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“Nightmare” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Oceana Hammamet

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Hotel Riu Palace Oceana Hammamet
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Barraket Essahel, B.P 58 | Hmmamet Sud- Hammamet, Hammamet 8056, Tunisia   |  
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Ranked #1 of 126 Hotels in Hammamet
Gloucester, United Kingdom
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Nightmare”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013

My wife and I stayed here from 6 - 13 Oct 13. having stayed at Riu Palaces before we were expecting a luxurious holiday. How wrong we were! The hotel, rooms and grounds are beautiful however they have serious problems with their food and a lot of staff members.
On day 2 of our stay we watched a cooking demonstration at dinner given by the Head Chef. The prawns in garlic sauce he was preparing looked gorgeous so I helped myself to a large plate full. Every prawn had the 'dirt sac' left in them and were therefore inedible. When I pointed this out to the head waiter he made a funny face and shrugged his shoulders! That same evening my wife had what looked like a toffee tart. Unfortunately, the toffee filling was so hard I could not even break it with a knife - much to the amusement of the French couple on the table next to us. I again call over the Head waiter and banged the tart on the table to show him how hard the dessert was, but was again he was unimpressed. This set the seal for the rest of our week, the waiters seemed to deliberately snub us and we had to ask for everything when we entered the dining room - clean tables, cutlery, etc.
Overall the food especially a breakfast was either over or under cooked. The other meals were repetitive and boring.
On our 5th night we were asked to complete a survey which we did with our candid comments. When we returned from selecting our meal from the buffet the questionnaires has been removed. When I aksed the Head waiter what had happened to them he told me that he would hand them in for me. Given our comments, I doubt that he did!
Our week was exemplified by the debacle we encountered on our last day. As our flight was not until 7pm on Sunday we asked on the Friday before if we could have a late checkout beyind the 12am deadline. We were told to ask again at 10am on the day of our departure! When I went back at 10am I was told to come back at 1130am! We were finally told we could have a late checkout at 1230pm - 30 minutes after we were due to check out!!! For the privelige we were charge 120TD (around £50)!
When we went back to ur room at 3pm to prepare to leave my wife noticed that one of our suitcases which wer part-packed had been opened and that her hair dryer was missing. We searched to room thoroughly before ringing the duty staff to report this theft. What followed next was like something out of a British farce.
Initially, the lady in charge of the cleaners arrived to check out our alleged theft. She then left and returned with the Chef de Security (who could not speak english) and we went through the whole saga again. The both left saying they would check the computer records to see wh had eneterd our room that day to narrow down the suspects. 20 minutes later they returned this time with the acting hotel manager with them. I had to retell the whole story again to him. He kept insisting that we had 'lost' the hair dryer but I reminded him that in fact it had been 'stolen'.
Realising that the Manager was not too bothered by this theft by one of his staff I insisted that he call the police who eventually arrived some 30 minutes later along with the Thomson tour rep! When the police arrived I was told that they could not check the hotel computer as the only person with access to the computer was the maintenance guy who was on his day off!!
When I asked the police to give me a crime number so that i could follow this theft up I was told that i would have to go with them to the police station and that it could take a couple of hours to complete the necessary paperwork. I reminded them that I was due to leave for the airport in less than 1 hour however they shrugged their shoulders. In the end I asked the Hotel manager to look into the theft the next day (Monday) and let me know what he had found. The Thomson Rep also informed me that she would be keeping an eye on their progress. As I write this review it is Thursday and I have heard nothing! I will give Riu and Thomson until close of play on Friday 18 Oct 13 to get back to me before I start writing e-mails to senior personnel at both companies.
As for the hotel in general - it is not a 5* Palace hotel. It would barely rate as a good 4* in most countries. The food is second rate and most of the staff are on the look out for tips all of the time. The free minibar for all-inclusive personnel is a nice touch but you should not have to ring room service every day for a supply of fresh milk!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Lincolnshire
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

