Here we go! I read some of the reviews on here and thought "oh god what have I let myself in for" but when my friend and I arrived at the hotel I just couldn't believe anyone would ever have a bad word to say about the place! It's beautifully built and very open plan. We were given a drink while they sorted our rooms out, then a porter took our bags to our rooms, he didn't stand there expecting a tip but we gave him a small one. My friend was in a room just down the hall from me but that wasn't an issue as there was a phone in the room from which I could call her room for free. We arrived at 1.30pm so we decided to catch lunch before the restaurant closed at 2.30pm (we were given a A4 sheet with all the times and what was included in our all inc).
Unfortunately I'm always at a disadvantage abroad because I'm pescetarian (eat fish not meat) so I was prepared for there to be little choice for me. The food didn't seem to bad, salad and sauces, then hot food (some odd looking dishes but we were expecting that) and it was all clearly labelled in 4 different languages, desserts, then bread and soup. As we began to eat we noticed most of the staff were watching us.. each section of the hotel had a waiter and our was a young boy, he came to ask what drink we'd like and then bought it over, he then said "I really like you, you are English, so beautiful. Come for coffee with me?" I laughed and said "No thank you" he left us to eat, but carried on staring at us.
On our way out of lunch we got stopped by a man at a desk selling day trips, we gave him a chance to do his pitch and the trips on offer were fair priced but we weren't really there for that. We said no thank you and he didn't bother us the rest of the week.
We then unpacked etc and went back downstairs to get a drink at the bar, only 1 of 3 bars was open but that's to be expected out of season, we went to the bar to be greeted by yet more "coffee" proposals.. ok this is getting boring now! By the way bottled water is free from the bar.
We got our drink and sat down, you can smoke anywhere in the hotel so bare that in mind if you hate smokers :)
There was a little shop in reception selling the usual shampoo etc not too bad prices either, we went to reception to change up some money, (you can't change it up in England it has to be done there, most hotels do it on reception) we didn't have to show any I.D we just handed over the pounds and were given the Tunisian Dinar, we were told to do a little bit at a time as you can't take any Dinar back to England and it's virtually impossible to get it changed back into pounds.
We went to dinner, the staff were the same, they starred at us while we ate every breakfast lunch and dinner for the rest of the trip.
The weather was not as good as we had hoped so we spent A LOT of time in the hotel, we tried to go shopping and it was such a horrific task we gave up, men pulling you into their shops, standing in front of you so you can't leave and shouting at you down the street, this got so bad towards the end of the week that we stopped wearing anything remotely feminine and ended up in trousers and jumpers to see if that was put them off!
It was worse when out shopping that when in the hotel but they hotel staff seemed to get worse and worse over the week! Whenever we went to order drinks they would stare at us, tell us they loved us and wanted our mobile numbers and facebook names! It got so uncomfortable we spent a few evenings in our rooms.
We got asked by the hotel photographers if we wanted to have pictures taken and he sell them to us, again we said no thank you and he didn't bother us the rest of the week, we also got a approached by a man who worked for the hotel spa, he talked us through his packages and told us we got a discount for flying with Thomas cook, we agreed to book an afternoon for a good price of 100TD which is about £45.
We did end up making friends with the spa man, and two of the photographers, they said hi, loved to high five us! and occasionally sat with us to play cards, they were not creepy (yay).
Everybody in Tunisia spoke excellent English, so it wasn't too hard to feel comfortable around the guys we played cards with.
On the Saturday night the staff were setting up a stage in the bar area, and A LOT of people were arriving at the hotel, they seemed to me to be locals, when we tried to go for dinner, the cue was out the door of the restaurant and the food was running out fast!
All of the local women seemed to dislike any of the tourists there so we felt uncomfortable, we discovered that it was a band coming to play and as we were feeling uncomfortable with the hundreds of people that were turning up we decided to go to my friends room to read. The noise that started around 9pm was unreal, I've been to concerts that haven't been that loud, around 11.30pm I went to my room to try to sleep, well that was never going to happen, my room was in the main area of the extremely open plan hotel, I called my friend from my room and she could hear the horrendous noise down the phone! Luckily she had 2 beds in her room so I slept in there, you could still hear the noise but because she was down the hall it was reduced, this went on till way past 1am. We wouldn't have minded the noise if we had been told because then we would have prepared ourselves for the late night etc.
