I stepped into the pool just after the sun set, at the beginning of blue hour. With each lap I watched the sky slowly darken to match the colour of the sea. I was surrounded by beautiful blues — the greenish blue of the pool, the sapphire sky and the azure of the sea. The bright white columns reflected the shimmering water. This might be the most beautiful swim I’ve ever had. It was only when the stars and bright moon popped out of the now black sky that I thought it might be time to go to bed.
There are three spectacular pools at the 5-star La Badira, the indoor-outdoor one near the spa, where I had my evening swim; an outdoor one near the restaurant; and another with views of the sea in two directions (the hotel is on a point, meaning that every room has a sea view, and security is tighter given the limited access).
La Badira is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, and its name means “luminous as the full moon”. The hotel is brand new, and was still adding the finishing touches during my stay in April 2015. Some procedures were not yet perfected, but they should be up to 5-star level at time of writing.
There’s a choice of three types of rooms. Beautifully similar are the all-white regular rooms (called Fell and Yasmine suites, $240), with stunning views from both bed and balcony, some with bathtub and some without. There are also a variety of larger suites. Noor suites ($365) are on the top floor with two private jacuzzis (one outdoors across the hall), and, showing high design originality, there are six Legend suites with a fireplace and private pool ($530). Each of these Legend suites is designed after the style of a famous Hammamet visitor from the early 20th century, when this beach town was famous in the art world for the quality of its light. Fancy a stay in the Wallace Simpson or August Macke room? They’re waiting for you.
I was treated to a hammam in the beautiful spa. While the temperature was not quite high enough during my treatment, I felt relaxed and shiny new afterward. The large spa features Thémaé products from Paris, and you can gaze out at the sea while you sip your post-treatment tea. There’s also a gym and conference rooms on site.
The breakfast is a buffet, with eggs made to order, and more pastries than you could ever hope to sample. You can eat indoors or outdoors. There are three other restauarants, led by French chef Sébastien Bontour and executive chef Slim Bettaieb. If you’d like to dine elsewhere, note that the hotel is a short drive or long walk outside of the town of Hammamet.