My family and I spent summer in the Mediterranean for years (mainly Turkey) and we can say for ourselves that we have a very respectable experience - with hotels, service and facilites, and the "fine print" in the catalogs of tour operators. Btw, my wife was working as a flight attendant for about 10 years and traveled all around the world. I apologize in advance about possible vagueness in the text, because English is not our native language.
Tunisa has been our choice this year, mainly because Turkey was inacceptable because of high prices, and we wanted to try something new - and because this is our first trip there, we decided to go "on safely" and choose the best rated hotel in Monastir. Monastir was the choice because of direct flight from Belgrade, which transfer to hotel is reduced to a minimum.
One Resort is located just few minutes from the Monastir airport. At the first glance seems more than fair with their spacious parking and main building, across the street there is "Section A" (new part) in which we had a room. From there the restaurant is about 100 meters away and beach is about 300m. All around are lawns with palm trees and other tropical trees and bushes, and everything looks very well maintained.
Hotel lobby is spacious and comfortable, air conditioning very good, a large desk behind which you can see many diplomas and recommendations ("Best 2011...", etc.). Reception staff are very well speaking English, with wellcome drink (very good lemonade) and provides all necessary informations. The stairs near the reception leads to toilet not very representative maintained. My application that there is no soap in the men's restroom was resolved after exactly 6 days (and the same amount of applications, day by day). In the corridor before the toilet is the internet cafe - if you really have idea that surfing for half an hour is to be paid 3 - or amazing 5 euros per hour.
Room that was given to us (2 adults + 2 teenagers, 17 & 12 yrs old) was the standard sized but quite satisfactory for our needs, and what is the most important - clean. Safebox included, free and recommended.
Balcony overlooking the main building, park and mini golf course. Small table, two chairs and an armchair, quite enough. Separate bathroom and toilet. Air conditioning a little old fashioned with the remote controller fixed on the wall but functional. The toilet seat is impossible to stay up (boys, take note!) and must be held on with one hand.
In the bathroom the water doesn't go out from the bath and constantly clogged. The reception desk "handyman" uncorked it by hand - not enough, of course. Shower is totaly dysfunctional and it is impossible to regulate the amount between hot and cold water with constant changes in water pressure. During the 12-day stay we could not find "secret" in order to take a shower without danger of "hot - cold" incidents. I note that among the guests were many of those with really young children, and I can only imagine how they manage it.
Ruined doors of closets and a TV that does not work (after the second complain reception desk repaired it - 5 French, 3 German, 1 Dutch, 1 Tunissian and 1 Russian channel - poor choice if you ask me). The entrance door are hard to close.
Hint: when you leave the room you must do really good check that the door is really closed.
Food, meals, restaurants
Hotel has three restaurants - the main (Meridian), where you have your meals every day and two "a la carte" where you schedule a dinner once during the stay.
Meridian has a spacious hall and a smaller part outside, near the smaller (read “very small”) swimmingpool. The inner and outer part are connected with an automatic door. The idea is to avoid warming up the inner part where the air conditioning works. The problem is, that because of the proximity to the kitchen, hot dishes and plenty of people inside it is absolutely dysfunctional. Slowness of the staff in preparing the tables ( you have to ask for that and wait for stuff to lay the table), and removal of used plates essentially degrades the impression. There are not enough waiters, and according to our assessment, they are heedlessly running in all directions giving the impression of being lost and unfocused, automatically removing any plate which they think is"finished". So often it leads to comical scenes. At the same time, unnecessarily and inexplicably they leave really "finished" plates to stand on the table and attract countless swarms of flies. Because of that it is impossible to calm down even if you eat inside the restaurant. Flies are, I have to say, leitmotiv of the entire stay at this hotel and the other insects rather destroy the reputation of this place as No. 1 in Monastir.
Staff in the restaurant does not understand English, it is often unkind, overdrive, frowning and collides with guests carrying food, which gives a bad impression.
Hint: Do not use cloth napkins that you find on the table. Or, before you use it, just check – it maight be used already, , but I doubt it will help. For 12 days stay none of the four of us has not once got a clean, unused napkin - this applies to both the Meridian and a la carte restaurants!
The choice of food is quite decent and I would say classic, and I won't use many words: besides several kinds of meat and very well-prepared fish, there are many vegetables, diethetic buffet, kids buffet, a couple of local dishes (which are all the same), you can wait outside for (tasteless and poorly equipped) pizza or something from the grill ... if you arm yourself with patience, of course.
Hint: Do not send children for barbecue, because they will pour a lot less than usual ..
So, in general - no one will be left hungry. I have noticed that most of the food need "final touch" that would give them flavor and taste that you might remember. Let's say that there are planty of food - but the taste is often undefined.
