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Reviewed September 5, 2010

We stayed at The Abou Sofiane during the last week of August and the first week of September. On arrival the entrance was clean and we were welcomed by the staff. Check in was extremely efficient, you need to collect a form to fill in and are given your room key once this is filled in, and of course your wrist band is also given at this time. Despite the language barrier the receptionist was firendly and attentive.

We had a long walk to our rooms (176 & 178), in fact they were the furthest rooms away on the first floor. You are not given very good directions to your room, but our side of the hotel basically had only one corridor - you will get there eventually. When we arrived at our rooms we were blown away by the view, we had a tennis court between us and the beach and view was AWESOME! This was a fantastic start to the holiday. It has to be said, as in previous reviews, the rooms are a little bit tired and could do with a re-fit but they are not dirty and they provide everything that you need for your stay. A safe deposit box is in the room and the key for this will cost you 20 Dinar for your stay plus a 20 Dinar deposit. This gave us peace of mind for our stay. The maid works hard to keep the room clean, always extremely polite with a "good Morning" and an infectious smile! For this she received a small tip on the pillow every morning. Our sheets and night wear was always folded in different patterns.

We found that there was plenty of variety of food on offer. Everything on offer is worth a try, you never know you might just like it. Personally the desserts could have been better, but this is a very small gripe. The waiters in the restaurant are ALL very friendly and will try to keep you at their station for the duration, we tried to keep with the same waiter and a small regular tip was given in return for their ecellent service. The kitchen staff weren't the most friendly, but this could be due to the language barrier. Also bear in mind that we were here during Ramadam, meaning that the staff were not allowed to Eat, Drink or Smoke ALL DAY! Despite this the service was still good and up to the standard expected.

Drinks were available from various locations around the hotel. We found two superb Barman that deserve a mention. Fatty at the main bar remembers your drinks (unless you keep changing your drink like us!) and is mostly very friendly, he is less friendly in favour of efficiency when he is busy which personally I think is fair enough. He would shake your hand and smile when it was possible.
The second was Salem who worked in Georgies Bar. He was a very cheeky chap, but was good for a laugh and very good at his job! He loves his job! Salem found a drink that our 14 year old drunk for most of the holiday, so thanks to Salem for making her happy! The table clearers also deserve a mention with always a smile, a witty comment or just a "hello" they were all very ffriendly.

The entertainment in the evening was very very good, a different show every night rounded off the day very well. i would agree that the theatre Air conditioning could have been better but it was no worse than other similar venues in this country. I would reccomend you not to miss the Michael Jackson tribute. We didn't take part in daytime activities or Kids Club so cannot comment on this, apart from that if you are asked to take part all you have to do is say no, we found the team not to be pushy at all!

There is a shop on site who we found to be a little bit repetitive, not pushy just a bit "in your face". I reccomend you don't walk past him with your days shopping as he would have been able to do a much better price, usually "only 10 Dinar" We also found the photographer to be a little pushy once he had taken your photo, it was not until late on we realised it was best to tell him "no Photos thank you!"

Watersports are available on the beach, we didn't do any free ones, but did purchase paragliding and jet ski's. We used the guys closest to the Hotel as these are supposedly attached to the Hotel, remember still to haggle for the best price.

To finish if you are worried about the pushy sales guys a strong NO will usually suffice although we found a friendly "no thank you" did worrk better,once you let on that you like someting in their shop they pretty much have you and remember there are fixed price shops that sell pretty much the same stuff - Use this as your guide price and go haggle with the others for a bit of fun, you can always walk away if it gets too much.

