I came here for two weeks with my partner and two mates. We wanted two weeks of sun and chill-out and that's exactly what we got.
Our rep Jill from Thomson/First Choice met us at Djerba Airport. She was excellent and a credit to her company. It's not a long transfer to the hotel. It was evident that there wasn't much to see on the island: a lot a sand, some palm trees and dilapidated buildings. There really isn't any need to leave the hotel complex. Not even for a stroll.
The weather was hot. One day the mercury got to 45 degrees! But mostly it hovered around 35. The pool was lovely (on the warmer days like bath water), but the ocean was more refreshing. When the sea was calm it was beautiful, but it turns very choppy and tosses a lot of seaweed onto the shore when the wind is up.
The pool is huge. Generally there were enough sunbeds, but there were a couple of days where one or two anxious guests couldn't seem to find them easily. The pool was very clean. There were a few tiles missing, but this didn't bother us. All very pleasant. The poolside restaurant is where you can get water, beer, soft drinks and wine, even cocktails (my friends didn’t rate the cocktails). They also serve lunch and snacks there, but we opted for the cooler main restaurant. The animation staff work hard doing their thing throughout the day but don't harass you - they were a friendly bunch.
Our accommodation was comfortable and clean. The lock to our patio door was broken, so I asked reception to have it repaired while we were out by the pool. When I returned later to the room my keycard packed up, so I couldn’t enter the room. I went to reception and the hotel handyman came with me to the room to firstly fix the keycard mechanism on the door. Once this was done I saw that the patio door lock hadn’t yet been seen to, so he fixed that as well while he was there. It was still a fiddly job to lock the patio door after that, so I guess this wasn’t completely resolved, but we didn’t bother calling them back in to look at it.
The aircon in the room worked a treat. Housekeeping staff were very friendly and efficient. There is a safety box in the room but no tea/coffee making facilities. Mineral water is replenished each day in the fridge. The TV reception was actually pretty lousy, but we weren't there to watch TV.
The food was varied and on the whole delicious. The ice cream was divine! The Tunisian restaurant was good, as was the seafood restaurant on the beach, but service was slow at the latter. Restaurant staff were very friendly, and we gladly tipped them.
We spent most evenings in Le Piano Bar. The aircon wasn't on constantly so it got a little uncomfortable at times. We had an errant guest hijack the piano and pianist on occasion, which was annoying. And one evening we were "treated" to another guest playing sing-along with the pianist. Unnecessary, and we didn't like it. The Tunisian wine and beer provided were absolutely fine. The waiter we had there on most night was a bit sullen, and didn’t say “thank you” when we tipped him. He lightened up on the last night when my friend tried to have a conversation with him.
I had a massage in the wellness centre. 70 Dinars for an hour. It was ok, nothing special.
We didn't bother with any of the outside excursions: a) they didn't really appeal to us, and b) it was too hot. They were saying that temperatures were 10 degrees higher inland.
There are lots of French, Belgian and German guests. Not so many Brits. French is obviously understood by all, but most staff seemed to have the English basics.
Reception staff were sometimes moody, other times great - it just depends who you got on the day. Reception is where you get your towels each day - on more than one occasion they ran out, and could not exchange your towel with a fresh one until the next morning, which seemed a bit shortsighted.
My partner had a couple of shirts washed and ironed by the hotel. He reckons one of the shirts shrank a little (maybe he just enjoyed the buffet too much), and they weren't ironed that well.
We paid 50 Dinars for a week’s WiFi connection, but at times the network wasn’t available. Furthermore you can only access the WiFi network in a certain area in the hotel lobby. This was a pain, on both counts.
Our first week was blissfully child-free, but there were noticeably more in week 2. But being the start of the summer holidays, this was to be expected. If you're looking for guaranteed weather, good food and chilling out around the pool with a good book, then look no further; I'd thoroughly recommend this hotel. If you're looking to get out and do a fair bit of exploring, then you should really look elsewhere. I know I’ve pointed out some negatives here, but on the whole were we really impressed with the whole set up. :-)
Finally: you can only take up to 10 Dinars out of Tunisia, and they charge an eye-watering 40% commission at the airport! You can get Dinars at the reception desk but can only change back to pounds/euros at the airport.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located on the island of Djerba * 3-storey building, oriental style architecture * Surrounded by 20,000 m2 of garden * Opposite the "Djerba" 27-hole golf course * 200 m from the beach * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 6 km from downtown Midoun * 18 km from downtown Houmt Souk * 6 km from various shops * 25 km from the Djerba airport ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Royal Garden