We had a great time at the Marhaba Salem. For what we paid, (about £280 each for an All Inclusive package deal with Thomson) it was really great value!
My only complaint is that the air conditioning in the room was rubbish, which made for a pretty bad nights sleep. Tipping was also annoying, but I'll come to that. Other than that we can't really fault the hotel itself and spent a great week there. The weather was great but cold at night - take a cardigan if you're going soon.
HOTEL ROOM AND GROUNDS: The pools and hotel grounds were nice and always cleaned. There's loads of activities going on all day and about 4 pools. You can't get bored.
Our room was clean and spacious enough for the 3 of us. We had a large balcony with a terrace that overlooked the pool. We had no problem with noise at night, as all the entertainment was finished by about 11.
FOOD AND DRINK: The bars and restaurants were also nice and the food options quite good. There was pizza, pasta, chips, rice and a selection of meat and fish dishes. The dessert and ice cream selection was quite good too. I recommend you eat your evening meal after 7:30, as it tends to be packed before then. Some of the restaurant staff were really rude, but the bar staff and animation team were very friendly. We only drank vodka based drinks and cocktails, but found them to be quite good.
OUTSIDE THE HOTEL: Obviously it's a bit dirty and smelly, but it's completely fine to walk around outside the hotel grounds. There's a few fixed price shops right by the hotel and if you keep walking left for a few minutes you'll come to Casa Del Gelato with it's great ice cream. It's about 70p a scoop and a nice place to sit and relax. We went 3 times. Taxis are really cheap - about £2 (5 dinar) to the Medina (Sousse markets) and Port El Kantaoui. I recommend you visit both.
TRIPS: We booked 2 trips with Thomson - Pirates and Gladiators and Zulu.
Zulu is a trip to Frigua Animal park with a South African dinner show to end the day. It was a really good day out. What made it for us was the horse and camel riding that we did there for 80p each! (2 dinar)
Pirates and Gladiators was a trip to El Gem (Roman Colosseum) in the morning and a pirate boat trip in the afternoon. You can do these trips together for a discount or book separately. I wouldn't bother with the pirate trip, the entertainment was poor. Even my 6-year-old was bored. El Jem was really good though if you are into that kind of thing.
TIPPING IN THE HOTEL: The whole tipping system at the hotel was quite annoying. You're basically expected to tip for everything - sunbeds, drinks at the bar and even knives and forks in the restaurant. We read that if we tipped the waiters and bar staff they would be very attentive and keep bringing us drinks. Well this wasn't the case with us, the waiters ignored our table and we kept getting up to go back to the bar ourselves. After a couple of days we just stopped tipping as it made no difference at all to the service we were receiving. I have a feeling that had we been a group of just women, and not a family, this would have been different.
Same applied in the restaurant, if you didn't tip you were left sat without knives and forks. The staff used to hide them from guests. I don't mind tipping for a good service, but paying for knives and forks in a buffet restaurant was a bit ridiculous.
Around the pool, they take away sunbeds when people have finished with them so that you have to ask the lifeguard to bring them out for you. This is again so that you feel as though you have to tip. Like I said, I don't mind tipping but it got a bit silly after a while.
However, pointless tipping and rubbish air con aside, it was a great holiday! :-)
- Also Known As:
- Marhaba Salem Hotel Sousse
- Marhaba Salem Sousse
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