This is our second stay at Hotel Residence Diar Lemdina and once again we have had a wonderful holiday. Last time, we came in November 2010 and this time in January 2012. January is definitely out of season but the weather is like a clear Spring day in the UK, with only one shower of rain in the week we stayed. The outside pools were closed (and would have been freezing) but the indoor pool in the Spa (Amal Beaute) was available 7 days a week and is clean and warm. If you go all inclusive, a Turkish bath at the Spa is included (with a voucher) but I would encourage you, if you can, to pay a little extra for a massage or treatment: the owner and staff are professional and lovely and you do feel wonderfully relaxed and refreshed once they’ve finished.
This is a cosmopolitan hotel – and it is all the better for it. We shared our stay with British, French, Germans, Tunisians, South Asians and other North Africans: families, couples and delegates at an on-site conference. The reception staff, waiters, housekeepers and bar staff all speak English and it is not at all difficult to make yourself understood.
Our room, a Suite, was again fantastic: living area, kitchen with fridge, hob and sink, and a balcony on the lower floor and bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. There is always hot water and the rooms are cleaned daily to a very high standard. The housekeepers are excellent and very accommodating. There is both air conditioning and heating (in January the latter was welcome) and plenty of power sockets (you need a European adaptor from the UK). The TV selection is typical for North Africa (not much in English) but there is CNN, Panorama Action (showing English language films with Arabic subtitles), a few English children’s programmes on MBC3, and Eurosport, which afforded the surreal experience of watching the Darts finals from Lakeside with German commentary. We came on holiday to relax, read, sleep, eat well and relax some more and Diar Lemdina certainly provided everything we could have asked for.
There is much to buy in the Medina should you wish but unless you are a great fan of haggling, stick to the fixed price shops and don’t be drawn in by chaps claiming to work for the hotel who take you to shops selling fake stuff at silly prices (‘tax free’ promises are nonsense). If in doubt, a polite but firm ‘no thank you’ does the job. Anyone claiming to be your waiter from the night before on his day off is just lying and best ignored. We didn’t get involved in the entertainment side of things, but the bar is a nicely kept area and the staff and manager were very welcoming and the drinks good (be they ‘local’ or otherwise).
Best of all, though, was the food. Breakfast might include eggs, sausages, pancakes, bread and fruit. Lunch and dinner provides a wide selection of dishes – some European and some North African. There is a generously stocked salad bar, freshly prepared pasta dishes, meats chargrilled in front of you and a pizza oven (see our pictures). In addition, we could choose from dishes such as couscous (with meat and vegetables in a typical Tunisian style), casseroles of lamb or chicken, vegetables cooked in various ways, samosas, cheese pasties, rice, grilled fish, and French fries. There is plenty – for both adventurous and conservative palettes – and all is beautifully cooked and regularly refreshed. The desserts are delicious too – although I would suggest that the bubble-gum flavoured, bright blue ice cream might be just for the kids! The waiting staff are all very attentive and polite, as are the kitchen staff, and we were especially grateful to Braiek Hajri and Taoufik, our waiters for most of our stay, who were always cheerful and extremely helpful.
The Receptionist asked whether we had noticed any difference between our first stay (just before the revolution) and now. It is difficult to tell as we didn’t really leave the complex this time but I don’t think it was my imagination that all the staff seemed just a little more relaxed and happy. We really did have such a lovely time and would once again heartily recommend this hotel and Tunisia in general for a great holiday.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.