My husband and I have just returned from a fantastic week at the Scheherazade Couples Hotel and what a wonderful week it was!! We arrived about 10:30 in the evening to be greeted by hotel staff singing and dancing before being whisked off for something to eat and handed a cocktail. The check in was swift and simple and we were escorted to our room by a porter. We were handed towel tokens as well as two key cards (one we placed in the power/air con slot and left it there for the duration of our stay). We did tip the porter, however, this was by no means expected. In fact, he was back out of the room before we’d turned around; that said, he was very grateful for this small donation.
We were placed on the top floor (floor three), but there is a lift. The room was a decent enough size with a full length mirror and ample storage space. The patio doors are dressed in voile, so useful for keeping out the strong heat. There are also heavier, thicker curtains should you not want to wake up quite so early and endure the early morning sunshine. The hotel has been designed so that every room has a sea view, which was truly spectacular. The balcony was modest with two chairs and a small table, as well as a towel rail which was handy to dry your bits and pieces after a day by the pool. If I had one comment to make about the room, it was that I would have liked a couple more plug sockets, but this was no massive issue. There was also a hairdryer in the drawer, but like any hotel dryer, it wasn’t the most powerful. The bed was super comfy and neither my husband or I suffered any sleepless nights (like we do at home!!). There were also extra pillows and another duvet in the closet should you need these. The bathroom was fine. I’ve read so many comments on here about the walls in the bathroom, but honestly, how much time do these people spend in the bathroom??!! The shower is over the bath, with a well lit sink area and loo. Ok, the leg space around the toilet isn’t great, but surely you wouldn’t let this stop you from booking this hotel?! There was a complementary platter of fruit in the room, as well as a bottle of wine and a further bottle of coke and water in the fridge. All in all, just lovely
The hotel has two pools – one, a smaller oblong court yard pool, and the second, a larger, very luxurious, glamorous pool. Both pools were absolutely spotless and staff could be seen each morning, brushing and mopping the tiled area and vacuuming out the pools. Both pools had their own pool bar which opened at 10am each morning. They also had ample sun loungers, varying from more shaded four-poster bed types, to the more basic sun lounger where you were provided with a padded cover and a cushion. We took our own beach towels as we liked to attend the pool side early. The towel exchange desk opened at 8am each day and towels and cushions were plentiful with the exchange of your towel token. You may find that the more luxury beds will have been taken up before about 10am (by about 6am to be brutally honest), but truly, there were more than enough of the basic beds around. The private beach was literally just over the pathway from the main pool and was cleaned and raked daily. Although we never used the beach, it had masses of beds and raffia parasols and everywhere was spotless!!! We also noticed a few people taking beds and putting them on the lawned area, but trust me, you will never be short of space around either of the pools. What we witnessed was that newer guests tended to opt for the court yard pool for the first day or two – this area was slightly more shaded and perhaps less ‘showy’ than the main pool. The more mature person tended to opt for this pool also.
The main restaurant was beautifully decorated with plenty of tables and chairs. While we were there the hotel was full but we never ever witnessed anyone having to queue for tables, as I’ve seen at other hotels. The food – well, what can I say??!! It was tremendous!!! The choice was endless. There was pretty much a different theme on every night, (Tunisian night/Mexican night/French night/Gala night) and the dining room would be tastefully decorated accordingly. The salad choice was limitless as was the choice of dressings and accompaniments. There was always at least three chefs on hand, cooking food to your specification and replenishing dishes. I noticed that the hotel liked to offer a lot of ‘stew’ like dishes using a whole range of good quality meat and vegetables (everything except pork – you will not find a rasher of bacon or anything pork based in this hotel). The beef dishes were the best I’ve ever tasted and would highly recommend them. There was always a selection of more local dishes which you really should try as well as the more basic pasta and rice options. Food was well labelled and I never heard one negative comment about anything while in the restaurant. We liked to have breakfast and dinner in the main dining room, but we often sat out and had lunch on the outside patio. This area was very glamorous with a billowing sail like roof and lovely cool white wicker tables and chairs. The dress theme for the restaurants seemed relaxed; I would usually be fairly covered up with a nice sundress and flip flops for breakfast, and my husband would wear shorts and a casual t-shirt. For lunch, I would usually keep my bikini on, but wear a decent beach cover to attend the buffet. Again, gents are fine in shorts and t-shirts. For dinner, most, if not all guests, would make an extra effort to wear something nice - I tended to wear a dressy maxi dress but I saw a lot of guests wearing quite structured dressier dresses which got a bit hot and restrictive in the warm room!!! Gentlemen are asked to wear dressier shorts or trousers with a tidy polo-shirt or shirt. Should you be a little peckish out of the restaurant opening times, there was also a pool side snack bar which served more basic foods like burgers and pizza. Although this was right next to the main pool, there was never any smell of cooking or flies – in fact, I never saw a bug the whole time I was there!!! During really hot days, staff would often bring out large ice buckets full of lollies and ice cream and hand them out to sunbathers. There was also a doughnut/pancake chef that liked to cook out by the pool side around 4pm. Very handy if you’ve just partaken in any of the pool side exercise classes!!
