First the GOOD POINTS. The Sahara Beach is a good hotel if you have teenagers in the 12-15 age range. We chose this hotel as the brochure listed a wide range of activities for our daughter, so from this perspective we had a good holiday, most days she got involved in the activities organised by the Maxi Club rep who was brilliant, and had the good sense to get the kids out of the sun for a couple of hours.
The animation reps worked extremely hard, providing both day (around the pool) and evening entertainment, as other reviews point out, the evening entertainment is very good if you have children, but you should not expect a high standard, but you cannot fault the animation team’s enthusiasm.
The rooms are spotless although they are on the small side, and there are no drawers. Clean towels everyday, clean linen every other day. If like us you take a travel iron or kettle you will need an extension lead to use them, as there are only two sockets, which are located, one in the bathroom and the other above the mirror in the main area (nearly 6ft above the floor, 3ft from the dressing table top).
The three outdoor pools cater for everybody’s needs, one attracts families with small children due to its gently shelving sides, one attracts those whole like to get involved in the entertainment, with the remaining one being more on the quiet side. All very clean.
TRIPS: Took the noddy train into Monastir, did some haggling in the Medina this was an interesting experience, they do like to get hold of you and guide you into their shops can be a little disconcerting and I was glad my husband was with me. The mausoleum built in recognition of the first president Habib Bourgiba (not the correct spelling) is a beautiful building and well worth visiting, there are guides who will tell you about the place, they don’t charge but we did give him a generous tip, as he was full of interesting facts.
The Bedouin Feast was very enjoyable, with a very nice meal, well worth it just for a decent meal, be aware though if you suffer from a bad back, it is a long evening sitting on little stools with tables the same height as the stool, despite this the horsemanship, belly dancing and fire-eating are very entertaining, beware the expected tip at the end of the evening for the waiters.
The trip to Kourian (holy city) and El Djem (used for the film Gladiator) was also very good, the Mosques in Kourian are quite spectacular and the guide is very knowledgeabe, El Djem is quite overwhelming when you get inside, and yet another fantastic meal in a restaurant, quite a simple meal but very edible.
The BAD POINTS. The food is extremely monotonous and repetitive. We have done 8 All Inclusives in the last 8 years and this is the worst food we have had. You can always find something to eat that is adequate, but your evening meal should be a pleasure not a process of elimination! The waiter however (Hamna) was very attentive and genuinely nice, this cannot be said for many of the frontline staff. During the course of the two weeks we became fairly friendly with six other families, at least one person from each party had stomach upsets, mildest case lasted 24hrs worst case 4/5 days, this is not a typical experience of holiday tummy, it is severe while it lasts and left those that suffered completely exhausted.
Reception staff we found to always be polite and helpful, both bar staff and beach staff were quite different. Bar staff were at best, indifferent and at worst down right rude (unless you were tipping), if you tip each time you go to the bar you get a double shot if you are drinking spirits. There are often long queues at each service point, the length varies depending on what you are queuing for and what time it is.
Beach staff would quite happily bring you a sunbed and mattress and then hover for their tip, tipping verges on begging in this hotel. It is difficult to get a sunbed unless you get up early, alternatively you can pay the head beach chap (he expects more than a couple of Dinars) and he’ll quite happily take in your towels overnight and put them out for you in a prime spot early the next morning, even if you don’t want to use the beds until late afternoon! If you question him why there are no sunbeds left he will tell you that it is British families, from our observations Brits are in the minority with regards this. Consequently this is causing problems and people are getting angry, but if you threaten to call the manager regarding his activities and remove some of the offending towels he will back down.
The whole purpose of an All Inclusive and the reason most of us choose this type of package, is so you do not have to carry money or worry about having to pay for things in your hotel; you can forget that in this hotel, to get any real quality of service you need a big pocket full of Dinars every day. While my husband and I are more than happy to tip for good service, some of the staff in this hotel think they have a right to be tipped for everything they do.
A final word of warning: Many of the Tunisian men do like young teenage girls and can be extremely persistent, to the point that it can become frightening for a young girl.
- Also Known As:
- Sahara Beach Hotel Monastir
- Iberostar Hotel Sahara Beach
- Iberostar Hotel Monastir
- Sahara Beach Hotel Tunisia
- Iberostar Sahara Beach
- Sahara Beach Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Near to Monastir and approx 12 km from Sousse ( Skanes – Tunisia). Broad, fine sandy beach. 22.000 sq. m of gardens. A childreńs paradise. Short transfer. Plenty of action and entertainment. ... more less
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