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“Decent hotel for a first time trip to Sousse”
Review of Hotel Marhaba Club

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Hotel Marhaba Club
Ranked #11 of 36 Hotels in Sousse
Reviewed 20 September 2012

My partner and I spent a week at this hotel on the outskirts of Sousse in early September 2012. First impressions of the hotel were good; reception is clean, lavish and spacious, despite the bizarre lack of pens when we were trying to check in! A porter frog marched us to our room but did not demand a tip (we could not give him one as had no dinar change at that point).
Good Points: The rooms are a very good size - ours included a nice balcony and a HUGE bed, with fresh fruit on arrival. The maids are very polite and attentive. The Animation Team (particularly Gigi, Mido and Nino) were fantastic, making great effort to entertain at all times and were always smiling and happy, despite the long hours they work. If you're taking kids, the Animation Team would make the hotel a great place to holiday. The poolside bar at the quieter pool, along with the barman and the pool boy, were great and eager to please. The pools were very clean, and generally didn't get too packed. The open-air bar that backs onto the beach is very cool, with hookah pipes available for a modest fee if you're into that. The weather was amazing every day, the perfect heat and ideal for getting yourself a golden tan.
Bad Points: The "beer" here is apparently roughly 2.5% proof and is the worst beer I have EVER tasted - we had to have shandies in order to make it taste remotely drinkable. I suppose this is a symptom of an all-inclusive holiday - you can buy various crap Euro lagers from some hotel bars here if you can't stomach the free stuff. The drinks in general are appalling, and served in tiny plastic cups meaning you have to order four at a time to quench your thirst. The food, particularly at the Club restaurant was HORRIFIC - as others have commented you would not feed it to your dog - it was like school dinners or something they serve in prisons and those that say otherwise are lieing. The food at the restaurant at the Marhaba (the sister hotel connected to the Club) was better but the waiters here were mostly quite rude we found, even making lewd comments to my partner on one occasion. Try to avoid staying in a room next to the main pool if you want to get a good night's sleep - every night there is entertainment followed by pumping dance music until 12am. This wasn't particularly an issue for us, but could be for some. The air conditioning in the rooms is welcome on occasion, however don't leave it on while you sleep - I woke up half way through my holiday with a stinking cold which I attribute wholely to this and definitely not to the copious amount of alcohol I was consuming. Avoid setting up your sun lounger near the edge of the hotel's section of beach - you will be constantly hounded by beach sellers hawking their tat. Rude Russians - there are large numbers of these, do not be afraid to force them to the back of queues they will inevitably try to jump.
Despite the above negatives, if you want a relaxing holiday in Sousse with an element of fun, great weather and value for money, and especially if you have kids, try Marhaba Club and you will (probably) not be disappointed! And remember, tipping will get you a long way here!

Room Tip: Go for rooms closer to the hotel reception if you wan't a good night's sleep!
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank James M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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322 - 328 of 695 reviews

Reviewed 15 September 2012

We landed in Tunisia on Sunday morning 2nd September at 11 am to heavy and i mean heavy thunder storms! Never seem anything like it! Everyone on the plane was laughing! Our luggage came off soaking and our pushchair finally got to us about a hour later! After a 35 minute transfer we arrived at the marhaba club hotel and even in the rain it looked nice! We were placed in what i would call a basement level room which wasn't very handy as the lift operated from 0-4 and we were effectively -1. We got to our room a little grumpy and within 5 minutes of being there the mirror fell off the wall smashed everywhere! With the stair issue and mirror and security of having a ground floor a went to reception and demanded a change! After reading reviews if your firm and offer a small tip you will get what you want! By 10am Monday morning we had been moved to 3rd floor in a lovely room,excellent view and the Sun was beaming down and the 4 inch puddles where totally gone! We had a lovely breakfast and went down to the beach which is joined onto hotel and private! The sea was really warm and the sand life fluff! My little boy who is 20 months old loved it! We then tried out the pool which is lovely and set in beautiful grounds with its on bar which you don't even have to leave the water as its a pool bar! So beach, pool, grounds, are excellent! Was a little worried about a few things which i read on here before i went but can honestly say they are obviously the Benidorm,salou typical English tourist that wants everything for nothing and moans about every little stupid thing! There was a beach bar and restaurant, a pool bar and restaurant, and bar and restaurant in the hotel! You can also use all the eat and drink at the sand facilities at the neighbour hotel marhaba! But the 2 hotels all share the large grounds! With a separate pool! We decided to just eat in our hotel as that's where we were! The food was lovely! Lots of choice and different from nite to nite! Some slightly strange but if you want English food and moan about silly little things go to skegness sand shut up! My holiday doesn't revolve around food like some but my wife who is a little fussy eater loved most of it! If you want a nice hotel with everything you need,nice food, excellent service with a friendly atmosphere and not someone who moans about the slightest thing you will have a excellent time and a holiday to remember! Me and my wife and little boy can't wait to return! Just a quick mention to finish off review is that all the bar staff,cleaners,waiters,reception staff played jokes with you and went out there way to make your stay there extra special! They were brilliant with my little boy! Bobn momo and Dallas the animation team were excellent! When it was time to come home we were all sad! Thank you so much to all at marhaba club hotel! EXCELLENT EXCELLENT

