We booked this as a late deal with Thomas Cook, online. After reading the horrific reviews I requested a quiet, poolside room.
After a 3hour flight delay, we finally arrived at the hotel around 4am. I fully expected music to be blaring out, but it was quiet. The night reception staff ( all men) were polite. We made sure we said please and thank you.They could not find our names on the register but on producing our documents, found us straight away. Perhaps we were on the 'quiet' list.
The initial rate we got for dinar was 288 dinar to £1.
Our room was on the 2nd floor, which we were taken to and it was room 260.
It was a for three of us, one single bed, one double. The room was clean, including the bathroom. The bathroom was a bit rough round the edges but clean, everything worked.
The air conditioning worked, if a bit noisy.
The cleaners are all women, who come and change the towels every day and replenish toilet paper and empty the bins. There is a notice you can hang on the outside of the door if you want them to change the sheets and clean the room. This service is free although we did give them a tip. Our regular cleaner was very good and thorough.
The TV only had 2 English channels in our room - BBC world news and channel 2 (found on number 28) which showed films, on a loop. So whatever was on at 5pm in the evening would be repeated in the morning the next day.
Music around the pool started at 10am and finished around 4pm. It then came back on at around 9pm(around pool) and finished at 11pm. We didn't take part in any of the evening entertainment but if the acts were on the stage, we could see it from our balcony.
We didn't hear any music from the club.
Breakfast is 6am to 9.30 am. I thoroughly enjoyed breakfast - I had eggs (sunny side up), sautee potaoes, yoghurt, chamomile tea and what ever else I could fit on my plate. The grilled tomatoes were nice. My daughter had the pancakes, freshly made in front of you. They also seem to cook everything using olive oil or it is cooked on a griddle. Lots of variety.
Aqua aerobics took place at 11.30am every day, which I personally loved.
Snacks by the pool area are reasonable, with chips at 5dinar and pizza at 10dinar (big enough for 2 to share).
The indoor pool is nice and quite often empty.
There is no gym at this hotel and no public laundry although the description says there is.
The hotel beach was close, about a 10 min walk. There is a horse and cart which can take you there, from the hotel for free, tip is up to you. We took it once to find our way the first time, then walked after that.
It is 1 dinar for a sunbed and mat on that bit of the beach if they know you are from the hotel.
We bought a couple of beers from the restaurant(cancun) on that bit of the beach and the guy serving glared at me (because I was female?) and short changed me. so I made a point of counting it out in front of him at which point he took the change back then gave me the correct change. No please or thank you.
The beach is sectioned and each hotel owns a bit. The bit of beach next door, which has a beach shack selling nice reasonable fresh food charges 2.50dinar for a sunbed as you are not from the hotel they are linked to.
The watersports are good, especially for us as we had never done anything like that before. We tried the banana boat (15 dinar) and my husband and daughter tried the parasailing (60dinar) for two. They take photos of you while you are doing the sport then you have the option to buy a dvd of photos if you wish.
The water is fairly shallow, the deepest part being by the ropes. I would advise sea shoes as there is a lot of seaweed in the deeper bits. I was also stung by a jelly fish which is just like a stinging nettle sting. Thomas cook's brochure advises wet sand as a helpful aid. Occasionally, you get a waft of a really bad smell, which is sewage. Their drains are pretty bad.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING A SMALL LIGHT BEACH TOWEL
There is a small 'road train' which does a return journey to Sousse for 3.50 dinar. It takes about 20mins and is open air. Well worth it. There are bazaar type shops there and the beach. Lots of little cafes but we only ever saw groups of men in them, which I am sure is part of the Tunisian culture. We bought a nice rug and some leather purses. There is a big 4 storey building opposite where you are dropped off and everything in there is cheap and no hassling.
Our dinner time allocation was 8pm til 9pm but we went down at 7.45pm, thus avoiding a bit of a rush and they didn't seem to mind . Our first night, Ahmed the waiter, took our order for drinks, as again dinner is buffet style. He was polite and smiled. We tipped him and after that he saved our table for us, every evening. This was valuable for when new people arrived which caused the restaurant to be over full at times, with tables being difficult to locate.
I loved most of the food. It can be a bit bland and is repetitive but there are loads of salads and sauces and sides to jazz it up. The fish was freshly cooked in front of you. The main meat was chicken. The did try beef with puff pastry once and it was delicious.
I noticed some people would only eat chips with bread and a few more chips. We tried a bit of everything really and spaghetti Bolognese was my daughter's favourite.
The cakes look great but don't really taste of anything much but the ice cream is really good.
Watermelon and nectarines were on offer too and sometimes grapes.
As to the rudeness of staff on reception? we did not experience any rudeness. We exchanged our sterling there. We always said please and thank you, progressed to sil vous plait and merci as they speak French and then onto the only Tunisian word we mastered - shukran - pronounced 'shook run ' which means thank you. Initially, we only got nods, but by the beginning of week 2, we got 'you are welcome.'
The second week, the toilet would not stop flushing. I went to reception and informed them and 2 guys came up to fix it within 20mins.
Smoking is allowed everywhere except in the lift. Being a non smoker I thought this would bother me, but to be fair, most people did not smoke while eating, although some did.
My husband booked the 3 day back and leg massage. He chose the days and each session was about 2hrs and 20 mins long. He thoroughly recommends it. It includes a kind of mud wrap, scrub, sauna, underwater massage and then back and leg massage. Price 280dinar.
The guy who does the bookings was ok, a bit forceful in asking for the money up front but a firm no sends him on his way.
I booked a French manicure for my daughter - 30dinar - but would not recommend this as it chipped within hours.
A young man does henna tattoos. My daughter had one and very nice it is too. You get a free top up before you leave to come home.
There is a small supermarket next door to the hotel and the guys in there were friendly. We only bought crisps and water and coke from there but it is cheaper than the hotel.
We really enjoyed our stay. My main concern was that I wouldn't be able to sleep at night because of noise, but that was definitely not the case. You can request a quiet room online and I also did the live chat just to ensure the request was sent onto the hotel.
Please remember to bring any remedies for sickness, headaches etc you may need, just in case. We bought loads with us, but didn't need any.
ps the free wi fi is only available by lifts or in lobby, downstairs.
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- Also Known As:
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- Golf Residence Hotel Tunisia/Port El Kantaoui