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“First visit to Tunisia” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Marhaba Salem

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Marhaba Salem
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   BP No 120, Sousse 4039, Tunisia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 39 Hotels in Sousse
CLEETHORPES
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“First visit to Tunisia”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

The hotel is very clean and staff all very friendly nothing is too much trouble for them,yes if you tip the staff they are very grateful but do not ask for this.The food was fantastic what a choice something for everyone you can also have a table for two if you do not want to share,every Saturday night there is a candle light dinner with live music which is also fantastic. we went 2rd of March the weather yes was hit and miss but did not stop us having a really really great holiday and i would recommend this hotel to anyone.If you read take a few books as you can swop them and then leave them for others to enjoy.If you enjoy a brew take your own cups as the ones they have are quite small,also the hair dryer in the room is the best i have had in a hotel for a long time. We will return again and take our son with us,we have just booked for Hammamet on the 6th April for another two weeks at the Omar Khayam and are hoping that this will be just as good,as we enjoyed Sousse so much.Our rooms were cleaned everyday towels and bedding changed if your there for two weeks tip your maid after first week as you get a new one second week then we could not find the first maid so only tipped our second maid.If you are using the free wifi make sure that you have a up to date anti-virus on.If you want taxis they cost 4 dinnar if you hail them by the road side tell them the price before you get in the ones waiting outside the hotel charge 6 dinnar,it is perfectly all right to go walking about and find places for yourself.The only complaint i have about this hotel and is not their fault is that some so called guests were putting drinks on their tables then going into the dinning room for meals taking maybe a hour or more before they returned to save tables for later on stopping anyone else from using that table and some people only wanted a a sit for about a hour after meals then that table would be free so this is something that the hotel needs to stop.Do not buy anything for your first couple of days look round get to know the prices then barter for the price you want to pay if your walking away you will get it for what you want to pay but do use the fixed price shops as well as they are still great value for money.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the second floor over looking the pool as you get the sun all day on your balcony.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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oxford
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014 via mobile

If you want a 4 or 5 star hotel, then pay the extra and get those things that some reviewers moan they don't get here. But if you want a genuine value for money holiday then the Marhaba Salem is for you. Rooms are spacious and simply but adequately furnished (though not quite like the photos in the Thomson brochure and on its website!). The maids keep them spotlessly clean, and our sheets were changed daily. The beds are comfortable. The bathroom is large and clean and 50% of the towels were changed daily. Yes, you can get picky - whoever did the painting and the grouting of the tiles needs some tuition; but come on, this is 3 star not 5 star. If such things really matter to you, go 5 star.
The food was very good with a wide range of items available at all 3 meals (including pizza and chips for those who can't live without them). Breakfast offered both continental and cooked options. Soup and a very extensive salad bar are available at both lunch and dinner; and in the evenings there are always around 10 main course options (meat and fish) with loads of varied veg. At least a couple of items are cooked by the chef in front of you. Most items are international but there are always a couple of Tunisian dishes for the adventurous. We felt the quality of the food was always good - though if you are a wine lover, the wine won't get you excited.
As other reviewers have noted, you get placed at a table and have to stay there during your stay - nothing to do with cultivating new friendships, everything to do with making sure that tips are shared fairly around the waiters I think. At our first meal we were seated opposite two total strangers; but a quiet word with the Maître D' and a 10 dinar tip got us quickly relocated to a single table.
The grounds are delightful - a pleasant wooded area takes you from the hotel and its pool to its private section of beach with ample sun beds and parasols. In season the beach bar also operates; but even in March the beach waiter was on duty and would bring whatever you ordered.
The hotel shares grounds with the much larger Hotel Royal Salem whose facilities (but not restaurants) you can use. This includes the much larger outdoor pool and its surrounding lawns, the indoor pool, sauna, a coffee bar, and a very pleasant spacious lounge/bar area.
The hotel is located midway between Sousse and Port el Kantouai - about a 45 minute gentle stroll to each (either along the road or the beach) or a 10 minute taxi drive. Beware of the taxis that park at the top of the hotel's drive, just outside its gates. There seems to be a little cartel and they either offer you a high fixed price or use 'adjusted' meters. (We used them for one trip that cost 9 dinars to get there - but a taxi back cost only 4.75). It is much better to walk to the main road itself and flag a passing taxi - if they are on their way back empty they will value a fare. You should never pay more than 6D to any point in either resort.
Trips! Yes, you can pay for the over-priced tours offered by your tour operator - but why not use local transport and do it yourself? For example, the metro to Monastir costs just 1TD each way and runs every half hour; a 'louage' (shared taxi) to El Jem (for the amphitheatre and museum) costs just 4.50TD each way. Both were exceptionally easy to use and locals are delighted to help you out if you need it.
Do make sure you visit the archaeology museum in Sousse - it has one of the finest displays of mosaics I have seen. All under cover, so a useful option on an overcast or rainy day.
If night-life is what you are looking for, you will find very little in the hotel out of season.
This was our first visit to Tunisia but we would definitely go again. It is a real value for money destination, as is this hotel in particular. We booked a last minute deal through www.holidayhypermarket.co.uk which is owned by TUI (Thomson's parent company) - we got exactly the same deal as in the Thomson brochure, but cheaper!

