to its visitors. “My husband  and I were  attracted to the area. Love at first sight. We saw that it held genuineness, and that’s very rare. That was the main factor that led us to be in Batroun,” explains Bridi about why she decided to start a new life in the area. “We bought the land that was in the woods with no construction around. It was the wilderness. We opened the road, built the house, managed to get electricity and water, but it was a difficult exercise, not to be repeated in the same fashion. Our focus was for the house to be authentic, and to look like the houses in the village. Most people who visit ask us if it is a family house that has been renovated. We built it from scratch, insisting on preserving the architectural heritage. We discovered it and quickly saw its potential. The house is meant to host people from different walks of life, but that share the same vision and lifestyle.

Zeina Bridi tells us about one of her favorite things in Abdelli, Batroun. “I am surrounded with lot of trees and I love it. What I like most is a particular tree; in Arabic it’s called ‘Etelbe’. Its fruits are small, round, and very tasty. It grows only in the wild. You don’t plant it. It seems like few people have heard of it. I was intrigued by its appearance. Apparently, it is called ‘strawberry tree’. I have one of these trees in my garden, it looks so unusual, so special and beautiful. I even made jam out of its fruits,” she laughs. “One of the most delicious jams that I have ever tasted.”

Genuine Hospitality at Beit Bridi

Zeina Bridi has taken to heart to make her business special and memorable for all who wish to visit it. “I know that the term ‘guesthouse’ has become too familiar and you can find one in so many areas all over the place, but, the real guesthouse is when the visitor finds a person to welcome him and takes care of his needs and wants.  I do that and its very rare.  Beitbridi is not a usual guest house; It’s a house, it is home.  I host the guests. I prepare the breakfast myself. I do the services. I’m here and present all year-round, all the time. It’s not a hotel. It’s like you have been invited over,” Zeina Bridi explains. The specialty does not only come in the form of a homy treatment. The morning breakfast is a discovery in what is put on the table. “I prepare food for 14-16 people. I believe that this is one of the most liked items and moments which helps to create a homy atmosphere. It’s a different way to consider tourism. What best describes beitbridi at Abdelli:  you come as a guest, and leave as a friend. This slogan has come from guests’ experience.”

“As I told you, I wasn’t born here, nor have I lived in Abdelli. I am originally from Beirut. But ever since I began living here, I have loved the village life. I’m very happy here. I feel I am part of the community. I love sitting and discussing with the village people, sharing their problems and their moments of joy. Here, when you take a walk, everybody greets you, everybody invites you over for coffee. It’s just one big family, even if you aren’t originally from here. I love this way of life, but also enjoying the city life Batroun has to offer just fifteen minutes away. You can have the best of both worlds in Batroun.”

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