We are a couple in our early 30's & booked a last minute half board deal at the Royal Jinene (Jinene is closed at quiet times) with Thomas Cook. We flew from Bristol on time with no problems. (The Manchester flight at the same time as ours, however, had a 10 and half hour delay) The food was typical airline food and perfectly palatable. There was no entertainment on board, but it's only a short flight and, according to our (extremely lovely & funny) female captain, due to geographical shortcuts, the flight was even shorter. The same was true of our return journey.
The only issue with Passport Control at Enfhida was the queues, as all the flights seem to land at the same time - Not a big deal in February, but I imagine could make for hurrendous queues in Summer.
There are a lot of Porters at the airport, if needed, We heard of some bad experiences regarding tipping them but as we didn't need them we can't comment personally. There are a lot of private taxi drivers that approached me when I was alone outside the airport, but politely telling them we already had a transfer was enough for them to go onto the next person and I never felt uncomfortable or threatened.
I would highly recommend Transfers 4 U. We paid £13.74 for 2 people return transfers. Thomas Cook wanted £44!! Transfer time was around 45 mins each way, although this may differ depending on which hotels they need to stop at. The coach driver was lovely. My boyfriend left his hand luggage on the coach. We rang the company from reception, the person we spoke to was very helpful & understanding, gave us a time that the driver would drop the bag off and this was done promptly.
Wonderful welcome at the hotel, especially from Wissam, the porter, who was a total joy to see and speak to every time we entered or left the lobby. He took us & our bags to the room, answering all our questions & didn't hang around for a tip. So when we changed some money later in the day, we gave him a tip, and he was very grateful.
There is a welcome guide in the room, which is very informative about the hotel facilities, as are all the staff. The bank at reception is only open at certain times to change money, so I recommend you check this when you arrive, if you havn't changed any money at the airport. A good idea is to change a little at the airport for drinks, tips, taxis, etc then use the hotel or cashpoints. Remember you cannot take Dinars out of the country, so be careful of changing too much at a time. Exchange rate when we were there was around 2.37TD - 1GBP.
The room was lovely, very clean, bright and spacious with thermostat, tiled floors, a good sized balcony, large bathroom & seperate WC. The shower over the bath was excellent with plenty of hot water and good drainage. Loads of wardrobe and drawer space, plenty of mirrors, including full length. Hairdryer on wall in bathroom, but I had my own so didn't try it. Shampoo, Soap & Bath foam is provided. Towels changed & beds made every day and bedding changed every 3 days. There is the option to use 'Do Not Disturb' if you prefer though. The TV shows only 2 channels in English BBC News & a pretty decent film channel. We had a sea view which was nice & peaceful but didn't get the sun and could get quite chilly. The pool view rooms have the sun all day, but, i imagine could be a little noisy for some people at busier times.
The pool area is pretty & well kept by the pool man who is fun & friendly & brought me vases of flowers. You can get a good mattress for your lounger for 1 dinar. Plenty of sunbeds when we were there, but, again, i think could get overcrowded when both hotels are open & full. The pool was very cold at this time of year and only bearable at the end of the week after a few days of beautiful sunshine. The pool bar/cafe is nice, cheap & friendly and the AI bar the same. We upgraded to AI some days for 25TD each per day, and the system works very well. Might be good to note, that the only spirits available on AI are local drinks, Bhouka & Citradine. (Not for the faint hearted, but fun in moderation!!)
The beach area is quite small, but clean, tidy & peaceful. Again there were plenty of loungers & mattresses available. The sea is clean & clear, and slightly warmer than the pool. We swam, even in february, but i must admit we only saw a couple of others brave it after a few hot days!!
The indoor pool was lovely and warm with good, hot, enclosed showers.
We were shown around the Spa, and, although clean, found it a bit dingey & in need of an upgrade. Prices good compared to England but not as good facilities, and expensive compared to Turkey. So we didn't try it. The gym is 5 TD to use and is just a small room with 5 pieces of equipment, so again we didn't use it.
The bar just off reception was comfortable & clean with good service, but a bit smoky. Mainly people playing cards, chatting and chilling. They will put a match on for you if you ask, but you probably wont get English commentary. We went to the Irish Bar in PEK for football and rugby (No Guinness though?!!) Or there is The Rose & Crown upstairs in the Tej Marhaba Shopping Centre in Sousse.
We enjoyed the food, especially the vegetables, salads, fresh omelettes & casseroles. And the desserts are to die for. I think wherever you stay you have to remember you are not in England & they are catering for many nationalities There was plenty of choice, hot plates & good service. If you want a McD's there's a 'Farmer Burger' on the way to Sousse, go there!! The restaurant is non smoking.
As it was out of season, there was only one Entertainer, Helmy (Don't know how it is spelt, sorry)when we stayed, but he was great fun, and did well considering there weren't that many guests. In the day & early evening he was happy to sit with people & play games, cards or chat, but didn't hassle you if you didn't want it. The evenings we stayed at the hotel we saw the Strong Man show, Belly Dancer & played cash Bingo. All your typical cheesy stuff, but it's what you make it & we had some great belly laughs. One night there weren't many of us, so we played Bingo for free trips, our friends won & we dared Helmy to go in the sea early in the morning & he didn't let us down, bearing in mind it was COLD!! There is also free mini golf, table tennis, boulles, a little play park & tennis is free on AI.
