Tunisia is the Arab world’s best secret. Not only does it boast high home ownership, high literacy, and good health care coverage, but it is so egalitarian that the First Lady boasts they don’t refer to women’s rights since they are a given. She says a country can’t run without the help of half its population.
It is also beset with construction projects. This country – only a hour’s flight from the most cosmopolitan European cities – is definitely trying to draw upscale visitors. But it has the opportunity to do so in a beautiful, creative, and sustainable manner. Designed by Matali Crasset, Dar HI eco-retreat has set the bar.
Everything about the place is harmonious. Set astride a clip of the Sahara desert and nearby a salt lake, it was built using local knowledge and local materials.
Concrete made with local sand blends into the surrounding landscape and clay, palm wood, and cane fronds provide structure and shade. The interior’s soothing minimalism is enhanced with splashes of vibrant colored furniture also built locally.
Throughout the retreat are cozy hideaway spots – either a carefully shaded nook beneath the building – or on the roof in a thermal pool suffused the warm, welcoming lighting at night, facilitating either solitude or community, depending on each individual’s mood.
Local chefs are trained to combine local food knowledge with international gourmet standards to provide a locally grown and organic menu that will satisfy the most demanding palate. Also available are various crafts and books that will allow guests to nourish their spirits long after their visit as ended.
Given Tunisia’s proximity to all of the major cosmopolitan European cities, Patrick Elouarghi and Phillippe Chapelet have created an high standard that will suit upmarket guests.
The hotelier owners wanted to create something sustainable, something unique. Hardly anyone who looks at these images is likely to think that they have failed.
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