If you’ve been yearning for a weekend getaway, chances are Bouyouti made it somewhere at the top of your list of places to go. But since this bubble of tranquility nestled in the Chouf has had its share of fame, let’s say you should have planned that particular trip a bit earlier. We had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Roula Bazerji, the half-dreamer half-entrepreneur who runs this zenland; needless to say she’s not your typical host.
Bouyouti – Lebanese for “My Houses”-, was born by chance and started as a game; the game of a little girl who always dreamed of owning a small green village, filled with flowers and pretty things.
« I got married to a man of the Chouf who inherited this huge land filled with olive trees. We knew we would never spend time there unless we built a small house. I had spent all of my summers in Faraya and learning to love this new region took me some time.” Then frenzy kicked in and the small house was surrounded with six others.
« It was like a game for us; we did it all by ourselves, with no professional help what so ever », explained Mrs. Bazerji, “One house for us, one house for each of the kids, and one for their friends. We built them respecting nature and the beauty of the land we were blessed to call ours, giving each little house a name depending on its surroundings: you thus have the house of the roses, the house of the valley, the house of the bridge, etc”.
But this didn’t make the Bazerjis visit the Chouf as often as they thought they would. “So we built the main house with rooms that could fit all of our eventual guests, which somehow made the small houses useless.”
When the idea of turning these small dream-made constructions into guesthouses was brought forward, it took the owners some time to dive in. And we’re glad they did. An infinity pool, a breathtaking view, live cooking sessions and the calm and serenity you haven’t felt in months; “The birds’ twittering is the loudest sound you’ll hear”, confesses the host with a smile.
What makes locals and foreigners alike fall for this place, from Canadian officials and Miss France to us Lebanese, is undeniably the personal touch and conviviality of the hosts. “True wisdom comes to those who are aware of the gifts life hands them and know how to appreciate them.” says Mrs. Bazerji, who admits she has dealt with every situation in her life with a combination of fun and perfectionism. This doesn’t come as a surprise when you know she has been working as a woodwork professional for many years.
« My only advice would be to instill love and passion to everything you do. One should always wake up and be thrilled of what awaits them.”