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“Enjoyed my stay so much to do was amazing. but night entertainment could have been better”

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TUI MAGIC LIFE Penelope Beach
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Houmt Souk
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Enjoyed my stay so much to do was amazing. but night entertainment could have been better”
Reviewed January 23, 2013 via mobile

I will cover each area to explain my score. I stayed with my wife and daughter of 3. My patents also stayed - bit in a separate bungalow a few doors away from ours.

Upon arrival was given the key to one of the deluxe bungalows which are in a separate area near the main building. Inside the room was not cleaned thoroughly and smelt a bit stale. Went to my parents room and was totally different so rang reception and the cleaners were over in 5 mins cleaning thoroughly. After that had no complaints but couldn't give a 5 and maybe should be 3 for such a poor start.

There is nothing in the island of djerba really so don't expect to much when you venture out. As for hotel the location on the edge of the beach is great and I personally am fine staying in the resort.

As I said I had the bungalow. There did seem to be difference between my parents and ours in terms of layout and my wife preferred theirs. Personally both the rooms were nothing special even with the upgrade. There was no sea view rooms and everything was ok, again this is just into 4 for me.

Service was excellent as with all magic life. Better than the furteventura magic life where they seemed short on staff, no shortage here. You never wait long for anything, WAIT I almost forgot. Avoid the Baja restaurant near the slide pool it took us 3 hours to get a meal, it was like they cooked it at the main restaurant and had to bring it which is about 5 minute walk. Hence 4.

Hotel is very reasonably priced compared to other hotels offering same standard. I think it will struggle to be a 5 with no direct sea view but would be pretty close if a few small things ironed out.

I was there just before school holidays but clearly the kids who had done gcse's had finished :( so there was a lot of teenagers there and unlike in other magic life resorts they didn't move them to the disco (I never saw the in door disco used once) but seemed to cater for them and expect parents to rediscover their youth. I personally prefer one night of partying a week and a few drinks and a show the rest (I sound old) but it was disco, then firm party, then karaoke (awful) then show (to loud - I really am sounding old), then white ball (a disco wearing white). I saw some old dudes partying with the kids but it just seemed a bit wrong, but hey when my kids are teenagers I will probably be the same.

Watersports and fitness
I did the windsurfing course with my dad which was free every morning for an hour with instructor (was 5 of us in the group) this would have cost over 100 each anywhere else and was a great way to start the day. My dad did yoga or something like that in the afternoon which the dancers take along with keep fit classes. I did one and my really hurt after it from the squats.

Child care
Kids clubs fantastic as always. Excellent service and kids all loved it.

Overall 4. You get so much for your money you should give it 5 but a few things like the room not being cleaned on arrival, to many teeny disco and restaurant taking ages make it 4

  • Stayed July 2012
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7 Thank Hignetti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2013

