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“Spoilt by the noise, but the food was excellent”

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Marhaba Palace Hotel
Ranked #7 of 33 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Certificate of Excellence
Sightseer105
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Spoilt by the noise, but the food was excellent”
Reviewed 24 May 2012

The hotel has a serious problem with noise from the hotel being built next door.
Although we were informed by Thomson's a few weeks before going that "noise may be heard from some of the outside areas" there was no indication that it would be 24/7.

When we arrived on Sunday 13 May a generator was pounding away and workmen arrived at 7.30 each morning.

The noise in our sea view room was so bad - you could still hear the generator with the windows closed - that we moved to a room at the back of the hotel. A great shame as it meant exchanging a view of the Med for one of the rooftops, but at least it was quieter. Several other guests had to do the same.

The hotel is very dated and rather gloomy, but it's clean and the food is excellent. Most of the staff are friendly as long as they get a regular supply of tips.

Unfortunately there seems to be a two-tier system, with all-inclusive guests taking second place. There is a separate menu for them at the pool bar and a superior one for those on half and full-board. If you are all-inclusive and want a coffee or tea you serve yourself from urns by the pool and in the hotel bar. And despite wearing wristbands you have to give your room number and sign a receipt every time you order a drink.

The hotel is well situated and despite all it's quirks is reasonable value for money - despite the cockroach discovered in the bathroom. But until the hotel next door is finished - and that's not likely to be this year - it cannot be recommended

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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6 Thank Sightseer105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Newbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2012

I went with my mum for a week at the end of april 2012, hotel was in a nice area and clean enough, pool did not look at all clean!! Food was just about "ok" did seem better at night! Maid service was very good and clean towels and sheets many times during our week. Wristbands was a pain as you had to sign for any drinks you had, Bar service was dreadful - we found that men certainly had faster, friendlier service - i waited 8mins stood at an empty bar waiting to be served for a bottle of water - the waiter was far to busy chatting to fellow workers than to serve me ( even tho he had looked over and saw me stood there) so not an ideal place to go as a just women party as you are defo treated as a second class citizen! They seem to want Tips all the time and if you dont tip they treat you very differently! Im happy to tip the waiting staff in the dining room but i would rather tip at the end of the week when i have received good service - i noticed some guests were tipping nightly and the waiters were full of smiles and friendly gestures and couldnt do enough for them to the degree of almost cut up there food for them, and as we wasnt we noticed the waiters being very offish with us and down right rude and we managed to be on our dessert before they came with our drink order!!! I do not consider this hotel anywhere near a 4* and i will not be returning :-(

Room Tip: front of the hotel has alot of sun during late afternoon
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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2 Thank sallyann p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

Hi everyone, all my previous reviews are extremely positive and buzzing. I am not fussy at all and always enjoy my holidays no matter what. My indication of a good holiday - when you cannot wait to book it for the next year; and cannot stop talking about it when home.
Sadly, we did not have the same feeling with Tunisia and Marhaba hotel. Health and safety and general attitude towards tourists did bother me more than food, pool or entertainment.
Overall, it was not bad. My 12 year old daughter liked it. BUT we were spoiled by Turkish holidays before and you get much much more for your money + kids loooooved it every time. And about Tunisia my daughter said - "I do not want to come back here - can we go to Turkey or Greece again?"

So what was wrong ith Merhaba? We met Brits there who visited the same hotel 12th time! Obviously some people liked it. The place is beautiful; beach and pool area are nice. Merhaba hotel probably used to be epic and stunning. But:
1.Health and safety. A. Camel Ride - my daughter was riding the horse. No helmet, no gear, no leash. More over, the horse was wondering off away from caravan, and no one seemed to bother. In Turkey (well, not to mention UK) the kid would be supplied with proper gear and briefing.
B. Around pool area lots of pitts - uncovered - no signs. Any 2 year old could fall in even if the parents were watching. C. Lots of cracked tiles or broken light in the swimming pool, cracked and sharp stairs etc. D. There lots of strange people constantly offering goods, nuts or some other stuff to buy on the beach. Really forceing themselves on tourists. I could politely decline - but when my child got excited about goods they would NOT leave us alone. I did a few early morning runs on the beach - and did not feel safe. I am the least paranoid person and mum. But I am sorry - I accompied my daughter everywhere even to the toilet.