In the morning you can get fresh orange juice after waiting in a long line (if there are clean glasses ), or an omelet (too long row) for which you must bring the cheese if you want your omelet that way, and of course the line goes very slowly. The staff has its own "rhythm" and the worst - not giving up on it. During lunch you have the choice of 3-4 sorts of ice cream every day, which is a very big plus. Ice cream is often completely melted what spoils an impression.
Talking about “a la carte” restaurants - the horrible impression: the first (Asian) is extremely poor air-conditioned and the service was criminally slow, food mostly tasteless and without character. The second, Blue & Blue has a plus just because the service which is much faster and you still have time to have dinner at the main restaurant if you remain hungry. Additionally, you may sit outside and have additional activities fending off swarms of mosquitoes.
Talking about food (and service) slightly shifts us to the bars in this resort. There are 3 bars and in 2of them you may get a food at a particular time of the day. .
Bars, snack and drinks
Lobby Bar is placed just behind the reception, very nicely decorated and well air-conditioned, with spacious bar. There are two billiard tables and several video games – that is not under the “all inclusive” and having to pay for that is a big, big minus.
Service at the bar (as everywhere) is very slow and the bartender doesn't not care for the long line of people near the bar if he has already decided to charm a guest or local girl. Drinks are mostly local, and an average quality. My wife likes red wine and she says it is very well. Another plus is that it is bottled wine. My beer was not possible to get a satisfactory grade: no refreshing, stale taste with no foam and served in small glasses - crime.
Coca Cola, Fanta and Sprite, some sort of local drinks served from plastic bottles, kids and other cocktails to order, what I find is a plus. Bottled water often is not cold, I can rather say is warm.
Beach Bar on the beach, very ugly and old-fashioned, very questionable cleanliness and extremely slow service. However, there you can get quite decent espresso with milk (if you survive the fight with flies) and during the afternoon, some kind of snacks: tuna sandwich (be aware of chilly!), cheese sandwich ... etc. Behind the bar there are toilets which can be useful if your room is far from the beach (like ours). However, when you first enter it, you'll realize that it's better to walk to your room, doesn't matter how far it is. Maintenance of toilets is a rare and hardly satisfactory what very annoy you.
Express Bar, spacious but very ugly, is located at the exit from the main restaurant on your way to the beach, on a plateau where is a stage for the evening show, and it is a very frequently place during the day. This is the main place for snacks and you can get food and drinks 24 h a day. The good thing is that there are 3 menus divided by hours: the first goes from morning to noon, second from noon untill 7pm, and the third from 7 to the morning so you know what to order (although it often happens that for some things they say "no" or “finished”).
The food is prepared when you order (hamburger, hot dog, pizza, pasta, lasagna, sandwiches) what is good because of large amount of heat and insects. Drinks are served in plastic cups which are (you guessed it) very small. The staff is mostly correct except the gentleman who serves morning coffee and has a "special relationship" with women without a male escort. Sad but true, this hillbilly haughty attitude is changing, the same moment when the "male escort" appears.
Also, I think that the staff sufficiently strongly preserves hygiene bar: I saw numerous times ,that they do not react when guests sit or rise children on a counter from which food is issued. Also, the waithers very often jump over the bar what I find is scandalous. Tables and chairs give the impression that they are never washed or cleaned with a cloth. If you are a smoker, nobody will empty the ashtray, but you on your own. If you manage to find a trash can. And ashtrays, of course.
Right to this bar, you can find the toilet, which is fairly well maintained and relatively clean.
Entertainment facilities (and swimming pools)
The possibilities for fun are planty. The animation team does very good work throughout the day and night. It is realy interesting and highly visited show which can be sometimes compared with pure art. You can see the work, efforts and investments, the stage is surprisingly well equipped and they have great costumes. A large number of mosquitoes from the surrounding vegetation ruins experience.
There are several tennis courts, a mini golf, football field, beach volley, table tennis, water sports (for money), water gym, dance school, darts ... There is a separate children - part which looks very nice, and where few girls take care of kids during the day. The problem is in evening, after the kids disco, if your child does not want to watch the show, or after the show, which ends at 10 p.m. Than you have to pay for billiards or video games because there is no other content and there is nothing else to do.
There are 4 swimming pools. Indoor pool is weakest visited during the summer and has section for children. The children's club has a small swimming pool and there is a slightly larger pool beside the main restaurant. Consider: The largest swimming pool in this hotel has dimensions of about 15x25 meters, also has a section for children, semilunar-shaped and around the pool there are about 130 sunbeds (on the meadow next to the additional 70) which certainly exceeds the capacity of the pool. Showers are located next to the pool and at the entrance to the beach. Showers are generally poorly maintained, often corked and full of sand. Part of the coast to the beach was raised in the form of walls to protect the hotel's facilities from wind. At the entrance to the beach there is a part where you can leave your slippers.
Ok, then, we arrived at the beach and sea. Well, that is why we are there, right?