Returned from this hotel last Sunday after a 2 week stay. It's a fairly large hotel but never seemed overcrowded even though it was full. Our room was on the top floor overlooking the front of the hotel but was very quiet. There was some music at night from a nearby hotel but once the balcony doors were closed, it wasn't,t a problem. All the rooms are junior suites and are huge. As you walk in there is a bathroom on the right hand side with a shower cubicle, a bath which also had a shower, a sink and a partitioned off WC. There is a hair dryer in the bathroom which wasn't ideal. Anyone who has to blow dry their hair should think about taking their own. Opposite the bathroom is a dressing room with wardrobes a drawers on both sides and a handy bench for storing suitcases. There is also a safe, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities in that area. If you want milk, you have to collect a jug from the restaurant. We packed some tea bags and dried milk. The main part of the suite is a good size. I have never slept in such a large bed. Was the size of 2 double beds. There was a couch, chair and coffee table, a dressing table and a flat screen T.V. The balcony was also very big with 2 comfortable chairs,a glassed topped table and even a washing line. We were there to celebrate our anniversary and on our arrival we had a bottle of wine, fruit and flowers in our room. The maid that cleaned our room did a fantastic job. Everyday we had clean towels and sheets and some sort of towel sculpture. We came back one evening to find she had made an angel with the net curtains. Very pretty. The restaurant is large with a few tables on an outside balcony. The food was very good with an excellent choice. Mongi the head waiter was very attentive and always checked to make sure we enjoyed our meal. All the waiters were very efficient and friendly. As soon as we sat down for breakfast, we were bought a coffee pot and milk. The hotel itself is very grand and all areas are kept spotlessly clean. The pool area is lovely with plenty of sunbeds which are not crammed together. The pool man bought us a mattress and towel every morning. There is also a beach man that offers the same service. Plenty of space for everyone. The beach is stunning with white sand and no rocks or stones in the sea. You could walk in without worrying about cutting your feet. There is a beach bar and the waiters come to your sunbed to take orders. There is also a pool bar where they serve food at lunchtimes but all inclusive guests have to use the main restaurant. Very odd. For us the only downside to this hotel was the dire evening entertainment. Twice a week there was an 80 year old pianist. They had some awful singers that came in occasionally. This is a quiet hotel and we wouldn't have expected anything too raucous but for a 5* hotel! I feel the entertainment should be of a better standard. Most of the guests were over 40 and I felt a bit sorry for the younger couples who were bored in the evenings. The beach bar is open at night and it was lovely to sit listening to the surf. All the tables had candles on and it was very romantic. Tunisia itself is a lovely country but there is rubbish everywhere. Apparently the muni pile workers have been on strike, on and off for 3 years so fly tipping has become a national sport! The area around hotel was kept rubbish free. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere. Reception will order you a taxi, which we did a few times. Went into Yasmine Hammamet and walked round the marina and also went to the medina.
Summing up. This is a wonderful hotel with exceptional service and perfect for a totally relaxing holiday and yes, we would go back.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

My husband and I stayed here from 1-8 September. On arrival we were welcomed with a smile and efficiently checked in. Our room was on the top floor at the side of the hotel but we could see the sea and mountains very well, we could also see the grotty buildings next door with a poor dog chained up outside for the complete duration of our stay, which we found rather upsetting. The hotel staff are very friendly and they soon got to know us. The lady who cleaned our room, Asma, did a smashing job every day, dressing the curtains with flowers and making various decorative displays with the towels which were also showered with flowers and sweets.

All areas of the hotel are very clean, the beach (where we spent most of our time) directly in front of the hotel was raked daily and there was a security guard there in the evenings. "Tat" men/women do not approach the guests whilst on the beach so it was nice not to get hassled. Walking along the beach, you can get a good idea of how nice the Oceana is and how well kept their section of beach is. Watch out for the camel and horse droppings and as you head left from the hotel, the other accommodations along the beach are pretty awful as is the smell sewage.

We didn't venture out of the hotel as we do not like to get hassled with shopkeepers insesant desire to drag you into their shop and not let you out until something has been purchased, We did, however, take a Thomson trip to Zulu. This came highly recommended by the rep and if this is what she considered to be a good experience then she clearly has led a sheltered life. The trip was two and a half hours at a zoo followed by a 3 course meal with limitless red wine/soft drinks whilst watching African performers and belly dancers. If you are an animal lover, do not take this trip as you will get distressed at the conditions they live in, 2.5 hours is 2 hours too long in this place. The entertainment is held in a building by the entrance to the zoo and seats a lot of people but they won't let you in until everyone is outside and in the late afternoon heat, that is not pleasant, we waited a good 45 minutes and in that time, a young lady fell faint and as she went down, put her hand out and accidently pushed a boulder onto my husband's foot resulting in a lot of bleeding and instant swelling. Health and safety is clearly not top priority here. I would not participate in the meal for fear of getting Tunisia Tummy but apparently it was "ok". We were back at the hotel by 8:30pm and straight to the restaurant for food.