The afternoon in the spa was nice, we started off in the heated salt water pool, then went into a steam room for 20 minutes (a bit too long for me, but you can come out whenever you liked), we then got exfoliated by a woman, she asked us to pull our swimsuits down, which was insanely awkward, so if you plan on doing this, wear a bikini! we then went to a seating area and enjoyed a cup of green tea (the best green tea I've ever had!) then we got take to individual rooms with jacuzzi baths in, which was my favorite bit of the spa, we got left in there with honey and milk in our water, it was very nice. Then came the massage, my friend unfortunately got a male masseuse which made her feel uncomfortable, especially because once again they wanted our costumes down (it was a full body massage). After the incredibly tense massage, we were allowed to choose either the aromatherapy room or the sensory room, we chose the aromatherapy room which was a room of heated water beds, they were HEAVEN! We then left the spa of our own accord. Overall the spa was good but I would definitely wear a bikini next time!
Anyway time went on an the food situation got worse, as did the sleep, the rooms were all very noisy, I was kept awake most nights by footsteps on the ceiling or cupboards opening and tv noise from next door.
Our last day finally came (totally had enough by now).
We put our luggage in the luggage room of the hotel and they took our all inc bands off of us, we were worried because we didn't have any Dinar left to buy food, but we managed to wing it :P we got lunch and all the drinks we wanted.
We sat with the two photographers for most of the day and the man from the spa, they were being over friendly this time. One of them was moaning that he needed new headphones, bit of a weird conversation starter, then another one came over and practically sat on my bag! I left my friend and went to get our luggage out of the luggage room, (my hand luggage had my purse inside) a man from reception took me round to find the door was locked with two of the receptionists inside! I stood there for 5 mins, they were giggling and rummaging around in there, when they finally opened the door they looked very surprised to see me and shuffled out giggling. I took our bags back to where my friend was sitting and we sat there for another hour then left for the airport. When we arrived at the airport we discovered that all of my money had been taken £40 which is around 90TD, my friend had £20 stolen and my headphones where gone. Bad end to a bad holiday, worst of all we thought we could trust the guys we had made friends with, how stupid were we!
In conclusion, stay at the Lella Baya if you are a man, with no cash on you and like a bad nights sleep!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lella Baya & Thalasso Hotel characterized by a modern and a traditional architecture, located a few meters from the new Medina in the resort of Yasmine Hammamet, facing the sea, built on a total area of 2.3 hectares of which 20% for grassed areas. Distance from Tunis-Carthage Airport: 60 km (45 mn transfer). Distance from Monastir Airport: 80 Km (1h transfer). Distance Enfidha -Hammamet Airport : 45 km (35 mn transfer). Marina Yasmine Hammamet: 500 meters Golf "Citrus": 3 Km. Golf "Yasmine" 3 Km. Lella Baya Hotel & thalasso disposed of 245 unites of life with the "arabesque" style The hotel is disposed of 05 elevators Restaurants & bars: Main restaurant Marocain Restaurant A la carte services Snack Barbecue a la carte services A la carte Restaurant Services Lobby bar Lounge Bar. Pool bar Moorish Cafe Restaurant Bar Beach Services: Reception 24/24 Currency exchange Laundry service Baby beds (free) Doctor on request Free Wi-Fi in the rereception and lobby bar, terrace and barbecue. Credit Cards are accepted: Visa,CIB, MasterCard, Eurocard Shops Beach Pools: Outdoor fresh water swimming pool( 800 m³) Swimming pool for children (outdoor) fresh water (90m³). Indoor heated seawater pool (320m³) Sunshades and sunloungers (free) Thalassotherapy Center ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vincci Lella Baya Hotel Hammamet
- Vincci Hotel Hammamet
- Vincci Hotel Lella Baya