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“Time to say goodbye”

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Marhaba Palace Hotel
Ranked #7 of 33 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 29, 2013

Just got back from our 8th visit here over the years in between Greece, Malta, Italy, Madeira , Canaries etc etc. All that can be said about the location, food, service , rooms etc has been covered by the many excellent and thoughtful reviews already posted. I am afraid this was one visit too many for us to this grand old hotel due to the impostion of all inclusive status by the tour operators. The lovely manager assured us it was not the hotels choice during one of our many chats. Incidentally he was the manager of the Imperial Marhaba when we first went to Tunisia in 2000 when it was a Thomson A la Carte hotel. Port el Kantaoui has never attracted large numbers of youngsters due to the lack of many bars, pubs or clubs. The guests who came to the hotel were mostly older folk who came time and time again for the warm weather and a peaceful holiday. Many we met again there will not be returning. All changed now I am afraid as the place was just about taken over by tattooed youngsters with toddlers and young babies attracted by the all inclusive attraction of unlimited alcohol. The bars were swarming with babies until all hours and the restaurant had it's share of crying babies way after 8pm which one would hope to be grown ups time.Dress code? Do not make me laugh. Most of the young and not so young men looked as if they had come straight from the pool or the beach in their shorts, sleeveless vests and flip flops.
Like to relax in the sun around the pool? Forget it unless you like the diet of pop music pumped out from a large speaker on the poolside stage.And who thought it would be a good idea to open the pool bar till midnight bearing in mind all the sea view rooms at a supplement over looked the pool.After three nights of being unable to get to sleep until after 1.30 am despite calls to reception to quieten the guests still whooping it up after the bar closed we abandoned our sea view room for a room overlooking the gardens.
My wife and I have enjoyed good holidays here in our retirement years being welcomed back like old friends by Raffika on reception, Taufik in the restaurant, Nbina the lovely omlette lady at breakfast and Adel.Lotfi,Faycel,Sami and Kamel in the bars. So it is farewell to those lovely folk, goodbye and thanks for the all the fish. ( You will have to look that one up!)

Room Tip: Sea view rooms get the morning sun and rooms overlooking the entrance gardens get the evening sun...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Michael S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 28, 2013

Just back today.
My husband and I were looking for a short break to unwind. Had looked at Canaries but opted for Tunisia. A first for us both.
We had a late flight so 4am check in. Hassel free no red tape they allowed us to deal with that later.
The facilities were great, when you bear in mind this is a 40 yr old hotel it may be tired but still very well kept.
Behind the scenes there is an army of people who maintain the grounds, the building etc that's before you even get to domestic and catering staff.
This Hotel is a very well run and managed facility that is successfully catering for various nationalities.
I really cannot fault this holiday unless I want to "nit pick"
The food was varied, well presented and plentiful.
Now the staff at this facility are there morning, noon and night. Always with a smile and willing to help and make your holiday enjoyable. They have succeeded in our case.
we had a wonderful time.
Now the sceptics out there will be saying oh probably not been many places.
We are well seasoned travellers of the whole five continents.
For the first time ever we found ourselves planning a return visit before even leaving.

Room Tip: We asked for a quiet room. This is the garden side of the Hotel
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Ttrackie7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Just returned from a two week holiday at Marhaba Palace Hotel in Port El Kantaoui and had a lovely holiday it was just what myself and partner needed to escape from the rat race for a fortnight. The hotel reception area is amazing and looks like a Palace and is definitely one of the nicer hotels in the area. In our opinion it is brilliant value for money as one of the cheaper 4 stars but is the quality you would expect. Very clean, beautiful white sandy private beach on the Mediterranean, although very busy, it is definitely advisable to book a hotel with a private beach in Tunisia as there are a lot of people selling all sorts on the beach and they are only allowed to walk through the private beaches rather than hassling everyone. The indoor and outdoor pools are lovely and clean of medium size with no slides but we spent most of the time at the beach. Was 28-29 degrees most days and 1 or 2 cloudy days. Some of the reception staff are a bit rude but any maintenance that needs doing in your room they will sort within the day; the handle on the balcony door was broken and got fixed on first day and the next week the towel rail in the bathroom broke but this again was fixed within the day. The cleanliness of the rooms is excellent although the hall ways to some of the rooms are a bit dark in the evening with fairly old carpet but that is just nit picking.

