We booked this 'special offer' through Thomson Holidays on the spur of a moment just for a week away to catch some warmth.
However, the weather during the end of February is bright and when the wind drops it can be pleasantly warm, but it's not really hot. Many guests did lay out in the sun and wind but they are made of tougher stuff than us. The beach was mostly empty and looked lovely, how lovely it is in the summer when all the sun beds are occupied could be debatable.
When we arrived the hotel was about a third full, when we left it was about three quarters full, there was a difference in the public areas and some queuing for certain things at the buffets.
The hotel must have been very grand some years ago, lots of marble and crystal chandeliers in all public areas. We had upgraded our room and were given a good size room on the top floor which was very quiet but also somewhat tired and jaded, had we paid full price I think I would probably have been a bit disappointed.
There is a wide variety of food available in the dining room. All meals are served buffet style. One would be hard pushed not to find something to eat, there was always a pasta station, pancake station, fish, Tunisian style food, a variety of meats, many salads and raw vegetable salads with many dressings available. Desserts were mostly on the theme of sponge cake layered with different fillings and toppings, there was also seasonal fresh fruit and an ice cream fridge. Wine was served by the bottle and a cooler provided if necessary. The food was generous. Main grouse was the bread but there again that's being picky and the milk is all long life.
I cannot fault the staff at all. They were helpful, friendly, kind, polite and warm towards us. They work very hard indeed.
My biggest grumble is that as a non EC country smoking was allowed indoors by the bar, I am that most horrible of persons, a reformed smoker. The vast reception area often smelled so horribly of cigarettes that we retired to our room. I wish they had a confined smoking bar - mind you it would have to be a pretty big, I haven't seen that many smokers in years.
There were mostly British guests, a large contingent from Scotland and some German guests too. Although there was a polite sign requesting guests to wear trousers to the dining room many guests still dined in shorts and vest which was a shame. We went into Sousse by taxi, the driver said that in the main season most guests are Russian.
The hotel shop looked well stocked there was also a hairdresser/tattooist parlour. Though I think that was just henna tattooing. Many of the guests were tattooed but I don't think that they had them done there.
Would we go again?
No, but only because it is a huge hotel and during the season it must get very crowded indeed.
We cannot fault the hotel staff or our Thomson's rep Jennie, all lovely people.
- 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