My partner and I (aged 20 and 23) visited the Marhaba Club for a 1 week stay from the 6th June as our first holiday abroad together. I had previously visited Tunisia as a young girl and didn't remember it so only had what parents and reviews told us to go off. I read all the reviews getting really excited on the run up to the holiday and hoped that the bad ones i read were from people who had one off experiences or who were just fussy. I was right, our experience was fabulous! i could nit pick and probably pick out about 2 or 3 things that could have been a slight bit off but i don't feel they affected our holiday.
We arrived at 4.30am after a delayed flight and the man who checked us was happy enough considering the time. We filled out some forms and were told where our room was on the 2nd floor, and to come back in the morning for our all inclusive wristbands. We noticed during the holiday that guests arriving during the day had porters show they to their room, but at half 4 in the morning when only one member of staff is on duty it is understandable that he didn't and its not like you can get lost in a lift and corridor.
The rooms were fairly large. We had an extremely large bathroom (the largest iv seen in my 20 years of holidays) with a full size bath, sink and separate adjoining toilet room. There was plenty of storage space, we never filled half of the cupboards draws and wardrobes. The bed was 2 singles pushed together but we found it manageable and the beds and pillows were soft and comfy. The TV had one English movie channel which we fell asleep to a few nights. There was a fridge in the room but it was never stocked. Our balcony was quite large with a hanging rail on the wall for drying towels and swimwear over night, and there was 2 chairs and table.
The maids tidied our room, made the beds, mopped and changed our towels every day and we never felt that she rooted through our stuff and we had nothing missing by the end of our holiday however we had spoke to people who had noticed things missing and noticed that she had been going through their wardrobe ect, perhaps it just depends on which maid you get, we always had our valuables on us or locked in the safe though as a precaution.
We got our all inclusive bands the next morning no problem and also changed some money and hired a safe box. This cost 32 TND (approx 12pounds) and we got 20TND back at the end of the holiday. During the first couple of days we tipped all staff members (our waiter, pool bar guy, lobby bar guys) 1TND (40p) and they were more than happy with that. In the restaurant our table always had petals on it and sajid(sorry about the spelling) could not do enough for us. As was for Rhiad the pool bar man, he would always bring our drinks to our loungers and would serve us before others at the bar. You look after them and they will look after you.
On our first day, we didnt get to the pool areas untill about 12 because of our welcome meeting and lunch etc, and there was nowhere left to sit around either pool area, therefore the following day we went down at 7.30am, asked the sunbed man where was best to sit for the sun all day and he put our beds out. We gave him 10tnd and asked if he would reserve those beds everyday for us which he was more than happy to. We gave him extra little bits of money throughout the holiday as it gave us a bit of a lie in. We even came back from the camel trip after lunch one day and didn't have to worry about having a place to sit.
Even though the Thomas Cook websites makes a big deal out of the Hotel Marhaba and the Marhaba Club being two seperate hotels it was so easy, and only a matter of meters in the same grounds to wander between both. Marhaba Club guests could use all parts of Marhaba, however Marhaba guests could not use the Club restaurant.
The Club pool was a bit smaller and quieter but had a lovely swim up pool bar, no screaming kids, and the entertainment team still did water polo and aerobics in it everyday. The snack bar here at lunch time made freshly made sandwiches and crepes. The Marhaba Hotel pool was larger free form with a bridge and 3 slides. It was much busier with lots of kids around the pool. The bar here was also busy with a queue. The snack bar here had pizza, chips, pasta, salad, bread, cakes and ice cream.
The beach was really nice with loads of room however i found the sea a bit rough therefore we did not spend a day on the beach. The bar and snack bar here was equally as nice as the Club and the staff were lovley, and it also had a wide range of food simular to the Marhaba.
When you go to the restaurant for the first time you are given your own table to sit at. Only once did we have a problem with someone sitting in our place but we were found an alternate table within minutes.The food in the restaurant was really really nice. A lot of people we spoke to said they did not enjoy it at all, but they also admitted to being fussy eaters. We also had plates upon plates of salad bread rice pizza pasta pastrys quiches etc. They always cooked meat fresh how you liked it each night, i tried turkey and beef and had no problems with either. The cakes are to die for, always save lots of room as there are so many and they all look so nice. There was also always melon dates and ice cream. Please note, there are never any burgers, chips, nuggets etc, but DON'T be afraid to try different looking food. It was all so nice and we didn't hear of anybody with food poisening through out our entire week.
I felt the Marhaba Hotel restaurant was a bit better laid out with more choice. This restaurant always served chips for the fussier eaters, and also a larger range of cakes but as we really liked our waiter in our restaurant we only ate here twice.
Breakfast was fab! Salad, Toast, Porridge, Freshly made pancakes (the guy used to make picture pancakes for the kids), rice pudding, potatoes, hot dog sausages, boiled eggs, freshly fried eggs and freshly made omelettes, fresh donuts, croissants and pastrys fruit and yoghurts and cereals.
Apart from breakfast we were drinking alcohol ALL day, and only a few times at night did we feel tipsy. I have read a few reviews saying that they water the alcohol down. I have no proof of this and cannot say either way, apart from in the lobby bar the vodka is DEFINITELY NOT watered down as it is soooo strong. The beer there is really nice, as i know some foreign brews are not. The Marhaba Cocktail is a bit like a Sex on the Beach or a Woo Woo but with orange juice and is lovely.
We booked with Thomas Cook and did two excursions both via them not the beach guys. We did the half day camel caravan which was fab!!!!!!! and we visited the waterpark in port el kantoui.
We also ventured out of the hotel for walks along the street/prom and got the noddy train (2.50TND from sousse medina to port el kantoui marina) Always buy a one way ticket as if you get a return you must wait for the same coloured train to return. The Marina is absolutly gorgeous and well worth a visit. Most shops here are fixed prices so you do not need to haggle. Some stalls and shops do try to get you to come have a look but a polite no thankyou and they leave you alone. If you are polite to them and respect them they will do the same to you. In the Medina haggling is essential. Whatever the price they originally give you half it and take a bit and then stick to that price, if they do not go low to your price just say no thankyou and walk away, chances are they will chase after you and offer it you at your price, or you will find the same product not even 5 meters away at a different shop.
We did not feel scared or unsafe at any point during our stay. They are nice people and it is just and always has been there way of making a living.
All in all we had a fantastic stay. We would definitely return to Tunisia and our hotel was fabulous value for the price we paid for it - we would definitely return to or recommended this hotel to family and friends.
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- Also Known As:
- Marhaba Hotel Sousse
- Marhaba Sousse
- Marhaba Club