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

We arrived late on in evening and were shown through to the restaurant for a meal before check in. I thought this was nice of them until we were sat at a table with someone we didn't know. I explained to the waiter that we were not with the gentleman but the waiter asked if we could sit with him just for the night. We agreed but the next day it became apparent we were to sit with him for the whole holiday. We all got on well but I felt sorry for the couple trying to be romantic but sat next to a single woman :-( Food was of a good selection but often quite cold. The restaurant did have a microwave which I admit to using

Reception looked nice and clean. We were escorted to our room by the porter. My first impression was this is def not the room in the pictures. We didn't have great view but you cant have everything. Room was basic, loads storage space, extra pillows, 3 single beds. Toilet VERY noisy to flush. Walls pretty thin and with tiled floors you can hear every move the neighbours make. But you don't spend much time in the room.

We spent most time at the rectangle pool. Area clean, pool cold for this time of year. My only problem with the area was feeling eyeballed by the shop staff who were wanting you to go in.

Drinks not strong at all but having been to Tunisia before I expected this. Not a great selection but the basic vodka, rum, beer and wine was drunk amongst the group of people we met.

Our maid was AMAZING!!!! We had lovely displays everyday with our clothes, flowers and sweets.

The staff were not the most forthcoming but not pushy apart from on the last day. I tried to change my dinar back to English money and the receptionist was going to give me £10 for 40 dinar. When I refused the other receptionist said he would give me £10 for 30 dinar and I could give the rest away as a tip. Again I refused. I tip for good service not for to get good service.

The beach was nice and clean and there was a staff member there to get your sunbeds for you the minute you stepped on beach. He didn't expect a penny for his efforts. There are people that try to sell local products on beach they are not pushy and security are quick to move on anyway.

The trips are varied. Badly sold. Both trips I have done I have been on before so knew what to expect but as it was my friends first time to Tunisia I still booked again as the trips were interesting. The one to the "safari park" is far too rushed with not enough time in the park. We then went to Zulu a traditional African experience which was very rushed this time and we were back at hotel 2 hours earlier than we were told. The three cities tour is very informative and I love seeing the El Gem but the trip is very much start and stop. You get an hour here on a bus for an hour, another hour here, on bus for an hour etc.

My biggest complaint is that there was NO entertainment for adults. It was the Tunisian school holidays so there was the hokey kokey and a conga line at some point during the night. I didn't see who was running this and never met anyone who identified themselves as entertainment. There is a sign advertising a drag show on a Friday night this didn't happen. There is a nightclub attached to the complex but you have to pay for your drinks when in there. They showed the football one night but no one realised they had to pay for their drinks whilst watching it.

The indoor pool was verrrrrry busy due to school holidays. The one time we managed to get a swim I had to come out due to their being so much chlorine and my eyes stinging.

I didn't use the snack bar but the few people I spoke to said the sandwiches were very nice.

I did have a good holiday due to the people I met and the convienence of getting a taxi into port el kantoui or sousse but I am not sure if I would return to this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
north ayrshire
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

