Hello I dont normally write reviews, I read them with a pince of salt mainly to see if anyone recommends and trips or secret beaches, etc. But I had to write this review as I feel this place should be closed down, re done and re opened.
My partner and I have just got back from one week’s stay at Soviva Resort. We were unhappy with a few aspects of this hotel and feel it is not worthy of the three stars it states on the Thomas Cook website and definitely not worth the four stars it gives itself.
On arrival at around 4am we were shown to our room. We were extremely thirsty but unable to get any water as the bars were closed and the hotel shop (which was also closed) didn’t stock any. So we had to wait until breakfast.
On first glance the room was spacious, though very out dated. In the bathroom the sink was extremely loose - didn’t seem to be attached to anything and a cockroach the size of a mouse was living in the back of it!! We managed to eliminate the cockroach but were terrified of finding more. There were also no shelves on which to put out the toiletries.
We managed to get some rest and thought everything would look better in daylight.
When waking we opened the patio door to let some fresh air in. The door closed, but didn’t lock!! The balcony looked out on other balconies and onto a public corridor which if we had tried I’m sure could have got from the balcony to the corridor or vice versa. With a door that didn’t lock I felt unsafe.
The bedding and towels had stains on them making us unsure if they were actually clean or not.
We went to see Sarah the TC rep and she spoke to reception and got us an alternative room. This room was smaller but the bathroom had shelves and seemed safer. We had a lovely view of the mini golf course and part of the pool. Downside - No air con. As we had moved rooms on our first day we didn’t say anything as we didn’t want to be known as the complaining couple. We suffered sleepless nights as it was too hot - even with the balcony door open. We bumped into Sarah on our way to dinner and told her. A maintenance man came to our room and said he had fixed it. It felt ever so slightly cooler, but not as comfortable as the other room. We got by knowing we would be leaving soon and the evenings had got slightly cooler anyway.
On departure day we were leaving at 11.30pm so we asked for a late checkout. They needed our room vacated early, so they gave us an alternative room for our last day. This room’s air con worked very well. It was a ground floor room and smelled damp, the decor was the best we had seen out of our three rooms, but the fridge door and the door to the cupboard in which the fridge was situated were both hanging off. This room had a shower instead of a bath and the curtain pole kept falling down when you tried to move the curtain to get in/out of the cubicle.
Safety deposit boxes are located behind reception and are like a letter box. Only enough room for passoprt/tickets and spare money. We locked our valuables, ie, PSP/DSi/Kindle, etc in our suitcases as they would not fit in the box.
As usual, sunbed hogging. We were early starters and would usually be down for breakfast and out by the pool before 7.30am. We found it very hard to get a sunbed and some days would just lay back with our towels on the floor!! We could be sat next to these reserved sunbeds in prime spots all day and never actually see anyone occupy them. There were about fifteen to twenty broken sunbeds. If these were thrown and replaced it may make it a little easier. We had gone to lunch one day, came back after being gone about 20 minutes and someone had swapped both our sunbeds for two broken ones!!!
Some tiles around the pool were loose and I managed to trip on one on our second day there and the injury resulted in my big toe having scrapped a 20p sized gouge out the side of it, preventing me swimming in the pool or sea until it had started to heal.
The food was dreadful. There were no theme nights and the food was extremely repetitive and uninteresting. They cater mainly for the Germans and Russians who all had these piled on plates, whereas we Brits had very sparse plates with chips and bread on. The foods were not labelled so you had to guess at what it was. I am a vegetarian and found it hard to eat as everything had meat and or fish including the salads. My partner suffered an upset stomach and I had sickness for a few days.
There was no fresh fruit on offer, only week old watermelon and pears that were bruised and looked as though there were things living inside them. We never saw any supposed snacks between meal times either. One morning we were late to breakfast (only by 10 minutes) and couldn’t get anything until lunch.
