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“great stay at riu imperial” 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 34 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
swindon
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
“great stay at riu imperial”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

Just returned from 10 night stay at this hotel, and would recommend it to anyone, with one or two caveats. We would consider returning, probably at a different time of year when there are not quite so many young families.
STAFF
The greatest asset of this hotel, all the staff we spoke to were exceptionally friendly and helpful. We had the same waiter, Mohammed at table 39, for the duration of our stay, and he was first class, nothing too much trouble. Around the pool young Mohammed Ali worked tirelessly to keep the self service bar clean and stocked, and collect the glasses around the sunbeds. He also fetched my father in law drinks (he is in his late 80s) and refused to accept the tip he was offered! We did tip some of the waiters, and the room cleaner, but did not feel pressured to do so, or receive worse service if we did not. I would point out that we were there over the start of Ramadan, and there was no change in service or friendliness, despite them not eating, drinking or smoking from 5am to 8pm.
FOOD
Excellent choice, always well presented, and live cooking stations at all meal times. During our stay we had the option of fish, prawns, lamb, pork (surprisingly), rabbit, beef, chicken and turkey. Also many salad and vegetarian options, plus lots of fresh fruit, and plenty of desserts to try. If you could not find something you liked I suspect you must be incredibly fussy, or on a "no food" diet! We tried 2 of the speciality restaurants, the Asian (which was OK but nothing more) and the Mediterranean down by the beach, which we thought was superb, and the food highlight of our stay. We ran out of time to try the Tunisian unfortunately, as it only opens twice a week and coincided with other plans we had.
DRINK
Generally OK for AI. Beer was good, wine was quite good in the restaurants (poured from bottles) but we found the wine, red white or rose, from the self service taps quite unpleasant, and stopped drinking after the first couple of days. Spirits were local, and in the most part recognisable for what they were. None of us liked the cocktails, which all seemed incredibly sweet and sickly (but others were drinking them, so perhaps it was just us!)
ROOMS
We asked for, and were given, a room in the new block (room 75) and these rooms are very good and spacious, with lots of cupboard space, a fully working fridge, a tv (apparently with a few English channels, but we never switched it on) and a good sized bathroom and separate toilet. The AC worked very well, and contrary to other reviews ours stayed on all night, and also worked if we popped back to the room during the day (perhaps they keep it on when the temperatures rises above a certain level, and it was hot when we were there). There is no tea/coffee facilities in the room, so bring your own if that is important to you.
POOL/BEACH AREA
The pool area is kept very clean, and the sunbeds are comfy once they have given you a mattress (no charge). We found no problem getting sunbeds and umbrellas, but we do get up early on our holidays (around 7.30) and if you came down after 9am it could be a problem getting shade (always sunbeds could be found though). The beach is raked daily, by at least 3 men, contrary to a previous review ( I know because I was down on the beach early every morning while my wife went swimming, and saw them working each day). I would agree that the beach in general along this stretch is not particularly attractive, and there are pieces of rubbish around, but the hotel does what it can on its stretch, and unfortunately with tourists comes litter!
PROBLEM AREAS
For us there were two areas which prevented us from giving this hotel a 5 star rating. Firstly, for a hotel this size, the pool is simply not large enough. Once you had the lilo brigade, and the regular pool games taking place, there was precious little room to actually swim, which especially annoyed my in-laws. I assume that the pool was OK before they built the extension, but now when the hotel is full it is inadequate. The second issue relates to lunchtime down at the beach. Before we went I saw a review saying they were very unhappy that lunch was now outside, rather than in the restaurant. As we both prefer to eat outside if possible, we were quite pleased to hear this. However, I have to say it felt like a glorified canteen. Given that dinner is split into 2 sittings, totalling over 3 hours, the same number of people are expected to eat their lunch in just 90 minutes. The result is a mad rush at 12.30 (sometimes earlier), and tables all full, and very close together (if you leave it until later, say 1.45pm as we did once, the live cooking had finished, and some of the other dishes were gone). Smoking is allowed in this restaurant, and as non smokers this became quite unpleasant. Long queues for some hot dishes further reinforced the canteen feel. Interestingly, we were approached by a couple of Managers on our last day and asked about our overall impressions. I of course pointed out all the many positives, but when I started to tell them about the pool and beach restaurant issues, they said that they were aware of these problems. Hopefully they can address these in the future.
SUMMARY
Very good stay at this hotel, which could have been perfect but for the 2 problems stated above.Eric

