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“Just returned from Tunisia and I would go back”
Review of Marhaba Salem

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Marhaba Salem
Ranked #6 of 35 Hotels in Sousse
Lowestoft, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Just returned from Tunisia and I would go back”
Reviewed March 20, 2014

I have never been to Tunisia and I will return... Will I rush back? No. But I will definitely go back. I stayed at the Marhaba Salem and the Royal Salem was next door. As a guest at the Marhaba Salem you can use the Royal Salem. Which I did. The Marhaba hotel was extremely clean and the staff where really really helpful. I cannot speak a word a Arabic and my French leaves a lot to be desired but I found all the staff to be really helpful and when I had any question no matter how stupid, it was answered. I really enjoyed Tunisia and found the culture to be great. I will probably arrange my own trips away and not use the Thomson package - although over all there was nothing wrong with these trips they were all a little bit too quick... As in we had an hour to look around before being on the coach again.

The food at the hotel was fine and if people want a 5 star cuisine service then stay in a 5 star hotel!! The food was nice and fresh. It maybe have been on the warm side at times but hey, if that is all of your worries then get a life!! The waiters very friendly and helpful. The restaurant was clean and tidy and nicely decorated. The occasional cat did come into the restaurant but these were soon shooed out.

I felt very safe in and around Tunisia! I am sure you could get robbed anywhere in the world - been here in the UK. You just need to keep your wits about you.

All in all I had a very good time and I would stay at this resort again!! I probably won't because I like to go out and about and experience different places. But if I had to... I wouldn't complain.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Lee J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2014

My husband and I returned on Wednesday from a two week holiday at the Marhaba Salem and we had a great holiday.
The reception staff, especially the young woman were not particularly helpful, not sure if this was due the language barrier. The older guy that was there during the day was lovely.
The bedroom in the Thomson pictures must be of the Royal Salem as I admit it did not resemble the room we had but this did not detract anything from our holiday.
Our room was plenty big enough with a six foot double bed and a spare single bed. Plenty wardrobe space with both hangers and shelves. A set of chest of drawers and a dressing table, so storage was more than adequate. Spare pillows and blankets were available in the wardrobe. The bed we had was very comfy, wish I had the same one at home lol.
The bathroom had a bath and a shower and was plenty big enough.
We had the best cleaner we have ever had on holiday even staying in five star hotels, think her name was Mabrouska, she was lovely and although with only two of us it didn't need much tidying, she changed the sheets and towels everyday and bottomed the room everyday. Also leaving lovely touches like butterflies and heart shaped designs with flowers and sweets, she was amazing and well worth the tips we left her.
We kept our room on the last day as our flight home was an evening flight, this cost us £16.00 and we could keep the room right up to us being picked up for the airport. Well worth it.
Restaurant, staff were brill apart from the tall thin boss with the tash-he was down right rude. Our waiter for the most part was Rami with the exception of Wednesdays which was his day off and we were then looked after by Adel both of these guys really looked after us very well, they had drinks ready on our table for us and were very attentative.
The food was very good, I am a bit of a fussy eater but there was lots of choice and I was never stuck for anything to eat. Lots of different salad stuffs, a pasta station, meats and veg, pizza station, cooking fresh garlic bread all the time. A couple of times we were on the beach all day and at lunch time we just nipped in the restaurant to make a sandwich and take it back to the beach they were great. At breakfast there were fresh pancakes each morning-delicious. Saturdays is Tunisian night in the restaurant, try the Tunisian sausage!! Make sure you have a glass of water ready...spicy but tasty.
The bar staff were great, they always had one lad on the floor in the bar and one lad on the floor at the top lounge..these guys never stop and at no point do they make you feel like you need to tip. They even wait on you during the day down at the beach. Each and everyone of them are amazing.
They had entertainment on a few nights a week, some of it might be a bit cheesy, but you don't have to watch it or join in, the choice is yours. The team do work really hard.
There weren't many children while we were there but from what we saw the staff were very good with little ones, even the lovely girl in the restaurant was giving one little one a ride on her trolley while she was clearing the plates away.
The Thomson rep was ill when we arrived and we had a stand in young lady who was lovely, we went to the welcome meeting but didn't book any trips at that time. She definitely wasn't pushy, we did however go back later in the week and booked the three cities trip which included a visit to El Jem which was well worth the visit, the rest of it for me wasn't that great, but each to their own.
Most of the people staying in the hotel are English and German. Met some lovely people and most of the Germans speak excellent English and are happy to talk to you. Especially Monica (hope you are fully recovered now) and Karen and Andy who I am sure we will keep in touch with on their return.
On the beach you get the guys selling their wares, if you don't want to look just say no thank you and they carry on walking past as security don't let them linger. I did buy sarongs for my girls from the guy selling them...excellent quality for ten dinar which is four quid, a bargain.
There are a couple of jewelry cabinets in the hotel, Stop to look and the guys are on you mithering you. I was interested in a piece but would not buy as I felt they were too pushy,,,,this even included the male thomson rep one day.
We booked this as a last minute break for rest and relaxation. It was just that...a three star hotel that more than exceeds the three star rating. The staff in this hotel are fantastic and always want you to be happy, At no point did we feel the staff were looking for a tip, they just work really hard and want you to enjoy your holiday. A big thumbs up to each and every one of you. (apart from the tall thin boss man in the restaurant for reasons I mentioned earlier)
If I was going back to Sousse then yes I wouldn't hesitate to stay at this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank USArules1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2014 via mobile