The hotel is a 5 min walk to the marina harbour which you can get to out the front of the hotel turn left or you can walk along the beach to it and it is perfectly safe. There is also a short walk past the marina to the tourist noddy train which takes you into Sousse for 3 dinar although you probably won't want to visit there more than once as it is very poor and run down and can be a bit unnerving if you don't know where you're going. The trips Thomas Cook offered were a few different trips to Roman Ruins, we went to the Amphitheater called El Djem for around 50 dinar each for a half day and we would recommend it. There are boat trips available from the marina, one called the Albatross which gives you a chance to see dolphins if you're lucky, also a pirate ship boat trip. On the beach there are lots of water sports; jet skis, para sailing, pedalos, banana boats all with set prices and Quad biking that they sell on the beach and is a short 5 min taxi ride from the hotel. This is 50-70 dinar each depending what you can haggle the price to!

Negatives: Food became repetitive and lacked a bit of choice and love at lunchtimes sometimes but was nice and every lunch and dinner there is a choice of chips, rice, pizza, pasta, fish, sometimes chicken or turkey and beef and port but the meat can be very fatty and the fish often undercooked. Evening entertainment was lacking and repeated exactly the same the second week; live music 2-3 times a week, fakir knife show, folk & belly dancing, karoke twice a week and a comedy drag show every Monday that they charge 20 dinar each for (we didn't bother as was advised it wasn't worth the money by other people staying at the hotel).

All in all it was a very relaxing and fun 2 week holiday that we both needed and I would definitely recommend others to stay at this hotel as it is very good value for money and a great way to experience Tunisia!

Room Tip: If you want a sea view room make sure that is what you book and not just as a 'request'. FYI...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank NicolaAllen27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Arrived at 09.25 but Passport control was so slow we lost a lot of time there, we avoided the porters who were wanting a tip for the bags but as we didnt have any Dinar we said NO! we didnt get to the Hotel until 12 noon then we had to wait until 2pm to get into our room, when we eventually got into our room we noticed they wernt as they were on the internet, they were in need of refurbishment..the place was very clean the rooms were cleaned and put clean sheets out every day..the variety of food was excellent and tasted good, didnt care much for the local drink a bit rough! the drinks were served in horrible blue plastic cups which didnt smell clean,
There was a new Hotel being built quite close by but this wasnt told to us when we booked the Holiday but it didnt disrupt our stay too much. The price we paid did not reflect the Hotel, but the beach and pool were ok, we didnt go on any trips or do any outside entertainment as we were there souly for a rest and if you didnt want to participate no one forced themselves on you. The evening entertainment wasnt great, much of a muchness, as in Hotels like this, the usual Karaoke, live music every night (couldnt understand the singer) Drag night. Anyway we did have a good time and would recommend this Hotel, but it all depends what the Individual wants from a Holiday, so all in all was a good enjoyable Holiday...

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank hatchepsut01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2013

