We stayed at Phenicia from 4th July till the 14th, being greeted in reception by a nice cool flannel, and a very refreshing lemon juice. After being seated in reception for approx 5 mins, it was clear to see how special this hotel would be. The amount of staff running around trying to make everyone happy was unreal, and the constant cleaning taking place was a joy to see too, clearly, the staff were proud to work here. After a brief intro to the hotel by a guy from reception, (ok - the chinese isnt all inclusive, and no the gym isnt free - but this is all explained in the Thomas Cook brochere - if people actually read this before picking the hotel, they wouldnt be able to moan like they have, or they could simply go elsewhere) we were given our room key, a welcome leaflet from our rep, and we headed to our room.
We had a second floor (2039) sea view if you look right on the balcony, but the sun shone through every morning, so we had our curtains closed majority of time we was in our room, to help keep the room cool. The room had what you would expect... a decent sized, comfortable bed, air con, all the usual amenities in the en suite... tv, (definately not enough english channels for a hotel which in my opinion was majority english) and plenty of clothes space. It was perfect for what we needed...somewhere to sleep, and wash, and change...all these people moaning about basic rooms... seriously... did you pay to go to a beautiful country to just stay inside 24/7?? They were cleaned everyday, and bedding was only changed when you left the sign on the bed. Also a fridge, and a digisafe too, that was 3Dinar a day though.
The hotel itself is a family hotel, designed for sport enthuiasts, it also states this in the brochere, so those complaining about the hotel because of the kids running round, or because they were asked if they wanted to partake in sports - WHAT DO YOU EXPECT!!! Football, volleyball, aerobics, darts, peddalo, golf, tennis and archery (and others im sure) were all on offer, i did archery with Alex, (never done it before and within 5 mins, and 4 easy steps i was hitting the target everytime). Its an hour session, twice a day. He was fantastic, and very patient with everyone in the group. Id definately do archery again if i returned, or maybe find somewhere closer to home - so thanks alex :)
The pools are fantastic, one an inside/outside one, with around 50 sunbeds round it, perfect for just relaxing throughout the day, the other has a giant pool bar in the middle, this was child orientated, and the animation team looked after the kids here, as well as doing dance stuff throughout the day too. Id say in the section there was easily 200 sunbeds.
Just past this pool was the beach... Phenicias own beach. 300-400 beds here, if you want the first row, closest to sea, you have to reserve the day before for 5 dinar(£2). This didnt bother us though to be honest. Each pair of sunbeds had a parasol on the beach, so there was plenty of shade if needed. No matter what time we approached the beach or pools, we always found a sunbed for both of us, so this was good. Towels were 20dinar each as a deposit(in case you lost them etc) and could be replaced every tuesday and saturday so they didnt get too smelly (or daily, but you have to pay 1.5 dinar/60p to do that) and upon the return at the end of the holiday you get you deposit back. Pools nice and clean all the time.
Food - pretty simple really. Breakfast(6am-10am) in the brekkie room. Fresh made pancakes and omelettes to your desire. Selection of pastries, cheeses, meats and cereals. Coffee, water and juices on tap too. Lunch (12pm-2pm) in the dining hall or beach restaurant - Buffet style catering offering something for all, plenty of salad, cakes, pastries and fruit too. Pasta made fresh to your order everyday, and something always grilled, be it sausage, fish, etc. At the beach bar there was a fish BBQ daily, a fresh kebab stand, and stonebaked pizzas too. Waiter service for drinks, they look after 10-12 tables each, refilling drinks, clearing plates, and resetting for next table. They are fantastic at everything they do, just give them chance to do it before you moan, as they may already be busy with someone else first. Snacks (3pm-6pm) in the snack room opposite the brekkie room. Cold pizza, pancakes to order, icecream, cake, coffee and juices. Help yourself. Dinner(7pm-9pm) 3 options, Chinese restaurant, not all inclusive, but only £8 for a 5 course meal. La Panache a la carte, available for free for 1 night of your stay, but if you want to go again you have to pay, (relocated to the beach restaurant for outdoor dining under the sunset). Dining hall, same as lunch, but on a bigger scale, pasta and a grilled option, then at the top of the stairs, the chefs special, usually two dishes - a traditional tunisian dish(we sampled brik, stew, cous cous, stone oven baked chicken, allsorts) and then a meat or fish.... We had turkey, beef twice, lamb, fish three times, and chicken twice. Selection of salad, friut and desserts, and everynight a hot dessert too. Waiter service was spot on, ben was our waiter, table 127. We didnt tip him till our last night, but it felt like we tipped him everynight the way he looked after us Thanks Ben :)
Entertainment is important in the hotel and the team didnt fail to deliver, we atteneded Abba, Cats, 2 x comedy nights, a beach party, and kiss kiss. All the team were great, FiFi, nina and chico looked after the kids... and the rest of the team were brill too, id love to name them all but i dont think i can, they were all great though.
Book trips with your rep, your guarenteed to be safe, Yasmine was fantastic to us, we booked three trips, The welcome tour, enables you to go round Hammamet and Yasmine Hammamet with a guide, and you dont get hassled so much as you are in a group. Great opportunity to see the old medina. (35Dinars each/£14). Boat trip... four hours on a pirate boat, entertainment, swimming, fantastic views along the coast, food included, half an hour viewing dolphins, it was brill, take plenty of suncream though, it was 42 degrees when we went (35Dinars each/£14). And a trip to friguia park, a zoo. 2.5 hours round the zoo seeing all kinds of animals etc. Picture opportunities with sealions and dolphins. Followed by a traditional 5 course tunisian meal, zulu music and dancing, and tunisian belly dancing (75Dinars each/£37). All really good trips, and broke the holiday up a bit too. The sahara trips, we met two couples and only heard bad things, they didnt travel with Thomas Cook though.
All in all, the holiday was fantastic for us... Plenty of activities if we fancied it, plenty of relaxation too. Nice and hot, and the hotel exterior views are fantastic. Thanks Phenicia for looking after us, and for drumming the voice of Shakira into my head, as i fall asleep, humming along to ... "this time for africaaa!"
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Beautifully situated on the East coast of Tunisia, SENTIDO Phenicia spreads between a fine sandy beach and a garden of 11 hectares where mix generously Palm and Olive trees. For your comfort, the rooms of the hotel all endowed with balconies or terraces offer you fantastic views between the gulf and mountains of Hammamet, swimming pools, or gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sentido Phenicia Hotel Hammamet
- Iberostar Hotel Hammamet
- Iberostar Hotel Phenicia
- Iberostar Phenicia Tunisia
- Iberostar Phenicia Hammamet