2. Attitude towards tourists. CONSTANT begging for money everywhere. They take your suitcases from Airport and ask for change. I happily gave £4 for a few steps the guy made with our suitcases. He said: "Come on, you can better than that! I have children too!". Not a very nice start to a holiday. I work hard for my holidays, so it was rather offensive to say - I could give more money!!!
You cannot leave the Hotel without someone pretending his is a Waiter from Marhaba hotel and trying to get you to the market. For tips!
Staff in the hotel was lovely. They were happy to get the tips but did not push for it. However, if you do not give a few pound - then no one runs to you to say Hello or offer drinks, basicaly ignore you. It all felt wrong; so lots of us visitors were wispering asking each other: "How much is enough to give to get better service?" And this is ALL inclusive holiday we are talking about.
Well, mentioned above things really spoiled it all. We didnt fancy going into Town or on any tours.
3. We went to Marina - it was nice - more Meditranian feel rather than Arabic. Beaitiful views.
4. Food in Marhaba was high standards I have to admit. Variety was almost like in Turkey. But lacked fruits and fresh vegs.
5. Local wine and beer were bad, bad..but then again - non-drinking culture - so I did not expect a lot. And everytime you have a drink...any drink you have to sign the Receipt and put the Room number:) I was wondering if they kept a record which Room drinks more Vodka. Marhaba should come up with different idea to register drinks, like a magnet or card..but signing 20 times a day - for me and child was well annoying.
6. Cleaners did a great job. I cannot complain. Also Spa and massages were Fab! I had 4 massages an hour long with lady called Lumia - she was great. Real sport, hard professional massages. I tipped her without asking.
Also we spent all our money for present in the Hotel shops as no one was pressurising us to buy. So we could concentrate and make a good choice.
My verdict is if there is no other holiday to book during school holiday or no other ideas - Tunisia can be a choice. And Marhaba Hotel is not awful. Family with kids would probably have a good week in the Sun. But we wont go back. Ever.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Rita M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

Just returned today from this hotel, having been twice previously, and having read some of the reports was more than troubled as to what we would find this time. The question I would like to ask those who have given such adverse reviews, is "where have you holidayed recently which was so much better for a similar cost?" And suggest they should stick with that. I find Its totally unacceptable and offensive to criticise older people simply for being there - if you prefer to spend your time on holiday solely with 20-40 age groups,nothing wrong with that jus specifiy when booking not complain after.

Now for my review on this hotel - I travelled with my daughter who is in her 30's so we have both age groups represented. Our room was high up on the front. There was no noise in our room or any evidence of the building work. Outside by the pool there was a discernible hum - no way intrusive. I cannot of course speak for future days. Yes, there were three cranes, but you had to look to the left to observe them. If I say that daughter joined in with water polo - around 20 playing, and twice with beach volleyball - where there was a queue to play - you will gather that there was a fair number of young people around. Mehdi was an excellent organiser - encouraging and good fun.

We were half board and found the food excellent. Breakfast consisted of cerials, toast, breads, cheese and fresh fruits,eggs fried and boiled, and excellent ommeletes were made in front of you. Evening meals offered a variety of hot meats, lamb, pork, chicken, pizzas were done to order in front of you, soups, chips available always, delicious desserts with fresh fruit.

The hotel was clean, staff were friendly, and we didnt tip until day before departure. The little port is only 10 minutes pleasant walk away. We went on the little train to Sousse and did some shopping other days were spent round the pool and the port. Evening entertainment included a quiz, belly dancing, a musical evening and a karaoke, maybe not riotous but all seemed to enjoy it..

I can say with complete honesty that all we spoke to were very happy and most were planning to come again - and no, they were not all 50+. Apparently in the winter months it is a fact that the majoriy of guests are older - and good luck to them I say.......

The only slight issue was that some All Inclusive guests felt they did not get served quickly enough or were ignored.. That clearly is an issue which needs to be addressed. They have only offered AI this year I believe, so that problem should be sorted out very quickly..