Returned early hours from a great half term break at Marhaba Palace. Like other reviewers we found Enfidha airport pretty dire, LONG wait for luggage (not great when you've been travelling for many hours) and the most unfriendly staff I have ever encountered at any airport, ANYWHERE! Avoid the porters at the airport, they will pull your case 20 yards and expect a tip, we firmly said 'NO' but others weren't as firm and were called 'English p***ks' for failing to hand over English notes!
Arrived to the hotel at about 4am where we were told not to worry about filling in forms/check-in details but to get some rest and were then taken to our rooms. These were garden facing, which worked well for us as we got some late evening sun on the balcony, I can imagine however that in the height of summer the heat could be too much on this side of the hotel.
The following morning we completed check-in after breakfast, changed money and hired a safe. Quick, easy and painless, meaning we could go out to sunbathe almost immediately. We spent the first day around the pool, but found that the sun disappeared pretty quickly after lunch so the rest of the week we went to the beach. I will say though that we were warned about the hotel building taking place next door (we were with Thomas Cook), this usually consisted of 5 men stood around tapping at bricks with hammers and only seemed to be intrusive to those who wanted to moan...After all they could have laid on the beach instead of around the pool if it concerned them that much!
We have little to criticise about the drinks/food service at the hotel. The only slight negative for us were the horrible plastic glasses which often smelt dirty, so we tried to use the same cup for the day. The coffee and cappuccinos at the beach bar are wonderful, the coffee in the main bar not so good! The beach bed guy is fantastic, take the time to speak to him, he's worked at the hotel for 22years and retires next year! Also Nabil in the main restaurant is a delight and looked after us brilliantly.
Having read most of the reviews on here we went with an open mind and little expectations, I have to say however that we honestly found little to moan about, yes we were careful about taking our valuables either to the safe or out with us, but we do this wherever we go on holiday. Also we took our 15 year old daughter and her friend with us, they attracted a lot of attention from the male staff but no-one overstepped the mark and which 15 year old doesn't like being told they're beautiful?
The guys selling the boat trips, quad bikes etc can be pushy, be firm, if you're not interested say no and they will leave you alone, however they are cheaper than the reps so you can save money with them. Also be firm with the beach vendors, unless you fancy a new rug or sarong!
Finally, if you are looking for an action-packed hotel then this probably isn't the place for you. However, if like us you are after a beach holiday, then you should be okay! (unless you're expecting the Hilton for B&B prices!!) Remember, you are holidaying in a very poor country and you should be okay!
We will be booking for two weeks next year and looking forward to it already!

Room Tip: A small tip, 2TD, goes a long way!
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank alyf1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2013

We went for a short autumn break,to recharge the batteries,before the cold winter steps in...and we did.
Even though the hotel was not up to the standard we were expecting,i would just like to say that the staff were very friendly and helpful ,and efficient enough in their duties,most off the time.
The hotel has a lovely marble main reception area,but on closer inspection the place needs with a good touch up in areas to bring it back on top.For instance on first entering the breakfast room,all is good and food is in plenty supply,but if you are seated near the windows,you dont want to see that the putty and wood ,that holds in the glass,has been allowed to deteriorate,to an extent that dirt has embedded it self in it's place,when you are eating food,or that the outside window ledges are also dirty.
Our bedroom was ok,but they need to keep on top of repairs and replace old for new.An example being that in the bathroom the rail that holds the towels was bent down badly on one side ,as if someone had been swinging on it,and one of the bedside lamps was also bent and loose,and the wall light opposite the bed did not work,along with the aircon properly.But that a side,the room was large enough and clean,which for me having a clean room is important and it was.
The hotel was all inclusive,and we only went for seven days,which to be honest was enough,because food was very much similar every night,swapping one type of sauce for another,except for the pasta dish which never changed,it was always the same,just different shaped pasta and a tomato based sauce.It was also hit and miss as to wether the veg was hot or cold,along with the mash.If you are a dessert lover,like me,you would be dissapointed, as they only use a synthetic cream and again just sponge cake made in differnt shapes but made very pretty to look at.There was also some other kind of tarts and mousse type things that i could not make out whaat they were supposed to be.The best food by far was omlettes made by a lovey lady at breakfast,crepes by the pool,made by a man who had been doing it for 21 years and the pizzas.
The drinks were good,you got the real thing ( coca cola-diet too ) wine was passable,and the larger and spirits good.
The pool furniture could of been kept cleaner,it would of not been too hard for someone to go round in the evening wipeing them down for the next day.
We Were told that there was a new hotel being built next door,but that noise would be to a minimum,and it was,in fact i think there was only one day that i heard anything going on,it seemed abandoned,and was an eye sore if facing towards it,but with your back to it everything looked fine.
Would we go back? yes if we could be sure improvements had been made to the food ,and the place updated.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank janet b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2013

Back at Hotel for the 14th time and still as expected......... great holiday!!!!! staff are a delight, food great, returning again and again I think speaks for itself xx My only complaint is the new airport is a shambles but not bad enough to not return to this fabulous hotel and resort

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Debbie M
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:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#7 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#7 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#8 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#9 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range: $25 - $140 (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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