We booked a girls' weekend to Tunisia and looked for a hotel with a spa. Hence, the Hotel Hastrubal Yasmine Hammamet. (Locals seemed to call it simply "Hasdrubal.") We paid about 370 TND for the hotel car to pick us up at the airport (roundtrip), which was pricey but worth it for the 60 minute ride to the hotel.
Hasdrubal is located in Yasmine, which is about a 10 minute ride outside of the center of town where the "real" Medina is. (The medina in Yasmine is also known as Carthage Land, or the "new" medina. It's very new--and has an element of Disney to it.) So location-wise, the hotel is not so convenient to everything--in fact, you're the last hotel on the beach. (Looks like they have condos opening up next door in 2007, but they haven't broken ground yet.)
We were off to a good start upon check-in--they greated all three of us with a pink rose and a fresh glass of OJ--which was SUPER delicious. Then they showed us to our room--a triple, which was quite nice, but a bit dated. Lots of marble in the bathroom, and cute little "conversation pit" overlooking the ocean. The views were fantastic. No coffee/tea facilities in the room. Robes and towels were a bit "weathered." One of two TVs had no reception.
The next day, we figured out that they must have had a pipe burst in our room because the carpet was very damp, and you could tell that it had been ripped up in places because of the damage. Also, there were water stains on the bottom of the bathroom door. And my mold and mildew allergies gave me a sore through every night. We should have said something about it, but we didn't. In hindsight, I'm upset we didn't, but I'm also upset they put us in that room. When we left, I picked up my trainers--which hadn't moved in four days--and they were all wet and green on the bottom. Yuk! However, the rest of the rooms didn't seem to be affected.
The beach was lovely, and the vast majority of the restaurant and bar staff were really nice and friendly and sometimes quite funny. But...the front desk staff told me on too separate occassions that they were "too busy" to deal with me, which I'm going to chalk up to a language barrier. Check out was very odd--the gentleman didn't ask us how our stay was or anything really--despite our very large tab. My point is that for 5-star prices and Leading Hotel of the World membership, I was disappointed.
We did the "Beaute Plentitude" treatments one day and had facials, cellulite massages, algae wraps, and thermal baths. It was nice, although I'd say the service was more clinical than "relax you're in a spa"-esque. My eyebrows look better than they ever have after an eyebrow taming session with one of the therapists.
We had dinner at a place called Sidi Slim close to the old Medina (a long walk), per the concierge's suggestion, and it was pretty tasty and had a good local crowd. It seems like 9 p.m. is dinner time--if you go early, you may be dining alone. We also ate at Il Pomodoro in the Marina (very short cab ride from hotel, but again, long walk) and it was excellent. I had moro cooked with lemon butter sauce and capers and it was very very good.
The Medina was fun to explore, but a pain to negotiate, price-wise. Even if you use the 20% rule, you'll often find yourself paying an arm and a leg for stuff you can get for the same price or less at home. For example, I bought a pretty serving dish for 10 TND--or about 5 gbp (or well, $8.75 USD). Probably could have bought the dish at The Pier/Pier 1 for the same. It's fun to watch the negotiation tactics though!
Every meal we had at the hotel was delicious. Breakfast buffet is expansive. Also, we fell in love with the Saint Augustine White wine. A nice drier white. Lovely.
All in all, a good stay. There were many wonderful elements, but for the price, they need to work on customer service, making the spa and the therapists more relaxing, and giving the hotel rooms a mini-makeover to bring it up to speed.
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- Also Known As:
- Hasdrubal Thalassa And Spa
- Hasdrubal Thalassa Hotel Hammamet
- Hasdrubal Thalassa Hammamet