  • Stayed: September 2012
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3  Thank Winston4086
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2012

Just back froma 2wk holiday at the marhaba club. first time weve been all inclusive and somewhere so big. The hotel and staff were very well presented and clean. Maids came into our room daily n changed towels, cleaned and made us feel welcome. The food at the resteraunt was absolutely disgusting. The whole 3 of us including a 19 month old lived off of salad for the entire 2 wks so if u want to loose some weight id recommend to eat there at all times. The missus and little 1 ended up with delly belly for 2 days which wasnt nice.
The pool bar was very nice and surrounding areas were well kept. I wouldnt rush bk to this hotel in a hurry. 5/10 for us.

Room Tip: Tip the staff and u will be fine. A/C was brilliant with a temp control on the wall which was handy.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Colin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2012

After reading many bad reviews before arriving I was very worried about what to expect from Maharba Club. I need not have worried as this has been the best holiday i have been on and I've been on quite a few. The hotel is lovely, the staff are polite and helpful and the grounds are stunning. We went with Thomas Cook and our rep, Maddie, has been fantastic from start to finish so a big thank you to you! Also a thank you to Jennifer, another TC rep who took us on two trips and was chatty, friendly and helpful at all times. Fantastic value for money and highly recommended!

  • Stayed: August 2012
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10  Thank Bush1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2012

Firstly a money saving tip, the sister hotel (Hotel Marhaba) is cheaper than the Marhaba Club and as you can use all of the facilities at both hotels I would book that hotel.

OK back to the review, transfer from the airport was approx 45 minutes we should have been the sixth drop off but our driver decided to do the drop off in reverse order so we were second drop off.

Check in was a little hectic, you have to queue at reception to receive the check in forms, you then fill these in and then queue again at reception to get allocated your room.

Rooms were ok, a little dated but clean and cool. There is quite a big step up into the bath to use the shower so older people may have trouble getting in and out. Be wary when in your room, our cleaner had a habit of just letting herself into the room without knocking. On our last full day at the hotel my wife was in the bath with our 2 year old daughter and the cleaner just let herself into the room and went into the bathroom to leave some towels.

The restaurant at the Club is not air conditioned, the tables are all crammed together, there are long queues for the food and the staff were all miserable and rude. We had read on other reviews that the restaurant was bad but thought we would give it a try, at our first meal I found a metal pop rivet in my meal, not a good start. We only ate in this restaurant 4 times and then decided to eat all our other meals at the restaurant at the Marhaba Hotel (about a 5 minute walk across the hotel grounds).

The restaurant at the Marhaba Hotel is the complete opposite of the Club. Very modern looking, air conditioned, well laid out and the staff were very friendly.

The food available appered to be the same in both restaurants except the Marhaba Hotel maybe had a couple of additional dishes on at each meal.

When you check in you will be given a restaurant card which indicates which sitting you are for the evening meal, blue is the early sitting and yellow the late sitting. If you are not given a card for the sitting you want then reception will swap it for you (the Hotel Marhaba restaurant do not stick to these times so you can just go and eat whenever you like).

