Located some 20 kilometres north of the Tunisian capital, adjacent to La Marsa, Gammarth is an upmarket seaside resort known for its exclusive hotels and fancy shops. Here, north of the ancient ruins of Carthage and located on a sandy site that steps down to the Mediterranean, Four Seasons Hotel Tunis recently débuted, exuding 5-star elegance through a charming North African lens, and using simple fabrics and furnishings in response to the refined, yet casual vernacular of the region.
Designed by San Francisco-based firm BraytonHughes Design Studios, which also oversaw the construction of the property, the concept for Four Seasons Hotel Tunis grew out of a week-long discovery tour of rich Tunisian culture, dating back to the time of the Phoenicians who settled in 1000 BC. The traditional houses of Tunis’ medina were the inspiration for a series of 2-3 storey interior courtyards that became the entry ways to each of the hotel’s guest rooms. Meanwhile, the hotel’s main entrance, about 50 meters above sea level, together with its exterior architecture, step down the hill like the nearby village of Sidi Bou Said. The overall result is both imposing and striking, yet warm and inviting.
A grand dome hovers above the mosaic floors of the lobby, which is also anchored by a sculpture by celebrated artist Yahya Turk, described by many as the ” father of Tunisian painting”. All 203 guestrooms are mirrored after simplistic, romantic North Africa homes, with locally-sourced stone floors and lightly coloured plaster walls. Cool, open rooms are endowed with contemporary divans, locally crafted rugs and regionally inspired artwork. Even standard rooms feature a living area, bedroom, a generously-proportioned terrace and a full, oversized bathroom.
Like the rest of the hotel, the spa has been designed with an intense sensitivity to the local terrain, complete with classic Islamic-style arches, Tunisian black and white tiled columns, plaster and wood architecture, and detailing reminiscent of the location’s hillside towns. Four Seasons Hotel Tunis is both a sanctuary of modern luxury and style and a gateway to city’s wonderful seaside lifestyle.