We would return to this hotel and reccomend it to others.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank Steele_Long_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2010

Hotel is spacious and clean-some people have complained about decor- decor was no problem to us. The maids make nice pretty patterns with bed sheets and any clothesleft out. Food is plentiful and varied. I had no stomach problems,hubby had some!! The alchol is watered but the wine is the way forward. Get bottleof duty free spiritson way out if spirits is yr thing. Tip littleand often rather than one large amount. Must go to the Medina, Quad biking and camel ride, 1 hour is plenty 3 would be too many. If u get jellfish sting tomato juice works wonders. the fire display is to be seen by the entertainment crew - shaggys dancing is not to be missed. The Italians are a pain,rude pushy and obnoxious to staff and other guests. expect to pay 4 dinar(£2) to kantoui port and 8 (£4) to suess. Go to fixed price shop in suess before medina to gauge the prices so u know what to haggle. They like a haggle. Dont go to Medina alone. Do not believe any one who says they work at yr hoteland follow them, they lead u into a friends shop.It happened twice to us and i read they do it on here lol. U can also use cigarettes as tips. Take some cards as there is some dead time before the evening entertainment starts. all in all an amazing holiday and would def go back but i like to try new places.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank lisacm2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2010

I have just returned from a two week stay at the Abou Sofiane. I travelled with my fiance and my 10 year old son. This was our first time in an all inclusive hotel. We arrived at night and check in was quick and efficient. Our room was all that you would need for a two week stay. The beds were comfortable, there was plenty of room, nice balcony, decent bathroom. It was all spotlessly clean. The pool area was lovely with plenty of space and loads of sun loungers. If you tip the pool man on your first day he will reserve how ever many sun loungers you want and in whatever spot you want them every day. The pool is a little small for the size of the hotel but there is also an indoor pool which had a sliding roof over it which was left open. Also the beach is only a few steps away from the pool area and the beach is beautiful with free sun loungers and a great range of watersports/activities on offer. Some of them you have to pay for such as jet skiing but pedalos and windsurfing lessons, sailing lessons are free in your all inclusive package. The poolside bar is good and a bit of a smile and some manners go a long way with the barman. Breakfast is served in the main dining room and there is a choice of continental i.e. cheeses, meats, croissants, or cooked breakfast, cereals, toast. There is a chef who makes omelettes and fried eggs fresh to order and the omelettes were delicious. Lunch can be eaten in the main dining room, the pool bar or the beach bar. We didn't use the dining room at lunch time as we were normally at the pool. The pool bar serves burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, pasta, salad, fish, crepes so there is something for everyone. Evening meals are served in the main dining room and there is a wide choice every night and a kids buffet area where they make fresh pizzas and a selection of pasta dishes. If you tip the waiter at the start he will keep a table for you every night and our waiter had our drinks on the table waiting for us each night. You also get a voucher for one visit to the Tunisian restaurant and one for the a la carte restaurant. The vouchers state that men must wear trousers however this wasn't enforced and most men we saw going in were in tailored shorts. There are a lot of activites going on during the day such as aqua gym, archery, volleyball, football, boules, water polo, team games etc. Most of the entertainment team take no for an answer if you are happy just to be on your sun lounger but one or two are a little too pushy and actually suggested my fiance was only half a man because he didn't want to join in the family olympics! As this entailed games in the pool and he doesn't swim i felt this was a little OTT. There is quite loud music playing around the pool most of the day so if you like peace & quiet this hotel is not for you unless you prefer the beach.
The entertainment teams talents were outstanding. They are all really talented guys and put on some great shows especially the Michael Jackson night and the African beach party night. The main entertainer, Shaggy, is exceptional. The kids club staff are second to none and work really hard all the time. My son had a great time and was kept occupied constantly, even appearing in one of the shows one night.
On the downside:
If you want to exchange travellers cheques at reception there is always a long queue as only one member of staff deals with this and only for a few hours each day.
If you prefer diet drinks or need them as a diabetic you are out of luck at the pool bar or beach bar. They are only available in the hotel bar. You can buy them from the hotel shop though if you need to, however that is annoying when you are all inclusive.
All of the evening entertainment except for the african beach night is indoors in the theatre/disco and the air conditioning isn't great when it is full.
We ventured down to the marina on our second night which is about a 15 minute walk away. Within a few minutes of leaving the hotel we were approached by teenagers begging us for money. When we arrived at the marina we were constantly hassled by people trying to get us in their shop or restaurant. This happens in places like Portugal etc I know but they are much more persistent in Tunisia. If you do enter a shop it is virtually impossible to just browse as the sales staff are with you immediately trying to put necklaces on you, bags on your shoulder etc to persuade you to buy them. The rep advises you to haggle but we tried this and the shop staff didn't like it much and became quite abrupt. I was so fed up at the amount of harrassment that I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel. We did find a couple of shops later in the holiday that were in the opposite direction and they were fixed price shops like ours so there was no hassle which was great, however they had no air con!
The airport experience when we were coming home was horrendous. The queue for passport control was ridiculous as they didn't have enough staff on and would stop for a cigarette every few minutes. Also if one of the locals comes along wanting a flight they allow them to jump the queue and put them in front of you then stand chatting to them for ages, this happened five times to us. We were in the queue to go through passport control for 11/2 hours and then did not have time to have a look around any of the shops. Also none of the toilets in the airport that i tried to use had any toilet paper in them. Also the air conditioning was virtually non existent in the airport.
All in all the hotel is very good but Tunisia was not the place for me, I didn't like the hassle in the shops. Don't let this put you off going though as every one is different and some people enjoyed the haggling.
Some reviews i read before going critisised the food but we all enjoyed it and had no complaints about it. There is a small team of Italian entertainers who are the rudest people i have ever come across, don't be surprised to see them frequently ignore any queue for drinks or reception they walk past the queue to the front and insist on being served immediately. I even saw one of them snatch the jug of milk out of a ladies hand at breakfast because he wanted it at the same time she did! She was flabbergasted.
I will say that the hotel staff are friendly, helpful and are great with the children and the weather was fantastic.
You can have a great holiday here if you are happy to stay in the hotel all the time or if you go out you will be fine if you have a high tolerance level and a lot of patience.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank PriceyCardiff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2010

