Arrived at Enfidha Airport, Hammamet around 10.30pm Wed 10th Aug 2011 following a 2.5 hr flight from Gatwick, we were handed cards, on flight, to fill in with our details, I would advise to fill in on flight as these are needed for customs, you get half the form back, you must keep this, as you need it when you exit the country. There is no time zone difference. Once we had got our baggage, we made our way to the Passport control, forms handed in then on to the exit where a Thompson's rep told us which coach to catch to our Hotel. No. 118, to the left, Ok, fine, about 100 coaches waiting there. Immediately we got outside door, a young lad jumped on us to relieve us of our luggage and take it to the coach for us, we only had 2 wheelie holdall's so declined, he was after money, as we were to find, they are all at it!
We had a bit of an uncomfortable coach ride as the seats were too close, tatty, dusty interior. We arrived after dropping off to 4 other hotels at the Hotel Dar Khayam 1.5 hrs later. About 1am, only to find the hotel closes down at Midnight, so no food or drink available. As the Tunisian Dina is a closed currency, you cannot get them prior to flying out, though I did hear tale from a couple from Birmingham area that Thompsons had just started doing it. The hotel changed £20 into 42 Dina's and advised I go down the road to some Cafe for a drink. Not knowing the area I decided to call it a night and scrounged some hot water in a beer glass, and a wine glass, took it upstairs and as we were mindful enough to bring a jar of Kenco coffee with us, had a drink, stirred with the sunglasses arm!
The room has satellite TV, which only showed 2 English speaking channels, CNN, and BBC World News, the rest are German, French and local. Wi-fi is free, but it isn't hotel wide as there are some dead spots. It costs £3 per gig of data downloaded by my iphone, and this was only emails. I had to switch to airplane mode, and leave the wi-fi open or a big bill would soon rack up, as many I spoke to hadn't realsied.
It is clean, has 2 single beds pushed together and a set of bunk beds. It has air conditioning which switches off when the balcony door is opened. A dressing table, 2 bedside cabinets and a sliding door wardrobe, which is very roomy, so plenty of space for clothes. If you want a safeety deposit box, these are £10 a week from reception, and are next to the reception area. There is no kettle. There is no fridge. The beds are quite hard and uncomfortable. The towels are changed daily, but you need to remember to put them in the bath for exchange. You are not allowed to take the towels to the pool side, so make sure to bring your own. The beds are made daily, with fresh to sheet folded and left arranged on top of the bed daily. There are no bathrobes. There is a hair drier in the bathroom, and another 2 pin 230v socket. There is a shower gel/shampoo dispenser in the bathroom which is only refilled if you ask the maid. The shower is the type where you step into the bath, and pull a plunger up, good pressure, and plenty of hot water, though the bath is quite high up and could be dangerous dismounting, due to the drop, and the tile floor can get quite slippery, so hold on to the sink! Bring your own shower gel and shampoo. There is a room phone, but the rep told us not to use it as it was expensive ringing home. There is no room service as far as I am aware.
Room cleaning can be at any time from 10am to 3pm. Quick and thorough.
There is stairs or a lift up to the hotel rooms, there is also chalet type rooms in the grounds.
The Main Restaurant serves breakfast from 6am to 9am. Consisting of omlette, boiled eggs, some sort of frankfurter sausage, pressed luncheon meat, tasteless cheese, cereals, different compotes such as fig, peach etc, a bit like jam. There is a toaster and bread which is one where you feed in th ebread, wait 5 mins and it comes out th eother end warm and hard, so needs a couple of goes. They also do pastries such as croissants. There is cold juices available, as well as coffee (yuck, bring your own), peppermint tea bags, green tea bags etc.
Lunch is served at 12.30hrs, usually some form of fried patties, courgettes in batter, lots of salad bowls, pasta, bread, ice cream, tea coffee etc as before.