Now, talking of food, we found the hotel food very much the same day in day out, with little variety except the show cooking, my husband thought it was ok but I found it very uninteresting. The trays were always being left almost/completely empty of food, so we had to hang around waiting for replenishmets which was a pain. The same table every dinner idea works pretty well, we had an outside table at our request on the first night and we stuck with it thereafter with the exception of 2 evenings when there was torrential downpours.

The evening entertainment in the hotel is appalling and that is being polite. For a one week holiday which cost a smidge under £2k, we were dismayed at the shockingly poor quality of entertainers brought in every night. It was almost compulsory to drown your sorrows at the bar. A couple of evenings we wandered to the beach bar after dinner which was much more pleasant.

Overall, this hotel is great for total relaxation and if you are happy to spend your holiday chilling out by the pool (which is lovely by the way) or on the beach with a good book then this is an ideal place to do that. Would we go back? Unlikely. The food needs to improve as does the entertainment and selection of trips. It's a shame really because the hotel itself and the grounds are lovely. Next year our holiday money will be put to much more suitable use in The Algarve.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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
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jbojbo
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

My partner & I stayed at the Riu Ocean Palace from 19-26 September, despite having several glitches to start the holiday - my luggage didn't get put into transfer taxi & never arrived & my partner was taken to the local poly clinic with suspected heart attack we had a fantastic holiday & were so well looked after by Fakhri (Reception Manager) & our Thompson rep Lorraine who could not have looked after us better.
Both my partner & I have travelled extensively around the world & found this hotel to be perfect for a weeks relaxation.
We were allocated room 224 which was a garden view room but a you could see the see if you looked To the right. The room was huge with the biggest bed I've slept in! There was a small dressing room area & a lovely bathroom with separate shower cubicle, bath rooms & slippers were supplied which was a bonus for me!!
We decided to sunbathe round the pool & never had a problem finding a sun lounger, the service from the bar staff round the pool area was brilliant & our bottles of water were constantly topped up.
The food at the hotel was exceptional & always cooked freshly, there was plenty of choice of salads, breads & deserts. We only used one of the speciality restaurants - the Tunisian which was lovely but could have quite happily used the buffet every night. Mr Mange was the head waiter who looked after us so well, it was my birthday whilst we were there & I was given a lovely cake & all the staff sung happy birthday to me!!
The evenings were very low key but it was enough for us & we met some lovely people.
Like previous comments the main clientele is French & German & of an older age group but we found them to be very friendly.
All in all despite our initial glitches we had a fab holiday & will be back.
Thank you Riu Oceana Palace

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

We have just returned from a great week at Oceana palace and thought it a lovely hotel ,having been to Tunisia many times before but never hammamet we thought we would give it a try . on arrival we were given a room on the ground floor (122) and we thought oh no and said we didn't want a ground floor room we were told that the hotel was full and did we want to look at the room to see if was ok ,we did and found it to be very quite so decided to stick with it the room was very large and had a massive bed and large tv for. If you want bbc world news !! But all ground floor rooms don't have carpet all tiled floors ,we could also get Wi Fi in the room dlink1 was a better reception than Oceana ,the lobby bar was busy in the evening around the bar area as you could smoke at the bar in fact you could smoke all over the hotel expect in the restaurant ,we found all the staff really good and not tip hunting at all ,there is also a beach bar and a pool bar all with waiter service . We were half board due to all inclusive on previous 3 holidays and putting on more weight than ever !! The drinks weren't that expensive but if you wanted a drinking holiday go all inclusive .as a bonus if you like to watch premiership football just ask at reception and they will put it on ,there is nothing at all to walk to via the road but the Marina is a nice walk along the beach about 30mins and if your tired it's 5dinars in a cab (£2) not worth walking ,we will go back to this hotel as the food was super and plentiful !!

Room Tip: A lot of people were after a garden room facing the pool on the ground floor as they could sun bathe...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

To start off I will say I like RIU hotels and the experience you get. We went for 11 nights on the 8th September with Thomson and opted for half board with a full sea view at an extra cost of £286.00.

Having read the reviews on Trip Advisor regarding room requests I emailed the hotel a week before asking for a room on a high floor, and got a nice response assuring me that they would do all to meet my requirements.

