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“really enjoyable holiday” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba

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Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   B.P. 243 | Port El Kantaoui, Port El Kantaoui 04089, Tunisia   |  
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Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“really enjoyable holiday”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

We visited tunisia for the first time at the end of October 2012, we stayed for 10 nights and it just wasnt long enough. We were really lucky with the weather with only 2 cloudy days and no rain. I wouldnt advise tunisia at this time of year if you are a hardcore sunbather as the sun cools off at around 2-3 pm.

The hotel grounds were really nice and the reception is grand with beautiful marble floors and large chandeliers. We stayed in the new block with a sea/pool view room. When we first arrived we were placed in an old block with a view of the car park. However after speaking to reception about changing our room they let us view a number of rooms until we found one we were happy with. we only paid a small extra charge for a sea view room.

The room was large with a large bed & bathroom, the balcony was also huge. There was plenty of wardrobe space. it was modern and very clean. we were really impressed with the room after reading some bad reviews on here. The only problem was that the air con was not very powerful so i got really hot during the night and on a morning. The bath plug also lets the water out when you have a bath, the maintenence man came but couldnt fix the problem so we end up sticking toilet roll around the plug which helped keep the water secure.

The pool was a good size although i think in high season this would be too small. The loungers were comfortable.

The food was very nice and there was a lot of choice however they could do with labelling all the food as some is served without labels and it is difficult to know what it is. The wine was nice compared to some all inc hotels iv stayed in in the past, the beer was also good. We didnt try any spirits apart from 2 cocktails at the beach which were really strong and too sweet (not nice).

The Spa on the hotel grounds is amazing definately worth a day trip for some wonderful and wacky treatments.

The staff were very friendly & most did not expect a tip. The reception bent over backwards to find us a nice room.

Its worthwhile getting out and about to see some history and culture. The market at sousse is definatly worth a visit..great leather bags and some really good fakes although you need to be prepared to bahtar the price down alot. We also did the sahara desert trip which was amazing although there is alot of time driving around in a coach. The zulu trip is also really good, if you tip the zoo staff they will let you feed the animals.

The beach was nice just outside the hotel however as you walked further along it did become slightly dirty but not enough to put you off going for a walk.

All in all we had an amazing holiday..its not like a 5 star you may see in america or europe but it is a very good standard for northern africa. Plus a holiday is what you make of it :) Will definately being going back to Tunisia.

K xx

Room Tip: make sure you request a better room if you are unhappy with one you are given.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Essex, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

We visited Tunisia for the first time in October 2012 when we were pleasantly surprised. The hotel was great and lived up to its 5 star rating. Staff were fanatastic, and the food in the buffet restaurant was so good that we did not visit the al la carte restaurants even though we could have done so free of charge on one visit each. All inclusive meant not waiting for your wine glass to be filled as in previous all inclusive holidays and often the bottle remained at the table. One tip - we paid extra for a sea view room but upon arrival the sea could only be viewed by going out on the balcony and looking to the right. However,a quick word with reception and this was immediately remedied to a room where the sea could be viewed from within the room. Wonderful beach and the ability to walk for about an hour along it and reach port el Kantaoui (and after a quick beer get a taxi back!).

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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Bristol, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

My wife and I stayed for a week AI as part of a golf holiday. The hotel, for the most part, is very good with an airy feel and comfortable, clean rooms however the standard of food lets it down. Whilst there was something to eat on most days meat dishes tended to be dry and overcooked.
The location is good provided you don't want to go anywhere else as this always involves a taxi however these are inexpensive by British standards although somewhat ramshackle vehicles.
Having recently been to Mauritius in a true 5* hotel, I would rate this at about 3.

Room Tip: We had a garden view room which basically is a view of the car park. These are the even numbered roo...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Derbyshire
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

