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“good holiday” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Marhaba Royal Salem

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Marhaba Royal Salem
Ranked #5 of 35 Hotels in Sousse
Certificate of Excellence
wales
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“good holiday”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

traveled with my hubby and son aged 11.

we arrived at the hotel at about 11 a.m - porter intermediately took our bags to reception ( obviously had to tip )- our room was not ready so we were sent for late breakfast . we waited a while for our room , but we were happy to explore the hotel and grounds whilst waiting. i would advise if you are arriving at this time to either pack a change of clothes or travel in very light weight clothing as we were sweltering ). when our room was finally ready a porter took us up to our room ( now we tipped him and unfortunately my hubby didn't know the money so gave him 1 dinar - he said excuse me but do you know how much that is !!!!! about 17p - no it was 35p but at the time we were unaware ! so hubby gave him some more money and he said " that's better !!!"
we were then left in our room 226 on the second floor - the bed was huge and had two single beds in too - unfortunately the balcony was tiny and i mean tiny - you would not fit one chair on it as its not wide enough ! the room was spotless but the bathroom stunk of bad drains - we unpacked and hoped it would go away - the next morning we still weren't happy so went to reception and told them about the smell and also that we weren't happy with size of balcony . they offered to move us straight away - oh i am glad they did - we were moved to room 201 which is at the front of the hotel and the room was so much better - bathroom was bigger - walk in shower and spotless and NO SMELL ! the balcony was great and we could sit out - air con worked great .
food was ok - we certainly didn't starve and could always put a meal together .

the staff were lovely - yes we tipped and we were waited on hand and foot - all staff ( apart from the earlier porter were fab from the garden staff to the waiters - they were fab !

the pools - there are four and a baby splash pool - the main one is salt water - my son hated this as it hurt his eyes coming down the slides and diving in - all the entertainment is around this and the other pool . the indoor pool and a smaller outside pool were great .

little tip - you can get bottles of water ( large from all bars and also sparkling , we didn't realize this at first )

the snack bars are fab - loved the paninis at lunch time and also the pancakes late afternoon . you can eat at the beach snack bar but to be honest we prefer d the restaurant or the snack bar near the pool .

your drinks are served in plastic cups sometimes - especially around the pool area which is understandable .

the beach is lovley really soft sand - we saw a few jelly fish but fortunately didnt get stung. we hired a jet ski - worked out about 17 quid for hubby and son to go together - they said it was fab . - there are sellers up and down the beach all the time trying to sell their wears - we just firmly said no thankyou !

outside the hotel was a differnt matter - trying to constantly tell you they were you chef or waiter from the hotel - one even jumped out on my hubby when he was going to the chemist one morning ! also be careful in taxis - try to avoid telling them your hotel ( although the ones outside the hotel were ok ) and what ever you do don't make our mistake and say first itme in tunisia - tell them you are a regular !! we told him our first time ( big mistake) he was straight on his mobile and on to someone - soon as we got out and crossed the road we were hassled -" im your waiter from royal salem come with me i will show you around "! we said "no THANYOU YOU ARE NOT!" we were followed around the medina by a few young lads and felt very uneasy ! so we got what we wanted and left !

entertainment at the hotel - not our cup of tea and didn't really bother with it !

all in all yes we had a fab holiday .

Room Tip: room at front of hotel nicer ! - apparently family rooms with four in do not have a good balcony
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank usthreeWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

