26m - Like most days, the door is open. A Ziad Rahbani tune wafts through the...
An Oasis for Travellers and Tripolitans Alike
Beit el Nessim is a short meandering walk through Mina’s narrow alleys from Libanpost near the Corniche, and opposite the boutique Rendez-Vous. The big blue front door dons a heavy cast iron ball-in-hand doorknocker and is crowned with a spectacular stone doorframe.
Owner/manager and yoga teacher Nabil Najjar, a native of Tripoli, bought the house, which dates back to 1878, in 2007. “The situation in Tripoli was not good and the house was in ruins,” Najjar recalls.
After years of carful renovations, completed in 2012, mostly on his own, the result is magnificent; the spectacular stonemasonry work has been carefully restored and brought to the fore. The ground floor bears splendid high vaults.
The staircase connecting the front door to the first floor leads to the space that Najjar and his wife Maya Sourati use for yoga practice and classes. Beit el Nessim is Tripoli’s first yoga centre, where people from different ages learn asanas. Three guest rooms frame this serene space, as well as a bathroom and a salon with a balcony overlooking the garden across. Some of the light is filtered by stained glass windows, the seven guest rooms, each bearing Indian names, are tastefully decorated by paying attention to detail and invite to stay. Ida has a sink hidden inside a closet with Damascene doors, Samsara, up a stairway beyond the reclining giant grapevine, has an exposed stone arch. Beit el Nessim successfully blends masterly Arabic architecture with Zen philosophy, fusing Indian and Oriental fabric, furniture and flair.
“Yoga is part of the way I furnished the house; with a certain consciousness, avoiding not to crowd it too much, to leave empty spaces. That also impacted on the choice of colours. And since I travel to India frequently, I was attracted to Indian furniture and décor, sourced in the bazaars of Jaipur,” Najjar explains.
On the top floor are a cosy kitchen, a room and a splendid roof top terrace that provides a spectacular view of Mina and a gentle sea breeze.
A short drive from Tripoli and its amazing souks, parts of it dating back to the Middle Ages, Beit el Nessim offers guests varied activities: walking and cycling along the Corniche, boat trips to the islands, sampling Mina’s seafood or Tripoli’s famous hallab (oriental sweets) as well as a base from which to explore Qadisha and the pristine north.