We booked our holiday as a package deal with Thomson and after an early morning flight arrived in Djerba on 13th September 2012 around 1pm. We were greeted with complimentary drinks and sat in a welcome area. The way of collecting your room key was rather long winded. The surnames of the booking were arranged into A-J and J-Z. Our booking was in T so went to J-Z only to be told our room was not ready for another hour. We were the only ones - which is just our luck! But we went to sit in the bar and had some drinks. We were still in our "jeans and t-shirts" at this stage so were keen to get up to the room, shower and get outside! As the weather was 35 degrees+. My boyfriend went to go and speak to the manager at reception to see if things could be hurried up! He slipped him a small tip - which we soon learnt would speed anything up for you!
The hotel staff accept any money as they can change it over themselves. You can only change the money over at reception when you arrive. As the money cannot be taken out of Tunisia, therefore you wait until you get there to acquire it.
On arrival in our room it was very clean and cool - air con units are in every room! The stone floors also help very much. The rooms are modern with natural and stylish decor. We had requested a double bed but were soon to realise that our bed was 2 single beds pushed together which was annoying at times, especially when they separated in the night causing a gap in the middle. But this wasn't a massive deal to us. Our suitcases were brought up to our room and we were keen to get outside to explore. Our room was in the middle of the hotel so we had central access to everything.
At the front was a large activity pool, where you could play water football, polo, aerobics, there were various dance classes in the water. Music was played at this pool every day. There was a large bar and food was served at the Restuarant at lunch time 12-3 (I think!). This was the main Restuarant where you also had breakfast. The variety of food was amazing! And they had various themed nights on! For example, Caribbean themed food, Spanish, Chinese etc.. There was always lots of fresh fish and meat which was cooked in front of you. Veg and salads etc, bread, soups and the typical English food for fussy people and the kids. E.g pizza, Chips, pasta etc. The lunch and dinner was similar, we tended just to snack at lunch time as we are not big eaters and would save ourselves for dinner time. Breakfast was also great with cooked breakfasts, cereal, fruit, yogurts, cold meats, cheese, toasts etc. There are also 3 al a carte restaurants at the hotel - a Mediterranean one, Thai and Tunisian. You are allowed one visit to these during your stay! The Mediterranean one was amazing! We actually managed to get in there twice because we loved it so much and it was my birthday! We ate salmon, lamb and tiramasu, on the second visit the same but chicken also! So we skipped the Tunisian one. The Thai Restuarant I would not recommend at all - the food was like microwave meals, not Thai as we know it at all! We ended up leaving most of it and then going to the other Restuarant to fill up!!
The quiet pool at the hotel was our saviour - it was quite small and I don't think many people knew about it which was nice. It was not on the roof but was up higher than the other pools (hard to explain) but there was a nice breeze which was much appreciated! Next to this there was an indoor pool with jacuzzi - not that we spent any time indoors! But the jacuzzi was nice in the evenings. My boyfriend was happy as there was also a small gym! Which he spent some time in while I was sunbathing and reading my book. A short walk (2 minutes) away from the quiet pool was the pool at the back of the hotel which was equipped with a small water park-a couple of slides and things for the kids etc. this pool was nice, spacious and clean. But we always found this was really busy! Particularly as the things for the kids and also was about 30 seconds from the beach! Lunch was also served here, which was similar foods to the other Restuarant, which is buffet style.
The staff here were great - especially Marouan who works at the pool bar! Who we made great friends with! He is the same age as me and my boyfriend (23) and we talked about football, celebrities, life at home and he taught us many things about the Tunisian culture! He treated us so well - remembered what we liked to drink & always brought drinks over to us and even made us some speciality cocktails! My boyfriend and him got on so well they even stay in contact now and we are hopefully arranging a trip to visit him soon!
The beach is lovely, with another beach bar, the beach is divided into sections as each bit is private to the hotels. But you can walk as far as you like up and down the beach. The sea is reasonably clean and warm, shallow. On the beach there are many people with horses, donkeys, camels etc. They approach you and try to get you to go on them, this didn't really bother us but you could tell it made some people feel uncomfortable. We just thought they were funny and we had banter with them daily! After a while they knew we didn't want to go on any rides so they generally just left us alone or they came over to chat with us! The people are friendly enough. The only thing I would say is that some of the men are quite "Pervy" towards the women. Looking at them and making comments, whistle etc. however this is only a small percentage of the men and would not be fair to say all of them are like that. I think as well it just depends how sensitive you are to other people.
Another thing to note - there are some wild dogs on the beach. They are quite friendly tho and not aggressive at all. I think they belong to another hotel as we only saw them when we ventured right up the other end of the hotel. My boyfriend thought they were hyenas at first!
With the hotel you are entitled to free water sports which is good. During our stay we went on banana boats, out in a canoe and also on jet skis! Where we saw wild dolphins!! :) this was a highlight of our whole holiday!
Another highlight was what the staff did for us when it was my birthday! They decorated our room with roses and made a flower and origami arrangement on our bed. They also wrote a birthday poem and message and gave us some key rings from the gift shop. We also had a relaxing time at the hotel spa which was really nice! And at night time they had arranged an individual table for us inside the Restuarant with roses again and peach champagne! The staff really did go above and beyond to make it not only a holiday but a birthday to remember! For this we are so grateful.
We didn't venture out of the hotel very much - because you didn't really need to. But we did visit the local market - houmt souk and also the marina. Be aware at the market - they do anything to try and get your money! It's all good fun bartering with them for a price but just make sure you know what their money equates to. One man tried to charge us £150 (300 dinar!) for some peppermint tea! And was rather quite persistent! We naturally did not pay it!! And saw the funny side! But the locals can be quite persuasive and aggressive at times!
We also went to Harouns (I think that's how you spell it) would definitely recommend this! It's a fish Restuarant about 15 minutes from the hotel, which is on a docked pirate ship. The food is traditional Tunisian and was very very nice! We got a taxi here - nobody really walks anyway and taxis are very cheap - 8 dinar for a 10-15 minute journey which is like £4!
I would recommend this hotel to everyone, young, old, couples and families. There is something for everyone to do and the hotel have loads and loads of entertainment!!
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- Also Known As:
- Club Magic Life Penelope Beach Imperial Hotel Houmt Souk
- Magic Life Hotel Djerba
- Club Magic Life Penelope Beach Imperial Djerba Island, Tunisia