Hotel Sidi Driss should be on the map for every hardcore “Star Wars” fan. It is the place where many of the most memorable scenes of the saga were filmed, and fans will no doubt recognize Luke Skywalker’s childhood home on the planet of Tatooine. Of course, for anyone who grew up around the Sidi Driss hotel and Berber architecture, Tatooine looks less like an alien planet and more like the old neighborhood.
The hotel is situated in village of Matmâta and the whole village itself is a prime example of traditional Berber architecture such as the adobe caverns dug into the sandstone. While the exact history of the settlement is unknown, local legend claims that they date back at least to the times of Punic wars in from 264 to 146 BC. The whole region was virtually unknown to the outsiders until 1967, when severe flooding prompted locals to seek out aid from central Tunisian government.
It was only 10 years later that George Lucas selected Hotel Sidi Driss as one of the locations for filming his movie A New Hope. In following years the hotel fell back in relative obscurity, and most of the decorations used in the movie were removed by the owners. In 1995 a French Star Wars fan by the name of Philip Vanni restored the frescoes in one of the rooms. The Star Wars decorations were fully restored in 2000 for filming of Attack of the Clones, one of the prequels of the original trilogy. With the popularity that Star Wars universe now enjoys it is unlikely that movie decorations will be removed anytime soon.
The hotel is open all year round and offers affordable accommodation. It can accommodate the maximum of 145 guests in 20 rooms, grouped in four separate caverns. The fifth pit is a hotel restaurant.
Know Before You Go
Regular daytime service by louage (share taxi) or bus (8 daily) from Gabes (40 km). Specify Matmata Ancienne as some services terminate in Matmata Nouvelle 15 km distant. Daily service to Tunis (450 km) via Sfax and Sousse.