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“Honest review from an 18 year olds P.O.V!”
Review of Hotel Riviera

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Hotel Riviera
Ranked #11 of 33 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Reviewed 26 August 2013

Arrived home early hours of this morning after a two week holiday in the hotel Riviera, and honestly I couldn't have asked for a nicer hotel to stay in!

We arrived at the hotel at 3am. Check in time was very quick and efficient, and the porters were very quick to help us with our luggage and show us to the room fully. I shared a room with my mum and dad, and even though it was small, it was clean and the air conditioning was a real godssent after a stuffy coach journey. My only criticism would be that the rooms don't cater for 3 adults, the sofa bed was hard and uncomfy, but it was OK for the night.

Very please with the choice of food at breakfast time. There was always toast, omelette, fried egg and pancakes made fresh, and the buffet was at an OK standard.

The pool area was always very clean, but if you didn't get up at stupid oclock, you would struggle to get a sun bed, unless of course you tipped the pool staff which we did. After doing that, we were guaranteed enough sunbeds for our party every day, and in the exact same place as the day before. I strongly recommend doing this, even if its only 10 dinar.

Now to the animation team. They work very very hard everyday, and always have activities to participate in. They would always make the effort to sit on your bed and talk to you, but they weren't pushy. They are the most friendly people you could meet, especially Djo, Chico, Khaled, Bibo and Ayman. We made friends with the whole team, and the shows they presented were quite high quality. The comedy shows weren't as good, but trust me, you will cry with laugher. My only fault (which isnt really a fault) would be that they are not allowed to converse with guests past 11pm, which is when the pool security would be on duty, however on Friday nights they take guests to the local nightclub Metalica. I was a bit wary on going with them (Chico, Khaled, Djo and Aymen) as you hear endless tall tales, but they looked after me and got me back to the hotel safely.

At a lunch time I only ate in the pool bar.This was very high standard and always had a good variety of food to eat. Pizza, burgers chips and pancakes were always cooked fresh on order, the salad bar was always stocked and the hot counter always had chicken nuggets for the kids. The bar itself could become quite busy, but this is understandable as it would reach 40 degrees in the afternoon, drinks were definitely needed.

The slides opened three or four times a day, and stayed on for about half an hour each time, maybe more depending on how hot the day was. Even though the pool was deep, it was always clean and very refreshing.

Dinner was always at a high quality, and the waiting staff were always on form. When you are assigned to a table, you stay around that area every evening with the same waiter. By the end of the holiday our waiter (Ali) knew all of our drinks, and automatically had them waiting for us as soon as he saw us walking to the restaurant.

I was a bit sceptical before coming to this hotel, as there has been a lot of bad reviews, but honestly, I had the best time, and we are looking to go back this October. If you go with an open mind you will completely enjoy yourself and I am very much looking forward to returning.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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9  Thank Megan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 August 2013

Arrived on the 11th of august room was very nice, the food has been excellent, even the new animation members are as good as the old always entertaining in the evenings and around the pool in day, all the staff work very hard to make the holiday great, such as Slim (larry), Joe, carimero, chico, bibo,khaled, ayman, mady, also people don't listen the rubbish that people complain about so come with an open mind.

Room Tip: Facing the pool
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Daniel M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2013

Stayed here from the 2nd of August for 2 weeks well where to start we arrived early hours though every thin was ok till we woke the next day to find out we was over the disco room 1008 with 2 kids ages 4 and 6 couldn't move to a different room they told us we was lucky to get a room because there are over book but I wouldn't call that lucky so we went for breakfast never went again was horrible so though lunch must be good after waiting 20 mins in the que we got our lunch wasn't much better and the evening meal was even worse no kids meals they had to eat from the buffet with was rubbish even I struggled and I eat anything the kids disco was good the kids luved it the entertainment was good shame it was only on for an hour and the que for drinks you wait about 40 mins appauling the pool is so deep couldn't touch the floor in the shallow end I'm 4ft 11inch the baby pool ppl from the beach washed there feet in full of Sand the slides only open a couple of hours a day entertainment team lovley worked so hard apart from the waiters at night got so drunk fell over our table and it was our sons 5th birthday and paying 50 dinar to have a table ready for us and a chicolate birthday cake we arrived to nothing they had forgot and had to go back out the restraunt for 20 mind while they frew a few leafs on the table my son was so looking forward to it wouldn't not go again this is the first bad review I have given about a holiday and will be complaining to Thomas cook good luck if you are visiting this hotel you will need it

  • Stayed: August 2013
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4  Thank natalienolan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2013

Just arrived home on the 18th August

To be honest we did have a good time, met some lovely people. The staff in the hotel work very hard and we always found them very helpful, the entertainment team also work very hard, with what they have, they would benefit from some microphones and a little cash injection. Our room was very spacious 5004, air con not the best, few problems with no cold water for a couple of days. The barman works very hard and seems to remember everyones order. I did enjoy the food, but found the restaurant very chaotic and it didnt flow well. The waiters were always very busy and happy to get you drinks. The cleanliness in the restaurant not good the chairs were very dirty...you could feel the dirt as you move your chair in and out. Table cloths were either shook or dusted so the crumbs landed on the chairs or floor. The communal toilet areas could do with some deep cleaning, doors, handles, tap and sink units. Towel change... the towels were collected very early but no replacement till late afternoon, this happened everyday,
Juice drinks at meal times never cold. My husband and son ended up with upset stomaches, sore throats and earache. We found the drinks fine, but they did run out of ice often. Like i said we still had a good time. I hope you find this helpful.