Dinner is from 7pm to 9pm, much like lunch, except with fish (beware very bony), chicken pieces, risotto, rice, pasta, bolognese, stuff I've never heard of before which was ok, aubergines, again loads of salad things, some with mixed in anchovies, prawns etc. The prawns are very mushy. You can ask for a bottle of wine too.
There is an option of eating at the Beach Restaurant, but you have to book at 10am the day before, again it is all free. Only 2 menu's, for eith lunch or dinner, we went once, and although was well cooked, it wasn't our cup of tea, due to the different tastes in culture I suppose. They don't seem to have much in the way of normal vegetables which we are used to. A potato, some rice, and a tomato seems the norm here.
The snack bar next to the pool bar serves chips and pizza at 4pm, and again at 10pm.
We both ended up with the runs, as do most people here, but we managed to last until the 5th day, but it wasn't too inconvenient for us, othesr had to call the doctor out.
The pool is very nice, but the chlorine really stings the eyes, so bring goggles! The sunbeds are free but the matresses cost 10 dina per week or 2 per day each.
There is a poolside bar open from 10am serving low alcohol drinks, so if you like a tipple, buy a bottle at the duty free shop at the airport. I am convinced you could drink the bar dry and still remain sober! The Oasis bar inside the hotel does a House cocktail which we weren't told about, but saw a German woman getting, so we told the secret and loads started to get these from then on. There is activities on each day, I did the pool water polo, French Boules, Archery, loads of swimming, in the gym daily, which I must admit, is quite well kitted out with free weights, bench, lots of running, cycling and rowing machines.
They do loads of kids activities throughout the day, so it was great for anyone with kids, and the staff are excellent at their jobs. At night they put on a preformance for the kids from 8pm to 10pm, then bingo, followed by adult entertainment to midnight, then all shuts. There are a few cafe's etc, but a bit of a hike away. We went to a recommended restaurant from Sam the Thompson's rep, got picked up fom the hotel, taken to Bel Marina Restaurant. We asked for T-Bone steak, mine was very fatty, and my wifes wasn't cooked properly, so got sent back. We asked fro jacket potatoes instead of chips and got 2 egg size potatoes, fresh from the fridge, in foil, a spoonful of rice between us and some grated cabbage in the corner. I finished my meal and the waiter cleared all away before my wife's meal had returned from the kitchen! Not a good experience, cost 80 dina's, about £40. There is nothing resembling night life here, so if you are after the night club / bar scene, forget it.
Walking down to the hotels beach, there is a small bar that does water, fanta or sprite. The beds are free but the thin matress tops cost 2 dina per day, same as at the pool. The Med is lovely to take a dip, I went for a couple of miles walk up the beach, at the waters edge, very nice indeed, going for the occasional dip. There are Catamaran's that the staff can take you out on, pedalo's, wind surfers, all free. On the beach is the Parascending behind a speed boat, it always amazed me how they managed to land the people so gently, exactly where they wanted, very skilled. Tandem rides, with the staff only it seems. Again, the locals plague you wth their wares such as scarves, palm tree plants, hats, cigarettes, sunglasses etc This has to be the worst part of the holiday.
Make sure to bring sunscreen as it costs double the price here!
Outside the gates, if you turn left you find a few Bazars or small shops full of tat and copied shirts, jeans, perfumes etc. The spices are good value though, especially saffron, which we barterred down from 55 dina to 20! They are very persistent that you go into their shops, to the point that we just went in to keep them happy, they don't get a lot of trade so swoop on tourists with a vengence. Don't point at anything, or pick anything up as you get the old "How much you pay" routine, which I got very hacked off with. Directly opposite the Hotel is a "Ahem" shopping centre composed of a few bazars strung together, with the usual insistent staff. If you go to the right, you will find a better class of bazar, same type of staff though, a few cafe's with men smoking hubbly bubbly pipes in. The whole country seems full of rubbish, and piles of bricks, sand etc, not a nice sight. Along roads there are those large cactus, these gather all bits of plastic paper etc, empty water bottles everywhere too!
