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“Fantastic Holiday!! Why the complaints?”

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Marhaba Palace Hotel
Ranked #8 of 33 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 5, 2013

I stayed here in August last year for a week All Inclusive. The weather was very hot; wonderful for a Brit who usually experiences little more than a brisk spring and on-off summer sun! I really don't know why people are leaving negative reviews! I paid £600 for a week's AI stay with flights and transfers - an absolute bargain considering the quality of the hotel!

The hotel is clean and very spacious, with five bars to choose from which offer good quality drinks. Soft drinks are self-serve all day long which is great considering the heat. Our room was on the fourth floor with a stunning view of the pool area and the beach and sea. We often sat and had a drink while watching the evening karaoke and other entertainment, which was fantastic. The entertainers had so much energy that it made me seem lethargic! The one and only problem with the room was that the mini fridge door fell off, though the management were clearly embarrassed by this when it was brought up, and it was sorted out with more apologies than was needed. Room service was also quick and humbling - no matter how many times you insist on opening a bottle yourself, the staff refuse to allow you to do it yourself.

The food was varied, of good quality and freshly prepared. Despite what other reviewers might say, the meals are well above 'average'. As an AI resident, you're entitled to one evening meal in the al a carte restaurant. I would highly recommend it, even if you aren't AI. It's delicious! The chefs are clearly very talented. My advice would be to try to the Brick (a Tunisian speciality) which was a starter but I could have eaten it all over again!

I read a few reviews about the hotel's private beach that made me wary before I went on holiday. Apparently the beach was dirty and covered in soiled nappies. I've never heard such a ridiculous comment! It is white, perfectly clean and hosts a quick-serve beach bar and a wide array of water sports that you can do for a pittance. The beach staff insist on carrying your sun lounger for you. And no, despite what people say, they don't demand OR expect a tip. In fact, everyone I offered a tip to refused it profusely.

The hotel is extremely well situated. There's an Irish bar over the road that hosts karaoke and serves English style food. The Port el Kantoui marina is a 5-10 minute walk away. Despite being AI I was there nearly every day, people watching, reading and having drinks in the restaurant outdoor areas. Peaceful yet full of life, the marina is absolutely beautiful. One day I did have to take my own bottle of ketchup because the restaurant ran out but is that really a big deal?

Also, try travelling into Sousse, the nearest city, if you want a taste of culture! The roads are 'Wacky Races' but the local markets are fabulous, as are the local bistros. Even if you're not ordering food, they bring out free food for you as you stay for drinks. Ours stay progressed from olives to full plates of chips and chicken! If you choose to go to the city, make sure you haggle with taxi drivers. DO NOT allow them to 'put the meter on'. Haggling got us to and from Sousse for the equivalent of £6!

For the sake of avoiding bias, I will mention one negative - the pool. Despite the fact that there was a little building work going on next door (which must be done, regardless of how much SOME people complain about it) this was not what annoyed me. It was the fact that people would get up at 6 in the morning (I once clocked someone doing it at 5:45) to put their towels on a poolside sun lounger, only to them go back to bed until finally arriving at the pool around 10:00. The hotel should not allow this reserving attitude in my opinion. However, on the other hand, you have to hand it to those holidaymakers. It takes a great deal of 'patheticness' to get up at half 5 during your holiday to reserve a sun lounger. Clearly such holidaymakers think sun loungers are the Holy Grail, whilst the rest of us laugh and cringe as we watch them from our balcony windows.

My brother and sister-in-law have been to Tunisia and are going back, to this hotel. My sister is eager to do the same, as am I. Ignore the bad reviews. Those people are clearly too used to having footstools pushed under their feet and crystal glasses filled with champagne put into their hands. I'd certainly go back to this hotel, and plan to!

Room Tip: Get a pool view, floor 4+!
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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21  Thank ryanw427
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,028 - 1,034 of 2,042 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2013

We all had a really good holiday here.Lots of choices for breakfast,lunch and dinner,would class the food 5 star rating! All staff from waiters, cleaners and reception make this hotel as every effort possible had been given.The animation team are excellent all really friendly adel kimo mehdi and well talented!! Location is not so good,but we were well aware of this before we went.Hello to everyone there and thankyou for a very enjoyable and restful week.from Anna Maureen Linda and Terry.

Room Tip: We were given a sea view overlooking the swiming pool it was sunny and quiet See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank lublu1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

After many visits to Tunisia decided to try this hotel with a group of friends last week. The hotel reception is a bit dark but not unlike many others i have been in. The rooms were large and the bathrooms were quite good i.e. no broken tiles etc. The maids do a great job and the rooms was always very clean. The food was surprisingly good. Always hot and plenty of variety. The main problem with this hotel is the bar and some of the pool bar staff. Many times as we walked up to the bar the waiter would just walk away and ignore us - even serve other people and leave us standing there. That is not typical of Tunisia in fact just the opposite. Most waiters are very attentive and always friendly but not at this hotel. The pool bar staff are a bit better but still leave a lot to be desired if they want to keep guests coming back. I think 'all inclusive' has made a big difference to the waiting staff i.e. not as many tips and considering their salary they need it but even if we are AI we still give tips if we get good service, As a result this time we didn't tip bar staff. We did tell the rep and she said she would speak to the manager again which means other people have had the same complaint so they need to sort the problem out. On the whole we had a good week. The hotel is well placed for a walk into the Port and the Irish bar is over the road so plenty to see in the surrounding area.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Sheila M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