The waiters were useless. They were very understaffed in my opinion and would rather stand in the corner chatting to each other or groups of girls. Some days we ate our food without being offered a drink and other times they would ask just as you’re finished. It would have been better if they walked round with trays full of drinks and offered you from the tray. On the occasions we were offered drinks before we got up to look for food we wouldn’t get them until finishing. Even tipping didn’t seem to speed the process up.
The smaller buffet restaurant onsite where you are reserved a table for your whole stay seemed to be closed after the third day of our holiday. This was a shame as the "free for all" main buffet restaurant was like a cattle market. Full of people pushing and shoving to get to the food counters.
The bars also always had big queues. Signs on the bar said "only two drinks per person" this seemed to be at the bar staffs discretion. We would see some people getting drinks for their whole table and then others would ask for a few drinks for their kids for instance and they would be told the only two drinks per person and have to go to back of the queue for another two drinks.
Whilst queuing for the buffet we would speak with other Brits who had the same views as ours and whished they had listened to the reviews.
This resort is remote and you need to get a taxi to go anywhere. Especially if you do not want to get hassled into going into every shop you walk past. A stern "No Thanks" simply doesnt work. They take your hand/arm as you walk past to get you in. Tell you "It's no hassel, you can browse for free" the next thing you know you have an awful "hand of Fatima" necklace around your neck and they are putting a traditional Tunisian dress on you!!
We visited a diferent part of Tunisia last year with and didn’t have all this hassle.
At one point we were talking about asking our rep if we could transfer to another hotel. We didn’t in the end as we were too worried to ask and were unsure if that could even happen.
The plus to this holiday is that the weather was very good and I think that is the only reason we didn’t come home early.
The walk to the beach takes about five to seven minutes depending on your speed. It's like walking through a building site, there are a couple of haggle shops there but these are nice and listen when you say No. We did buy some souveniers from one of the guys there as he was nice and no pushy.
The road gets quite sandy but I presume you can still get a pushchair through it OK. There is a pavement but cars are normally parked on them.
The "private beach" is ok and the man there will do his best to get you a sunbed. There are two bars here. The middle one you pay at and the back one is the AI bar where you can get sodas, juice and beer. This is presuming they haven't run out. Sometimes they would only have lemon juice.
The beach has seaweed blown around but other than that its nice and clean. Depending on the weather the sea floor can be covered in seaweed. After we had a storm the floor was clear and you could see some of the fish.
The sea itself was much warmer than the pool, like getting into a luke warm bath. The was a swimmers section so the jetskiers knew where not to go.
Lots going on down the beach, pedalos, jet skiing, paragliding, bananaboat, etc. All at reasonable prices.
We didn't book any excursions with the rep, we opted to do it ourself via the men around the pool.
Captain Jack's boat. Aimed more at kids but was a good morning out. Getting in and out of the sea via the steps was dangerous as they were slippy and steep. People kept falling off them. The meal on board was the best we had all week!!
Quad Safari. My partner did this and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were told it would be small groups of about seven. There were over twenty people. It was deffinately for the braver person as they went over jumps, etc. They stopped off for refreshments at a Jousting Venue, but no jousting was happening.
Horse Riding. I did this and in my opinion the horses were too skinny. I refused to get on this horse that looked like it was about to drop dead. The guide was having none of it saying the horse was fine for me to ride. I presume it was the owner came over and asked what was wrong. I told him and he spoke in French to the guide and then he told me to get on the other healthy looking horse. I got on and then he asked me how well I rode!!! He said this is young race horse, fast and strong. Good job I can ride really as if my partner had come and they had put him on this horse there would have been a bad accident. The horse they put me on was a nutter and was not safe at all especially without wearing a hat or body protector. But I stayed on for the 1.5hr ride (which was supposed to be 2hr).
I know people say you get what you pay for. We have stayed in better hotels than this for a lot less money.
On the journey home we laughed about how much of a good diet it is going to this hotel. Weighing ourselves back at home, yes, my partner has lost 6lbs and me 4lbs.
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