Ksar Ezzit is an organic olive farm in the mountains south of El Fahs (separate review) which provides accommodation in villas scattered around the property.
We were in Villa Huilerie which is opposite the reception block, the stables and the area the cows are kept at night. There were guinea fowl and chickens running around outside including several cockerels which began to crow from 3am. There was always something to see but it did feel a bit public and is about 2 miles from the restaurant.
The path to the door was lined with scented geranium, sage and other aromatic plants. Inside was large with big lounge with one way glass looking into a room with an 180 year old olive press. This is no longer used and the area is now souvenir shop (even though pictures on the website show it as working). There are curtains which can be pulled across the window, otherwise you do rather feel as if you are in a goldfish bowl and in full view of all the world. There was seating on one wall and chairs and a table in the centre. A large picture window looks out over the olive groves. There was a wood burning fire but the basket contained a token log and doesn’t seem to be used.
Off was a small kitchen with small fridge, two electric ring hot plate, and cupboards with plenty of crockery and cutlery but no cooking equipment. The table was laid up with wooden plates and mugs and a bottle of water. As all food was included we were a bit bemused by this.
The bathroom was off the corridor to the bedroom with an over the bath shower but no shower curtain. Soap was provided but not shampoo. Bath towels were a bit thin but there were two generous sized bathrobes. There was nowhere to hang washing to drip.
At the far end was the generous sized bedroom under a domed ceiling with a chandelier. It was a big comfortable bed with 2 small olive wood tables with large lamps and little space for watches clocks etc At the foot of the bed was a low ornamental metal table with a tray and glasses with two lambswool cushions on either side. There were two easy chairs, a wardrobe full of blankets and a small glass fronted display cabinet. There was nowhere for suitcases apart from floor. There was no air conditioning but a portable electric radiator provided heat. French windows looked out over the path and the cow shelter. It was a triumph of design over function.
Several lightbulbs were missing and the lighting outside was not working which was fun coming back after dinner in the dark. Both were reported but nothing happened.
The french doors leaked as we found to our cost one evening. The rain was lashing against the window. Just before we went to bed we discovered a spreading pool of water on the floor. We moved the suitcases and put down towels. During all this the lights went out. We hadn’t bothered to take a torch, a bad mistake so went to bed with the tiny light on the alarm clock. Next morning the towels and the bottoms of the curtains were sodden as was the corner of the rug. This now explained the mark on the opposite corner of the rug. This had happened before. We reported it when we got to the restaurant for breakfast. The room was dried and cleaned while we had breakfast. It seemed a very slick operation as if they were used to it.
We didn’t stop in any of the other rooms but my comments are based on what we saw of them during our stay at Ksar Ezzit.
Dar Hammamet is next to the restaurant. We were shown round it by the waitress while waiting for a lift after lunch. It is a pleasant large white building built round three sides of a courtyard. The rooms looked pleasant though fairly small. They did have air conditioning. Several had a bed on a raised dais with steps up to it. The bathrooms are small toilet, wash basin and shower. There is little hanging space and nowhere for suitcases. There is a separate room with toilet and washbasin in courtyard. There are nice views from the open side of the courtyard.
Villa Ksour is reached along a path from reception which drops down the hillside. It is painted bright orange and designed to look like one of the Ksars found round the Tataouine area. Steps lead up to a first floor door but there is also a door at ground level. Windows were shuttered so we couldn’t peer in. Round the back is a tiled set and table facing west with view across the valley.
Close to it is Villa Tabarka which isn’t quite such an attractive building but is more secluded and has sitting room with patio outside with table and chairs which overlook the mountains to the south covered in Aleppo pines. It is a real sun trap. The shutters on one window were open so we had a glimpse inside. It looked very nice with a more modern bathroom than Villa Huilerie and what could have been heated towel rail. There were drapes round bed which has pillows and a bed covering made from goats skins
Following the path round we found Villa Bergerie which is in rather a claustrophobic setting among the trees with no views apart from a grandstand view of a compound with about 100 goats of all shapes, sizes and colours, including two males fighting for supremacy. We wouldn’t want to stop here. It was being redecorated in April 2012.
There is a ruined stone built Berber house on way to restaurant with the remains of nomad tent beside it. We think this may have been Villa M’amara which is still on their web site.
Ksar Ezzit was shut for thirteen months during the Jasmine Revolution and we think routine maintenance also stopped. Signs to the different villas are either missing or have letters missing. Outside lights to the villas are not working or broken. There are many small niggles which with a bit of attention could quickly be put right.
Given the choice we think either Villa Ksour or Villa Tabarka would be more pleasant places to stay than Villa Huilerie even though they are further from the restaurant.
If you are planning on a stay at Ksar Ezzit, check carefully what is (or isn’t) included in the way of activities. A 4×4 is helpful to get around the property and to and from the restaurant. Do take a torch…