Hubby and I went to MARHABA SALEM with Thomson 9th to 16th March .Having never been to Tunisia before we got a bit of a fright at the airport when a man grabbed my case out of my hands to take to bus , we found out that we were supposed to tip him but since i got such a fright , hubby told him no way . Other passengers said that you have to be careful of this , so next time i'll be hanging on to it . The hotel though was lovely and the staff upon checking in were so friendly , i've read some reviews that said that they almost asked you for tips , well we didn't find that at all , at anytime during our stay. Our room was as expected double bed , well made up and with sweets on the bed too . I also managed to get a 2nd pillow (in wardrobe) which was good. After a really good nights sleep ( hotel nice and quiet cept for wee bit doors shutting when nightclub shut but nothing much )Breakfast next morning was great with plenty to choose from , i like my croissants so was very happy , he likes his egg so we were BOTH happy :) . The hotel itself is gorgeous and sits in the most lovely gardens with wee orange trees in them that you could pick off if you'd like to . I read a review that said that there was NO beach , erm, well , i must've been standing on invisible sand then cos the hotel and it's sister the MARHABA ROYAL SALEM , had their own wee bit. I've also read that the food was like Iceland food , and again no way , the food in this hotel was the best we'd ever had and we've been in a few hotels . Plenty of choice for Lunch , different every day , plenty of choice for Dinner , again different every day and the Tunisian Night on the Saturday was fantastic and so was the food . Maid service was every day with clean towels and a change of sheets once in the week we were there . She does a really good job and so was happy to tip at the end of week . We tipped our Bar Waiter Thaneur ( who was brilliant by the way) at the end of the night , but some folk tipped at every drink brought , again it's what YOU are comfy with , but in no way did we feel that we HAD to . The weather though was a bit scruffy , we had 4 days of nice sun and 3 of rain , but whats the worst that can happen , you get wet right . Well we did cos we took the trip with Thomson to El Jem to see the Roman Colisseum , and it was pouring down , but since i'd waited a long time to see this one , i just didn't care lol and the photos i have taken show us dripping wet , but what a great trip , i'd like to see it properly so will just have to go back won't i . You also have the use of the facilities at the ROYAL SALEM next door , but we didn't bother cos to be frank we didn't like the look and i'm just wondering if the bad reviews on food etc are people getting the 2 of them mixed up? All in all we had a fantastic time and would not hesitate to recommend the MARHABA SALEM not the sister hotel to anyone . Just a bit about the entertainment . There wasn't much really but the hotels do have a nightclub called THE BOX that is open till the wee small hours if thats your thing . Ooops before i forget , we didn't use the taxis to get into Sousse , but they cost about 6 dinar ( 2.50) to use so if you want to go into town thats how to get there . There are a few shops in walking distance though. We had a fantastic time just relaxing and will DEFINITELY go back to Tunisia and to the SALEM xx

Room Tip: we had 412 and that gets the sun all day so along the 400's be fine x
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2014

Stayed at this hotel in October 2013 for a week and had a lovely time with fantastic weather. Hotel is basic, but very clean with all necessities. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff - tipping goes a long way too. We spent most days on the beach which is beautiful. The 'sunbed man' kept an eye out for us each morning and placed toppers on our usual sunbeds for us. Food is basic but there was always something for us to eat. Bar staff quick and efficient, service with a smile! Rooms were quite spacious with all amenities. Evening entertainment was pretty poor.

We took a trip in to Port El Kantoui which is about a 10 minute taxi ride. It is built with tourists in mind but very pretty. Lots of shops with Tunisians trying to sell you items, a firm but kind 'no thank you' was enough for them to leave you alone.

We also tried out the night life in Sousse (BoraBora and The Saloon). Both were VERY busy, but good fun. Nowhere to sit for even 5 minutes, as the only seats were booths occupied by Tunisians who had 'reserved' them. Alcohol was cheap too! We felt safe, but did feel that we were being watched constantly. Getting a taxi was no trouble, remember to set a price before you get it - and haggle!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Loved our holiday for a three star holiday food was great staff brill specially in restaurant Rimmi really works hard n looks after all guest with tea in the morning our last day he decorated our dinning table. Thank you
Rooms ok a bit dated but ok for 3*bathroom nice lovely hot water toilets load wen flushing lol
Made loads of friends had a brill time pool suna small but ok massage was good. Entertainment ok overall good for wat we payed for. Excursions done three were good.

Stayed February 2014
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Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

I have never been to Tunisia and I will return... Will I rush back? No. But I will definitely go back. I stayed at the Marhaba Salem and the Royal Salem was next door. As a guest at the Marhaba Salem you can use the Royal Salem. Which I did. The Marhaba hotel was extremely clean and the staff where really really helpful. I cannot speak a word a Arabic and my French leaves a lot to be desired but I found all the staff to be really helpful and when I had any question no matter how stupid, it was answered. I really enjoyed Tunisia and found the culture to be great. I will probably arrange my own trips away and not use the Thomson package - although over all there was nothing wrong with these trips they were all a little bit too quick... As in we had an hour to look around before being on the coach again.

The food at the hotel was fine and if people want a 5 star cuisine service then stay in a 5 star hotel!! The food was nice and fresh. It maybe have been on the warm side at times but hey, if that is all of your worries then get a life!! The waiters very friendly and helpful. The restaurant was clean and tidy and nicely decorated. The occasional cat did come into the restaurant but these were soon shooed out.

I felt very safe in and around Tunisia! I am sure you could get robbed anywhere in the world - been here in the UK. You just need to keep your wits about you.

All in all I had a very good time and I would stay at this resort again!! I probably won't because I like to go out and about and experience different places. But if I had to... I wouldn't complain.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marhaba Salem

Address: BP No 120, Sousse 4039, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Sousse
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Sousse
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Marhaba Salem 3*
Number of rooms: 241
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Also Known As:
Marhaba Salem Hotel Sousse
Marhaba Salem Sousse

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