We were on a half board holiday for a week from April 19th - 26th. My friend had been to Tunisia twice before, and this was her second visit to Sousse. She hadn't realised that the hotel was the one she stayed at before, and when we went into the grand entrance hall, she recognised it!
We had a short wait to go to the rooms, but they gave us a fruit drink while we waited for the room - only about 15 minutes, and all was well. Clean and tidy..yes, a little frayed around the edges, but we had been told they were refurbishing, and had contacted us before to warn us there would be no gym or spa facilities. So they gave us a free meal on the plane, and allotted seating, which was fine by us.
I've read a number of reviews here, and some say there were grubby areas..yes, the public loos in the shopping area weren't that nice, but the ones in the actual hotel were fine. Some of the shops were closed, but it was before the season started, so I think they'll be up and running once it starts. This wasn't a problem anyway, as we went into town, and shopped in the souks anyway.
The staff were very friendly, and having read the bad reviews, I was a bit wary, and expecting to have to tip them all the time in order to be served. This didn't happen at all. They were charming and helpful, and no attitude problem because we may or may not have tipped them,. We'd leave a few coins as a tip when paying for coffees/drinks, and tipped our waiter at the end of the trip.
The weather wasn't brilliant, sadly we had rain, clouds, wind, and it wasn't that warm for most of the trip, but we had a couple of days sunshine. We don't do the sitting by the pool type of holiday, so on the one day we did chill out, it was in the indoor area, which was fantastic. HOT water in the pools, which I love, and proper loungers with cushions, with no attendants, so no need for tipping/ reserving the beds like on the beach/outdoor pool.
The food was absolutely brilliant! The presentation, choices, both for breakfast and dinner was fantastic. I like my food, and have worked in the trade, so know about restaurants, service, hygiene, etc. I couldn't fault them at all. If you wanted anything different (one night, there was seafood in the rice. I really didn't fancy that, and overheard someone complaining about it. I heard the chef say he would go and make her a dish of plain rice, so I asked if I could have some too. He went and did it, no problem. There was so much, all fresh, well prepared, not all of it spicy, but lots of traditionally cooked food too, so you could have pretty much anything. A Tunisian night on our last evening, with a huge dish of cous cous and loads of other things.
The only thing missing was fruit. I expected to have loads there, but there were only oranges on the dessert table, and also some limp fruit salad at breakfast, which was mainly pineapple. But hey..this was the only slight quibble. The pancake girl at breakfast was great, and I decided to ask for smaller ones, so I could have one plain, and one chocolate, as they were so huge, I couldn't have eaten more!
The only miserable person was one of the money changing chaps on the front desk. He didn't give a smile, or a receipt, and banged the money down on the desk. However, the younger man a day later was cheerful and helpful.
The Thomas Cook rep was helpful, and we chose to do a one day tour. We realised it was a bit on and off the bus, with not a lot of time to see the things we'd wanted to, but I suppose that's what you get when you do the tourist thing. Next time, we'll hire a driver, and go specifically to the places we want to, then we can spend more time there.
The souks were amazing, and yes, you do get hassled, but that is part of the culture, and they are pretty good humoured if you are nice, and joke in a pleasant way. Yes, it can get irritating to hear "Come into my shop..where you from..you want handbag.." all the time, but that's what they do and if you can't cope with it, then put a scarf over your head to hide the blonde hair (they love blondes with pale skin!), and learn some choice French or Arabic phrases, and they'll think that's brilliant!
I will be going to Tunisia again, and while I'm always up for trying new places, I would happily return to this hotel.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Priceline, Travelocity, Hotwire, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Tej Marhaba Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Tej Marhaba
- Tej Marhaba Sousse