Just returned from a two week stay at the HV Manar with First Choice. For a hotel that is approx 30 yrs old its in good nick and well maintained. I would agree with other reviewers that the decor is not 5* but the facilities, food and service were top-notch for a holiday of this genre. So, I can see why FC might score it so. One also needs to remember that this is Tunisia and although they have had a tourist industry for over 50 years, its still a poor country. As such, the areas outside the hotel are not well maintained and this does somewhat detract from the first impression. However, this is not the hotel nor the tour operator's fault.
The children (11 & 4) had a great time and there was lots for them to do. Kids club was a big hit with the 4yr old. All the KC staff were fantastic and very patient. My youngest fell in love with Scott. Only thing we would have preferred was longer sessions - ideally whole morning or afternoon to allow us more time to relax without having to collect them every 90 mins. Not really a biggy, but having stayed at other FC locations (Aqua Nevis, Bulgaria) this is what we expected.
Daytime and Evening entertainment staff also put in lots of effort. The programme is well set-up, if a little predictable after a few days, but this is what most of the younger generation want at the end of the day. The activity programme (Aerial-Adventure, Waterpolo, Pool Quiz, Zorbs, etc) are all great and there is something for everyone. Let your hair down and go with the flow is my advice - you'll enjoy it! Sam, Dave, Flo, Karly, Sarah were all exceptional.
The pools (2 large, 1 medium, 2 paddling and 1 slide) are all well maintained with plenty of shade and loungers. The lifeguards were also very attentive and kept a close eye on safety. Stand-out individual is MOMO - we love you too - who is a real character and always happy to help with finding you a comfortable spot. The FC swimming coaches are also exceptional - see photos of Greg jumping from the crows-nest on the pirate trip!
The sandy beach (with bar) is very close and well maintained with a good variety of watersports for the more adventurous. Parascending, Jet-Skis, Banana boat and Crazy Coach were all big hits with the other residents.
The Jasmine/Buffet restaurant served a good selection of cuisine throughout the 2 week stay. Food was fresh, flavoursome and abundant. The bar-b-q was also very good every night - well done Mohammed B - always looked after us so well. I would urge you to try all the cuisine on offer - it really is very good. It did seem to me that too many of the guests just wanted to eat pizza and chips (children esp.). If this is the case, why go to Africa?
We went on the camel excursion (3/5), Pirate Ship (4/5) and Zulu Night / Zoo (5/5) and really had a great time at all of them.
The stand-out for us though was the level of service and kindness we received from the hotel staff. Pretty much without exception, we were greeted with smiles and platitudes from every dept. Considering this was also during Ramadan (where Muslim's must abstain from eating drinking and smoking during daylight hours) and in temperatures of 35+ºC I can only take my hat off to them. I doubt many Brits would be able to do the same. They all work long hours and for very little wages in comparison to what we shelled out for the holiday. Wahbi (Red), Amir, Lazhar, Mohammed (Super Chef!) were all top blokes and a credit to the hotel.
This brings me to my last point and that is tips. In short, do it. As Brits, we're not used to tipping but in Tunisia whilst its not expected, its very welcome. All of the staff (from the housekeeping to kitchen, bar staff and front of house) more than deserve it and the 5 or 10TDN (£2/5) you spend will not only be paid back in attentiveness and service the next time you see them but it can make a massive difference to their salary (which can be as little as 10TDN per day).
If you're looking for some family fun that's only 2.5hrs from LGW and offers the full gamut of activities, food and service then look no further. You'll love it. We did!
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Village Manar Hotel Hammamet
- Magic Life Manar Imperial Hammamet
- Magic Life Manar Imperial Hotel