My husband and i stayed here 17th to 24th march, check in was about 30mins you have to fill in a form, as it was 9.30pm when we got checked in we where informed a salad would be sent to our room in 30 mins, it never arrived great start. The first morning went for breakfast this was a joke no tables, no plates it was like a school canteen, the next couple of days where slightly better, the selection was good the lady doing the omlettes was very polite if you where willing to wait 15 mins to get one. Rooms a little dated but we didnt mind this you dont go on holiday to sit in your room, it was clean but there was a lack of sockets to charge things. Food was fine always found something to eat, the problem i had was we where told we where on first sitting 6pm to 7.30pm i`ve been on a lot of AI holidays and never been told when i can eat, did`nt like this at all. On the thursday a conference desended on the hotel Tunisian doctors plus all thier families this was a nightmare children running about all over the hotel till the wee small hours, meal times where just a joke you could`nt get near and they where testing the food with the serving spoons, disgusting, we went in on the thursday and just walked out again.Now tipping my husband did tip the waiters the barmen and the pool guys, the maid we normally tip at the end of our holiday,,,,,,on our last day we left the pool and retired to our room, we were sitting on the balcony when i heard a noise I turned to see the maid in the middle of the room my husband got up and asked what she wanted, she informed us she was off the next day and put her hand out, i was shocked, basically tip me now, my husband did give her money but i thought she should have been march right back out again. In the evening we went for our meal our waiter kept saying have a nice journey home,(bare in mind he has been tipped nearly ever night) i heard him say to another couple he was on in the morning for breakfast, when we were leaving he was nowhere to be seen, i said to my husband it was okay he could give him his tip in the morning. We went to the bar about 20 mins later
the waiter came into the bar straight over to us to say goodbye again in other words tip me, by this time i had enough i dont mind tipping for good service but this was just a joke. So beware. All in all i did have a good time, would i return, dont think so unless i got it cheap. PS. the building work next door did not bother us at all you hardly hear anything.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank ElaineDavy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

my first holiday to tunisia the hotel and the service perfect and will coming back this summer to yasmin hammamet and sidi bou sidWe took the opportunity of taking a weeks holiday in the Marhaba palace, Port El Kantaoui from the 17th Mar until the 24th. We landed at approx 20.30 and it was a fairly quick process of clearing customs but soon encountered the airport porters, no matter how much you argued they took your bags from you and heading towards...

Room Tip: my room in corner site off the hotel
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank 493sam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

Ok, just got in from a one week trip, a couple with a 14 year old son (23-30 March 2013).
Some of the staff were friendly, the majority appeared tired, quite laid back and without any interest in customer service.
On three occasions, I asked for water and was told I was too early for the 'all inclusive', I asked if I could buy the water and was told 'no', I had to wait. The '24 hour reception with money exchange' - the money exchange bit isn't 24 hours.
The 'Beach BBQ' - didn't find that one.
The 'Pool Snack Bar' - eventually discovered that it was being renovated, no mention of that at the time of booking, or the extensive building work going on next door.
The Pool Side staff - the man who looked after towels and mattresses was very friendly, the maintenance man held out his hand for payment when we got mattresses.
The 'snacks' in the main bar - one tray of cakes or crepes and that's your lot - miss it, you don't get any!
Location - very good and near to the port and the square, easy walking distance.
The hotel was clean, albeit, very tired furniture in rooms (room was a very good size).
The food, on the whole, we found to be fresh and tasty and the staff in the restaurant, the friendliest.
Nice break, wouldn't return, sorry :(

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank PollyB65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Just returned from a one week golf trip whilst staying at this hotel, pretty much all the issues good and bad are covered in the latest reviews, however, in Jeanette's review she mentions her case had been opened. When I got home I had a distinct feeling my case had been rummaged through even though 2 large bottles of good gin bought going out where still in there??
The golf was good, played Sea Course 3 times and Panorama twice, Panorama was the better course overall IMO but greens on both were good.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
4  Thank Maldivesb0und
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marhaba Palace Hotel

Address: Jinane El Kantaoui | Sousse, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia
Location: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#9 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range: $35 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Marhaba Palace Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 322
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wake up across from the golf club, have a walk on the seafront, explore the paved alleys of Port El Kantaoui or simply unwind at the pool: Marhaba Palace is a dream place for an unforgettable stay. In the restaurant, a collection of great wines and local cuisine with the flavours of thyme and basil pamper the palate. This charming hotel, in the heart of the resort of port El Kantaoui, will seduce you with its personalised hospitality and efficient, discrete service.Welcome to MARHABA PALACE ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Marhaba Palace
Marhaba Palace Tunisia
Tunisia Marhaba Palace
Marhaba Palace Port El Kantaoui
Marhaba Palace Hotel Tunisia

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