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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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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bexleyheath
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

the Imperial is certainly large and showy and has many things to recommend it. The sea view room we had was good, and the cleaner was excellent. The beds unfortunately were quite hard and you slept on top of them rather than in them. Inside the hotel and the grounds were always clean. The large outside terrace was excellent as was the furniture. The waiter remembered out drinks after the first night and provided us with 5 star service for the rest of the holiday, we tipped him a couple of dinar a night and everyone was happy. Now I want to tell you a funny story (not).
When we first went down to dinner we were shown to a table for two by a window, we sat down and the table immediately rocked side to side by about six inches quite severely, so unless you kept very still your drink of water would slop on the table while you were eating, 5 star remember. After being ignored for about ten minutes by our waiters we went up to get something to eat. One of them rolled up after we had got our meals and even though I was rocking the table while he was pouring he ignored it. After three days while we were talking to the tour rep I told her about it and she said that she would fix it. That night sure enough the table did not rock and roll, but the next night it did and looking on the floor I found the half of a cork that they had used to prop up the table(5 star remember), what they should have done was to remove the table from the dining hall, needless to say we had the table for the rest of our stay despite giving both waiters 5 dinar apiece in the hope that we might get salt and pepper pots, or all our cutlery every night. On the ninth day someone dished out cards for everyone to fill in to rate the hotel service, suddenly my wife said he's looking over your shoulder at what you are writing, he immediately came round and said "you mustn't write that I'll get into trouble and stormed off . Fortunately another waiter who it turned out later was excellent, came over and I explained to him why I had marked the restaurant service poor I even told him that we had not had serviettes so far. We did get them thereafter. Needless to say we were served by this waiter in silence for the rest of our stay, and on the last night I didn't even have a chair, so I took someone else's. So avoid table 109 Regarding the food in the restaurant, I am not a fussy eater as long as I can get some chips and a bit of meat I'll make do and my wife will eat nearly anything. The meat was nearly all cheap bits of meat mostly bones with a bit of meat on it and under cooked, which is dangerous in that climate. Some of the meat was well roasted but dished onto your plate like they were handing over the crown jewels, If I ran this hotel as a five star I would make sure that cheap meat was not used or at the very least well cooked , oh and this is the first hotel I have been to where they do not have proper vinegar but bottles of their version with bits of garlic or something in it that tastes nothing like vinegar.
The sea. I have never seen such filthy sea water anywhere. One morning while walking the beach about a hundred yards from our beach I noticed that the water was a greeny yellow opaque out to about 30 feet, 20 yards further up the beach we came to where two camels and a donkey had peed and defecated in the water I actually paced out the contaminated water, it was 28 paces. (lovely for the tiny tots) there were many plastic bags, bits of plastic, bits of net, bits of rope, bits of wood and plenty of seaweed. There's nothing wrong with seaweed, but the rest, yuk. the person who writes on here that the beach was cleaned and raked every day must have left their glasses at home. On two mornings there was a man with a sort of rake, but in all of our time at the hotel he never once raked the beach, this was evident by the same bits of plastic bags and piles of rubbish on the beach of our hotel. You would think that the hotel owners would get together and employ beach cleaners to clean up the water and the beaches, lets face it we go abroad to lie on the beaches and to swim in the sea, also why don't these people simply remove some of the rocks in the sea, so that you can walk about in the sea without clouting your feet on the rocks that they are to lazy to remove. As to problems getting loungers? we never once had a problem getting loungers around the pool or on the grass, even the people who got down late got loungers. They could do with more umbrellas and small tables laid out. They should also open up the next piece of grass for laying on to spread everyone out. The pool men were fine and for a dinar the drinks boy would get you a big bottle of water. Lastly, there was an incident while we were there ( it can happen anywhere) and the ambulance had to come from Souse, one, why were some of the hotel staff not medically trained for emergencies and why was there not a medical centre in port el kantaoui . In the 5 stars that I have stayed in, most have had a doctor and nurse in house for a few hours a day????