Having visited Tunisia on many occasions my son and I were really looking forward to this well needed holiday!
First room we were given was just a double bed so we were switched to another room in a different block which was fine just that the air conditioning was lousy and there was no fridge! Otherwise yes the room could of been better but it was perfectly acceptable to us and the maid was brilliant every day.
Bar staff brilliant cannot fault them, reception staff are really good, waiters not bad either, however it's the bad management of these lovely staff that is the issue as there is no organization at all!
The food was often cold bland and tasteless, try getting a spoon for soup of an evening!
Breakfast was fine down by the slide pool but lunch at the beach bar was carnage due to poor management leaving the poor staff open to abuse, dinner was a 2 service time joke, cold food repetitive food and bland and tasteless! The complete opposite of Tunisian food.
The Sun bed issue is mainly down to the lack of Sun parasols! If I could of bought my own I would have you have a wonderful climate with people needing some shade at times, I'm an early riser anyway so not an issue to me and they did try to say no towels before 7.30 but it didn't work. And if you wanted a Sun bed by the other "entertainment" pool you had to be up by 5 so you have been warned.
Entertainment! It's so bad it's hilarious! To get the animation crew away from the rectangular pool during the day apart from the ten minutes of water aerobics by the slide pool everyday is obviously impossible unless it's in the one day when higher management appeared then all of a sudden they were everywhere! Next day no sign again! The evening shows are truly pathetic.
At least as value for money there are some fantastic restaurants and the ice cream gelato house (turn left out of the hotel 5 minute walk ) is lovely and fantastic value.
The boat trip is really not worth it but the sea sports are good value as is a trip to the local water park.
I will be back to Tunisia next year but never to this hotel and I am aware that a number of the reports on here are fake by the way!
Food and entertainment aside we met some fantastic people ate at some lovely local restaurants I enjoyed my medina coffees with the locals hearing how things are changing in this lovely country and it is fantastic value for money.

Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
6 Thank Jon H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bridgwater, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

This was our first family holiday abroad. I have been to Sub-saharan Africa doing voluntary work and we have been caravanning in the UK but we decided this year to try an All Inclusive offering from Thomas Cook. In general we had a great time. The overall trip was well organised and we felt supported through the process. We arrived at the hotel in the early hours and the greeting was less than impressive. We were keen to let people know of our safe arrival but were told we could not have access details for the Wifi until business hours. We were later told that it was open and we could have just logged in. Unfortunately this became a little typical of the support from the reception desk. Of the staff we encountered they were the least friendly and approachable. They weren't rude or obstructive as such you just always felt like you were bothering them. A stark contrast were the bar staff/waiters who just could not do enough to help and would do anything to make sure you were enjoying your stay.

I guess All Inclusive is known to not quite mean what it says to those who travel a lot but for those like me, who are new to this, there are some caveats. Not all drinks are covered by all inclusive although this should not necessarily cause you an issue. The soft drinks for the kids for example were fine if cola, lemonade and fruit squash/syrup would suffice. Other canned or bottled drinks were extra. There is no fruit juice as we would recognise it from a UK perspective. The other thing I was surprised to pay extra for was safekeeping for valuables. Again this may be common for the seasoned traveller but the hotels I have used across Kenya all have in-room safe facilities; not so in Royal Salem. You can hire a safe deposit box which are located in the reception area for 2 Dinar per day, not a huge sum but a cost I wasn't expecting. Again this was not something that could be arranged on our arrival but had to wait until the morning proper. They are available 24/7 once you have one but if you're on the 5th floor and, as was the case for half of our stay, one of the lifts isn't working, this could be a pain.

The quality of the room was fine. The four beds were all comfortable in spite of one being a sofa conversion and the king size double and other single equipped with clean linen. No spare pillows in the room but I didn't ask for extra to be fair. It was frustrating that we consistently were given only 3 large towels when there were plainly four of us in the room. Again, this is not something I brought up with reception for fear of being reprimanded for losing one or something! I did however, mention that the air conditioning seemed ineffective and was assured it would be looked into. This, as predicted, made no difference and set to 5 degrees with the fan on full and left on all night it still did little to reduce the temperature in the room which left us lying on the bed with no cover and as little as one can get away with whilst staying with your teenage kids. Having said that we did choose to go to North Africa in August so can't really moan that it was hot! The other thing to be aware of is noise. The hotel reception area is in the form of an open and airy atrium which looks up to a glass roof. The rooms access off balconies which make three sides of the square. This looks lovely but any entertainment in the bar area is then channeled straight up and there is effectively only the door to your room between you and it. This may be an issue if you are trying to settle younger children as it goes on until around 23.00. The outside balcony is big enough to take two standing; there is not enough depth to take a chair but it does afford a nice view.

And so to the food... Well... there would not be any food critics getting excited here but I have to say the food was perfectly good. There was plenty of it and a good variety. If your little darlings will only eat Pizza and chips then this is catered for and if you are vegetarian or pescetarian you would have some choice too. There were local dishes and the normal standards, a good salad selection and a good supply of fruits. Meal times were a bit of a scrummage, especially breakfast and lunch where seating was not allocated. Dinner was in two sittings which started at 18.30 or 20.00. The restaurant seats 354 so expect some queuing for the popular dishes and for your breakfast if you want a fried egg or the rather nice doughnut type things or pancakes.

