Holidayed here end of June 2012 for 2 weeks as a family with 3 kids. We enjoyed it, it was an experience and I don’t grudge a penny of what I paid for it however there were some buts. We were lucky with a Superior family room with 2 balconies overlooking the sea (booked a year in advance). Some rooms have hairdryers, some don't, it's just your luck. You can apparently borrow one from reception and return? The air conditioning was not strong enough and when the temperature reaches the 50s as it did when we were there, it is a necessity. We met lots of lovely people including Tunisian families and 1 really nice Russian family who were unfortunately a minority so I will quickly get to "the Russians” otherwise I may spend the whole review on them.
The Russians were unbearable and the awful atmosphere created at mealtimes, around the pool (stealing of kids inflatables and balls) and the having to be up at 6am to get a sunlounger, the madness at the pancake and doughnut queue. We did see one Russian lady go mad at all the young Russians at one point and telling them to queue. It was about time.The demanding of Whisky and Gin from 10am to bar closing. The bars actually ran out of Gin for quite a while and it seems like its happening quite a lot. It is not relaxing and by the end I felt rude myself, my standards had dropped and I was fed up with it. I probably wouldn’t have bothered as much if I didn’t have kids, but the pushing them out the ice cream queue was enough. No pleases no thank yous. The hotel did very little to control anything, just let it be. When I opened my eyes in the morning (if I had slept because it was so hot and the aircon didnt work properly) my first thoughts were sunloungers!! I also felt I had to have a routine every day otherwise it would just be chaos. You feel very sorry for the staff and how they are treated.
Back to the holiday. Passport control was awful. Very busy and we waited ages. Someone will help with your bags to the bus and try and charge you £5. We laughed him off and gave him £2. They accept British money knowing you wont have any Dinar yet. You can change money at reception and there is a cash machine.
Check in was a little mad but fine. As soon as you get your key take the big heavy metal thing off and leave it in the electricity slot for your room otherwise you will have no air conditioning or fridge if you get one when you’re not in the room. I agree that the hotel reception staff were rude, it was unmanned a lot of the time and they didn’t really care. There is no queuing system so walk straight to the front desk to get served. If you hang and queue, you will be ignored and someone will be served in front of you.
Cleanliness wasn't the best especially after seeing what came out the air conditioning unit in the kids room after I requested it repaired for the 5th time. We often had to clean our pool area in the morning with all the bottles and glass left from the night before, I found the restaurant unswept with dinner on the floor at breakfast, broken glass left for nights. I also wonder what happens to the plates of fruit taken to the rooms, I would see the maids emptying them but not all of it went in the bin!? Room cleaning was excellent, we tipped her as we went along. Hire a fridge if you can when its very hot, it was also nice to put the sun cream in the fridge. I think it was 5dinar per day.
The food is ok but it is repetitive. We tipped a few chosen people barmen, waiters, the egg chef (10 dinar at the end of 2 wks), others got more, others less, some along the way, some at the end. They do chicken nuggets at the kids section in restaurant (pile them up or they will go before you go back), the turkey burgers are good and with the flatbreads at the pool area, if they weren’t ready I asked the chefs, I got them hot straight from oven, just be nice and polite. Get your starter, main and desert all at once especially on sitting 1 in the restaurant as before the end of the hour they stop putting the food out and there’s nothing left. Sitting 1 is still busy but not as bad as the later sitting. Your table is only yours for dinner, sit wherever at any other time. I do agree the waiters did very little as you serve yourself completely.
We thoroughly enjoyed our pool time. Speak to the lifeguard especially if you have children, ask him nicely to get you some sunbeds and an umbrella. He will do this for you, no problem, unless they are all gone but he normally finds you something. The pool area is small for the amount of guests. Beach is nice but very busy! Ask for diet coke (light) at the pool and it will come from the bottle as opposed to the gun which is not so nice. The entertainment staff are fine, fun to take part in and provides entertainment.. More for the older kids and adults not so much for the younger kids. Thomson kids club is good especially for those really hot middays
Take a walk along the road to Farmers (rep will tell you about this), the Saloon or one of the many other bars/pizza places. At Farmers it cost 100 dinar(about £42) for 5 of us (including tip, 5 adult meals, one side and 2 rounds of drinks). It was well worth it, relaxing, all eaten and felt full, the service was great. Saloon was about the same. We also went to a pizza place, food was good but that didn’t sell beer and you get the flower selling in there. Going outside was always a welcome break from the hotel madness.
Walk out of the hotel gates and you can get taxis right there and there is a supermarket, selling loads just don’t buy the sun cream there as a couple advised me they bought it for half the price in a pharmacy. Try and bring loads with you. Venture a little further and you can find things cheaper and the service can be better. At the main road along to the right, don’t lose a child down a hole, there is a supermarket over 3 levels, set prices, no haggling. Its good for a midday walk which and was very hot. Cross over and it’s a little more shaded. At night we went to the left and went for a walk, that’s where your restaurants are.
It will cost abour 5 dinar to the Medina, expect hassle from every market seller in the Medina, but then haggle enough and you can get a bargain. It's worth it for the experience but it is very tiring and I wouldn’t venture in too far. The government shop at the front is more expensive but again the prices are set. Taxis only should take 4people but on the way back 5 squashed in 1. He did get shouted at from the other Taxi drivers, but we didnt bother and nor did he! It was 6 dinar to port el kanatoui, that’s nice at night, walk around the marina, rides, shops. You can get a photo on a camel. Set your taxi price before you get in.
If you are booked, then go and enjoy everything great it has to offer, the fab weather, the laid back lifestyle, the lovely people, El Djem, amazing beach, watersports, aqua aerobics, jimmy and beverleys bar in the hotel. I felt completely safe walking around the area and would encourage it. During the day I would go alone to the shops and I did not feel the need to cover up either, but in the evenings I wore long trousers or skirts. Would I go back? Definetly to Tunisia, just not to this hotel. After speaking to others on the way home, there is a lot more on offer that doesn’t have so many Russians. We don't want all Brits but they need to just not let so many Russians in. Unfortunately, they are a massive industry for them and unlikely to loose them soon. Such as shame.
One final tip, I read that someone else locked themselves on the patio and so did we on the 2nd night. I shouldn’t say this, but (in an emergency) you can pull the bottom out and get back in and that was with a few drinks in us! But yes, be aware!
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- Also Known As:
- Tour Khalef Marhaba Thalasso Hotel Sousse
- Tour Khalef Marhaba Thalasso And Spa
- Marhaba Tour Khalef Sousse
- Marhaba Tour Khalef Hotel Sousse
- Tour Khalef Hotel