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Marhaba Royal Salem
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Reviewed May 16, 2011

As hotels go this is as bad as it gets for being disapointed,the hotel looks great on arrival but all the little simple things let it down so much.
The location,3 miles north of Sousse and 4 miles south of Port El Kantaoui in simple terms its out the way for going out but the taxis will take you to Sousse for about 5dinar after a bit of hagling or 6dinar to Port El Kantaoui,or there is a noddy train every half hour for 2.5 dinar.
The beach,OMG (see the photos) what beach,you can get into the sea if you are prepared to wade through 3 or 4 meters of rotting very smelly sea weed,after the week i was there they brought a huge digger onto the beach about lunch time then 3 lorries turned up,the digger filled the 3 lorries full of sea weed (the smell was horendous) then put the rest of the sea weed back in the sea and left,it was 10 times worse.The beach bar is still under construction and the workers make a bit of noise,in fact about 50% of the hotel is under construction.
The staff,i had no problem with the reception but trying to catch the eye of the 4 bar staff is difficult,a couple of dinars sorts that problem out,the beer is pretty bad i think its non alchohol if you know what i meen.the main bar area is very nice but the top area gets very smoky,the entertainment aint much but they do try hard.
I also heard of problems with items/money going missing from room when i was there but i had no problems.
The hotel had no internet when i was there,the reception pointed me to the little cafe/supermarket near the entrance (free wi fi) for the internet,i bought a drink and got the access code no problem,the lucky thing for me was my room was on the second floor at the front and i picked up the free wi fi from my balcony all week long,the access code is MEDINACITY1995 ,hope this helps.
The food,to be honest not very good and very bland,the omlets freshly made in the morning are very good and the pastries and sweets are very good but the main food is pretty bad,after a week i had enough.
I paid £480 for a week for two,any more than that and i would have been a bit cheesed off but all i wanted was a quiet week away and thats what i got,by the way Tunisia as a resort is about 25% tourist 75% dead,i wont rush back to Tunisia.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jim-on-the-run
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2011

Well what can i say i have been going to the Salem and royal Salem since i was 7 and now i am 22 . This place is amazing and the staff can not do anymore for you. When i walked into the hotel it just felt like home again, was welcomed in by staff that we know and was given a room straight away. We then went looking for the animation team which we knew wouldn't b far , but they found us and started calling our names thanks Alex, Omar, Kimo, Tito and Sabi. We then sore lots more staff that we knew and they told us about how the building work was getting on in the Salem. We then told them that they better be finished for when we go back again in October . i really cant wait just feels like home there and i am even thinking about getting a job there people give it a try you will love it xxx

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Tunisiagirlhaylee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2011

Arrived at Monistair Airport on 20.4.11 and arrived at the hotel within 45 minutes of getting off the plane which was a good start. Booked coach transfer with Resort Hoppa and we had a mini bus to ourselves so no waiting around.

Hotel looked nice from the outside and first impressions good when inside, after booking in was asked by reception to take a seat and order a drink at the bar as our room was not ready yet. Went to the bar and was asked room number (you had to do this each time you asked for a drink, even though wearing the all inclusive wrist band!!! - also informed can only order drinks 5 minutes apart ) The lady next to me mentioned she was in the next room and asked if i had seen the fight last night where a Scottish man had been attacked by 4 French men - not the news you want to hear when only just arrived at the hotel!!

We were originally booked to stay in the Mahaba Salem Hotel but this is undergoing extensive renovation and doesn't look like it will be completed for many months (not informed of this by Thomas Cook) so we were given a room in the Royal in the main hotel on the 2nd floor. The room was quite spacious, clean and tidy although a bit tired looking but we had no issues with it. It had plenty of wardrobe space and the TV had several english channels, World News, CNN, film channel etc.

We booked the hotel originally as it stated it was a 3 hotel complex and you could use all the facilities. At the moment only 1 hotel is open, and the Mahaba Salem swimming pool is closed so that only left the main outdoor pool with the slides (which were great fun) and another small outdoor pool by the Royal. There is an indoor pool which is a good size but they use far too much chlorine so does sting your eyes. However it came in handy as the weather wasn't very good for the 1st 5 days of our stay. It also has a jacuzzi, sauna and gym (which the locals appear to use) The beach bar is also being renovated so that facility is not available. The beach outside the hotel is very dirty due to the renovations but didn't look to be a great beach anyway - although it does get better when you walk further along.