We booked our holiday as a package deal with Thomson and after an early morning flight arrived in Djerba on 13th September 2012 around 1pm. We were greeted with complimentary drinks and sat in a welcome area. The way of collecting your room key was rather long winded. The surnames of the booking were arranged into A-J and J-Z. Our booking was in T so went to J-Z only to be told our room was not ready for another hour. We were the only ones - which is just our luck! But we went to sit in the bar and had some drinks. We were still in our "jeans and t-shirts" at this stage so were keen to get up to the room, shower and get outside! As the weather was 35 degrees+. My boyfriend went to go and speak to the manager at reception to see if things could be hurried up! He slipped him a small tip - which we soon learnt would speed anything up for you!
The hotel staff accept any money as they can change it over themselves. You can only change the money over at reception when you arrive. As the money cannot be taken out of Tunisia, therefore you wait until you get there to acquire it.
On arrival in our room it was very clean and cool - air con units are in every room! The stone floors also help very much. The rooms are modern with natural and stylish decor. We had requested a double bed but were soon to realise that our bed was 2 single beds pushed together which was annoying at times, especially when they separated in the night causing a gap in the middle. But this wasn't a massive deal to us. Our suitcases were brought up to our room and we were keen to get outside to explore. Our room was in the middle of the hotel so we had central access to everything.
At the front was a large activity pool, where you could play water football, polo, aerobics, there were various dance classes in the water. Music was played at this pool every day. There was a large bar and food was served at the Restuarant at lunch time 12-3 (I think!). This was the main Restuarant where you also had breakfast. The variety of food was amazing! And they had various themed nights on! For example, Caribbean themed food, Spanish, Chinese etc.. There was always lots of fresh fish and meat which was cooked in front of you. Veg and salads etc, bread, soups and the typical English food for fussy people and the kids. E.g pizza, Chips, pasta etc. The lunch and dinner was similar, we tended just to snack at lunch time as we are not big eaters and would save ourselves for dinner time. Breakfast was also great with cooked breakfasts, cereal, fruit, yogurts, cold meats, cheese, toasts etc. There are also 3 al a carte restaurants at the hotel - a Mediterranean one, Thai and Tunisian. You are allowed one visit to these during your stay! The Mediterranean one was amazing! We actually managed to get in there twice because we loved it so much and it was my birthday! We ate salmon, lamb and tiramasu, on the second visit the same but chicken also! So we skipped the Tunisian one. The Thai Restuarant I would not recommend at all - the food was like microwave meals, not Thai as we know it at all! We ended up leaving most of it and then going to the other Restuarant to fill up!!
The quiet pool at the hotel was our saviour - it was quite small and I don't think many people knew about it which was nice. It was not on the roof but was up higher than the other pools (hard to explain) but there was a nice breeze which was much appreciated! Next to this there was an indoor pool with jacuzzi - not that we spent any time indoors! But the jacuzzi was nice in the evenings. My boyfriend was happy as there was also a small gym! Which he spent some time in while I was sunbathing and reading my book. A short walk (2 minutes) away from the quiet pool was the pool at the back of the hotel which was equipped with a small water park-a couple of slides and things for the kids etc. this pool was nice, spacious and clean. But we always found this was really busy! Particularly as the things for the kids and also was about 30 seconds from the beach! Lunch was also served here, which was similar foods to the other Restuarant, which is buffet style.
The staff here were great - especially Marouan who works at the pool bar! Who we made great friends with! He is the same age as me and my boyfriend (23) and we talked about football, celebrities, life at home and he taught us many things about the Tunisian culture! He treated us so well - remembered what we liked to drink & always brought drinks over to us and even made us some speciality cocktails! My boyfriend and him got on so well they even stay in contact now and we are hopefully arranging a trip to visit him soon!
The beach is lovely, with another beach bar, the beach is divided into sections as each bit is private to the hotels. But you can walk as far as you like up and down the beach. The sea is reasonably clean and warm, shallow. On the beach there are many people with horses, donkeys, camels etc. They approach you and try to get you to go on them, this didn't really bother us but you could tell it made some people feel uncomfortable. We just thought they were funny and we had banter with them daily! After a while they knew we didn't want to go on any rides so they generally just left us alone or they came over to chat with us! The people are friendly enough. The only thing I would say is that some of the men are quite "Pervy" towards the women. Looking at them and making comments, whistle etc. however this is only a small percentage of the men and would not be fair to say all of them are like that. I think as well it just depends how sensitive you are to other people.
Another thing to note - there are some wild dogs on the beach. They are quite friendly tho and not aggressive at all. I think they belong to another hotel as we only saw them when we ventured right up the other end of the hotel. My boyfriend thought they were hyenas at first!
With the hotel you are entitled to free water sports which is good. During our stay we went on banana boats, out in a canoe and also on jet skis! Where we saw wild dolphins!! :) this was a highlight of our whole holiday!
Another highlight was what the staff did for us when it was my birthday! They decorated our room with roses and made a flower and origami arrangement on our bed. They also wrote a birthday poem and message and gave us some key rings from the gift shop. We also had a relaxing time at the hotel spa which was really nice! And at night time they had arranged an individual table for us inside the Restuarant with roses again and peach champagne! The staff really did go above and beyond to make it not only a holiday but a birthday to remember! For this we are so grateful.
We didn't venture out of the hotel very much - because you didn't really need to. But we did visit the local market - houmt souk and also the marina. Be aware at the market - they do anything to try and get your money! It's all good fun bartering with them for a price but just make sure you know what their money equates to. One man tried to charge us £150 (300 dinar!) for some peppermint tea! And was rather quite persistent! We naturally did not pay it!! And saw the funny side! But the locals can be quite persuasive and aggressive at times!
We also went to Harouns (I think that's how you spell it) would definitely recommend this! It's a fish Restuarant about 15 minutes from the hotel, which is on a docked pirate ship. The food is traditional Tunisian and was very very nice! We got a taxi here - nobody really walks anyway and taxis are very cheap - 8 dinar for a 10-15 minute journey which is like £4!
I would recommend this hotel to everyone, young, old, couples and families. There is something for everyone to do and the hotel have loads and loads of entertainment!!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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7 Thank SltandDaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Potton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2012

