In south Tunisia, one with find the historic town of Nefta, an area famed for it natural geological
diversity, including thousands of date producing palm trees. The town is located between sand dunes and the salty plains of Chott el-Djerid, a setting film fans maybe familiar with, as the Nefta Desert was the location for Star Wars and the English Patient. Nefta is also home to the Dar HI, an ambitious luxury eco-Lodge and Spa development dedicated to ecological research and discovery, whilst nurturing body and soul, Opening its doors several years ago Dar HI is the result of a collaboration between French business partners Patrick Elouarghi and Philippe Chapele, and French designer Matali Crasset.
[Main image credit: Dar HI, Tunisia – Welcome Beyond]
Dar HI is certainly a different luxury Africa travel getaway, the build designed to blend into the surrounding landscape of sandy dunes and has views of the oasis and the salty plains gives way to an ultra modern, futurist 1960’s feel interior which to me is at odds with the setting, being bang in the middle of a desert and having the tradition and culture of local villages surrounding it, for example in contrast to the colours of the desert the interior takes you into another world where electric blues, vibrant pinks, sunshine yellows and lime greens are offset against at times clinical stark whites and natural wood structures. That said Dar HI works to uphold the principles of sustainable tourism. Employing the skills of local artisans, the owners worked with the local communities in developing and constructing the build, and have taken care to ensure the continuation of the relationships formed and that the hotel is in harmony with nature and local life.
[Image credits: top, first and second, The Pill Houses; third, Troglodyte; fourth, Dunes – Dar HI]
The hotel is comprised of 17 rooms separated into four different style types, each offering guests a choice of how they want to arrange their stay according to their requirements. These are:
The Pill Houses or Rooms on Stilts, which elevated into the air offer guests panoramic views of the Nefta oasis courtesy of bow windows piled with cushions;
The family friendly Troglodyte Rooms with their one large bed and two singles, organic in structure devised around circular spaces that link the rooms together, yet offering privacy in the form of private terraces;
The Dune Rooms that are at dune level, and therefore surrounded by sand, whose open spaces were designed to look like they have been sculpted by sand storms. Set-up in such a way as to allow guests to create their own comfort needs, the rooms are each different with one benefiting from large windows giving lots of natural light, and an indoor garden; another has a large spacious outside terrace and a large window with views of Nefta; whilst the third benefits from a spaciousness, views of the palm grove, and an alcove wooden terrace; and finally
The Dar Malika, a traditional house set within the village whilst still providing full access to the hotel’s amenities.
[Image credits: HI Body and Soul Spa – Dar HI]
To further nurture body and spirit DAR HI offers guests use of the HI Body and Soul Spa, a luxuriously relaxing treat offering a variety of treatments that make use of natural ingredients drawn from the desert and administered by international and locally trained licensed practitioners. Flowing under its basements, Dar HI is built above a natural source of hot water, a source that is used to provide warmth for the hammam, as well as filling the pool with natural warm water. Wellbeing extends to the cuisine, which is prepared by local cooks who create traditional regional dishes using organic ingredient, such as freshly picked vegetables from Dar HI’s garden or local produce sourced from the surrounding villages. If doing nothing gets to be a bit much, guests can take up; cooking lessons, camping excursions in the desert, trips to the Star Wars film location, visits into Nefta town and its medina.
But what can be more relaxing than nights spent in a desert setting that are nothing short of spectacular gazing at thousands of twinkling stars against the backdrop of an inky black night sky… a dramatic luxury Africa travel getaway.
Additional information sourced from:
start from around: € 260- € 340 per person per night.
Rates are dependent on the season and those advertised via Welcome Beyond currently
For further information about Dar Hi and for bookings visit: www.dar-hi.net
For further information about Matali Crasset visit: www.matalicrasset.com