First visit to Tunisia and I won't be returning in a hurry.
The hotel was very good. Clean, well decorated and the staff very friendly. The sea was warmer than the pool, which was freezing ( we were there at the end of October), but pleasant to sit round with plenty of comfortable sunbeds, although you have to be early to get one to the left of the pool where the sun shone all day. Lots of shade elsewhere. Waiter service around the pool stopped after the first day, so it was self serve after that.
The room was very pleasant and the pool/sea view to our right was worth having. Other rooms were looking onto car parks and other hotels. We had firm but comfortable twin beds and a decent sized bathroom and separate toilet. The balcony didn't get any direct sun.
The restaurant was pleasant with plenty of food, but the same dishes kept appearing and the desserts were particularly disappointing. Thank heavens for the pancakes! They were served at breakfast and dinner and for the afternoon snacks in the bar.
We ventured out by ourselves in taxis to Sousse and the Medhina market, which was a nerve-wracking experience. we had been warned about the scam of locals recognising the hotel wristbands and pretending to be waiters at your hotel, so we took our bands off but this didn't stop them trying to con and hassle us constantly. Be aware also that the streets are very cobbled around the Medhina and my elderly mother struggled walking around there which is extra hard when you are trying to get away from shop owners shouting at and following you all the time.
A trip to Port El Kantoaoui was almost as traumatic and we stayed at the hotel after that apart from a very brief trip to a 'Shopping Centre' round the corner from the hotel, which is full of tat and fake 'designer' goods. We were told of attempts to steal purses and scams with locals pretending to 'find' a dropped £1 coin whilst eyeing up wallets and purses.
If you are going for a relaxing holiday in the sun, then this would fit the bill if you don't intend to leave the hotel during the stay.

Room Tip: Choose Floor 2 and above with a pool/sea view.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

Myself and my girlfriend went to the Imperial Marhaba at the end of May 2011 and had a lovely relaxing two weeks all inclusive.

The hotel looks very impressive and was very clean throughout.

Nice selection of food, we were never stuck for things to eat and the Chinese restaurant was very nice. You need to book in advance, but it is included in your all inclusive deal. The Tunisia restaurant meal was poor and the service was curt. Our waiter in the main restaurant was very friendly, not the best waiter in the world, but he tried his best. Waiters also expect a tip at the evening meal or a big one once a week. The seat you’re assigned day one is yours for the duration. We got on fine with the Maitre D, but by the looks of him he could be quite prickly!

Lunch was served down by the beach and had a fine selection, but could get very busy as everyone gets hungry at the same time.

The guys behind the bar and on table service were all very nice and friendly although service at the main lobby bar could be quite slow at times. All drinks were free including local beer, wine and spirits.

The room we had was spacious, clean and the beds were comfortable. The rooms were cleaned daily, but there was an unpleasant smell coming from the toilet that seemed impossible to remove. Thankfully the toilet is separate to the shower and sink, so it wasn’t really a problem. The tv had two English language movie channels which was great because there is not many places to go in the evening and the hotel entertainment is very poor. The mini fidge was stocked with soft drinks and water and you had to ask at reception for it to be re-stocked which didn’t always occur. There is a shop near the lobby with tonnes of gifts and treats. We shopped there as although it’s a little more expensive at least there is no hassle or pressure to buy.

On the subject of entertainment, the entertainment guys tried really hard to keep everyone happy and did crazy long hours, but at times could be just a little annoying. Playing darts and bowels was good fun though and the tennis court is also free and really under used. The evening entertainments was very poor to say the least, but were kind of funny they were so bad. Also there’s no bar in the entertainments area so you have to go in and out for drinks or wait an eternity for the one waiter to get some for you. Also around the pool some of the entertainment guys could be a bit pervy, but only if you gave them the time of day.

The pool was nice and there always seemed to be beds free even if you slept in although it was May. A tip to the pool guy seemed to mean he kept a bed for you as soon as he got in at 5am! I didn’t do it, but others definitely did.

The beach is right at the hotel and the water sports were great value. €15 for 15 minutes on a jetski although you could haggle for either more time or a cheaper price. We also did the paragliding – NB. Make sure you are both sitting properly in the little seats, otherwise like my poor girlfriend you may slip out and have the harness simply dig into your legs for 20mins. Also we saw a lot of people have some genuinely terrifying experiences on it due to adverse winds. One couple spent the 20/25 ordeal going straight out to sea hanging only about 10 feet from the sea! Scary stuff, so be warned!

In terms of things to do there’s not a lot. We walked down the beach to the Port, but there’s not a lot down there and it feels entirely like a tourist trap and had tonnes of dodgy looking guys hanging around.