Beach and Sea (The Devil is in the details)
If you had a chance to see a rocky and steep coast of Turkey around Bodrum, which illustrates the painful, unequal and excruciating fight a Man with Mother Nature about stealing pieces of land along the coast and turning into “something” usable and comfortable, then look at a beach in Tunisia is breathtaking.
Width, sand and blue sea with the relaxing sound of waves disarms at first. Over 300 sunbeds and enough space for everything that comes to your mind. The sea is warm and shallow (50 cm). Because of the waves there are sea plants in the wather during the afternoon but it does not disturb too much. The wind constantly blows, so you can be cheated and get serious burns (my example).
There are several security guards who are charged to drive away sellers who are constantly passing along the beach and offer their goods - part of the beach right next to the water represents a some kind of promenade: various sellers are offering everything from scarves, from worthless bijouterie to hashish, then members of the local equestrian club on horses, camel guides, police on horseback, the local guys on motorcycles (yes, you read right: the motorcycle)
Hint: Let your children build their castles in the sand near lounges, it is safer.
Hint 2: If the ball falls into the bushes - send guardian for it : We counted about 40 mosquito bites on our daughter for only 30 seconds while she was tryin to reach the ball. Yeah – 40.
Hint 3: If you are near the sea buoy just take caution: several times the jet ski riders entered over buoys among swimmers, fortunately without serious consequences.
So, after a series of contradictory experiences in the hotel, finally we have all the requirements for an ideal holiday, until you get to specifics, the damned details. Because as we know, there is The Devil in the Details: sunbeds are generally not clean and washed, sand on the beach too. Except empting trash cans from time to time ( I can say onces a day) you can not notice any work to improve the hygiene of this potentially great place. Sand is full of food waste, plastic spoons, butts and all kind of garbage , and lightly view on the sunbeds shows that it is not washed since it was made.
All this results in an enormous amount of flies that will not allow you to enjoy while drinking coffee or reading a book in the shade of the parasol, while soaking up the sun, while trying to take a nap after lunch or while building a sandcastle from a fairy tale - flies attack even while standing in shallow water and there is no chemical repellent that could help: the beaches belong to flies and they prove it at every step.
And that brings us to the main problem of this hotel: no commitment , no focus, unbalanced standards, and criminal hygiene.
We have seen enough hotels which, without compromise, solve problems with insects, may be just increasing the level of hygiene and service, so here I suspect that thay are interested in solving this problem at all. Just "sun and sea, what more?" cannot survive in the 21st century, and especially not if it is the highest ranked hotel in Monastir. This beach is not that large that it could not be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day, but it does not happens.
So called Customer Service personalized in a charming Mrs Blue, and unfortunately mostly oriented to sell you an "extra" service (birthday party for your wife, or flowers, for instance - at extra cost, of course, because the cache is the idea) got our observations regarding all the things that seriously undermine the reputation of the hotel and even more serious question how this hotel endowed the title "Top Hotel 2011" and “No. 1 in Monastir”.
So, not talking here about the jellyfish that appeared last 4 days of our stay, and which is understood as a natural unpleasance inherent in the warm seas, not to mention any of the great heat, which are expected in July and August, is not talking either about some arrogant drunk guests extremely inappropriate behavior, or others who stole children sun glasses just had left by the pool, not talking either about unleashed crowd that the second day of the holidays of Ramadan wants to lynch a woman with two children when she does not agree to the apparent robbery and pay more than 2 euros for photo with hawk (where price is not highlighted anywhere, but the bird was given to children to experiment) in the center of the city (There is no policeman, of course. They' re riding horses on the beach and send the „message“ to tourists that all is safe, ok and under control) - as a hotel for all of these things may not be responsible.
We talk about the things hotel management can and must solve if they really stand behind this 4 stars and numerous "confessions" but for some reasons they do not do anything. I talk about the necessary “state of mind” changes whene the guests will be treated as a guests and not as a prey ready to be rip off.
Therefore I think that the Tunisian tourism management has to think of very hard, painful and long journey. And that their future does not look good if they think that the One Resort is one really representative location.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SunConnect One Resort Monastir is a stylish and elegant hotel located right on the beach, offering entertaining and relaxing holidays for the entire family. Guests can choose between various culinary offers at the hotel's three restaurants, five bars and a café. One of the hotel's main themes is aqua-fun and the aqua park with numerous slides, as well as a spacious indoor and an outdoor pool, aswell as an intregrated kids' pools. For the younger family members, the hotel offers the ConnectKids Club, as well as the ConnectTeen Lounge. You can enjoy various treatments in the hotel's spa, like the Turkish bath or just relax in the Jacuzzi. Or why not go for a trip to nearby Monastir to explore the ancient Tunisia? ... more less
- Also Known As:
- One Resort Monastir Hotel Monastir
- 1 Resort Monastir
- One Hotel Monastir
- Monastir One Hotel