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“Foul Stench”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Hotel Sidi Driss

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Hotel Sidi Driss
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Matmata
New Jersey
Level Contributor
50 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Foul Stench”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2012

We visited on a tour but did not stay here.
The place stank like putrid chicken, and there was nothing to hold your interest for even 10 minutes. No photos from the film, nothing for the casual fan to even remember the scene from the movie.
And boy did it stink! I cannot imagine the misery of an overnight guest.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
3 Thank HumanFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
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leeds
Level Contributor
281 reviews
262 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 281 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 13, 2012

We visited the Sidi Driss out of curiosity having already accepted a room /cave at the Hotel Marhala (see separate review). We understood that the Sidi Driss was used in the StarWars Movies but not having seen one for about 30 years, the strange faded futuristic props nailed to the walls just looked weird.

We wandered in and a man who looked like an employee was loafing near reception. He took it upon himself to give us a guided tour. The whole place looks run down, the rooms/caves were no where near as well kept as the Marhala. The whole place seemed in need of a make over- I wouldn’t have wanted to eat there.

The employee then asked if we wanted to see the Berber museum and we followed him up the hill behind the hotel. We paid 6 diram which was expensive for whats was basically a few caves filled with artifacts. On our way back to the hotel, surprise surprise, the employee asked for money. There followed the typical exchange -”How much? -”Whatever you want”, I offer a couple of diram to which the employee turned up his nose and demanded 15! I laughed and told him he could take the coins in my hand or nothing. He took them, cursed and walked back into reception. If you stay , make sure you have enough for a tip if you let him carry your bags!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LS13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Matmata hotels

Beirut, Lebanon
Level Contributor
39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2011

We visited Matmata 2 days ago and spent one night at Sidi Driss hotel. We arrived late at night and after a cold walk to the hotel (with a glue-like escort), we were only greeted by grumpy men who have never heard the word "hospitality".. not even remotely. The room rate for BB was 10$ but was not worth a penny.. When we woke up the next day we found no one at the hotel and had to wait for 2 hours to get some breakfast. The place is really unfriendly, showers and toilets stink and the management people are not nice. The next day we packed our bags and moved to Marhala hotel.. and there, it was nice :)

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Joy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2011

A seemingly nondescript outpost at the end of one of the main three roads in town, the Hôtel Sidi Driss is the most popular of the “troglodyte” hotels found in Matmata, thanks to its stellar affiliation with that galaxy “far, far away” (see “sights” above). The hotel consists of five different "pits" that are joined together by underground tunnels and staircases. Each pit contains a series of rooms accessible off a central courtyard.

Upon entering the hotel from the street, visitors descend a staircase that leads to a very basic lobby. Various articles and photos which depict just how Star Wars put Matmata on the map hang from the walls and behind the modest reception desk. From here, there are several different paths that lead to the underground pits that, at some point, were dug from the earth. Nowadays, the pits remain continuously exposed to the elements... and the tourists!

The main pit just beyond the lobby features some of the larger dining rooms created to contain the hordes of tourists that invade this modest-looking location each and every day. Some of the Sidi Driss pits are better maintained than others. The current state of "Pit #1" offers a nice glimpse at the effect water can have on the seemingly impractical inverted domiciles. (Set of Drifter Brady was very intrigued by the patterns created by the dripping orange mud over whitewashed plastered walls as it reminded him of some of his earlier painting techniques.)

Off-limits “Pit #5,” accessible via the “Lars Family dining room” on the Star Wars set in “Pit #4,” is probably in the worst shape. Stacks and stacks of furniture and linens bundled up in plastic wrapping suggest that this is actually the "service" quarters and storage for the hotel. Of course, our favorite part about “Pit 5” was its cat population, hidden behind a crate of Celtia beer, but only for a moment! Yes, the malnourished kittens of Tunisia have made all the way to the pit dwellings in Matmata! The little babies just broke our hearts as they were so tiny and thin!

We found out from the man working at the front desk that we were the only occupants at the Sidi Driss that night! This was somewhat unsettling considering that the hotel features upwards of 22 rooms between its two habitable pits!

We ended up staying in “Pit #2” and once inside the room were surprised to see four separate single beds competing for floor space! (Clearly, this place is set up to accommodate large parties of Star Wars fans!) The three “beds” against the back wall were actually just mattresses laid on top of slabs formed into the ground! (The W Hotel Matmata this was not!) And yet, after a long day of trekking through Chenini, Ksar el-Hencha, Ksar Hedada and Matmata, anything would have felt comforting and relaxing... that is until we realized that the linens were full of miniscule sand and dirt particles! Oh joy!

The accommodations at the Hôtel Sidi Driss are basically just caves that have been dug out from the ground and then plastered and painted over in white. The overall look is actually pretty chic and reminiscent of the Hôtel Ksar Hedada, a property that at one time had also featured interiors full of groovy alcoves and built-in furniture, yet had not been quite fully realized to its fullest potential.