This was the first holiday my girlfriend and I went on. We had a fairly low budget but wanted to go all inclusive; Club Magic Life fit the bill perfectly.

To be honest; for sub £500pp we weren't expecting the world but were more than pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the hotel. The entrance gates were guarded by security 24 hours a day. We were greeted with cocktails and music whilst our suitcases were unloaded and taken to our rooms. The main building of the hotel was clean and modern with a real open feel to it.

The room was okay, not the most modern, but immaculately clean. The maid even made swans from towels and scattered the bed with petals several days before we even tipped her! The info tv was really good as it let you know what events were on and, more importantly, what the buffet dinner was ;)

The food was superb, honestly can't fault it. The buffet restaurant served a huge range of food including huge joints of meat freshly carved for you; the food is Tunisian / Mediterranean NOT English (however even the fussiest eater could find something I'm sure). I cannot recommend the a la carte restaurants enough; please, make sure you go; the food was honestly fantastic and I would have quite happily paid extra for it, but didn't have to. To be honest, you do get better service if you tip the waiters, this especially applies in the bar, but it literally only has to be a dinar or two. In the main bar in the evening you get some fantastic cocktails (all free of charge) and the beer is nice. Was surprised at some of the spirits they serve such as amaretto (other all inclusive I've been to only had rough vodka / brandy / whiskey etc).

Entertainment; again, brilliant. From the organised swimming pool games to the full on (almost) theatre worthy productions in the amphitheatre. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly but the entertainment was seriously, well, entertaining.

Activities / excursions; I honestly can't believe how much was included in the price. I've been on lots of all inclusive holidays before but there's always been charges for extra things (cocktails, drinks after 11pm, watersports) but not here. It's ALL included, and there's so much to do. The ONLY thing we paid for at the hotel was a massage in the fantastic spa, which you would expect, but even then it was a very reasonable price. We booked all our excursions through Thompson as they were cheaper than through the street vendors and had that added security. The quad biking was fantastic (admittedly the quads weren't brand new Kawasakis but just test the brakes and throttle when you get on and ask to change if there's any issues; they don't take you anywhere too demanding; just be sensible as you should in an unknown country). Another excursion we enjoyed was the tour of the Tunisian village and the crocodile farm, again purchased through Thomson at a very reasonable price.

All in all a fantastic holiday at an astonishing price for the facilities and service. The only watch-outs I could possibly comment on are as follows:

- tipping; if you're not prepared to tip a dinar or two (50p-£1) a day to the hard working waiters /bar staff (who incidentally earn very little and need the tips to earn a decent living) them don't expect Ritz style service. If someone helps you with your bags or to your room then do the decent thing and tip them.

- street / beach vendors; do not accept any goods / services from them unless you are willing to pay (we made this mistake: got on a camel for a photo and ended up going on a 5 mile camel ride... Oops) Be firm with them; they're reasonable and unaggressive but will hassle you for money.