I have just returned home from a week in this hell hole and by the second day I was begging to come home.

I had booked the holiday for me and my partner as part of his birthday surprise. We were extremely disappointed with the entire holiday from start to finish. Nothing was as advertised in the thomson brochure.

Everything directly related to thomson during the holiday was late and delayed for one reason or another making thomson by far the most unreliable travel agent going!

Being seated with another couple during meal times that we did not even know was far from acceptable. The food was very repetitive.

The entertainment was not existent and when it was it was deemed extremely inappropriate. Asking young women to pose on a chair provocatively at a family resort is very vulgar and disgusting. However when bringing this to the attention of thomson they seemed to think it was acceptable.

We had ants in our room which we complained about numerous times. I even informed the staff that I have a chest complaint and can not be around strong "ant killer". Regardless of this and the hotel being half empty we were not offered a new room and were given ant spray to deal with it ourselves.

Some of the staff were extremely pushy and more or less demanded tips before doing their job.

DO NOT BOOK AN EXCURSION WITH THOMSON. we were over charged and spent the best part of the day on the coach. We did "market fever". It was nothing like described. Extremely disappointing and a five star meal was what could only be compared to as iceland food.

If you want to go on holiday to rest and get some sleep as well as relax this is not the right place. I found it more stressful than being at home.

Although the holiday was supposed to be cheap and cheerful it turned out to be no value for money and a very depressing experience!

Every poor review on trip advisor is accurate and I can not reiterate the fact of not staying here enough!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank Zoe E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2014 via mobile

Apart from the weather that included a 20 degree high and a bone chillingly cold day at the zoo this hotel was excellent room was cleaned daily and the staff can't do enough for you we tipped occasionally which we had to get used to but you can't spend money over thier we took 700 ish with us and came back with more than half weather this was haggling (I think not as the market stores will try and squeeze every dinar from you) or more likely the low cost of everything out their I would return to this hotel and Tunisia again just hope the Sahara trip is running then as it wasn't while we were their

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Alex E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2014