There are 4 all inclusive bars in the two hotels, all of which are very slow at serving, this leads to massive queues at busy times. The waiters do take drinks orders but they are abit hit and miss and do not tend to come round very often. If you do not want to attend the evening entertainment there is a very limited amount of outdoor seating near the bars, infact there is none at the Marhaba Club).

The pool bar and beach bar serve food at lunch time. The pool bar food was usually cold or luke warm but the beach bar food was usually better and offered more variety. I can highly recommend the cheese paninis at the beach snack bar.

Swimming pools were nice, although the water sometimes looked abit cloudy. We did see the pool maintenance guy trying to fish something out of the pool one day, not exactly sure what it was but if it was anything nasty they didn't close the pool for it. The childrens pool was just the right depth for our daughter to walk about it, there were a few missing tiles on the bottom of this pool but nothing major.

Some of the features stated in the Airtours holiday brochure as being part of the All Inclusive package were either not there or were charged for, as an example the brochure states the hotel has a Turkish Bath but upon talking to the rep we were informed this was just a sauna and steamroom and not an actual Turkish Bath.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank fossman1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2012

We have now spent almost a fortnight at the Marhaba club for our honeymoon and I would say it has been a mixed experience.

Rooms
The rooms are fairly spacious with ample wardrobe space (and in our case a superkingsize bed) but the fixtures and fittings are rather basic and feel very cheap. In our room there was a patch of mould above the toilet in the bathroom. During our stay some painters came in and simply painted over it (room 1053) along with some other parts of the room. The slapdash workmanship has left patchy sections over the walls. I would also comment that the grouting round the tiles in the bathroom needs some attention. The beds are rather hard for our tastes but this will vary from person to person.

The Hotel & Staff
The lobby is nicely decorated but could do with better air conditioning. The staff are relatively courteous and often crack jokes, but as with all service in Tunisia we have found can be relatively blunt and lack a certain level of care and attention to detail. I recall one experience of a particularly salty tasting coffee cup... clearly not washed thoroughly enough. To give a positive however the housekeeper was excellent!

Food & Restaurant - THE REAL LET DOWN!!!
Now I believe all the guests in the hotel are on all inclusive - simply put, you get your food and drink free if you are wearing one of the Marhaba "hospital bracelets" (which you can't remove until you leave - something my wife has hated wearing). Because of this, the quality of what you get is really poor.

At the all inclusive bar there is NO fresh juice whatsoever. We got mouth ulcers after a week of drinking Coke, Sprite, Fanta (incidentally the only thing that is the genuine article and not fake postmix is the Coke - and this is not always available) and the "juices" they provide from the tap which are extremely sweet and basically just syrup. So if you want a healthy drink you really only have a couple of choices - bottled water which is thankfully free or coffee. The alcohol is plentiful but again the cheapest of the cheap and in our opinion tastes foul and we believe made my wife ill.

The food in the restaurant is all very low quality as well. Almost every day at breakfast you have bread rolls and loaves you can cut yourself (but unless you get there at 6AM they will all be very hard and unappetising by the time you come to eat them), stodgy croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin and a chef cooking omelettes and pancakes (or should I say undercooking).

Then you have the usual list of cereals (with warm often foul tasting milk), eggs both boiled and scrambled, horrid turkey sausages or merguez (poor quality) then the usual selection of fruit, yoghurt, salad, vegetables etc. etc.

Unfortunately because the restaurant does not do anything about the flies and has poor air conditioning (except in the far corner) eating there is often a sickening experience and if I am honest we tried not to eat there after a week because the food gave us the runs. One other thing worth mentioning is that the food hygiene is often quite poor and this morning we even saw a waiter grab some cereal flakes with his bare hand then stuff if into his mouth as he walked past. This kind of thing is totally unacceptable but not at all uncommon in Tunisia as they are really still a developing African country.

Lunch and dinner are much the same affair - you have pasta and sauce at almost every meal along with chips and often turkey burgers - along with the usual bread, rice and limp salad. The rest of the food varies but no thought appears to go into the "menu" so you will get chips, turkey burgers, rice, roast beef, pasta and sauce and baked vegetables... not really all things that go well with other things!

