Places, Qatar

10 Guesthouses that Honor Tradition

A list of accommodation deeply connected to place

Traveling means taking on the role of a grateful guest and learning from your hosts. Why not then immerse yourself in a place that stays in touch with its roots and has rich stories to share? We have come up with a list of lodgings that are not only distinctly local, but dedicated to preserving their own forms of hospitality, craftsmanship, architecture, and more.


The stunning hotel is the fruit of an impressive collaboration between Aman Group and a Shanghai-based philanthropist. When the camphor forests and historic houses near his native Fuzhou in Jiangxi province had to give place to a reservoir necessary for the area, the entrepreneur set out to relocate ten thousand trees and fifty Ming- and Qing-dynasty villas to the outskirts of Shanghai. In 2009, the project was joined by Aman, which resulted in the creation of Amanyangyun. The hotel stands in a rescued forest and offers accommodation in some of the restored villas, along with contemporary suites.

Amanyangyun's website

Heenat Salma. Doha, Qatar

Heenat Salma is an organic farm and a camp located in Al Shahaniya municipality, north-west of Doha. A flagship project of Caravane Earth Foundation, the farm specializes in regenerative agriculture and permaculture, experimenting with crops in arid zones. Apart from cultivating desert-friendly plants and vegetables, Heenat Salma is devoted to preserving and developing local artisanship. It offers lodging in spacious 40-square-meter textile tents, fitted with local hand-made furniture in noble natural materials, often recycled. Apart from Qatari craftspeople, Heenat Salma works with rural craftspeople from Malawi, Pakistan, and Morocco. Each tent has a private bathroom and a small garden. The kitchen offers a carefully composed varying seasonal menu, including farm-to-table meals.

Heenat Salma Farm's website

The Johri at Lal Haveli. Jaipur, India

The Johri at Lal Haveli stands in the heart of Jaipur’s famous jewelry marketplace, Johari Bazar. It is located in a 19th-century merchant’s family haveli, a traditional Indian mansion. The building has been carefully restored with the use of local crafts and time-tested materials. The hotel offers five spacious suites, each with its own color scheme, mood, and theme defined by elegantly curated antique furniture, textiles, and art from Rajasthan. The rooms overlook a quiet courtyard, offering a peaceful haven in the bustling city.

The Johri Jaipur's website

The Nest at Sossus. Namib Tsaris Conservancy, Namibia

This retreat is located in the Namib Tsaris Conservancy, close to Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan in the Namib Desert famous for its landscapes. The Conservancy, founded in 2010, is a massive land rehabilitation project dealing with the consequences of inadequate farming in order to create the necessary refuge for wildlife and to reintroduce species native to the area. Designed by Porky Hefer, the guesthouse has its roof and façade executed in a traditional African thatching technique with the use of reed from northern Namibia so as to resemble the sociable weaver’s nest, hence the name, — with a touch of grounding glamor in the shape of Rhodesian teak wood flooring and exquisite furniture.

The Nest at Sossus's website

Beit At-Taybeh. Taybeh, Jordan

Beit al Taybeh is an example of true vernacular construction. Jordanian farmers living on the slopes of Batha valley built its first two rooms in 1947: one was a living space, another was storage to keep food for cattle. In the years to come, they kept adding rooms until it was a complete rectangular-shaped house with a courtyard in the middle. Later, farmers moved to the nearby Taybeh village and the building stood abandoned for a couple of decades until Fadi Helalat and Jolanda Koopman turned it into a guesthouse honoring the area’s cultural heritage. Its stone walls and small windows with juniper frames make air conditioning unnecessary.

Beit al Taybeh's website


Rosemary is based in a riad, a traditional Moroccan and Andalousian courtyard house. An intimate, adult-only guesthouse offers five bedrooms and a whole range of aesthetic experiences. Its concept and design features were developed by LRNCE, a Marrakesh-based lifestyle brand founded by Belgian Laurence Leenaert and inspired by traditional North African craftsmanship. Laurence personally teaches workshops for Rosemary’s guests showing them how to hand-paint ceramic or chisel glazed tiles.

Rosemary's website

Xiangyu Xiangyuan B&B. Xiamen, China

Located in Dazhai village near the port city of Xiamen, China’s southern “Mansion Gate,” the Xiangyu Xiangyuan B&B consists of three restored houses characteristic of Fujian province. The buildings have been carefully restored and reinvented by the Design Institute of Landscape and Architecture China Academy of Art. Original materials, such as stone bricks and wood, have been repurposed or upcycled. Subtle decor, including locally crafted grass carpets and rope-wrapped handrails, quotes rural styles in a sophisticated manner. Ancient forms, flows, and rhythms of traditional Chinese architecture are only enhanced by sleek modern touches, offering a poetic shelter for (time) travelers.

Xiangyu Xiangyuan B&B's website

Nuwa. Seoul, Korea

Nuwa is nestled in Seochon, the historic heart of Seoul’s Jongno-gu district formerly inhabited by the Joseon era writers. Designed by Z_Lab, the intimate guesthouse is based in a traditional Korean hanok reimagined with modern flair, all within a compact footprint of just 29.3 square meters. The interiors are executed in natural hues, with a cozy sleeping nook, walnut-wood tables, and a sunken bath beside a lush garden. A highlight is the oversized porthole window, offering a picturesque view and a nod to the Korean concept of wayu: “laying down and sightseeing”—finding solace and beauty in art and one’s surroundings.

Nuwa's website

Komil Bukhara Boutique Hotel. Bukhara, Uzbekistan

This small hotel in one of the most famous Silk Road cities occupies an extravagant 19th century courtyard three-story house originally built for one of the wealthiest people in town. The current owner inherited it from his grandfather who had purchased the property some 50 years ago. The hotel preserves much of its original splendor, from intricate wood carving decorating the front door and window shutters to wall paintings and interior details of the rooms.

Komil Bukhara Boutique Hotel's website

Beit al Batroun. Batroun, Lebanon

Beit al Batroun is a chic, five-bedroom guesthouse nestled along the Lebanese sea coast. Dreamt up and developed by mosaicist Colette Kahil with the help of her architect friend Wadih Chehaybar, this residence merges the centuries-old structure of local rural building and whimsical interiors with antiques and handcrafted pieces thoughtfully collected from across the globe. Rasha Kahil, the creative director of the Financial Times’ HTSI magazine and Colette’s daughter, has told EastEast the heartfelt story of the family-run guesthouse.

Beit al Batroun's website

Cover photo © EastEast. Set Design: Nastya Indrikova. Lighting and photography: Ilyas Hajji. Studio Surat, 2024

All other images courtesy of guesthouses: Amanyangyun, Heenat Salma Farm, The Johri Jaipur, The Nest at Sossus, Beit At-Taybeh, Riad Rosemary, Xiangyu Xiangyuan B&B, NUWA, Komil Bukhara Boutique Hotel, Beit al Batroun 

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