Wooden doors that are secured by simple chains and padlocks are just some of the innate drawbacks at the Hôtel Sidi Driss. Amenities are scare at best with communal bathrooms and showers your only option! (Have no fear, while the contents of the toilets no doubt head downward, the bathrooms feature "natural" ventilation shafts which reach upward to the ground level above.) Aside from the oddly placed “Popeye” and “Olive Oyl” welcome mat, the funniest thing about our room was the official tariff sheet attached to the door, something we never would have expected to see out here in this remote underground location.

Of course, your “Set of Drifters” know how to go with the flow, and can adjust our comfort levels accordingly. We had brought some Celtia beers with us to unwind a bit before dinner, and though we were without a bottle opener, were able to use that simple padlock on our door to pop open the lids! Later when our power converter prevented us from actually closing the door, we were able to enlist the amenable front desk manager to charge our camera batteries for us. Ultimately, if the accommodations could have been kept cleaner, with air conditioning and modern bathrooms added into the mix, a casual stay at the Hôtel Sidi Driss would not be so bad.

The next morning, courtesy of some rather vocal birds, we had the opportunity to awake at sunrise. Since the hotel was virtually empty, every nook and cranny was ours to explore by the light of day. After taking some more photos, we managed to get a muted breakfast in one of the dining rooms not featured in the Star Wars films. From a nearby kitchen, we heard a cook chopping heaps of vegetables and could not figure out why! Our breakfast was bare bones, and there were no other visitors in sight... It all made perfect sense when we strode back through Matmata a few days later and stopped off at the Hôtel Sidi Driss around lunch time to grab some magnets from one of the souvenir shops nearby (see “goodies” below).

Busloads of tourists had descended on the town, clogging every pit of the hotel. The vibe was really quite different when marred with travelers from around the world who didn't really appreciate the hotel’s main attraction it in the same way.

To be perfectly honest, the Hôtel Sidi Driss does not offer a good night's sleep. The sand or dirt particles in the blanket were somewhat unnerving, and by 5:00 AM, the local birds were chirping so loud that you could not avoid their calls. That being said, the Hôtel Sidi Driss is certainly a special place that you should check out, if only for lunch or a beer at the bar. Even though it may not have been up to our usual comfort standards, being able to experience all of the leftover set dressings from the Star Wars films was truly extraordinary. We even managed to re-enact a few scenes from the films in photos that turned fellow fans back at home green with envy!

Set of Drifters tip: The white posts you will undoubtedly notice from above the Hôtel Sidi Driss are used to designate pit dwellings from the surface so those walking their donkeys, or dare we say it, driving in vehicles, do not fall in!! We recommend that you too take some caution when walking around the rims of the cratered dwellings of Matmata!

You can find out more about our trip to Matmata and the rest of Southern Tunisia in our book STARS OF THE DESERT - A journey across the dunes of Tunisia to discover lost "Tatooine" - available on Blurb!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Set_of_Drifters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palermo, Italy
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2011

It's really interesting to be in a troglodyte hotel and pretty cool to sleep in a jedi room. As some blogs say, it's not the universal studios stuff, it's the real thing.

Rooms don't get too cold (we were there in winter and it was freezing cold outside). Despite the sand, they were clean. They are not claustrophobic at all. Sheets were not very much clean. Toilets were "Trainspotting style". They didn't give us breakfast which was included in the price, but who cares?

It was an interesting adventure!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank patriciamieko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GamerGirl-STL
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2011

The location can't be beat: This is one of the places that they filmed Star Wars! Even as a diehard fan though, I wouldn't recommend staying here. Better is to stay at the Hotel Marhala just a short walk up the road: It's also a troglodyte dwelling, but in much better shape, much cleaner, has electricity in the rooms, and you won't have the tourists bustling through all day. I did have dinner at the Sidi Driss, and eating couscous in the same room where Luke Skywalker and Princess Amidala ate is very much a treat, but the rest of the meal was inedible. I did have the Star Wars films loaded on my iPhone though, so it was fun to watch them, and show them off to the locals (who were extremely unaware of any Star Wars lore). Even the souvenir stands were surprisingly unaware of the Star Wars fascination, focusing mainly on local Tunisian crafts, and I couldn't find so much as a Star Wars postcard: A missed business opportunity, in my opinion! Anyway, my recommendation is to stay at the Marhala, visit the Sidi Driss for a Coke and an ice cream and some ambiance, and then move on.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GamerGirl-STL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goettingen, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2010

Sidi Driss. I do not recommend. It is no 'hotel' ( you get a towel at a hotel). It is a hostel and not a good one at that. They tried to charge me the peak season price although it was December and I was the only one there! It was 10 degrees at the most outside and they had no hot water. One toilet was clogged and one ran all night... loud. Breakfast is included, but be warned. Breakfast is a plate of white bread and a packet of jelly. You also get coffee and milk, which I didn't ask for and didn't want. The kicker was I waited 10 minutes for it. There were also a couple of guys in the kitchen cooking up a storm, just apparently not for my breakfast. I am no novice backpacker and am not new to hostels, but this one is a major downer. Visit it, look around for the Star Wars factor, but do yourself a favor and stay somewhere else!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank davec789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Sidi Driss

Property: Hotel Sidi Driss
Address: Matama Ancienne, Matmata 6070, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Gabes Governorate > Matmata
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Matmata
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Sidi Driss Hotel

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