Springtime is upon us and that means we must begin our vacation planning. If Tunisia is at all on your radar let me introduce you to La Badira Hotel. It is located in the quiet town of Hammamet Nord, a quick 1-hour drive from Tunis.
Between April and May, as the seasons change the tiny town transitions into a center of beach amusement. I call Hammamet the Miami of Tunisia, a tourist town where the locals go about their serene everyday life amidst an influx of international and local tourists looking for fun in the sun. Although hotels dot the entire Tunisian coastline, commonly referred to as Cap Bon, perhaps in an attempt to respect culture and shield the Tunisian people from all of the imported fanfare, the hotels of Hammamet are tucked away in residential neighborhoods.
La Badira Hotel opened in late 2014 and quickly became one of my favorite weekend staycation spots. As a member of Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), La Badira is in a league of its own. As I followed the voice of my GPS and made the convoluted drive to the property the expansive resort for the first time, I knew right away that I had made the right hotel choice. Given of the number of cars in the parking lot, I struggled for some time with my too-large-for-Tunis Touareg to get into a narrow space but took it as a good sign that the hotel was packed. The walk to the front of the hotel is probably the single most breathtaking moments of the stay. Encircled by crystal clear wading pools, you feel as though you are entering a palace. Friendly hotel staff greeted my friend and I at the reception with a fruit cocktail (non-alcoholic of course) while the staff checked us in. It was starting to feel like we were ready for our weekend of well-deserved R&R.
Because I am who I am, I will start my hotel review with food. If anything stuck with me as a US-born third culture kid, it is the importance of a copious and delicious brunch moment: waffles, omelettes, fruit and so on. Would you not agree that brunch is the quintessential hallmark of a good weekend? Well, it saddens me to report that breakfast at La Badira left me a bit blank. Then again, I am yet to have an excellent breakfast in Tunisia. Breakfast is not just not a thing here – outside of coffee, Tunisian culture is obsessed with coffee. On the other hand, I gobbled up my delicious lunch and dinners with no restraint – redeemed! The filet de Saint Pierre is magnificent!
The pools at La Badira might be the second most amazing part of the Badira experience. The hotel has both an indoor and outdoor infinity pool. I did not partake in the outdoor pool because it gets quite crowded but did swim in the indoor pool, which also has an uncovered section so you can still soak in the sun. As an added bonus, several of the suites come with their own wading pools even on the second and third floors! Just another example of how Tunisian architects continue to keep me in awe.
There is also the beach with private access that keeps patrons secluded from the wider shenanigans of Hammamet, which is nice. The beachfront is relatively small compared to other hotels where I have stayed along the Tunisian coastline but if you are primarily a sunbather rather than a long-distance swimmer, you should be good to go!
Now, as is customary in most things, the bedroom is where things really get interesting. The bathrooms are open floor plan into the sleeping area. La Badira is an adult only hotel, which suggests that it is best suited as a romantic oasis for couples buuuutttttt….an open shower in a hotel? Choose your roommate wisely my friends!
Overall, I was impressed. It is really a beautiful hotel, the staff and service were top notch and the little touches – like the plate of macarons in your room – make you feel special your entire stay. If you are coming over to Tunisia anytime soon, I encourage you to stay at La Badira – but only with a someone you are allowed to see naked!