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Next month I shall be heading to Tunisia for the first time, and I’m eager to see for myself what charm and fascinating splendour this North African country has to offer. Tunisia has long been a destination for sun-seekers, with palm trees framing an extensive Mediterranean coastline but Tunisia’s rich historic past, as well as diverse culture, means that there is much more to do than just lie on the beach.
Boutique Hotels in Tunisia
For me, a perfect trip involves a heavy itinerary of eating, drinking and exploring. And the one constant which ties each of these elements together is an excellent base. Accommodation can be the make or break of any holiday in Tunisia – and I am rather partial to a boutique number. Small in size, but oozing in sophistication and elegance, with quirky interiors and curios, the hotels which offer a story and treat their guests like long-lost families – they are the type of places I want to stay in. I’ve rounded up what I think are the best boutique hotels in Tunisia, from Tunis, the capital, all the way to Djerba, these should all be on your wishlist.
Dar Ben Gacem
Nestled in the heart of the Medina in Tunis, Dar Ben Gacem is heralded as one of the very first boutique hotels in the city. A converted 300-year-old Tunisian villa, it has been lovingly restored to provide guests with a warm welcome. Dar Ben Gacem wants travellers to feel like part of the family. While traditional homemade cuisine is served in the cosy dining room, the seven rooms are traditionally furnished, comfortable and flooded with light. This Tunis boutique hotel also offers a fully immersive experience, such a cooking lessons, bookbinding and Medina tours, to continually help preserve and revitalise Tunisia’s cultural heritage.
With its rustic charm and Moorish influences, Dar Said has the enviable position of being on the hilltops of Sidi Bou Said – Tunisia’s famous blue and white coastal enclave. It also means it has breathtaking views of the Gulf of Tunis. If you’re not padding barefoot around the pool, you can relax in several sunny terraces or retire to your chamber. The suites and rooms in what used to be a mansion house are all large, individually and elegantly designed from four-poster beds to mesmerisingly high ceilings, as well as luxury linens and furnishings. Meanwhile, guests only have to cross over to the other side of the road to dine on fine European and Tunisia Cuisine at Three Forks, or Dar Zarrou, and enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean.
Dar El Medina
Just a stone’s throw from the Kasbah Square in Tunis, Dar El Medina is in the perfect location for those wanting to delve into the capital’s historic sights, including Zitouna Mosque and palace Dar El Bey. Split over two patios, the rooms at Dar El Medina have high vaulted ceilings and capture the very essence of Tunisian crafts and workmanship – from unique trinkets and embellishments to fine works of art. Watch the sun go down over the city while drinking mint tea on the terrace before heading to dinner at the hotel’s Driba restaurant, where you can feast on couscous with fish, as well as slow-cooked meat in fragrant sauces.
La Villa Bleue
This beautifully restored dar has a sought-after restaurant which serves fine cuisine in either the majestically tiled dining room, or outside on a sun-kissed terrace with panoramic sea views. But La Villa Bleue is also a fine example of Arab-Andalusian design. A smattering of colour against a backdrop of white sees the 12 rooms tastefully decorated, with the upper tier having their own private access to the pool area. You won’t want to leave, so spoiled by the attentive service and sublime surroundings…
Head to Djerba, an island off the coast Tunisia and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking coastlines and whitewashed desert towns. Dar Dhiafa is at the centre of the island in a small village Erriadh – Hara Sghira. The owners have combined five typical Tunisian homes, to bring guests laidback accommodation and unfettered relaxation. With Arabian Nights influences, rooms are superbly uncluttered but inspiring, while Dar Dhiafa has several terraces as well as two pools and a hammam to help weary travellers unwind.