There are several reasons why I give a poor rating to this hotel. It should be noted however that contextual elements have also contributed to my overall opinion. I will explain everything in detail.
- Duration of stay: 7 days
- Period: End of July, beginning of August 2012
- My nationality: Belgian (Dutch speaking)
1) It began when arriving at the airport of Enfidha (main gateway to Hammamet):
We booked the trip with Neckermann Belgium and were already somewhat grumpy that our flight had a delay of one hour. Don't ask me how they do it, it should be easy to be on time with charter flights. When we arrived at Enfidha we had to wait for ages just to get one piece of luggage that seemed to have stayed behind. Luckily we got it in the end. When looking for the exit we did not encounter anyone from Neckermann, we only saw one person who was apparently responsible for driving us towards our hotel. Several Tunisian porters accompanied him and did not hesitate to take your luggage. Because we are pretty experienced travelers, we knew that we did not have to accept this 'offer' because EVERYTHING people (locals) do for you in Tunisia must be compensated by a 'royal' tip. Notwithstanding the fact that we refused 6 or 7 people, one Tunisian porter was so rude and aggressive he took our luggage from us, carried it towards the bus and demanded a tip. When I replied that I explicitly refused him to carry our luggage, he became rude and angry. Just to make sure (you never know what they'll do to your luggage after you entered the bus) I eventually paid some 70 cents (which is more than enough to roll two pieces of luggage for 20 meters). However, our Tunisian porter did not seem too happy with it and found it necessary to call us names in Arabic. I would recommend Neckermann to ensure that travelers are not harassed in this way by Tunisian porters. Those porters even succeeded in stripping a young couple of 5 Euros (they were students that had worked an entire year to pay for this vacation!!!) because they saw they were inexperienced and easy to rip off. The porter had insisted that he only wanted 'paper money' and not coins!!
2) On the bus we did not understand one word from what the man in front was saying. His Dutch was very poor and his French was not too great either.
3) Once we arrived at the hotel (in the middle of the night), we had to fill in an entire document at the reception (Iberostar Policy? Tunisian requirements?) before we got our key. The man behind the desk told us that we would receive a room with sea view. We were somewhat suspicious because we did not pay for this (we had booked garden view). Nevertheless, the man said we did not have to pay extra for it (which proved to be true).
4) The room, it must be said, was magnificent. The bathroom was just gorgeous! It was exactly like the pictures we found on the Internet. So, we were very pleased with the room. The TV was broke however, but we did not go to Tunisia to watch TV anyway.
5) Regarding the staff I want to say these things:
a) Reception staff was unfriendly and slow
b) Waiters were friendly most of the time (probably because there was a good maître d'hôtel). However, they do not seem to be able to stay professional when they see beautiful women. This should not occur in a 5star hotel (prestige according to the Neckermann folder).
c) Waiters at the pool bar seemed to hate their job and were not professional. They spilled drinks and were corrupt when they served drinks to people from half board (charging more money than the bar in the lobby)
d) Cleaning staff (all women): did their job well!!! They are the ones that should be rewarded.
e) Animation staff: they tried to make the best of it, but they act too familiar. Personally, I like to retain some more distance.
a) The food (we had all inclusive) tasted good. However I was not the only one who turned sick after a few days. I even had fever for one day and one night. In total, three entire days were ruined because of something I ate. This is probably due to poor hygiene in the kitchen. Personally I would recommend to make 'less' but ensure that the quality maintains high standards. People should not be sick on holiday!! Certainly not in this category of hotels.
b) The drinks were terrible: coca cola, fruit juice and cocktails were just disgusting. We asked a mojito and got well eu... hot dishwater? Not a singly piece of ice used to make the mojito!! Consider to ask 'some' money for cocktails but please offer things that are drinkable.
The last day was again a disappointment. The bus would pick us up at 18:00 u at the hotel. This encouraged us to pay an extra fee in order to keep our room until then. Due to unknown circumstances, our flight got (again) delayed by almost 4 hours! Neckermann apparently had told the man at the reception but he 'forgot' to inform us in time. When one of the group went to the reception at 19:00h to ask where our bus was, he smiled and said 'Oh, I did not know you were the ones I had to notify of this delay'. Result: we could have stayed longer in the room we payed for and we spent more than an hour in front of the hotel.
7) regarding the all inclusive package of Neckermann:
- The folder says the drinks in the minibar are included. NICE!!! HOWEVER, it is useless when the minibar is EMPTY and stays EMPTY.
- The folder says you can enjoy 15 minutes of massage. Ok, but the one who is in charge for this massage just laughs with this and starts talking about all the other things you can do (and are not included of course).
In general: would I do this again? NO!! Contextual factors: it is Tunisia, their mentality is totally different than ours. Tourists are seen as 'money bags' that can easily be ripped off. Would I prefer a country as Greece over Tunisia? CERTAINLY.
I hate to say this, but this was not the best holiday I had. On the other hand, I did - in the past - have positive experiences with both Iberostar and Neckermann. This was not the case on this occasion. I hope they will do better in the future!
- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Saphir Palace Hotel
- Iberostar Saphir Palace Hotel Hammamet
- Accor Saphir Palace Hammamet
- Sofitel Hammamet
- Hammamet Sofitel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With a prime seafront location, between the Medina and the breathtaking Yasmine Hammamet beach, just 50 minutes from the Tunis-Carthage international airport and one hour from Monastir, the Sofitel Saphir is ideal for business or holiday travel. Right in the heart of Tunisia's current "hot spot" and most trendy destination, this exquisite 5-star hotel is close to tourist attractions, golf courses, casinos, convention center, discotheques and more. ... more less
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