We have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Marhaba Salem and felt after spending the majority of time on Trip Advisor reading the latest reviews after booking the holiday to write my own.
This is our second visit to Sousse, first in 2010 and both visits were 3 star hotels with Thomsons. The hotel itself I felt was modern in the main areas, although things like bathrooms etc slightly dated decor but clean.
Our bedroom again, clean and basic and only downside was the fact we were on the 3rd floor the opposite side of the lift with a toddler, it didnt bother us though as our daughter was happy to walk and if it was an issue I'm sure the hotel would have been happy to change rooms.
The rep Fiti was great, very helpful and well worth the half hour for welcome meetings, having been before he did our first trip aswell and its great just to go over essentials for a great visit and book any excursions.
Having read a few new reviews below, we have to disagree with the random smell the dining hall, cant say myself or my husband noticed this at all. The food was good, if your looking for british dishes your not going to get that here. Could be quite repetitive if your a little fussy, but there was always freshly cooked meals, and breakfast i felt was a little boring, cereals, their own version of beans, and bacon (not sure if thats because locals dont really eat pork!?) but we survived and there were fresh made pancakes, fruit yoghurts etc.
The hotel was VERY quiet, the first week was English midterm so was a little busier, and entertainment wasnt as great as could have been, although the usual kids disco which my daughter loved and the girls tried their best as they could. The second week you were lucky if 10 people were bathing at the pool, and for this i think the entertainment suffered. We werent overly bothered by it though, although the music could be quite loud at times due to the placement of our room, as it didnt disrupt my daughters sleeping we didnt mind really.
We tipped our waiter daily (2 dinars which is about 90p) as without even asking we had drinks waiting for us on arrival and they were polite, great with our daughter and very attentive. I didnt feel we lacked service if we didnt tip the likes of barmen who came round with drinks, but each to their own. It is a cultural thing and for us it wasnt an issue tipping a matter of pence for good service.
The beach was clean and the pools too, but they were ice cold and also salt water, but think that was depending on the fact it was winter. Not sure why someone below is complaining about it being falsely advertised as a complex, the beach was a 2/3 minute was from the main reception, passing the main outdoor pool and the other pool and indoor pool could be accessed easily again only a 2/3 minute walk. This was the same layout of the hotel we stayed in before so quite common.
I feel i should clarify that again in below reviews, by the looks of the pictures on the website, they are mainly of the sister hotel the Royal Salem which you share access with, but i didnt feel i was mislead or decieved as this seems to be a common thing, and was the same with the previous hotel we stayed in here that shared a complex with sister hotels.
We were there during the visit below with the toilet incident and didnt see this at all...
The hotel is a short distance from both the Sousse Medina, and Port El Kantaoui Marina, easily accessed by taxis (fix the price before entering and pay no more than 5dinars either way), horse and cart (we were around 15 dinars each trip) and a little Noddy train (3.5 dinars an adult return, and 2.5 a child) or walking is about half an hour.
We tried the market in Sousse on our last visit, and felt quite intimidated by shop keepers, and their eagerness for you to enter their shop, it was constant the second you left the taxi and after a while quite annoying, and thought we would try again this visit with our daughter. It wasnt for us and after a short stay returned to the hotel in a taxi, it didnt put us off though its just not for everyone.
Port El Kantaoui was much more relaxed and a simple no thank you was fine, and the majority of little shops outwith the Medina were great and no hassle at all. The Slim Centre has fixed price shops so you can browse like shopping centres here without hassle.
Our daughter is blonde with blue eyes, and a lot of locals asked if they could kiss her, it wasnt really a problem for us but i can see why some people would find this unusual if not accustomed to their culture. She also got a lot of freebies visiting shops!
I think the main point is to remember you are visiting Africa, their culture and way of life is completely different, you wont find anything like Spain or Turkey if thats what your looking for, and the nightlife is very basic. Again i think its a cultural thing. They are not long out a revolution where they kicked out their president so you also need to bear that in mind.
Were already looking into another visit, perhaps to Hammamet next time, but wouldnt hesitate to visit this hotel, or Sousse again.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank MrsW1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swindon, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2014

My family and I have just returned from an amazing holiday in this beautiful resort! The staff were friendly and helpful, and despite what other reviews say did not hassle us for any tips at all! Upon arrival porters helped us with our bags to our room, which was clean but average. Because we traveled in the winter we expected there to be little entertainment and activities for the kids but were wrong! Joe and the girls all worked very hard to keep our girls entertained, and Joe in particular was very good at keeping our two year old son happy! The bar staff were funny and friendly - and the waiters were amazing at collecting our glasses as soon as they were empty and offering refills! I would thoroughly recommend this holiday to anyone who wants to go to a friendly, clean, and lively place!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Louise P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2014 via mobile

My partner and I have just returned from a week staying at this hotel and within 24 hours could not wait to come home.