- if something's not right tell the hoteliers: the amount of reviews of people moaning about something but no one has told anyone. Friends of ours had a dripping tap; told reception; fixed. Easy. If you don't know. Ask. The reception staff are really helpful, as was our rep; and they can assist in pointing you in the direction of the plethora of activities / facilities.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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9 Thank Lowhufe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2012 via mobile

Where so I start:

They are wonderful! So welcoming and happy to help with any issues. Once you get to know a few waiters and bar staff you won't be without a drink

We had an issue with our bungalow not being available - no fault of the hotel. Sorted the next day. The executive bungalow was well worth the extra £56.

Food and drink
Food was fantastic. So much better than any all inclusives I have been to before. A wide selection and a 2 week rolling evening theme schedule. The Tunisian restaurant was lovely.

We book quad biking and desert discovery. The quad Biking was excellent. Desert discovery was great. Well worth the early start. Just be aware of people trying to sell you thing and charge you for rides in the dessert.

Local area
The local area is great. Felt very comfortable waking around in the evening. Don't buy from the shop in the hotel - go to a local shop. A bag was 50 dina more expensive in the hotel complex.

Weather was great but we had a few cloudy days. Next time I would go a few weeks earlier than mid October.

Overall a fantastic holiday in a great hotel. Would definitely return to the same hotel. It is less than 4 hours on a plane from London which means less time travelling and more time to soak up the sun. One last thing - Sandra the Thomson rep was lovely and a great help. She is a credit to Thomson.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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5 Thank helen_j_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

Went on holiday end of September to 11 October 2012. First experience of all inclusive. Really enjoyed it. Very good variety of food. Lots going on but not really aware of the activities, as much or as little you wish to partake in. Not much to do out and about but then our holiday was for complete relaxation, perfect. Not sure how this would be in school holidays if you do not have children ! Jamil - our room attendant was brilliant and enjoyed doing artwork !
The gardner left me little possies every morning which were appreciated.
The spa and massages were brilliant and not overpriced.

Room Tip: Try and get a bunaglow.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank Glimmer57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2012

Just got back from magic life Penlope Beach Imperial, Where do i start hotel , staff, beach, food, was absolutly amazing the weather was good for a three hour flight its like being in carribean my only complaint is we can not go back there till May as no flights go from Gatwick till then. hope that changes soon as did most people we spoke to, all said they would go back, so well done all at Penelope for making us feel special. must not forget Sandra Thomson rep she is excelent met lots of nice people also

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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4 Thank Barrilyn70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2012

We came back 2 weeks ago from djerba booked through Thomson. I have to admit I was quite negative about family hotel as I traveled with my girlfriend but I'm impressed the way the hotel has got diffident sections of the hotel for different activities and people so children don't bother you at all as they have their own pool on the other side of the complex and even if music is too loud you can choose hidden pool next to spa center for peace a quiet. There are lots and lots of activities to choose from, every hour something different is taking place from archery to beach ball.
Beach is ok but overcrowded so we did stick to the swimming pool. We've booked 3 excursions but 2 of them provided by Thomson were quite disappointing. Quad biking is a must!
Overall we have had a very good holiday and this is a lovely hotel with good food (especially deserts) and decent size rooms.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank no_place_like_away
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about TUI MAGIC LIFE Penelope Beach

Property: TUI MAGIC LIFE Penelope Beach
Address: Zone Touristique B.P. 257, Houmt Souk, Djerba Island 4180, Tunisia (Formerly Club Magic Life Penelope Beach Imperial)
Location: Tunisia > Medenine Governorate > Djerba Island > Houmt Souk
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Houmt Souk
#2 Spa Hotel in Houmt Souk
#2 Luxury Hotel in Houmt Souk
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Houmt Souk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — TUI MAGIC LIFE Penelope Beach 4*
Number of rooms: 289
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Also Known As:
Club Magic Life Penelope Beach Imperial Hotel Houmt Souk
Magic Life Hotel Djerba
TUI MAGIC LIFE Penelope Beach Djerba Island, Tunisia

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