Booked an All Inclusive late deal to the Sahara Beach resort, just outside Monastir in Tunisia so here is my review.
I try and keep these realistic as so many people moan about many pretty irrelevant things.
We flew into Enfidha Airport which was about 45 mins to an hour coach ride, Monastir airport however is very close so if you have the choice of that that one for the same cost, id take it.
Enfidha however is larger and quite a modern new airport. As soon as you come out of the airport, porters are very quick to grab your trolly and cases, they are very pushy even when you try to say no and of course they expect paying for this, as everyone seems to out there.
On your return to the airport, they are lying in wait and have your cases off the coach onto trollies before you know it and if you have no money left or wish to do this yourself, you do have to be very assertive.
Anyway, onto the resort itself, first impressions were very pleasing, a long drive with a security control, very large grounds with lots of facilities including Tennis courts, archery, cycle hire.
The checking into the hotel was bit of a pain, with quite a long form however once done, we are taken to the rooms (for a small fee of course!)
Rooms were pretty small, we had a family adjoining room and both were pretty small and basic. There was no kettle, TV, fridge or anything in the room however the main thing we look for is cleanliness and you tend only to sleep there and yes they both were.
The cleaners came each day and did a lovely job on the rooms. It is customary to give them a tip for their efforts. All the staff will make it known to you when they are not there, I guess to make sure that you if you are going to tip them, you know when they will or wont be there.
All rooms have a small balcony, there are 3 blocks to this complex, each with around 300 rooms over 7 floors so you can imagine its a pretty large complex.
The aircon was pretty pants to be honest, we went late october when to be honest, the weather wasnt too great (lot of rain) so it didnt really matter but perhaps in the hight of summer, I imagine the rooms maybe quite hot.
The food in my view was excellent. Plenty of choice and lots of it, always omlets available to make on top of an array of other breakfast food as well as cereals with milk and choice of different coffee.
Lunch and evening meal was the same, lots of choice and the chips were excellent! Think i got my moneys worth in them! They had pizza making too which were very popular and of course pancakes all the time!
They also did food at the beach bar which was also great and ideal if you are on the beach.
Talking of the beach, was pretty large and loads of sun loungers and the chap who brought you cushions for them (expecting to give a small also tip for this). There are beach boys trying to sell you things but they arent allowed to encroach to the sunbathing area and do keep their distance but will try and get you to go to them. Polite NO thankyou's generally work.
The pools were lovely but cold, but there were plenty to choose from including a water park with some pretty big slides although time restrictions do apply on this. The main pool has music and entertainment around it so if you want a quiet time, find an alternative or hit the beach.
Towels do get put on the loungers (as ever), not just by the Germans but by many which is annoying but seems par the course these days. (out of order IMO).
There is a heated indoor pool as well which is a god send if the weather isnt great, we spent a lot of time in there when it rained and there is a very shallow small pool for very young children also.
Be wary of the beauty and massage salon though within the indoor pool area, someone we spoke to booked a session in there, were advised by the staff they didnt need to use the lockers as their bags would be safe and there fleeced of their money! On confronting them, they were laughed at and complained, got their money back but the thieves were not removed. There is Gymm available if you wish to purchase some time in there.
The rooms dont have a safe however you can get a safety deposit box in the cashier room for a small fee and a 30DN refundable deposit, I would recommend you use this unless you keep all your valuables with you. Please dont be tempted to leave valuables in the room. There are warning stickers in the room. The cashier will exchange your English money. Its recommended that you only exchange what you need as and when as you are NOT allowed to take money out of the country and you will be charged a premium to exchange it back. Despite what you are told, you can use the the local money in the airport after passport control.
There is a lovely coffee bar in the complex near reception, as is the entertainment lounge and games room which has pool tables and an array of video games as well as a large TV lounge with a projection screen which showed lots of English Premier league football, all be it with French commentary. There are Internet Kiosks and wifi available for a cost. (not free unlike one review I read). Wifi is only available in the reception area however it is quite large with lots of seating.
There is a cocktail bar as well which you can have some made up, I noticed a small tip tends to get you a larger measure!
In Tunisia, Arabic and French are the 2 main languages spoken, English is the 3rd language however most who are serving can speak English but if you know a little Arabic or French, they do appreciate you making the effort.
Some of the staff can appear a little off hand, certainly no where near as friendly as Egypt where our last holiday was but the entrainment staff were always very chatty
Part of our holiday, included what was a free meal at the a la carte restaurant which is a pizzeria/ Italian however when you try and book, you are told, they are fully booked. Speak to you your rep and they get you in. Our Rep Natalie was very helpful getting us a table for my wifes birthday. Not surprisingly, the restaurant was no where near full so they obviously try to put people off.
Your rep will tell you about the trips on offer, I would avoid the free trip to a local town as you will be taken to a carpet factory and given a very hard sell to buy their local produce. Also free when you are AI is an hours sailing and canoe hire if you wish, ask on the beach for this.
If you walk to the exit gates, there are lots of taxis who will hound you for business, you must negotiate your price on where you want to go before getting in, be tough, be cheeky and get a good price, dont be scared of offending. As with any purchase, just think of it as a game and you wont upset anyone. Be wary of other taxis trying to get you on the way back saying their friend has asked them to pick you up and they know where you are staying, given away by your blue band around your wrist! Always meet your taxi where you agree and you will be fine.
There is a little train (noddy train) which goes to Monastir for 7DN return (twice daily), a nice town, spoilt for us by the heavy rain but worth a trip. If you want to buy things, go to the shopping centre and there is huge shop in there which sells tons of stuff, really nice, all fixed price and No hassle what so ever, unlike every other shop.
The staff and locals are somewhat fascinated by blonde hair children, our little girl got so much attention, sometimes I felt a little too much but in the resort, they are harmless enough, just be aware but its very child friendly and there are lots.
Overall, despite lots of rain, we had a nice break and for what we paid for 7 nights all inclusive, it was fantastic value for money.
if you want or expect European 4 or 5*, then this inst the place, if you want value for money in a huge complex with lots to do then it is and I would certainly recommend it to you.
If I was to go back, I think the time of year may be a consideration but hey, you cant control the weather! but I still got a tan, ate and drank loads and enjoyed it.
Happy to answer any other questions but just remember, this is a North African Muslim country and if you are not prepared for that or willing to accept the culture of such a place, then perhaps stick to Benidorm.
Local currency is Tunisian Dina, (DN), roughly around 44p per DN was the rate, but easier to work on 2DN per pound. for tipping, a couple of DN is ok, perhaps a little more if you get good service. I tipped our cleaner 6DN and he was very very happy!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Near to Monastir and approx 12 km from Sousse (Skanes - Tunisia). Broad, fine sandy beach. 22.000 sq m of gardens. A childrens paradise. Short transfer. Plenty of action and entertainment. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Hotel.de, Travelocity, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, HotelQuickly, Cheap Tickets, Priceline, Evoline ltd and HRS so you can book your Sahara Beach Aquapark Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sahara Beach Hotel Monastir
- Iberostar Hotel Sahara Beach
- Iberostar Hotel Monastir
- Sahara Beach Hotel Tunisia