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

The hotel is amazing, the staff are extremely friendly. Previous reports have not been too good but these are from a couple of years ago, so please look at the up to date reviews. On arrival we received a welcome drink and was taken to our room which was spacious and had a lovely sea view / pool view room 363. The maid was in every day and again was lovely and friendly. The food is plentiful and I don't think even the fussiest eater would have a problem here. Our waiter Ben Zid was always smiling from morning through to late night. The beach was immaculate and we did not need sea shoes to go in, just beutiful and if you want a little more excitement there is paragliding, jet skis, big banana and other watersports happening on the beach, you can also go on a camel or donkey on the beach if you really want to. Safety deposit boxes are free in your room if you are all inclusive and there is a fridge which is stocked with water and soft drinks, you need to ask reception to restock if you are running low before 12 noon and they will be restocked on the same day.

Around the pool we went down at all hours, even after 9 in the morning and although I think there were people who always got their regular spot, there was never an occasion where we didn't get a sun bed, free beach towels are given our from the little brown hut near the pool and from 10am each morning there is a self serve bar for hot drinks, cold drinks and wine and beer. The beach bar which is where you go for your lunch is perfect and again the food is fabulour and always a chef cooking a special. As well as the main restaurants there is an Asian restaurant that you have to book for and is amazing, an Italian and a Fish restaurant which all have to be booked, we only went to the Asian so can't comment on the other two but believe they are good.

The only problem I could see the whole week we were there is that the air con especially for us brits who can't stand it hot at night, it comes on at 2pm and goes off at 1am, so the chances are you wake up sweating :-((((, It then comes on at 6am until 9am, hopefully they will change this in the hotter months, and read the comments made because it is hard to fault this hotel but if advertising air con then they should have it on all the time, after all we do pay for it I'm sure. The wifi is not great however the box was on the wall outside our room so once in our room we got it all the time, tried not to let this bother me as I didn't really want to use my phone all the time being on holiday, but I know it was a bug bear for some people. So please beware before travelling.

We went on a couple of trips and the best one by far for us was the Zoo and the Zulu dancing. You leave the hotel at 2.30pm and go to the zoo which is great and not that big, so not too much walking, at 5pm we went to a sea lion show and then after this we queued to go into a large hut and were all seated, we ate a three course meal with wine or soft drinks and watched a zulu warrior show and traditional Tunisian folklore show and it was great, we returned to the hotel approximately 9pm - 9.30pm. fab time would recommend it.

We also went to the market, be prepared to be grabbed and hassled all the way, but it was great fun haggling and after about 15 minutes I was getting right into it and the people didn't bother me, I'm glad I went for the experience.

Room Tip: I have rated it all excellent as we had such a good time, but the Air Con is a problem for us from c...
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  • Stayed July 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

After visiting several Riu hotels over the last three years, this was a bit of a shock. Not the pristine entrance or rooms they normally do, but as the week wore on not too bad at all.
Our first room, overlooked the over flowing wheelie bins and rubbish area, and without too much trouble we were moved to a different room. This must be a frequent issue as the case handler, mentioned the room straight away.
Only a couple of themed restaurants, and food in main halls very samie each day.
For a hotel group, they should visit Morocco, Cape Verde, Djerba, the quality oozes our of these hotels and the food second to none.
Pool area really good, gardens excellent, but beach over flowing with sellers, and the water sport guys just try to rip you off, the prices on the board are not the prices you pay, beware this , but that is not hotels fault