We went on one excursion through our travel company. It involved going to El Jem a Roman Coloseum, Kairouan mosque and Bourguiba's mosaleum. I would totally recommend going to El Jem. It was an amazing place to walk in the footsteps of Gladiators. We also can across the coolest little kitten, who was so hungry the poor thing, we fed it pringles! It was all we had on us! The mosque and mosaleum were also impressive and we never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. Having never been in a mosque it was really interesting to see Kairouan one of the holiest places in Islam. The girls were told to bring veils and cover their legs, but when we got there our guide was totally relaxed and there was no need to cover your head, only your shoulders, which most Churches in Spain expect you to do the same. Our tour guide was lovely and friendly, but our driver was a Maniac! By the end of the day I had to shout at him to slow down as passing out five cars on a blind bend, everybody in the mini-van was scared stiff! Thankfully he begrudgingly calmed down a bit after that. I would highly recommend a trip to El Jem, but not doing all those places in one day, plus the lunch provided near Kairouan was awful!

On the absolute plus side we had a really enjoyable two weeks with lovely sunshine and everything provided for us. We came home totally relaxed and would highly recommend the hotel to anyone. The weather in May was just perfect and we had maybe two cloudy days the whole time we were there and one amazing lightening storm in the distance, which we watched from our balcony. Honestly if you want a couple of weeks of just chilling out by the pool/beach and reading a good book, you couldn’t do better then here. Plus the price of hotel, flights and all inclusive was a bargain for 2 of us at €1900 total. Go there while it’s still relatively cheap!

Room Tip: We had a room looking out on the entrance to the hotel and got the evening sun. The lifts are slow...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Bristol
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

No way is this 5 star! Not even a decent 4 star...

All inclusive is very misleading, its really full board, as many drinks you pay additionally. Also the food was poor. Breakfast was dreadful. Choice was poor and quality of food very poor. Lunch and dinner improved throughout the week, but again standard european 3 star fare. We have stayed 4 star in turkey and canaries, and both were far better standard.

In fairness the room was good, bathroom a little dated tho. Also the animation team were good with the kids, but the equipment on offer was terrible. Games room aleays had dirty glasses from night before on floor, broken table tennis table. Games machines from 80s!

Sun bed guy rude, you had to put out your own sunbeds and one really hard working guy had to serve around the pool and keep self service running. He wrked really hard and lovely kid, but meant service was crap.

Also a rigid 2 sitting dinner, where my girlfriend was rudely scolded for us arriving 10 minutes before end of first sitting. I thought this was 5 star not butlins!!

Overall i wont be heading back and definitely wouldnt recommend. Try turkey or canaries try the H10 rubicon palace on lanzarote. Great value 4 star and a big improvement on this.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Huddersfield
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

The hotel has 4 floors serviced by 2 lifts. The lift walls are made of glass so you can see over the lobby as your rise to your floor, so beware anyone who suffers from vertigo. The rooms are spacious and kept very clean, we had a huge double bed which was very comfy. Maid service is everyday, but you have the options to help the environment by not having your sheets changed everyday. There is a mini bar in the room,but only contains pop and water. If you need this refilling you have to inform the front desk and they will either do it the same day is asked before 12.00 or the following day. The beach is very pleasant and not too crowded, the water was clean and impressive. The sun loungers are good and each one comes with a little mattress for a little more comfort. Beach towels are provided so you don't need to take your own. Food, there is a main buffer restaurant for dinner, which serves a good selection. There are 3 specialist restaurants that have to be booked in advance. Be aware that evening meal is casual wear, which means long trousers for men. Lunch is provided again by buffer at a restaurant by the beach and will usually have a special meal being prepared by a chef. The hotel is spacious enough to enjoy without feeling crowded and the 3 bars ensure you can find a nice atmosphere to relax and enjoy yourself.

My only complaints about the place. They are not very good at making cocktails. The evening meal routine is a little strange. The first night you Re assigned a table and an eating time, which is early sitting or late sitting. You keep this table for the duration of your stay and if you decide you wish to change from the early sitting to the late sitting or vice versa then you have to arrange this with the head waiter.

Overall a very enjoyable holiday, pleasant hotel, friendly staff and nice atmosphere.

Room Tip: I always check that's its clean
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba

Address: B.P. 243 | Port El Kantaoui, Port El Kantaoui 04089, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba 5*
Number of rooms: 366
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Partially renovated in winter 2007/8 * 3 km from Port El Kantaoui * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 5-story building * 14 km from the center of Sousse * 200 m from various shops * 23 km from Monastir airport * 200 m from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Amex ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imperial Marhaba

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