Bar Service - the staff who served in the main lobby bar the majority of the time were ignorant and never similed - they took their time to serve you and would rather carry on talking amongst themselves. The barman who served at the main pool also had very poor customer serice skills and never smiled. After almost 2 weeks of going to the bar and waiting to be served the manager came on duty and stood next to the bar - what a change!!! I ordered my drink and after pouring it I was asked to go and sit down and told by the manager that they would bring it to me. The rest of the night, while collecting glasses the barmen would ask you if you wanted another drink and bring it to you - pity this level of service was not the norm and only when the manager came in (which only happened once in our 2 week stay) - would suggest the manager checks on the customer service skills of his staff more often.

Snack Bar - The service here was excellent and everyone smiled and very helpful. The waiters were very friendly (especially Ben) and fantastic with my 5 year old son. They would bring him ice cream even without us asking - which he thought was great!!! He also loved the chocolate pancakes that were availabe from 3pm - 6pm.

Restaurant - The food was adequate and you could always find something nice to eat. I like trying different foods, although my partner prefers to stick to things he likes. Our 5 year old son loves his meat, mash and veg and if no mash would have chips. The waiters were quite good, although sometimes slow to take your drink order, although when we moved to another area they were much better. The chefs cooking and carving the meat were friendly and always had a smile with one telling jokes.

Animation Team & Entertainment - The 4 lads were very polite and remembered everyone's names. They organised activities during the day such as archery, darts etc. In the evening they did nightly bingo (120 dinar for a full house) and Karaoke but not much else. The entertainment was repeated weekly and had things like snake charmer, belly dancing, tunisian dancers, one man and his keyboard. Wasn't brilliant especially the 2nd time around. Also everyone was crammed into the lobby area and sometimes difficult to find a seat but it did get everyone getting to know each other, so made plenty of friends.

During our stay several people told us they had money stolen from their room. Only cash was taken and other valuables left. None of them had obtained a safe. We paid for a safe on our arrival and left 20 dinar in our room which was still there after being cleaned by the maid. A couple informed us that the manager had an idea who was doing it but unable to do anything unless caught them in the act. I'd advise anyone staying here to arrange a safe for your valuables as only people without one appeared to be targeted.

Locality - the hotel is in between Sousse and Port El Kantoui and not really near to anything. There is alot of building work going on around the hotel along the main road so its not very pretty. It costs 5 dinar to go in a taxi to either town, If you bartar you can get a taxi for 3 dinar as the taxi drivers will reverse down main road trying to offer their services.

Going out - We took a walk towards Sousee and had a tunisian man come up to us trying to sell us souvineer, he was polite asking if English and welcome to Tunisia etc but wouldn't take no for an answer. He placed headwear on my son's head, then wanted money. Told him we didn't have any on us but he wanted to go through my bag, in the end gave him a packed of cigarettes to get rid of him. Carried on walking then an elderly man again very polite but trying to give us bottle of pepsi and asking for money for his family - told him we didn't want a drink and no money. In the end got a taxi back to the hotel. Did go out with friends to the local ten-pin bowling alley which was good fun and no hassle going to the local supermarkets or shops etc - locals very friendly and always had free sweets for the kids.

Overall the holiday was good mainly due to the people we met, but the experience was spoilt by the full facilities on the complex not being available (which we were never told about) The customer service skills of the lobby barmen (need upskilling) and the staff in the hotel who were stealing cash from customers rooms (make sure you get a safe for valuables) Also didn't have Wifi in the hotel.

Room Tip: Get a safe to protect your money
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank lukesmumlinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2011

If you offered me this deal next year we would jump at the chance to return!! There was work been done but it was no issue to us at all. We have a 21 month old son and everyone was fantastic with him, even the locals! The bar can can get busy, we got a seat every night and after a couple of tips (2-3 tnd) we never needed to get out of our seats!! We had a great time and you make of it what you will. Cheers to Alex and the animation guys this place will get better and better. Anyone who is moaning about it needs to learn how to enjoy yourselves!!!

  • Stayed: May 2011
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Thank Rickster82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2011

My partner an I have just come home from a week in the royal Salem in Sousse, where we had a Great holiday we was up graded for the Marhada Salem due to building work going on, we booked with First Choice we was told one week before our holiday about the change in hotels.
We arrived at the hotel about 23.30 on the 1st May 2011 after checking in a porter took us out the back of the hotel where it was not very lit up to room in a another block we where on the 1st floor over looking the mini golf , we booked a pool view which we did not get it
Where we was was OK but children was running around 2 to 3 o'clock in the morning, the room was clean and tidy.
There where 4 pools, one indoors and three out doors one which close one had salt water.
The beach was dirty
The Restaurant was excellent and some food cooked fresh, there where so local shops, but to get to main shops area it is about a 10min taxi ride to Port El Kantaoul. or the market at Mahdia
We also went on a two day trip to the Sahara which was Excellent but trying after spending a lot af time no the coach an travel over 700 miles in two days.
We would go back to Tunisia again
Mr R Holmes Bognor Regis

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank coachman1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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