Activities that are mentioned in the brochure are not always available so ask early if you want to make use of them. The beach is very handy but gets busy early so get your towel primed if you want a sun lounger. There are 3 pools outside, one with some slides and one pool inside so swimming and general pool based fun is well accounted for. The putting course is in a state of disrepair but functional but we couldn't do it when we initially asked as someone had 'Booked' it. It seems they can only accommodate 1 group at a time as they only have four putters and only one ball so you have to take it in turns to complete each hole!

And so to summarise... A generally clean hotel, close to the beach and in beautiful grounds. Most staff extremely friendly. Of note for their excellent service, and one for his amazing smile too, were Wahid, Miled, and Amine in the bar area and in the dining room, Lotfi. A really pleasant week away and I would go back as, for all the little niggles, it was still a lovely holiday and reasonable value. Never going to be 5 out of 5 in my book but certainly better than average so a good 4.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Will0963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

We have just returned home from a 2 week stay and as it was ok I would not go again. if you want a bed with umbrella round the pool be up and down between 5am and 6am and that's no joke. if you just want a bed be up and down before 8am. as after that you will have no chance also same for the beach. it's a bit of a joke the main pools are salt water not nice at all when in your mouth or eyes. The rooms are a bit dated paint faking off bathroom stinks of wee all the time. The food is ok plenty of pizza and chips. Can't knock the staff all really pleasant and very helpful but remember to tip them they do work hard to make your stay nice. Pool guys are great try there best to find you a bed. If you go to the beach it's privet and ok but the sea is full of jelly fish got stung once and that's the only time I went in. The entertainment team are ok for the kids and lets face it it's a kids hotel. All in all if you like pizza and chips and getting up for a sun bed at 5,30am then this is the hotel for you. Plus I booked a room with a sea view when I arrived they charged me £25 extra for the room because it had a fridge in it ??? Hope this review helps.

  • Stayed July 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ooosssh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

It usually takes me a week to settle in but as soon as my family and I arrived we settled in immediately. The rooms have a bit to be desired but the grounds and the facilities are fantastic and you have a real feel you are in Africa. I would say the rooms are 3 star but due to the surroundings this is what has made the hotel a 4 star rating. There is a struggle for the sun beds due to the size of the hotel but if you get up early you will be fine, this was my only gripe. The lifeguard Joseph is lovely and very polite and helpful as are all the staff. The waiters and bar tenders are great and if you need anything at all they will assist you without question. The main pool is salt water which can be problematic to young children but there is a kids pool next to it which is chlorine. The complex is big enough to stay around and there are lots of places to eat. The entertainment team are great and there was always something for our daughter to do whether it be kids club or playing in the pool or going on the beautiful sandy beach. There are jellyfish in the sea which is a shame but the sting is soon sorted out with some tomato which is kept in the beach bar. The environment is beautiful and there is a small area by the first small pool where one of the staff have made an enclosure for some tortoise which is great for the children. My father Sid also gives a shout out to the lovely family he met on the beach who sat behind him ( who's son supported arsenal sorry I don't know your name) he says you are also legends. My mum and dad also give three cheers for the beech life guard zu zu. We have all had a wonderful holiday and would return tomorrow.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scunthorpe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2014

We have just returned from a two week stay at the Marharba Royal Salem. Firstly all the positives - SAM IS FANTASTICO! The animation team were really hard working, (although some of them didn't come across as really enthusiastic about their jobs) but our ultimate favourite was Sam, otherwise known as crazy Sam!, he was fantastic made a real effort to talk to us and get the children involved in the party dances etc! If the rest of the animation team had his enthusiasm and energy they would be second to none. Mohammed the waiter at the pool bar in the evening was brilliant, chatty and friendly, Wasim the bar tender was amazing too. Bessna our cleaner was kind, friendly and a genuinely lovely lady, she made wonderful displays with flowers, towels and pyjamas. These are to name but a few,thank you all of you!

