Dar Antonia is a beautiful guest house in Sousse. 4 skilfully decorated luxury suites particularly meet the expectations of travelers who choose to discover an authentic Sousse and want to enjoy its Medina. Dar Antonia harmoniously combines understated luxury with an eclectic style and aims to become the chic and trendy address of Sousse. Meeting with the landlord who returns to the fold after a career in the world of “Business Travel” internationally. Interview conducted by Amel DJAIT
1001Tunisie: What is the story of this house?
Sami Mathlouthi: The house is known to be Dar Arifa. It bears the name of “the teacher” who lived there and who taught most of the girls of Sousse embroidery. Her specialties were the embroidery of “foutas and blouzas” and also covers beds for the trousseau of the young brides. In the house, a part was completely destroyed during the 2nd World War. In fact, it was bombed. This part corresponds today to the “El Fell” suite of Dar Antonia
Why did you choose to open a guest house?
The big reasons had in the background the dream of a life of smooth sharing. After having lived elsewhere for a long time, we dreamed of living in a place where “everything is beauty, luxury, calm and voluptuousness”. For us, it’s a homecoming. We have the feeling to return to a life that has more meaning and that allows to share the authentic dream scenery, tranquility, serenity.
How long did the works last?
What concept do you put in place?
Our own experience of our stays in bed and breakfast or vacation rental. Our approach is to take inspiration from the beautiful experiences and especially to take care not to reproduce what we disliked or missed. We are careful not to reproduce this in our guest house.
Is not this a little limiting?
You know, some customer expectations are often the same; starting with calm and comfort. They want to sleep well, require a good breakfast, are attentive to cleanliness … These are technical fundamentals, but that is not enough!
The expectation of customers of such places are also authenticity and in human contact. For example at our home in Dar Antonia, we accompany customers to the fish market which is 100 meters to choose themselves what they want to have on their plate when they return from the beach. We share passions, moments. They are learning Tunisia through us. We are at the service of customers to satisfy their requests, advise them in the organization of their days, recommend them the best restaurants or assist them in their travels.
Is the house also a host table?
We decided to make a table d’hôtes just to share an authentic culinary experience with traditional recipes that coexist with the best Tunisian and Mediterranean specialties. Our cuisine is simple. In each dish, we put lots of bright colors, mouthwatering flavors and good mood. Our culinary philosophy and preparation techniques promote healthy cooking.
The house was decorated by Rock The Kasbah, what were your aesthetic choices? How would you define the style obtained? What seal does it give at home?
The interior decoration of Dar Antonia is the fruit of the eclectic vision of Philippe Xerri, creative and decorator of Rock The Kasbah with whom the confidence and the sympathy were immediate. Our choice and watchword is to capture magic, to tell the story of Tunisia in a certain way, to mix a sober and minimalist architecture with a light style. The whole house diffuses the scents and atmospheres of different historical moments of the place. The color palette derives natural pigments that reflect the light of nature and landscapes.
The decoration mixes little bits of history with local crafts. The result is a magical atmosphere that takes us on a journey of exploration between east and west. At times, some modern elements, others of the colonial period blend in an Arab and oriental atmosphere. All suites are large and comfortable. They offer a pleasant feeling of space and all have a sitting area to read, hang out, chat, relax …
How are you going to position your guest house in Sousse, especially with regard to the large hotel offer quite accessible in terms of price?
If we chose to offer this type of home, it is that we ourselves were guest rooms and we loved this type of accommodation. Besides, we organized our holidays according to the rooms of hosts that we wanted to discover.
You know, in the end, the big hotel offer is no problem! The clientele of the guest rooms is not the same! In our experience, guests who choose to stay in bed and breakfast are looking for a different concept.
How is Sousse? How is the city doing after 5 or 6 years of crisis and the abject terrorist act that still marks all minds?
Sousse remains a dynamic city despite all the events. Life goes on and people come out and enjoy every moment.
What would you say to readers of 1001tunisie about your Sousse and your house? Why come to your place and not elsewhere?
Dar Antonia is an elegant guest house of timeless beauty. It offers 4 luxury suites bathed in a magical atmosphere. Dar Antonia particularly meets the expectations of refined travelers who choose to discover an authentic Sousse and want to enjoy the Medina without making concessions in terms of quality of accommodation or service. Dar Antonia offers its guests the atmosphere of a luxury private home where harmonious luxury and eclectic style coexist harmoniously.