Charming, laid-back bed and breakfast in Smar Jbeil

About 6 windy kilometres from the high way and 200m above sea level, nestled down a steep road is Tafla. A huge turquoise blue arrow sprayed on a signboard tells visitors to turn left helps them find their way. It also gives a good impression of what to expect: laid back and chilled vibes, a creative, colourful edge, a guesthouse and café that is ideal for people with an alternative mindset and who truly love nature.

Right at the entrance, some of the dogs, lazy in the summer heat, force themselves to acknowledge the presence of newcomers. Regardless of the heat, bed and breakfast owner Miriam Mattouk is bubbly and welcoming.

Inside the house are a few sets of sofas, ideal for cooler seasons, a bar with African masks and wood-carvings from Ghana, where Miriam spent most of her life, and a counter where fresh produce is for sale.

The veranda outside has many tables and low-seated spots to choose from, the nicest are under a big oak tree, overlooking the sea below. Some of the furniture is made from upcycled materials, such as a swing, made of two tyres and a plank in the middle to lie or sit on and there are plenty of recycle bins.

For afternoon coffee or cake, for a barbeque and cool beers, this is a convivial spot, where strangers share their food. With the decorated pomegranate bushes and colourful blossoms in hues of fiery purple and vibrant yellow, it’s a wonderfully luminous and dreamy spot that easily lets you forget the world beyond.

Up on the first floor, there are three light filled neat guest rooms for rent ($80 during the week, $100 on weekends). Guests also have access to another veranda and a salon. In winter, they gather around the fireplace, reading books or playing games and have access to a kitchen.

For those, especially during midseason, who like to be close to nature, Tafla offers tents, pitched in the plot below the main veranda, in between their huge vegetable garden. So if spotting a giant pumpkin or rambling cherry tomatoes is your idea of bliss when unzipping your tent and squinting at a new day – you will looove Tafla.

Ask Miriam about she came to name her haven Tafla-it’s a sweet story…

Words By Nathalie Rosa | Photography Images courtesy of Miriam Maatouk/Tafla

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