Villa Chamoun: when a family retreat becomes a retro hotel

Nestled in the Qadisha Valley in the village of Hasroun, Villa Chamoun is an enchanting mountain retreat with a 1960s charm and tempo. Built as a family home in 1965 by Toufic Chamoun, an inventor, mechanical engineer and industrialist, who began his career in the 1920s in the United States with the Ford Motor Company and was strongly influenced by the architecture of Morris Lapidus and the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Recently restored into a retro hotel by his grandson Rony Zibara, it is famous and honors its history.

Rony Zibara, the grandson, a longtime branding expert, launched a vast renovation project with the rigour of an archaeologist and the creativity of an artistic director. His ambition: Not just to rebuild the villa as it was, but to return it to life and revive the soul of its glorious past. He commissioned the best Lebanese talent from around the world, hired local artisans, and interviewed his family who had lived the villa’s happy era. Retaining only the walls and a few pieces of furniture from the past, he repaired, renovated, and restored the splendour of its vast spaces, living rooms and bedrooms. Among these virtuosos who gave life to the villa, Fares Dagher, lighting designer, contributed to lighting the indoor and outdoor spaces and designed the giant mushroom lamps. Nada Debs, interior and furniture designer, has designed the coffee tables that decorate the large lounge, the dining room mirrors, and the rolling tray tables that highlight the quality of service. Lara Khoury, elegant and edgy fashion designer, created the wardrobe for the villa’s staff. Milia Maroun, ultimate choreographer of fluid motion, designed a version of her iconic Kimabaya, a hybrid garment between a kimono and an abaya which bridges the gap between the Middle and the Far East. Rana Salam, queen of pop-art, designed the entire pool experience with her summer-themed colours and accessories.

Staying at the villa allows guests to discover the pleasures of a simpler, more elegant time. The service is as considerate as it is discreet yet leaves room for discovery. Each guest lives at his or her own pace, according to his or her own interests. There are 6 bedrooms on the second floor of the villa. They all share a small pink lounge, a discreet meeting place, as well as two terraces for the exclusive enjoyment of their guests. Some rooms open onto balconies with a breath-taking mountain view. Each room is named after the family member who originally occupied it in the 1960s. In the Pink Suite and the two-bedroom Blue Apartment located on the garden level, the same atmosphere permeates the generous spaces that allow resident families to settle in. On the walls, artist Owen Grant Innes has created large hand-painted frescoes, a nod to ancient myths. Here are two generous spaces, each boasting large private terraces. In the bathrooms, the clean white marble is inlaid with a simple black steel line. Opposite the grand salon, a great place to gather, meet or just hang out, is the dining room, just as it was in the original family home, it consists of a large central table that seats ten, a sideboard, and a dresser overflowing with dishes and beautiful tableware.

The highest point of the villa, the roof terrace, embraces the panorama. Protected by surrounding plants, it is the ideal place for yoga sessions, an open-air work-out, a massage in the breeze. Or simply to do nothing at all. Nestled in one of the bubble chairs, you can let time pass while you contemplate the mountains during the day. And gaze at the stars all night. At the entrance, around the house and by the pool, flowers, plants, and large trees are scattered around Villa Chamoun’s grounds. Whether the traditional fountain that greets visitors at the entrance, the sharp oval lawns that lead to the swimming pool or the large rose garden, these generous green spaces appeal to the senses and provide peace and freshness. There’s also a touch of fantasy. Next to the large fountain, is a giant chess set with life-size pawns, a tribute to Toufic Chamoun, a great chess player. Then there is Le Potager de Teta, or grandma’s vegetable garden, an innovative feature, where customers can pick their produce. The villa offers seasonal, fresh and local cuisine, enhanced by the know-how of an experienced team, which caters to all tastes, at any time of day. Art is part of life at Villa Chamoun. Present in every space to enhance the beauty and history of the place. Each work has been handpicked by Rony Zibara to highlight a moment, an encounter, an emotion.

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