We arrived at 11pm at night and were the only arrivals, however the guy on reception (lets call him 'Silver Fox' as I didn't get his name) looked a bit worried as he busily tapped away on his computer. After showing him the email response from the hotel he looked even more worried saying there was no record of our booking. This went on for about 20 minutes with him making numerous trips to the back office and confering with other staff in Arabic. There was very little discussion with us as we just stood there getting anxious, they did send us a drink over from the bar however. Anyway eventually he did produce a room and a porter took us and the bags to it.

Well the room was fantastic but we couldn't see outside as it was nearly midnight by then so we went to bed. On waking next day I felt we had been given a side sea view as they obviously had trouble finding us a room, so went back to reception to discuss. The Reception Manager Mandour was very polite and said he could show us further rooms to consider the next day, he also said that Thomson had only reserved us a pool view room, thus explaining the difficulty on check in. It needs recording that the options on the Thomson website are for either a junior suite, a junior suite with side sea view, or a junior suite with sea view. We had opted for the latter expecting a full sea view, please see attached photos showing views.
By lunchtime we decided to stay put as we didn't want the hassle of repacking etc and felt that the culprit was Thomson who had miss sold us the deal. We told reception accordingly and Mandour rang us twice in the next 3 days to say if we were still happy in the room. Good service.

The rep was not much help in our room problem, not knowing which rooms qualify as sea view or otherwise. In retrospect there is no way we were going to get one of the best rooms from a German owned tour operator when the bulk of the guests came all inclusive from the EU countries (non UK). It also says why the much heralded Dreamliner is not equipped with Rolls Royce engines.

The food is excellent at all meals with a good variety offered daily, particularly good was the beef medallions that we enjoyed several times. You are supposed to retain the same table but that gets difficult if someone else is sitting in your place. We were generally lucky in that Walid looked after us and seated us at a good outside table most of the time. However 6 days into the holiday when Walid was not on duty we went to our normal table only for the head waiter to challenge us quite rudely as to our right to be there. Beware he comes across as a happy chappie but we saw him let that image slip a few times.

A big gripe for us as half board customers was that there are no facilities to buy a simple sandwich, panini or toastie, or even an ice cream. The only eating available during the day is at the unaptly named Barbeque pool restaurant, which strangely enough doesn't serve any barbecued food and has a tiny menu leaning towards sit down dining not casual day time snacks.
And the beach bar also doesn't do crisps, snacks nor ice cream, only drinks.

The sun beds are another farce as the best places are taken by our EU partners by 7.30 am. However the way round this is to tip the pool staff and you will be taken care of. I mean paper not coins. The same applies to the beach as well.

The evening entertainment is second rate, but you can generally choose to ignore it as it is not loud. I saw a review about the sax player singing, however we heard worse than that, a keyboard player bettered it. Think poor tape backing with karaoke singers.

Generally the guests are 60+ German and French who are very friendly----------to each other, but the Brits are transparent, not on their radar (ooops I think that's something we invented)

The staff generally are very good throughout, keen to be of service, even the Silver Fox on reception warmed to us and made an effort to be friendly. I suppose I can understand him being
a bit edgy if he has to conjure up rooms when dropped in it again by Thomson.


It is a high quality hotel but I feel it needs to broaden its appeal or else it will continue to appear like an old folks home.

Don't think we'll come again as the country has too many internal problems and I don't like the aggressive bartering and hassling when visiting the town, nor the intimidating manner of the camel ride operators. There is a lot of deprivation in the areas away from the hotel which is like an oasis amongst all this.

Room Tip: The higher rooms are better, but you have no chance of getting one if travelling with Thomson UK
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicestershire
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

Just returned from a two week stay and had a great holiday. Suites, public rooms, food and most importantly all staff were 5 star. The beach and sea just added to our very laid back holiday, not forgetting the sunshine. Will return

  • Stayed September 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Oceana Hammamet

Address: Barraket Essahel, B.P 58 | Hmmamet Sud- Hammamet, Hammamet 8056, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Nabeul Governorate > Hammamet
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Hammamet
#1 Romantic Hotel in Hammamet
#1 Luxury Hotel in Hammamet
#1 Spa Hotel in Hammamet
#11 Family Hotel in Hammamet
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Riu Palace Oceana Hammamet 5*
Number of rooms: 208
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in Hammamet-Jinene * Situated on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 4-storey building surrounded by 70,000 m2 of gardens * 8 km from Hammamet's old quarter * 2 km from various shops * 60/95 km from the Tunis/Monastir airports * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Palace Oceana Hammamet

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