The hotel is just off the main road from PEK to Sousse, each being between a 30min-1hour walk along the main road or beach. Or a few mins by taxi or bus. There are loads of taxi's, and very cheap, we told them what we wanted to pay, if they didn't agree we said we would get the bus (about 30p each. No. 12 or 18) & they would say ok. On average 6TD from Sousse to PEK and 3-4TD from Jinene to either.
For the Monoprix Supermarket, turn right out of hotel and is about 5-10 min walk. It has everything you could need and is very cheap.
If you turn left out of the hotel and walk 5-10 mins there is a huge shop called Palm Sopping Centre, selling EVERYTHING from water to postcards, pots clothing, shoes & toileteries at good prices.
PEK is pretty, and mainly pedestrianised. It has the usual nice little shops, restaurants,etc. the fountain is pretty lit up at night , but is not on very often out of season (ask at hotel for times) The fairground, Hanibal Park, is fun, but don't expect white knuckle rides. It's free to enter & you buy tickets for the rides you want to go on. The most expensive working out at about 7 TD. The water Park wasn't open when we were there. There are some nice looking golf courses for a small charge and the dress code is not too strict like some countries.
Can't say too much about Sousse as we found it very busy and run down in a lot of places, And encountered a few ladies with children sitting on the streets begging, which was upsetting that you can't really make a difference to them, so it wasn't really for us, as we just went for a bit of lazy R&R mainly. We didn't venture too far into the Medina, for the same reason, but we heard mixed reviews from other guests who did. I think the general opinion is to be polite but thick skinned, know what you want & what you want to pay & stick to it. And even though we didn't venture far in, we did get shouted & sworn at by one guy when we said Le Shokran (no thankyou).
El Jem is absolutely stunning and not to be missed. The reps do bus trips, but we got a taxi & driver for 4 people for 80TD arranged by one of the receptionists. He picks you up, takes you wherever you want to go and waits for you for as long as you want wherever you stop. Just inside there is a little shop selling DVDs that have a screen playing a guided tour so you can get any info you want from there. Around the edges of the Arena are a couple of really friendly little cafes, where we paid 2TD for a beer & 1TD for a coke. The little village suurounding El Jem has a lovely local feel and is nowhere near as touristy as we expected.
The Quad trip was good fun, riding through the olive groves and farms and seeing how the locals really live, however it could be a bit upsetting if you think too long about the poverty & extremely skinny working animals. The only other thing that spoils it a bit is the amount of fly tipping you see. We paid £18 GBP each inc. transfers through a local rep in the hotel lobby & 3TD each for photos. We were riding for 2 hours & you stop for a toilet & drink break. 3TD each for a fanta.
The worst part of the holiday was the Pirate boat trip. We booked with a guy called Fritz in the hotel lobby. We paid 90TD for 2 people (some people paid more than this) and were told that a bbq lunch, all drinks, a show & transfers were included. However, in his car on the way to Sousse port he informed us that drinks were not included as it was a quiet time of year & that if we wanted a lift home we would have to buy his Gas!! We should have challenged this more, but didn't. Luckily we took a bottle of water, because on the boat they wanted 7TD for an orange juice!! Then they took loads of photos of you, later wanting 5TD per photo, Others were grabbing your arm to drag you to look at a stall full of jewellery set up on deck and even brought it over and put it on you if you werent vigilant. And others were putting bandanas on you and asking for money for the priviledge. Once we set sail they performed a Strong man show, then came round with a bowl asking for money for it and weren't happy when all we gave was 2TD (We paid £45 for this trip!!!) Although the sea was calm the boat rocked like anything and many of us felt sick & i was (in a 'toilet' that was a pan on the floor, squashed behind a door with a hose to wash it out!!) After sailing possibly a whole circular mile we stopped just outside the same port we started at for lunch - fish or nothing & an opportunity to go fishing (at more cost!!!) Then about 20 mins back in to dock, having seen nothing we couldnt see from the comfort of our own balcony or the side of the port for free!! We would advise you avoid this waste of time and blatant rip off at all costs.
Other guests told us about trips they took that they enjoyed, which we will do when we return, which were the 2 day Sahara trip, Monastir, Tunis & the Reps Caberet night at the Casino.
We weren't really there for the nightlife, but a couple of young lads we met said that 'Living' was a good club, just outside Sousse. The 5* Movenpick was also beautiful for an evening, and you are welcome to go there anytime & walk around, use the facilities & take pictures.
|Apart from the first day, being a bit cloudy & high winds.The weather was beautiful while we were there, and we got great tans & much needed Vitamin D!! We checked BBC weather online the day before we left and the forecast was exactly right for the week.
All in all, we could not fault the Royal Jinene, especially for what we paid and we would happily go back. The location was ideal for us for a relaxing break, having the beach on our doorstep, but close enough & cheap enough to get out & about if we wanted.
The only negatives we saw were when we were out & about - the amount of litter, grafitti, building work & general begging culture (in some situations), I think it would benefit the Tunisians greatly if they were to tweak these issues,
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Jinene located between Sousse and Port EL Kantaoui direct on sandy beach Rooms with air conditioning bathroom TV balcony fridge on request sea or garden view Restaurant with buffet meals lobby bar Pizzeria Mini club Animation SPA Playground area for children Mini golf tennis court open-air Pool with sperate pool for children indoor heated swimming pool ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotels Jinene And Royal Jinene Hotel Sousse
- Hotel Jinene And Royal
- Jinene And Royal Hotel
- Jinene Hotel