Now for the negatives, after reading reviews on Trip Advisor before we went we were a bit concerned about the sun bed situation! The majority of comments regarding this matter were totally true! If you want to be able to get a sunbed (with a sun canopy) you have to be down at the pool (the one with the slides) by 5.30am otherwise they've all gone! So many people were on sunbeds on the grass areas and some weren't able to get a sunbed at all. We saw people stealing others sunbeds and arguments taking place! With the Lifeguards trying to diffuse the situation. It doesn't seem fair when people were reserving sunbeds at 5.00am in the morning and then not coming and using them until after lunch, when others were sitting on chairs that would have loved a lounger!!! It isn't much of a holiday having to get up that early either!!!!

The main restaurant was like a cattle market! We had first sitting (advisable if you want to be able to get a seat to watch the entertainment in an evening!) There is not much room between the tables and you feel really crammed in as if your sat on each others knees (does not make mealtimes enjoyable!) I found I was having to wipe the cutlery and the plates before placing food on them as they were dirty! and I don't think the table cloths were changed at all in the two weeks we were there! The food itself was OK, I wouldn't class myself as a picky eater,but I cannot eat seafood or cheese and there was plently of these dishes! The kids practically lived on pizza for two weeks, the vegetables always seemed to have oil on them and coriander played a very big part in alot of dishes!!! The deserts were bland, looked lovely but were tasteless! And other residents headed straight for the desert section piled up their plates and took it to their tables before they got their main courses, so something that you might have wanted to sample wasn't there when you went up for a desert. The peaches/nectarines which were there on a daily basis were lovely though!

The detergent which is used to launder the towels was not particularly pleasant and the towels were often threadbare!! We found ourselves on the top floor of the hotel and come 5pm when you wanted to shower to get ready for dinner sometimes there was no water at all!! Other residents that we spoke to had to ask to go different floors to shower as they couldn't get water! We learnt to come back from the pool early if we wanted to get any water!!

Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed our stay and the weather was tremedous and the staff were wonderful. But I would have difficulty rating this place any higher. I would certainly come back to Tunisia but not this hotel. Not everyone can rate everything the same and this is just my honest evaluation/opinion of the hotel.

Room Tip: We had rooms at the front aspect of the hotel and you could hear and see all the traffic on the main...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Claire S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 August 2014

First of all let me start by saying that myself my husband and 2 teenage children ages 15 &17 went on this trip with the complete wrong perception of how it was going to be having never travelled to Tunisia. When we arrived at the hotel we were shocked at the Butlins/Benidorm feel of the place. Honestly speaking as an afro Caribbean family the shock of not seeing anyone like us at first was daunting to say the least as the flight over was very mixed and because we were stared at like we were aliens. But after a while we were able to push past this and enjoyed the holiday. Our first room (392) was ok except for the smell which we could not get past the shower was the only thing that saved it. We changed our room because we paid for sea view which this room wasn't. The room we were given in exchange did little to compensate except that the bed was huge. The shower was terrible the bathroom and toilet were equally bad. The TV was ancient in other words very basic. The food was great and the service second to none. Our waiter was the absolute best in fact all the guys that served us made us feel special. Tipping is the thing that gets you by although we were not strong armed into tipping we felt it was money well spent because the service was phenomenal. 2-5 Dinar was adequate at any given time and believe me they deserved it. We vowed we would not return at first but after our stay and subsequent return to the UK the children, my husband and myself might do. Oh by the way the beach was lovely but reserve your sun lounger early. Shout out to Sid from Manchester who used to speak to us all the time (especially my son & husband about football) he was a legend.

Room Tip: Make sure the Shower works
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank keepinitrealkaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Marhaba Royal Salem

Property: Marhaba Royal Salem
Address: Boulevard 14 Janvier, Sousse 4031, Tunisia
Region: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Sousse
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Sousse
#3 Spa Hotel in Sousse
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Sousse
#5 Luxury Hotel in Sousse
#6 Family Hotel in Sousse
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Marhaba Royal Salem 4*
Number of rooms: 316
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Marhaba Royal Salem Marhaba Royal Salem Beach Tax : SOLIDARITY STAMP for non resident foreign travellers leaving the tunisian territory are requested to present a solidarity stamp: * accounting 30 TND * It is sold at th finance offices, cusomer offices (including the borders ones), banks and tabacco shops. * Its entry into force is fixed on the 1st of October 2014, defined as the entry date into the territory. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marhaba Royal Salem Sousse

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