Room Tip: The views from 5004 were of the pool, the nightclub is a couple of floor below but didnt boter us at...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank traceyrobboscot... R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

To start and this is no reflection on the Riviera, but the Enfiada Airport passport control is quite possibly worse than Gatwick's!! Luckily we were first off the plane and good job we were. We joined the middle queue of three open desks which was the tail end of another arrival. It still took us 20-30mins but when through, the Thomas Cook reps directed us to our coach transfer where we ended up waiting another 50mins before anyone else from our flight joined us.

So to the Riviera... Good transfer, only about 25mins. Check in was pretty smooth and our room was ready for us even though we arrived at 10.30am, and before normal check in time. Room was OK, clean and somewhere to sleep at night. There's a mini fridge which is stocked daily with water. Towels and bedding was changed regularly however for some reason our clean sheets were never made and were left on the bed instead. Also the bed is hard and not to everyone's liking but I like a hard bed but the pillows were hit and miss. Some hard, some mediocrely soft. Our room was 307 which overlooked the early evening entertainment and this was fine as by 10pm, things would filter down and with two young children, this is what was required. However on our 2nd night, there was a rowdy bunch of holidaymakers whom decided to sing their hearts out until 2am. In this instance, I think a member of management or security should have told them to do one.
The AC does its job and keeps the room relatively cool, but its very dated, noisy and temperature control doesn't really work.

The communal areas have a distinct smell of smoke, as soon as you walk out of your room. The only place that you can't smoke is the restaurants.

The main pool was pretty nice though extremely deep. Even the shallow end is about 1.5M. Our kids spent most of their time in the Slide pool and on the slides which are only on between 10.30am to 12pm, then again at 2.30pm to 4pm. Getting sunbeds can be quite problematic and after day two and going out at 6.30am to bag some beds, we managed to grab the last few. You need to be up at 5.30am and even then you'll find that other people have already beaten you to it!! I mean come on, most of us don't get up that early for our normal routine. The pool edge obviously gets very wet and because of this very slippery. I witnessed a number of people take a tumble and to my amazement, some children were running and the parents were letting them. The lifeguard did have words but 2mins later....
I'm not sure when the pools get cleaned as I've said we were up at 5.30am and out by the pools by 9.30am and never saw a pool cleaner. You could always feel sand around the pool edges. Normally you always get a glimpse of the pool cleaner. Under the sunbeds weren't particularly clean either, around was fine. Obviously the cleaners just needed to move the sunbeds about to get to those hard to reach places.

The beach is lovely. A short walk down an adjoining alleyway. Plenty of sunbeds which you don't have to fight for. You do get the beach sellers every 5mins but that's just the Tunisian way. Once you said no they'd move on but half hour later, they'd be back. It's not our first time in Tunisia so knew exactly what to expect.

The food was OK, but I certainly wouldn't say great nor would I say that there was plenty of variety at lunch or dinner. None of it really made sense or went together. As I do when abroad, I'll go with the local cuisine. I enjoyed the Tunisian food but these dishes were not particularly popular and there was never a queue for them. Breakfast's were fine and the kids were spoiled everyday by having pancakes with chocolate.
At lunch and dinner, your drinks are served to you. Though after your first round, grabbing a refill comes in short supply. A little tip, at dinner grab a table on the upper tier past the food and get yourself served by 'Billy'. We found that he was the only attentive waiter and he was the only one we tipped and only after a good service. That said, upon our last night we had two waiters looking after us and our glasses were also kept full. Not sure whether this is the norm or our early days experience.
As you walk in there are children themed hot plates and a sign on the board saying Buffet d'infants but these were never used. I quizzed the rep on this and she told me that in Tunisia, they don't really do a separate kids buffet. Basically if your children eats nothing but nuggets, fish fingers etc, your a bit stuck. Though for me, this is good as it forces children into broadening their pallets.
Good choice of desserts, though like the main dishes once low, refilling was on the slow side.
The beach snack bar was nice and you get to pick off a snack menu and served to your table. Food was fine but pretty much what you would expect from the Pool snack bar.
Maybe we have been spoilt on the First Choice Holiday villages but we did expect ice cream to be on tap, but unfortunately the kids were left disappointed as this wasn't the case.
The a la carte restaurants aren't really worth it though probably a welcomed break if your here for two weeks. The Tunisian having a better atmosphere. Another tip, don't opt for steak in the Italian as you'll be disappointed. I wasn't expecting fillet, maybe rump. What I ended up with was a lump of braising steak in pepper sauce. Very edible, pretty tasty but not steak which you would expect.

