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Ducasse in Tunisia

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In designing the terrific new Villa Didon in Carthage, French architect Phillipe Boisselier has created a sophisticated hilltop perch that perfectly suites the grandeur of the North African desert. All ten rooms are done with brown marble floors, whirlpool baths, balconies, raw-silk fabrics, and Portuguese linens; from each you get a 360-degree view of the Gulf of Tunis and the ruins of Carthage. But Villa Didon would be an important arrival, if only for its restaurant, Spoon Carthage, the latest in Alain Ducasse's string of gems, serving a daring French-African-Asian fusion. There's no pool (you can't dig on a World Heritage site), but there is a hammam and, of course, swimming in the Med. One of the helpful staff will happily drive you to the beach. Rates, $250; dinner, $135; 216-71/733-433.

Hotel prices show high-season rates from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite. Restaurant prices reflect a three-course dinner for two, excluding beverages and gratuity.


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