We went to the local market at Nebeul, cost 6 dina's in a Taxi, wow, this is the heart of the jumble sale, we only saw a tenth I reckon, very busy, the butchers shops has cows and goats heads hung up. They sold poor little tortoises, in the baking heat, and we even saw some chamelions.. they sell fish tails, hardended up, for good luck trophies. Tables with miles of clothes just tipped onto the table, loads of muslim women pushing past and ripping th epiles to pieces to find whatever! Crazy place, we found the old town part of the market which was a bit more civilised as it was all inside alleyways.
A good experience, but I wouldn't wish to repeat it.
The one excursion I did venture out on was the 60 Dina quad bike experience. You jump on a minibus which does various pickups, followed by a drop off a some farm type building where there is at least 20 280 cc quad bikes all ticking over, in gear too! They give a quick brief, then try to sell you a scarf to stop the dust at 3 dina's, luckily the helmets are free. You set off at a crawling pace, in the baking heat, for approx 20 mins, You stop and a man appears from nowhere to take your picture. You then tear through this woodland track, as fast as you like, which was very good. They then stop in the shade of the woods and a man tries to sell you water etc for 5 dina's a bottle.
You then return to the farm, again at a snails pace. Once there, a man gives you a couple of pics of you on a bike, then you all load up onto the minibus, at which stage he asks for 4 dina for the pictures, I told him to stuff it, and gave him them back!
I got roped into the hotel entertainment one night and had to wear a ballet skirt, my wife's bikini top and a wig, there were 4 of us from the hotel, we had a quick rehearsal at 3pm, then that night had to prance about. A good laugh though!
The notice board shows return transfer timings, so keep an eye out 2 days before returning, unlike one couple that took the rep's word and were stranded at the hotel as they missed their bus. After a bit of talking we managed to get them on our bus, but the driver wasn't happy!
The coach picked us up first, so we got seats with leg room, we got to the airport in good time, our bags were 5kg over the 30kg allowance and we nearly got an extra charge, but didn't in the end. They don't allow any Tunisian Dinar out of the country. If you go through customs, there is no money exchange so get it exchanged straight after putting your baggage in, once you have your boarding pass. They do make on the exchange rate, and you need the receipt from whereever you got sterling changed to dina, also your passport and boarding pass. A passport control, you hand back the second part of the card you handed in on arrival. Once through, again the duty free shops, far too expensive, also if you want food it will cost you dearly, we paid £15 for 2 burgers and chips with a coke. Nouvel air are the Boeing A320 owners and the planes are very cramped at the knees. Two rows of triple seats. The staff bring a drink and more duty free's, but no meal. 2hrs 35 mins flight back, leaving 35 degrees C down to 19 Deg C, was quite a drop, rainy UK, welcome home indeed!
All in all, we had a good holiday, partly because our wonderful son paid for it, and I would certainly recommend going all inclusive as it saves so much on the food and drink. I don't think I will return though!
List of things to take:
Plug adaptor, sunscreen, coffee, insect repellant, insect sting cream, diarohea tabs, tum tums, shower gel, shampoo, plasters, books/mags to read, sunglasses, reading glasses, towels, camera, chargers etc, as well as the normal stuff you would take.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Dar Khayam Is located on one of the areas best beaches, we operate a fun and friendly enviroment for our guests enjoyment. The hotel is for families, couples and single guests offering an amazing all inclusive package at a great price. Dar Khayam is centrally positioned between the old town Hammamet and the famous market town of Nabeul. Just outside the hotel entrance within a 300 metre walk are shops, restaurants, English bar, ten pin bowling, water park in summer and atm machines. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dar Khayam Tunisia
- Dar Khayam Hammamet
- Dar Khayam Hotel Tunisia
- Hotel Dar Khayam