We have been to Tunisia 10 times since 2000 usually staying at the adjacent Tour Khalef, part of the 5 hotel complex, and had previously been through the grounds and reception area at the Marhaba so when this was all that was available we thought it would be an acceptable alternative. We were very badly mistaken Thomas Cook had failed to tell us about the renovation of rooms and restaurant\kitchen facilities which were still ongoing when we arrived. The original room we were offered was newly renovated but overlooking a building site where the use of heavy hammer drills was evident straight away. Reception was quite quick to move us away from this area, maybe they were anticipating complaints, and we were offered another room which was in need of renovation. The toilet pan was moving and I had to pack it underneath with cardboard to try to take out some of the movement.
When we were at reception shortly after we heard later arriving people being told that no other rooms were available. The reception area had a bar but it was not possible to get a cold drink here, or so we were later to find anywhere else. Coffee was nice but not hot enough and glasses were often chipped and in some cases dangerously cracked. The Tunisian waiters are quite good and would bring drinks to your table for you sometimes we would tip but it was never asked for or expected. The restaurant area was comfortable and we had the same waiter and table for 99% of the time he would fetch our drinks to the table and clear plates quickly.
The food was good to start with but soon became monotonous after you had eaten the same food every day for a week and we were aware of shortages of plates, dishes, cups and cutlery which when available would also be chipped or dirty, my wife asked for a clean glass and got referred to the dirty, grubby glasses still there which had not been used as they were dirty coming back from being washed.My wife had the runs 4 days into the holiday and I had them a couple of days after.I have never had the runs on any previous visits to Tunisia. Staff were asking us for medication as they also had the runs etc.
The rest of the hotel had a number of potential hazards such as cracked and broken steps on fire escapes, fire alarms which were out of use and workmen using paint and solvents close to accomodation areas.Reception toilet area was never clean, probably because the lighting was worked off motion sensors and would keep going off, there were no hand dryers to use and only now and again would there be paper towels provided. We did not see any evidence of staff cleaning this area or any sign of decent cleaning equipment.The maids were trying hard to keep rooms and upstairs corridors clean with old worn out brushes.
The pool area was quite often overcrowded and was too close to the food eating area causing food and drink to be spilt and discarded around the edge of the pool.
We know Tunisia quite well and have travelled from Tunis to the Sahara often on public transport and have always found the Tunisians friendly and helpful and we are also aware of what can be achieved with the food available locally but none of this was evident at the Marhaba. The owner of the Hotel was more concerned with placing artistic items around the reception to getting the fundamentals right i.e. basic hygiene, pest control, food and drink supply\preparation and basic health and safety.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Classe 4 etoiles et faisant parti du Marhaba Resorts, reference par la prestigieuse chaine Marhaba Hotels, le Marhaba Club est entierement dedie a anticiper vos besoins et satisfaire vos attentes. Situe au coeur de la zone touristique de la ville de Sousse, a : 10 mn du centre ville de Sousse, 10 mn du Port el Kantaoui et du terrain de Golf, 20 minutes de l'aeroport de Skanes-Monastir, 40 minutes de l'aeroport d'Enfidha et a 90 minutes de l'aeroport de Tunis-Carthage ... more less