SOLUTIONS - really this is simply to say that the only way to get around these problems are NOT to eat in the hotel. Across the road you have Cioconat lounge which does paninis, sandwiches and pizzas and the most wonderful selection of chocolate drinks, fresh juices, ice-creams, crepes, etc. etc. For 5.200TD (about £2) you can get a lovely panini. I would suggest this kind of thing is worth doing in lieu of eating meals in the hotel if you can afford it. It does rather seem counter-intuitive if you are on all inclusive but we found we just couldn't stomach the hotel food in the end (and I wouldn't say we eat caviar at home!). Down the street are the Saloon (we ate there twice - mixed opinions but the steaks are good), Farmers (right next to The Saloon) again very good steaks and fresh salad that is kept cool and mostly fly free - MUCH more appetising! Other excellent restaurants we discovered are the Mediterranean restaurant in Port El Kantaoui (quite expensive for Tunisia but does the most WONDERFUL fish) and recommended by the rep "Bonaparts" near the hotel. We tried Bocca Beach the hotels seafront restaurant but had such bad service and got short changed we never returned so I would NOT recommend you waste your money there.

Pool & Beach
OK - these were the highlight really. You go to Tunisia for the sun and you need a good pool and a good beach. This is does tick the boxes with, although the pool sometimes ended up dirty from people dropping their drinks in it, or walking sand in from the beach (I think you can live with those things).

So overall an acceptable but not stunning experience, not least because the overall cost of our holiday went up by about £400 as we found we had to eat out far more than expected because the all inclusive hotel food was so bad.

I hope this has been helpful to some of you trying to decide - my choice would be the Movenpick hotel up the road if I came back to Sousse - it looked stunning!

Room Tip: The travel agent requested a room with a balcony and a sea view as we were on honeymoon....we got a...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank StuDarling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2012

First time visitors to Tunisia- and would return, though probably not to Marhaba Club or to Sousse.Spend first night in huge room overlooking a roof - and no balcony at all!!! We were promised alternative room the next day. We were allocated room 1079 - good size, plenty of storage, good-sized balcony and level with the baby pool. However, it sometimes was a bit musty-smelling and we tended to leave balcony doors open as much as possible just to try and let fresher air circulate around the room. Air-con worked really well though. Our biggest gripe in the hotel was the nonsensical card "system" (!!!!!) in the dining room. ( We actually ate our meals across in the Marhaba Hotel- same problem there). It just does not work- and the waiters were the ones who had to deal with all the aggro. We found the food adequate and loved "chorba", the Tunisian soup. Cutlery and plates were sometimes in short supply though and no-one seemed in any great hurry to sort it out.The entertainment team were very friendly. We spend the first week down on the beach- got up early ,did not tip and got beds and brolly everytime. Week 2 we spent poolside where tipping seemed the way to go - but as our room was so close to the pool area we got beds etc without too much trouble- and did not tip once. (word of warning- couple we met had towels removed from beds on grassy area and never saw them again!!!) . We visited Medina, El Kantaoui and did the 2 day Sahara Explorer excursion. I would not recommend the Sahara trip for children as it was extremely hot, involved 2 very early mornings and was quite intensive, covering nearly 750 miles.However, it was for us the highlight of our holiday and well worth the extra £72 each. We stayed overnight in the Sun Palm Hotel in Douz, which was excellent- nice pool with bar service, lovely evening meal ( without card system!!!) and great sleep in a lovely fresh smelling room !!! All in all some unforgetable experiences. We had no problem exchanging money in either the "Club " or the "Hotel" and the pool bar was great!!!( I don't know how he managed to remember so many orders at the same time.) We found travelling by taxi very traumatic, especially at night when the traffic was really busy- and also found crossing the road quite difficult, as some cars would slow down or stop to allow you to cross but others just carried on! Tunisia has a lot to offer as a holiday destination:- beautiful weather, short flight , no time difference etc but I was not comfortable with the "tipping".

Room Tip: Higher floor rooms in main building seem to be better- avoid lower ground floor rooms off corridor...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank AberdeenAac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Marhaba Club

Address: Boulevard 14 Janvier 2011 | Zone Touristique, Sousse 4039, Tunisia
Region: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Sousse
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Sousse
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Sousse
Price Range: £32 - £137 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 285
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Also Known As:
Marhaba Hotel Sousse
Marhaba Sousse
Marhaba Club

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