HOTEL IN GENERAL
Almost all staff were extremely friendly and helpful (particularly after tipping a dinar). All communal areas appeared to be maintained and cleaned regularly. There are frequently First Choice reps at hand in the lobby area.
The reception can change your money into Dinars at the Governent rate. But they cannot exchange it back, you will have to do that at the airport at lower rates, so only change as much as you need.
We used the lobby bar in the evening mainly, where there was a decent selection of cocktails and some cute steps for the kids to access the bar themselves. The lobby area is vast with a large number of comfy chairs to sit at. Outside there are some tables and chairs. The only downside is that all of the smokers contaminate the fresh air.
The pool bar was convenient for our day time drinks and if you only wanted water you could get a 1.5 litre bottle and store it in your room fridge if you wished.
Of course, alcoholic drinks are not the same as at home. I do like nice beer, lager and wine and the drinks were nothing like those, as expected. However, I was perfectly happy with the taste of all of the drinks considering we were abroad.
Again, I like good quality food. As with any hotel buffet service, do not expect the same standard of food as you would get if you ordered fresh from a restaurant. For an all-inclusive buffet arrangement, the Holiday Village excels in this area. There was a huge choice of food for every meal and food that was supposed to be hot, was hot. At lunchtime, one of the chefs makes flat breads, then cuts them into small pieces for the guests. Ask nicely and he’ll give you a whole one, which makes a fantastic wrap for whatever you want to put in it. I didn’t like the look of EVERYTHING, so chose not to have it, rather than slate it in this review. It is true, that the attempt at an English breakfast is poor but perhaps waiting for one or two weeks to have one when back in England would be a better option than moaning about the Tunisian version. I thought that even the ‘chicken and chips’ brigade were well catered for, though they might get bored if their palate is so limited as to want the same thing every day. There was always a ‘Tunisian corner’ (though it was never in the corner), providing very tasty meals obviously using the local herbs and spices to good effect.
Our room was pleasantly spacious and cleaned daily, though the level of care was somewhat lacking, with pillows looking as if they had been tossed on to the bed. We had booked a double room but the beds consisted of two singles pushed together. Not sure if that is the norm but it didn’t cause a problem and they were comfortable. The room was nicely decorated and the bathroom was clean and sleek. There was also a nice veranda to sit outside with a view over the gardens towards the sea.
The TV surprisingly gave a good selection of English speaking channels, though the programmes themselves didn’t appeal that much. The picture was always very grainy also. We didn’t watch much more than the news but it did have a Scart socket to connect our travel DVD player up to for a late evening film. (There was never any problem taking a couple of glasses each of wine up to our rooms.)
There were several pools, always with a Life Guard. We spent most of our time around the ‘quiet’ pool. I agree that if you were to sit right next to the pool that it is not perfectly quiet, with people enjoying themselves (how dare they!) We chose to lay about 20 metres away on the grassed area and it was perfectly tranquil.
We are in our 40’s and didn’t take the kids on this occasion but we had some great fun on the slides in the small waterpark pool. This opened in the morning, closed for lunch, then opened again until 5pm.
The hotel point out that the area between the sea and their sun beds is, by law, a public area. Hence the occasional ‘looky’ men trying to sell items and the occasional camel rides. The beach area is wonderfully clean and the sand a beautiful gold. It is easy to stand up for a good 25 metres into the sea and we found it to be a pleasant temperature (though we were lucky with the weather for early October, being about 30 degrees most days).
There are a couple of paragliding companies that are nothing to do with the hotel. The hotel itself sells other activities at very reasonable prices. We went on the rings towed by a speedboat, which was only 10 dinars each (about £4 each). We also went out on their kayaks, which are part of the all-inclusive.
There are plenty of things to do, as per the brochure. I was particularly impressed with how well they look after the little ones. All of the staff appeared to be very good with the kids.
Our only complaints in this area would be:
1. If you want to undertake an activity, you have to go to the fun pool. We made the mistake of going directly to the Archery session but nobody turned up. This was because nobody at the pool had shown any interest so the staff couldn’t be bothered to attend the venue. I think there were only two sessions per week and so we didn’t get a go.
2. There were four tennis courts but we couldn’t get hold of any rackets despite only one court being in use. This was because of an inadequate system that allowed selfish guests to take the rackets earlier and keep them.
3. There is air conditioning in the gym but I agree that it was warm inside. The problem was that some ignorant guests kept leaving the door open. It could do with a self-closing door.
The Holiday Village deserves its place at the top end of the Trip Advisor list. We would definitely stay here again if visiting Tunisia again and would recommend it to anyone that is able to accept that Tunisia (and in fact any other country) is not England.
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Village Manar Hotel Hammamet
- Magic Life Manar Imperial Hammamet
- Magic Life Manar Imperial Hotel