You will not be able to avoid Achraf, in fact, you will hear him from a mile off ‘ hello, hello, volley ball time’. Go along and have fun!! It really is worthwhile. They also have regular 11am classes of water Zumba or aqua stretching – just cool down afterwards with a cold beer or strawberry granita from the pool side bar!! The beer was super cold and perfectly poured, however, don’t expect a session!! The beer ‘Celtia’ was about 2.5% alcohol and most of the spirits were about 5%. You did have the option to buy branded names, but to be honest, the drinks and so plentiful, why spoil it with a bad head the next day. We did but a bottle of wine one evening which we paid about £11, but to be perfectly honest, this was no better than the house wine. We paid one visit to the Indian restaurant (which was included in the package). The restaurant itself was stunning and so so clean and luxurious. The food was lovely, although, it you are expecting a chicken tikka masala like the one you’d get at home, you will be disappointed! That said, it was a lovely dish in its own right with all the usual extras. We didn’t bother with the a la carte menu, and this was purely down to the wonderful choice of dishes within the main restaurants! Ladies – if you have a sweet tooth like me, you will NOT be disappointed!!!
Where should I start – the staff are truly amazing at the hotel. Not one member of staff will walk by without saying hello or wishing you a good day. The staff work non stop and are a true asset to the hotel! Every individual we saw working was smiling and looked to be enjoying their chores. Cleaning staff were happy and cheery, waiters were attentive and go out of their way to help you. Your glass will not be empty for long I can assure you and they will remember what you like to drink every time! Nobody expected to be tipped, but if you did want to, we would often give 10 dinars (£3) to the barman or waiter – One little mention should go to Rafik who was the happiest soul I’ve ever met and was superb. Given that the average wage for the staff was around £200 (stirling) a month, this £3 goes a long way and you cannot begrudge them that. Raed and Ramzi at the court yard pool (the regular evening bar waiters), were a credit to the hotel and always made sure you had a drink and a good table and view!! Achraf the entertainment manager would often come over for a cheeky chat as would Hedi the guest services manager. Both he and the assistant manager made themselves quite apparent each and every day, spending a little time talking to each guest to ask if they needed anything while also making any notes of any maintenance issues – the best service Ive ever seen at any hotel!
Tunisia has a closed currency so you can only change money at the hotel. We tended to change about £30 at a time which you got about 85 dinars in return. There is a safe in each of the rooms which cost 30 dinars for the week (about £10), although, to be perfectly honest, the hotel staff are so sincere, I don’t think Id bother with this next time. Taxis to Sousse and Port El Kantoui cost between 7 and 10 dinars. Once you leave the gated hotel, there will always be a taxi outside waiting to assist you. Haggle with them! To be honest, we were more than happy to pay 10 dinars, although hold on to your hat – they drive FAST and can be a tad erratic (You’ve been warned lol). You’ll be told about the things to look out for by your Thomsons rep, but please, don’t let this put you off. We found if we were polite and told any stall sellers ‘no thank you’, they didn’t push! Sousse itself was pretty run down and quite an experience. A walk around the meat market is not for the faint hearted. Locals can be seen to push wheel barrows full of animal body parts around the hot cobbled streets. Wear firm footwear – the roads are pretty uneven and dusty, and extra care is needed!
We never saw one unofficial seller around the pool area but you will bump into Ali baba who will try and sell you his day trips and also the spa man who will attempt to get you in for a body scrub! Just outside the gates to the hotel, there is a fantastic supermarket selling all the toiletries, snacks and drinks you could imagine as well as souvenir, handbags and fake sunglasses. There is also a little shop within the hotel selling gifts and cigarettes and beach toys, but for a dinar or so less, you will have so much more choice at the supermarket I mention.
All in all, this hotel was fantastic and without a shadow of doubt, we will return again but for a fortnight next time!!! The staff are absolutely amazing, the food is excellent, the place is spotless and the weather is always spot on. If somebody had plonked me, blindfolded, at the poolside and asked me where I was on reveal, I would have sworn I was on a 5* resort in the Caribbean!! You will not be disappointed! We are a young at heart couple in our early 40s, but we sat alongside couples in their late teens as well as those in their 60s and all seemed to have the same opinion. If I had one negative, it would be the evening entertainment, but I am not going to say anything you haven’t heard already! This is being addressed we were assured. The management staff should be commended on the way they run their hotel and if I could name each and every member of staff that made our stay all the more better, I’d be here a long time. Thank you, Scheherazade hotel….keep up the good work…until the next time!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "Couples Sousse Scheherazade" concept is "Couples only" with romantic settings and new features such as; Spa, Swim-up pools, buffet restaurant, 2 a la carte restaurants and more...We hope the service which we are prepared to render will be extremely satisfactory.Have a Magic Moments!!! ... more less