As someone who has sampled quite a few hotels over the years, some 5* in such places as Dubai and Hong Kong, and 3* and 4* in US China and Europe aso - do feel that I am in a position to compare fairly, and it is my opinion that this place is excelelnt value for money, and I would happily recommend it to anyone who is considering Tunisia as a holiday destination. Certainly if you are already booked, look forward to your holiday..

Room Tip: Room on front for both view and sun......
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
11 Thank IndigoNottingham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
birmingham
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

This was our 4th visit in 5 years. Agree hotel is looking tired but you shoud not spend much time inside
We were lucky as we were half board and the first thing the staff did was to check if you had an armband. Seperate bar menues & snack food for A I guests
With half board you had excellant service & felt sorry for the A I guests who were largly ignored by waiters & had to fetch there own drinks & sign all the time
This A I is an experiment this year but if it is permanent they will loose all their repeat custom
That said the 7th floor room over the entrance was clean plasma TV quiet naid very good.
Nothing wrong with the food WHAT DO YOU EXPECT YOU ARE IN TUNISIA there will always be somthng to moan about if you want to.
We found the waiters friendly and at breakfast the main smiley face is the egg lady she is brilliant & so friendly.
AS regards the building work it was quiet during our 2 weeks 6th-20th May but as work progresses it could be unbearable.
For quiet time use the beach not the pool as there is no music on the beach

Had a great time & wold certainly go back but they would have to ditch the All Inclusive first

Room Tip: High Floor overlooking entrance Quiet & no view of building site
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Cleveley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2012

We booked to go to this hotel back in October 2011, and we stayed at this hotel on a half board basis13/5/12 to 20/5/12.

We booked with thomas cook. The space to move on the flight is minimal next time we fly we will be booking extra leg room!

The transfer was good you just find your rep at the airport and he/she will tell you the correct transfer coach number, just bear in mind the porters will try and take your bags from you and they will expect a tip. We kept hold of our own bags. The transfer was held up slightly by smokers, as a smoker myself I lit up as soon as I was outside and smoked as I walked to the coach and was straight on the coach. We also we missing some people so if you decide not to do the transfer PLEASE let the rep know so people are not waiting around for you. On the journey you get to see what the country actually looks like. I knew it was a poor country but you don't realise how poor until u see it.(it makes you appreciate what u have at home that whole lot more).

The hotel- on arrival the porters collect you bags for you we had to tip in GBP as we hadn't changed to dinar yet, £1 is fine. After collecting our room key we went up to the room, we arrived about 7.30pm. The room was not very clean there were ants all over the floor, the curtains were hanging off and there was hair in the bath-and no it wasn't ours. We called reception and told them and was firstly told "we will see what we can do" an hour later I called again and was told the cleaners had gone home so it would be done tomorrow. Didn't have a great night sleep so we got up in the morning and went to breakfast.

In my opinion the food was good, there was sooooo much choice you never had to have the same thing twice. The omelette lady was brilliant I would Certainly recommend having one. The coffee leaves a lot to be desired so I would recommend taking a kettle to put in your room and taking your own.

We had a walk to the marina while waiting for the Thomas cook rep. Please prepare to be harrassed by the locals, you will hear them say 'cheaper than asda/tesco' 'lovely jubbly' which does make you laugh. There are not aggressive people and if you just simply say no thank you and continue walking. You can't really haggle the prices here but certainly try, if u walk away and they chase you they can afford to go lower.

Our Thomas cook rep was called Jenna. She was really lovely and we explained the room situation to her and she was straight up to reception and sorted out a move. The second room was faultless and the lady that cleaned the room was brilliant. We tipped her 5 dinar on day 1 and the next day we came into a glass of roses on the side, petals on the bed and in the bathroom and fancy patterns on the bed sheets. We continued to tip 2 dinar each day as we were happy with the service.
We booked 3 trips 1.medina ramble, 2.african dream 3.el jem

The medina ramble is brill my advice it to go to the marina first to see if you can deal with the harassment from from the locals, if you can't this is the trip for you. It's a hassle free way of shopping as you are with a Tunisian rep who will shout at them and they go back into their shops.we went to the medina in sousse without the rep first and I am quite a patient person but the people got on my nerves after a while. So we went back with the rep and had a much easier time.

