353m - A coastal town in North Lebanon, Batroun is located nearly 50 km from...
An enchanting and charming Lebanese getaway
Villa Paradiso Batroun Guest House and Events space in the northern sector of the old city is only few meters away from the majestic Saint Stephen and Saint George cathedrals. Northwest, lies the north harbor of the old Phoenician city, less than 100 meters away, today developed into one of Lebanon's biggest fishing ports. The property is a cluster of indoor and outdoor spaces built with the local Ramli (sand) stones that originate from Batroun's ground. The old city is famous for its so called "Phoenician Wall", natural rampart created by the millennial excavation of the Ramli monolith on which it sits.
The ground floor of the mansion itself is characteristic of the city's ottoman times, due to the typical architectural features of that era, such as the arched vaults, the pebble paved streets, and the rather chaotic urban layout. The original upper floor had collapsed more than 80 years ago, it was replaced in the 1960's by a rather quickly done construction without any remarkable architectural features.
The restoration works were conducted with the utmost care for preserving as much of the original buildings as possible, using the most gentle restoration techniques, and the friendliest materials such as hydraulic lime for the old masonry joints and the plastering. The use of traditional carpentry and ironmongery techniques didn't hinder the full modernization of the house including environment friendly features such as eco-friendly double glazed windows, solar heating panels, lime painting techniques, and water saving bathrooms. The use of many up-cycled materials has been a main concern for the Villa Paradiso team, from recuperated tiles, to refurbished old window frames, to old steel fences and grids, transformed into indoor and outdoor design items.
Today the ground floor with its spacious indoor and semi indoor vaults has been safely restored and converted from the early 20th century French troops warehouse then biggest carpentry in Batroun, to a light filled serene multi-purpose space ready to welcome guests looking for a venue that could host their events in every field. The elegant indoor space is backed up by a professional kitchen and a lovely 520m² garden surrounded by other heritage houses and populated by a variety of beautiful old trees, from the white mulberry, to the tall medlar, resurrected pomegranates, olive, bitter orange, and flamboyant melias, all articulated around the precious centennial well that was restored and cleaned to service the generous garden again, just like in the good old days! As for the upper floor, it houses the fully renovated six bedroom and breakfast area guesthouse. The sea and town view spacious terraces and the lounge cafe lay beside the guesthouse, offering a relaxing space to every guest looking to spend a simply pleasant stay in an authentic timeless environment.
The Guesthouse offers 6 rooms in varying sizes and double/single beds, and is priced between $125 to $175 per night including breakfast.
Following text written for original Villa Paradiso in Gemmayzeh which has subsequently closed.
Walking home in the early hours of New Year’s Day, with his wife, Noor, British artist, musician, and teacher, Tom Young, spotted a grand, beautiful old house in Gemmayzeh under renovation. In front of it was a big sign, covered in cement: “For rent and investment”.
A few days later, Young dialed the number on the sign. The voice at the other end was Remi Feghali’s. What neither interlocutor knew then, is that this day would mark the beginning of the fabulous and rather rapid, genesis of an old family house into Villa Paradiso, a cultural center.
Since settling down in Beirut, Young had been thinking and talking a lot about heritage and the loss thereof. Eventually, he wanted to try and use art to save or regenerate abandoned houses.
The Feghalis had been renovating the building for four years. “Late last year, I took the decision to restart the restoration because we all felt in the family that the house needs to come back to life and to be useful again,” Feghali explains.
“We had no clear idea of what to convert it to, until Tom Young showed up and asked to use it as a space to exhibit his works. We immediately accepted and gave shape to a dream we all had for years: to have a home where we can celebrate life in our country, in all its forms, the arts, cultural events, social events… hence the choice of the name: Villa Paradiso.”
The exhibition was a carefully executed kaleidoscope of things and scenes very Beiruti, and very Lebanese, Villa Paradiso a significant labor of love. When not painting in the streets, Young approximated the house by painting his way through and beyond it, traveling back in time and connecting it with the present.
Does one have to take a step back to see beauty in Beirut, Samir Kassir asks in his book Beirut? Kassir’s answer is the same as Young’s: looking for beauty in hidden corners, unexpected spaces, details.
Various events will be held at the Villa including musical performances and film screenings, art workshops for disadvantaged children, and open talks and discussions by leading exponents of architecture and psychology up until 19 June 2013.
Since Young’s opening exhibition, Villa Paradiso has established itself as a cultural and social hub, frequently opening its doors to local and international artists, its old, layered walls engaging with their work.