Last year I was invited by the Owner to visit the recently opened Four Seasons Resort in Tunis, which we began work on more than a decade ago. I hadn’t been to Tunis since before the Arab Spring and during the intervening years there had been considerable delays. Nevertheless the hotel was finished and opened in December 2017. On arrival in Tunisia, I was excited to see a bustling economy, lots of new construction, a recovering tourist industry, and friendly hotel staff warmly greeting guests.
We had been inspired to create a hotel reflecting Tunisia’s extraordinary architectural heritage: the exterior architecture takes its cues from the nearby World Heritage Site – Sidi Bou Said. The lobby is a spacious square hall with a very beautiful dome high above. We had worked on the project with interior designer Art Chen, formerly with Brayton Hughes, who showcased many local artisinal techniques and materials in the hotel design. During my visit, the artist Yahya was installing his new lantern sculpture in the center of the lobby under the dome and adjusting the interior lighting of the space.
The hotel lobby was very active – even in the middle of the day. It overlooks the central courtyard that cascades down to the resort pool, poolside restaurant and the Mediterranean beyond. Directly below the Lobby level is Azur, the 3 meal restaurant, with it’s outdoor dining in an arcade terrace overlooking the resort pool. For dinner, I met the Owner and his Director of Construction in The Creek Bistro Chic restaurant on the level above the lobby. The food was delicious, the restaurant and bar were packed.
The guestroom circulation is through a series of open air courtyards reminiscent of the grand villas and courtyard houses of the Tunis Medina, another close by World Heritage site. Each courtyard has a distinctly different feel, some with water fountains or ponds, some filled with citrus trees. All of the guestrooms and suites have terraces and views of the Mediterranean. I was sorry I didn’t have time to relax in the hotel’s indoor pool or indulge in a traditional Hammam (steam bath).
I couldn’t be happier that the hotel recently received its first international award:
– Africa’s Leading New Hotel 2018, – World Travel Awards,
It was also nominated for two more:
– World’s Leading new Hotel 2018, and Africa’s leading Luxury Hotel 2018.
For more information about MASON Architects, please visit our website.