There are three bars. Hotel, cocktail and pool (open only during the day). Come the evening, a queue can collate at the hotel bar but the wait isn't too bad. The hotel could do themselves a favour and have more than one person serving. Maybe table service would be an idea. There's a lovely fella who clears your empties. Great personality, always says hello. I asked him once if he was alright, he replied by saying no, half left. Not bad for someone who doesn't speak English as their first language. The hotel bar staff are OK also, but the pool bar staff need to work on their people skills. I didn't think the beer or vodka was particularly strong but the rose wine which my wife drank clearly worked.

As expected, three out of the four of us suffered from the dreaded runs. Can't quite put my finger on what it could be, though I do question the washing up method. Down at the beach snack bar, I witnessed the barman rinsing the cups opposed to washing with washing up liquid and then stacking them, ready for use. Is this the standard method?? Who knows.

The entertainers work extremely hard. The dance routines are drummed into you but definitely for me, one of the highlights. I'm not the best dancer but I could memorise the moves. There's activities throughout the day as well as kids club if you so wished. The mini disco had your usual holiday songs, but I can't really comment on the entertainment thereafter as we never stuck around. However from our room we could hear certain people murder certain classics on karaoke night.

There is a spa and indoor pool, both of which we did not use. However the spa prices are a fraction of what you would pay at home.
There's also a shop in the main foyer but once the wife got ripped off for a couple bags of haribos, bag of crisps and a pack of biscuits costing 16tdr, we never went back. We were told by other people that you could haggle the price down, but in the hotel shop you wouldn't think that you would have to. The Thomas Cook rep did say that there was a local convenience store towards the marina where you would find the products pre-priced so there wasn't a need to haggle.
As we were only here for a week and being that we'd been to Tunisia before (though be it another area), we just wanted a week in the sun.

Based on the previous visit (though 12 years ago), I'd definitely recommend the two day safari which is an excellent trip and breaks up a two week vacation. Their still selling it so it must still be popular.

Reviews are obviously personal preference and I did consult Tripadvisor before booking. I'm inbetween on this hotel. Having booked on the excellent reviews, I can't really see what most people are raving on about then again I don't agree with the bad, bad reviews either.
Would I come back again, probably not, but we have booked to come back.

Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
8  Thank Pham_Family_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

we arrived in the early hours of the morning and the bell boy 'Adam' made us feel very welcome. all of the staff were excellent and when we needed anything they were there.
overall the hotel was very clean, towels cleaned twice a day, poolside was tidy and plenty of beds, beach was good and the reception was always tidy. there was a good selection of food, something for everyone!
the entertainment was amazing, the animation team hosted some good games by the poolside which everyone could get involved in (water polo, mini golf, darts, table tennis, french balls, aqua aerobics, and of course the poolside dances. the evening shows were personally my highlight of the day because they were enjoyed by all and all the animation team did a good job setting them all up!
overall, this hotel is suitable for all aged people because there are things for everyone to do. i can't wait to go back there next year!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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7  Thank kaseywebb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

My husband and I stayed last year and it was the worst holiday we ever had and I don't know where to start.
Terrible air conditioning non existing dnt sleep for 2 weeks.
Food awful every day you just had to look for something you could eat not enjoy.
Wine forget it by the time a glass came you had finished your meal, the managers just stood watching waiters to ensure that if they had tips they would take it off them for themselves.
The outside area very pleasant but no atmosphere entertainment finished at around 9 and it went dead unless you went to the disco, god help you if you have a room above that the entire room vibrates until 3 am as we found out on the first night, we insisted to be moved.
We could not use the glasses in the room for the whole 2 wks as they tasted of bleach we drank from water bottles
The bar are nightmare the bar man insists it's only him serving to get all the tips thus the waiting time for drinks is sometimes upbto 40 mins peak time and if it rains just go-to the shops and buy your own it would be quicker.
The beach ok but if you sit near the next hotel the smell of camel poo is over powering.
My husband and I cannot believe that so many guests go back to such an awful place surely these people have not experienced o good hotel

Room Tip: Not over disco
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank sgreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riviera

Address: Bp 55, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia (Formerly Dessole Riviera Resort)
Region: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection 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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#6 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#10 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#10 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#10 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range: £27 - £84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riviera 4*
Number of rooms: 295
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The all-inclusive Hotel Riviera is located in a splendid environment, just 250 meters from the beach and features beautiful and elegant 4-star accommodation. All of the hotel's rooms and suites are well furnished, stylishly decorated and equipped with modern en suite facilities. You are sure to enjoy a view from your room of the swimming pool, the verdant garden or the sea. For meals and drinks Hotel Dessole Riviera Resort features 4 restaurants and a selection of bars. Enjoy international and local cuisine and a variety of drinks, cocktails and wines. The hotel is located in Port El Kantaoui just a short walk from marina and near a 36-hole golf course and the famous Sousse Medina. Hotel Rooms: 295 ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Caribbean Village Riviera
Hotel Riviera Tunisia/Port El Kantaoui

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