We spent a week at the Hotel El Ksar in Sousse from 11th-18th November 2012. We were there with another couple, all of us being in our fifties and fairly seasoned travellers. We have been taking overseas trips for about thirty years and have stayed in 50+ three, four and five star all-inclusive hotels, so have a good idea of what makes a good holiday. As someone else stated the El Ksar is not up to the standards of a true four star hotel, but is certainly an excellent three star. There is a program of refurbishment going on and I think that in months to come it will go from strength to strength. I still consider that it was superb value for money and our stay was enjoyable, and most certainly a great week away from the UK.
Staff: On the whole the staff were pleasant, approachable and helpful. The exception to this appeared to be the reception staff who seemed disinterested and rather disobliging (this includes the foreign exchange people). The Info Point staff were excellent and helped us on a couple of occasions (once to have a light fixed in the room, which was done in no time at all, and another time to recover monies given to one of the excursion sellers from the beach (more on this later)). The animation team are tops. There are a lot of them and they try their hardest to make sure that you are enjoying your stay.
WIFI: There is free WIFI throughout the hotel, but as each area has its own router you will need to connect into them as you move about the hotel. We could even pick up a signal in the room, beach and around the pools as well as all internal areas. The exception to this is the new spa.
Room: The room was fairly spacious and although a bit dated was perfectly adequate accommodation for our weeks stay. There is a total of five power points (one in the bathroom and four along the wall opposite the bed (three are taken up by the fridge, TV and lamp)), so a multi point adaptor needs to be taken if you have lots of things requiring recharging. There is a very large digital safe, which is free to use. The cupboard space is generous, but we only had five coat-hangers. Beds were large and comfortable, but the pillows were a tad hard. The only English channel on the TV was BBC News, so a bit of a waste of time. As stated previously, the WIFI signal can be picked up in the room so we listened to our UK local radio station whilst in the room on our Android tablet (BBCi is not available). The room was kept immaculate by the maid who spoke good English and was lovely person, hence a good tip at the end of the stay. You can retain your room at the end, if your flight is later in the day. You normally have to vacate at noon, but you will be charged 10 Dinars per hour you stay in it (let the reception know in the morning of your departure and they will take the money off you then for the extra hours).
Dining: The main restaurant is kept scrupulously clean and there is a great range of food for all meals. Beware that it is not your usual English food - very continental. The food on the whole is well prepared and edible, but the meat sometimes was a little tough. I am one of the world’s fussiest eaters and I always found something to eat and never once left the restaurant felling hungry. The pool bar is a little dirty and shabby, but we had a burger and chips from there and it was fine. The beach bar has a buffet from half past twelve, but to be truthful we tried it once and then decided that as the main restaurant was close enough that we would eat lunch there for the remainder of the holiday. The beach bar is fine if you cannot be bothered dressing to walk the short distance to the main restaurant. The A La Carte restaurant was not worth the trouble. You can have one dinner at this restaurant, but we were not overtly impressed and agreed that we should just have eaten in the main restaurant.
Spa: Don’t get confused like we were into thinking that the spa is the area of the indoor pool to the right of reception. This is the old spa and nothing like the new one. The new one is situated by the bungalows to the left of the hotel. We paid about £220 for six massages which we split up between both couples. This also gave us the use of all of the facilities. This was good value for money and the massages were great.
Pools: There are two main pools. Both are kept immaculate, with plenty of beds and lots of space. The one outside the main restaurant is the one where there is music and the base for the animation team. The other is quieter.
Beach: The beach is a short walk from the main hotel and is lovely and well kept. Again there are plenty of loungers and staff bring the cushions to you. The sea whilst we were there was fairly choppy with large waves and strong undercurrents, so I would be a bit apprehensive if I had children on the beach.
Excursion Sellers: There are three of these guys allowed in the hotel. We booked an excursion for a boat trip and paid in full. The trip was cancelled twice due to choppy seas and after this we could not go on the trip as we had other things booked. We had an absolute nightmare getting our money back. In the end both the Thomas Cook Rep. and the Info Point staff became involved and we eventually got most, not all, of our money returned. To be truthful they are best avoided as most people we spoke too agreed that these trips are poor value for money anyway. We were told by the Info Point staff that these guys will be banned from the hotel as of next year as there are too many problems with them.
Sahara Expedition: We booked this through the Thomas Cook Rep (costs about £70 per person). My advice to anyone would be – do it. It is fantastic value for money and you see lots and do lots. It takes two days and you travel about 700 miles by coach. Included in the trip was a Jeep Safari to the Star Wars set in the desert. This was brilliant. Starts of driving along tracks but you are soon sailing over the tops of dunes and around the sides of them – superb. The Star Wars set is small but not a bad end to the trip. One point to remember is that there is the dirtiest loo in the world at the set, which they demand one Dinar to use. Go before you depart on the safari. There is also a camel ride over the desert (into the beautiful sunset) and a horse and cart ride to an oasis. They are not included in the price of the excursion, but only cost twenty-seven Dinars per couple. You stay in a four star hotel overnight which was fine with decent food. Both mornings are early starts, but well worth it.
Money: The hotel exchanges your money, but will not change it back to Sterling. It is definitely best changing a little at a time. As everyone expects to be tipped you will need lots of one Dinars, but the hotel exchange seem loathe to do this for you, even when you tell them that it is for tips. We were told that we could change the money back at the airport, but we could not. This may have been due to us flying out on a Sunday. We could not even spend the Dinars in the Duty Free shops as they will not accept them (the food stalls do).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Capturing the magic and mystery of the Mediterranean Sea El Ksar Resort & Thalasso is located on a private sandy beach surrounded by generous gardens. The hotel offers plenty of activities such as mini golf, bridge, table tennis, Volleyball, tennis, shooting centre, jungle park, four outdoor pools, one indoor pool and many more. The beautiful yacht port “Port El Kantaoui” is only a few kilometers away.Featuring 552 comfortable and elegant rooms, junior suites and 1 presidential suite, inlcuding family rooms which interconnect. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Karthago El Ksar Sousse
- Karthago El Ksar Hotel Sousse