We booked this hotel as a last minute deal as the price seemed very reasonable for a week all inclusive based on the brochure description. However, when we arrived we noticed that the hotel which according to the Thomson website had been renovated looked run down, shabby and in need of a general update. We were shown to our room which looked nothing like the images on the Thomson website and again was in desperate need of an uplift. There was a strange smell in the room and we were visited by a cockroach. Was this an ominous sign of things to come? The walls were paper thin and we could hear everyone else's conversations and toilet habits. We soon gave up on trying to sleep before midnight as the entertainment was so loud and we felt as though we were in the same room.

Upon entering the restaurant we noticed an odd smell, this smell remained for the whole week. The food itself was repetitive, bland and unappetising apart from the Tunisian night which was a thankful respite from the mundane norm. Despite this the two waiters who served us during the week were always friendly, welcoming and smiling and always had drinks available for us. They were the two redeeming features of our experience. We were allocated seats at a table with another couple that we didn't know for the week and stayed there for all three meals each day despite the restaurant being nearly empty most days. This we found to be a bit odd as we were travelling as a couple and found it slightly uncomfortable.

The main bar is situated next to reception. We spent most evenings here as there was nothing else to do contributing to the whole repetitiveness of the holiday. The first night seemed ok so we gave a few tips to the waiters and this proved to be the best way to get good service. Drinks were brought over when they hadn't been ordered which was initially ok however they were not always wanted and it seemed as though they were just trying to get more tips.

On the matter of the bar area, we were seated one evening in the lobby area above the bar which is also the main thorough fair between the restaurant, the reception and the main hotel. A guest had a toilet accident which resulted in there being two large lumps of s*** on the floor. Another guest reported this to a member of staff and what followed was half an hour of farcical behaviour from the staff including laughing, pointing and unbelievably some staff stepping over noticing the mess and ignoring it. One of the entertainment staff sprayed the mess with air freshener and at the same asked if we would like to take part in a game of man vs woman (whatever that is) to which partner responded, 'No thank you, I'd rather you cleaned the 's*** up!' His response was , 'Yes, yes someone is doing it!' A while later the bell boy arrived with a dustpan and brush, picked up the two large pieces and walked away leaving splodges and a large visible skid mark. We thought somebody would return to clean up the remaining faecal matter however this did not happen. A period of another 30 minutes elapsed and staff, guests, children, the entertainment team and various other people walked over the area in to the entertainment area, the bar, the restaurant which we found appalling so I took upon myself to report it to a member of staff in reception who said that he would send someone immediately. This did not happen. We stayed in the bar until quite late (we had moved seats at this point!) and it was still there. We returned the following morning and the area had been cleaned however not very well as there were still splodges. We assume this is their response to a blatant health and safety issue. God knows what other potential concerning things we ingested during our time here. I think most people would agree that this is disgusting and appalling behaviour by a large hotel anywhere in the world regardless of their star rating!!! If management, which appears to be a non entity in this hotel, wish to respond to this post then may I suggest responding to your paying guests concerns when they are raised in the first place.

The evening entertainment which is not something that we would normally get involved in became something that we could not avoid. The location of the entertainment area to our room meant that we could not not escape the noise even if we wanted to. In keeping with everything else we have mentioned it was extremely repetitive and mundane. The staff were trying to do their best with limited resources. Can I suggest investing in a new CD as this may go someway towards making things ever so slightly more bearable!

Overall, we were disappointed with the huge difference between what was sold to us and what we got. There should be something in the brochure to explain that only the main restaurant and bar areas are available at this time of year. We also found the men in leather jackets who were mooching about the hotel all day with seemingly no reason to be there again a bit odd. The beach was nice apart from the men who work there trying to sell trips, cigarettes, camels etc etc all day. A no response once should mean no.

We would not return to this hotel or recommend it to anyone else regardless of its seemingly good value. It is a generally poor place to stay and the incident in the bar clearly shows a lack of respect for their hotel and their paying guests.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank ljmtt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marhaba Salem

Property: Marhaba Salem
Address: Boulevard 14 Janvier, Sousse 4031, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Sousse
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Sousse
#5 Romantic Hotel in Sousse
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Marhaba Salem 3*
Number of rooms: 241
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Also Known As:
Marhaba Salem Hotel Sousse
Marhaba Salem Sousse

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