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nottingham
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

THis hotel is one of the best Riu we have stayed in, from entering reception with a very smooth check in. The room was fantastic overlooking the pool and with a sea view. The staff were fantastic and could not do enough for you. Yes there were a lot of people down early putting towels on the sun beds but the men by the pool and on the beach would always find you a bed. The food was very good and there was always a good choice with cooking stations at lunch and evening meal. We had the later sitting as there are not many children on it. The beach and pool area were kept very clean and tidy - not sure what time the staff started but they were there if you went down at 5.30am and still there at 5.30pm. Cannot say enough to compliment this hotel as it was simply the best. The entertainment was a bit naff but we did not go there for that. We will definitely go back next June. The only down side to Tunisia is the airport - it is very big but never enough staff to cope with the influx of holiday makers, when we arrived there were 5 planes that had landed and the queues were right round the building, surely they know there are 5 planes landing !!!!It was the same on our return journey - I hope they can sort it out as when you have been up since 2am and are stuck in long queues it is very tiring and is not a good start - still it was soon forgotten when we got to the hotel. Just a note for those that like the Riu Green Park - it is still a shell and we felt it would be 2015 before it would be completed progress is very slow.

Room Tip: Higher floors have a better view and you get to use the glass lifts
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  • Stayed June 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wicklow
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

I spent a week here with my husband recently and it was absolutely amazing in every way. If you want luxury than this is the place for you. The Hotel,food,drink.beach ,staff and surroundings are just wonderful.You want for nothing.There is food to suit every need. The cocktails are to die for too. The rooms are spotless and the beds are extremely comfy. There is a fully stocked mini bar in the room which is re stocked every morning once you request so before noon.The sun loungers on the beach are foc and you are given towels on a daily basis. If you have a sweet tooth you will be spoilt rotten. The staff are very friendly and always willing to help.The transfer time from the airport is approx. 40 mins.We flew with Tunis air and you are given a chicken tuisian wrap to eat, so make sure you eat at the airport however top marks to the hotel they had kept food for us even though we arrived at 11pm.There is no shopping facilities around the hotel so you need to go for a walk along the beach to walk off all those extra pounds. The port is a short taxi ride and is worth a visit however one trip is enough.The shopping at the airport is your only real chance to buy your pressies to spend those last minute dinuar as you cannot bring the currency out of the country.It is a very quiet resort so the perfect place to relax, there were mostly couples in the hotel , however there was a kids club for the little ones if you were thinking of bringing them with you.There is an entertainment programme at nigt but limited .So go ahead and book this hotel you will be soooooo thrilled you did. We were

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the new part of the hotel
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  • Stayed July 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2013

Just returned from two weeks at this magnificent hotel.(last two weeks in June) There was nothing to fault. Well, maybe just one small thing.....children's buggies in the dining room. There did not seem to be enough room to get round the tables because they were parked at the side of Mum or Dad's chair. A bit of a squeeze.
Moaning aside, the staff must me the friendliest staff that the Rui hotel chain has and they should be commended for this. Nothing was too much trouble and they all appeared to be as happy to be there as we were. The food was very tasty. If anyone says they could not find anything to eat they must be overly fussy.
The rooms were very comfortable and kept spotlessly clean. Our maid certainly had a sense of humour. Coming back from the beach to find my pillow wearing my PJs. Brilliant!
The bar staff were very friendly and efficient.
Reception staff were always polite and friendly. We had small maintenance job needing done and this was carried out promptly and with no fuss.
Plus, because of the carpeting throughout the corridors you don't have the noise of suitcases coming in and out.
Would certainly recommend this to anyone who likes luxury and being looked after.

Room Tip: High floor gives you good views and are quieter.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 3
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 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#2 Top resorts 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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