We stayed here with two other families for 12 nights in August 2012 and travelled independently, flying Tunisair to Tunis and booking with Hotels.com. We've been to Hammamet many times, usually staying at the Phenicia, so this was our first visit to the Solaria. We were generally very impressed!
The rooms were lovely (we had sea view 3054) and they didn't feel cramped with 3 beds. The beds were firm but that suits me perfectly and we all slept very well. Our room was cleaned to a high standard every day.
The food in the restaurant was EXCELLENT, with lots of choice and the was service second to none. We were very well looked after by supervisor 'Mohammed Ali' and our waiter Mounir on a day to day basis and we appreciated nice touches like the table decorations (see photos) and a big fuss on our friend's birthday.
Service elsewhere, such as the lobby bar, pool bar, the snack bar and the themed restaurant was also very attentive and prompt. Moez, the Bellman at Reception was an absolute star, nothing was too much trouble. Although the hotel was full, there were no queues at the bar. The readymix cocktails are best avoided, but the beer is good, the spirits are local (strong!) brands. Coke and Fanta are much sweeter in Tunisia - it's not fake, that's just how it is there.
My kids (15 and 13) loved the pool, with its water slide, cave and bridges and also got involved in the daily water polo games. I enjoyed it for cooling off! I found the pool area a bit cramped and claustrophobic and I could have done without the loud music. Who actually wants it THAT loud when you're there to relax? As a natural early riser, I didn't have any problems getting sunbeds. I often saw the pool being cleaned and the water being tested. I didn't have too much to do with the Animation Team but they were friendly without being intrusive and they seemed to enjoy their jobs. Hamdi in particular was our family's favourite.
The hotel's private area of beach is across a road and has its own bar with good service. The beach itself was a disappointment. There was a lot of seaweed in the water and where it had washed up and been in the sun it didn't smell too good either. Not a pleasant experience. If you want a lovely beach with crystal clear water, then head to the Phenicia. We spend most of our time at the pool anyway so the Solaria's beach didn't spoil anything for us. We did enjoy jetskiing off the Solaria beach, and the provider seemed very safety conscious which is good.
Other guests were a good mix with no one nationality dominating as far as I could make out. We were excited to meet a Russian Weightlifting Olympic 2012 Silver Medalist. There were also plenty of Tunisian families and I've read other reviews for some hotels that have complained about their behaviour, but in our experience they were absolutely charming, friendly and polite.
Room safes are available. You pay a 20 Dinar returnable deposit and 3.5 Dinars per night. One dinar is approx 40p at the moment. They are secure - each has it's own security key - the electronic code is the same for everyone. You can also hire beach/pool towels with a 10 Dinar returnable deposit for each one. You can change them as often as you like, but they are small.
My major gripe about the Solaria is the wifi. It's not free (5 dinars per hour), which it should be in a high standard international hotel chain. You need to logout if you want the clock to stop ticking, but they don't tell you this (put 22.214.171.124 in your browser and wait for logout confirmation). Also the system sometimes randomly disconnects you which is very frustrating. Unfortunately some people (like me!) need to access work email even on holiday.
Overall we had a fantastic time. To recap; the food, the rooms, cleanliness, the service, the bars, the pool, the kids' experience - all the big things - were just as they should be. I've not given 5 stars because of the minor negatives, but we were very pleased with our choice of hotel and the other guests we spoke to thought the same. If there's something I've not covered, I'm happy to answer any questions about the hotel as honestly as I can.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Solaria Hotel Hammamet
- Iberostar Hotel Solaria
- Iberostar Hotel Hammamet