El Jem is a roman Coliseum worth going if your into that type of thing, there is a hell of a lot of steps so if your not very abled bodied it's probably not the trip for you.

The African dream is really worth the 70dinar (£28) each price tag. You get to go around looking at the animals then get a 3 course meal and entertainment. It really was a fab trip the food isn't great but it's edible never the less.

You will be asked to leave a tip for the coach drivers, at least 1 dinar is sufficient please dont leave anything less as it is seen as an insult. I know some people may say they should be grateful for whatever is given but giving 100 Milims is kind like tipping someone 5p which really is an insult to them.

The hotel grounds we kept very clean and staff were all very friendly. The man on the beach was very nice and so were our waiters. There is a lady that will come to the beach to sell massages in the spa, we had one each for 20 dinar although she was really pushing the more expensive ones but just be firm and don't give in. The sunbeds on the beach are free however the beds around the pool are 1 dinar per day. If you pay a 10dinar deposit each person which is fully refundable get a card from reception which you can then take to the beach hut and get fresh beach towels every day.

Everyone does expect a tip so we left a daily tip but many do tip each person 10 dinar (£4) at the end of the week. You do have to consider that this is a poor country and they only make £125-150 per month for a 47 hour week so many rely on tips.
There is lots of choice at dinner and the food is nice. Coke in the hotel cost 2.2dinar for a very small bottle so if you want some for your room to put in the fridge I suggest you go to the local supermarket which is just before the marina as a 1.5l bottle of coke is only 1.5dinar.

To work out the cost just divide the dinar value by the exchange rate which was 2.48 when we went and that will give you the Gbp. For the 3 trips is cost us 270dinar which worked out to £54 each. There is also a shop opposite the marina where the cigarettes start from 25 dinar which worked out to £10.08 for 200.

Dispite the negative aspects of this review We had a truly enjoyable time at this hotel and are already planning a trip to go back. Treat the people how you wish to be treated and you will enjoy yourself much more.

Just to add there is building work going on but it didn't bother us at all you don't really notice its even happening.

Room Tip: Ask for the 7th floor as these have just been renovated, we had a sea view which was lovely and the...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
11 Thank Heidi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2012

....its the GIANT cockroach things that bothered me! they were constantly in our room crawling about all over the place yuk! surprising as the room was kept really clean and the cleaners were lovely.

Pool area is nice and spacious, beach is literally seconds away and is beautiful.

hotel is old, needs updating.

the building work didnt bother us, there are 2 massive cranes visible from the pool area but not alot ever seemed to happen, sure this will get worse when they actually start building but really wasnt a problem, just as well as thompson were extremely unhelpful and informed me only 2 weeks before of this building work.

food...well, if you were absolutely starving you'd eat it, otherwise its basically just slop...i was half board, ate there on the first night and that was the only time.

beds were comfy (when there was no cockroaches creeping around) air con in room didnt work.

very close to the marina area, been to port el kantaoui before, so i knew what to expect, marina is quite boring, no bars or anything just shops selling crap and restaurants, ok for a little stroll but not much else going on!

wouldnt bother with this hotel again, needs updating and i was definitely the only person there under 90!

Room Tip: ask for a room facing the front of the hotel or toward the marina, just in case they do start buildi...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank diane l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Marhaba Palace Hotel

Property: Marhaba Palace Hotel
Address: Jinane El Kantaoui | Sousse, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia
Region: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#7 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#9 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Marhaba Palace Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 322
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wake up across from the golf club, have a walk on the seafront, explore the paved alleys of Port El Kantaoui or simply unwind at the pool: Marhaba Palace is a dream place for an unforgettable stay. In the restaurant, a collection of great wines and local cuisine with the flavours of thyme and basil pamper the palate. This charming hotel, in the heart of the resort of port El Kantaoui, will seduce you with its personalised hospitality and efficient, discrete service.Welcome to MARHABA PALACE ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Marhaba Palace
Marhaba Palace Tunisia
Tunisia Marhaba Palace
Marhaba Palace Port El Kantaoui
Marhaba Palace Hotel Tunisia/Port El Kantaoui

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