We returned from our holiday at Iberostar Solaria on 23 October having had the most relaxing time in a super hotel. Our room was large and airy and we slept soundly. We were on level 3 and facing the inner courtyard and could see the marina. The sheets and towels were changed daily and each day we returned to a different decoration that our maid had created with a towel, a bed sheet or even my pyjamas and a few petals and leaves.
We found the food to be delicious in both the main restaurant and the snack bar with plenty of choice and well presented. I loved the choice of salads and the bread and pastries were to die for. The chefs and waiters were very attentive and we had a great laugh when I was challenged to toss our omelettes.....the first one landed back in the pan perfectly and I got a round of applause but the second was a bit off target and some landed on the floor to the chef's great amusement. I also failed miserably with the huge pan the 'pasta' chef tried to teach me to use but in my defence, my muscles are decidedly puny compared with his and it was a very heavy pan indeed! We didn’t bother with the ‘dine around’ option but heard good reports from other guests. You have to book this 24 hours in advance apparently.
The pool area was nice and it seemed to be the place to be for younger couples and those with young children. The animation team were enthusiastic and friendly but not ‘in your face’. I was impressed how they always had a cheery smile and a few words to say to all the residents without exception. In fact, all the staff were absolutely lovely and couldn’t do enough to please you. I never felt under any obligation to tip but we did give a little ‘donation’ to those who stood out for the service they gave us. We attended one of the evening entertainment events in the Salon Cesar which was a good laugh as it was in the mode of a game show. Very well done to the multi-lingual host who coped with Spanish, Russian, English, French and German contestants and a similarly multi-cultural audience.
We spent most days on the beach and there was no shortage of sun-beds which the lifeguard would take to our preferred spot. There are a number of ‘sellers’ on the beach who must walk miles in pursuit of a sale. They take a polite no for an answer and soon get to realise there’s no point in keeping asking you. Watch out for the fruit seller because before you know it he will have a piece of fruit peeled and thrust in your hand, allegedly for free (not). I think they must recognise the new arrivals as my partner was ambushed on our first day and ended up paying way over the odds for a piece of fruit because the seller had no change…no surprises there!! The beach is generally very clean and we noticed the lifeguard paying particular attention to keeping the Solaria area especially clean. The sea is nice for swimming but on a couple of days the current brought quite a lot of sea weed ashore in places…..it definitely wasn’t camel droppings as was suggested in a previous posting. Not a lot anyone can do about that but it had been cleared by the next day. In any case, on the days this happened we could walk a very short distance (30m) to go into the sea without having to walk through sea weed. The sand is the colour and texture of soft brown sugar…..it was beautiful and not a stone in sight so you can walk the length of the beach barefoot. It is also apparently suitable for sandcastles as we saw some fine examples under construction. The beach bar kept us refreshed with soft drinks and beer. If we had been staying longer I think we would have ventured out on one of the Pirate ships that left the harbour each day…..from what we could see it looked like a fun day out with a barbecue included apparently.
We went on the half day Welcome tour to Hammamet with Thomas Cook which was very informative and gave us a brief insight into the surrounding area and the old Medina. To be honest, we weren’t really that fussed about spending our week going round the sights and that trip was just about enough for us. We did however take up the free tickets to the Sheherazade Cabaret Restaurant which is included in the Thomas Cook all-inclusive package. This was in the Medina and consisted of a traditional cabaret with belly dancing etc and a three course meal.
We treated ourselves to a visit to the hotel spa and for 70TD each(about £33 including our all-inclusive discount) we had a Turkish Bath, steamed in the hammam, full body massage and hydrotherapy pool and massage which left us feeling so refreshed and relaxed.
The resort was quiet and so many of the shops and restaurants in the marina area were closed but we visited in late October at the end of the season. It must be wonderful during the busier months. The medina was lively and we managed a little bit of good-natured haggling in the Souk.
All in all, our holiday was just what we needed and I would wholeheartedly recommend Iberostar Solaria for a thoroughly relaxing and comfortable holiday.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Solaria Hotel Hammamet
- Iberostar Hotel Solaria
- Iberostar Hotel Hammamet