We stayed in room 240.

Room
Clean, 3 star, poor aircon - not comparable to UK aircon
Mini-bar extra (its actually only a fridge thats not replenished)
Safety deosit box costs extra
Remote control for tv requires deposit - but TV only had 1 english channel and its CNN
Nice balcony, not overlooked (our room)
No wi-fi
No tea/coffee facilities

Hotel pool
Never used it, very noisy in the afternoon tho. Always had activities going on, perfect for kids, not for people wanting to chill out.

Beach bar
Good food, some hot, some cold, mostly fresh.
Good drinks, wink and you might get an ice cube!

Hotel food buffet
Hit and miss, fresh pasta, basic pizzas and cooked meat
Good range but not many western dishes, had some great meals, had some poor ones.
Good service, our waiter would spot us and look after us

Hotel food a la carte
Good food, better than restaurant (on a bad day)
Good service
Watch out for the guy taking photos – you’ll need to haggle if you want a copy!

Hotel food – berber evening
Great atmosphere, lots of effort from the staff. Greatly under appreciated by some people. Why not try the local food!
Sangria!
Red wine!

Beach
Get a lounger by 9 or 10, then have breakfast is my advice
Avoid the Italians – very noisy
Anything without a motor is free to use
White hot sand, good sun loungers, good bits of shade, clean. Bit of a problem with the jellyfish.

Evening entertainment – show-time!
Good value, some great shows, lots of effort put in. Good disco.

Excursions we went on
African dream – don’t bother unless you can get table next to dance floor, not so much dancing as drumming, food very poor (if you don't like tuna or random fish). Red wine ok.
Sahara explorer (2 days) – good, lots of highlights, but also lots of time on a coach, our coach guide wasn’t the best but otherwise highlight of holiday.
Medina ramble – brilliant, a guide round Sousse medina (shopping), shows you where to go for bargains and the fixed price shops. Our guide was Wallid. We did the tour in the morning, then asked them where to go for lunch – i think it was the Cristal, food was very good. Then went back round by ourselves, its a little daunting, but just say no!

In general it was good, you might have problems we had with the staff preferring the Italians, basically the Italian hotel down the road was being refurbished so they were using ours. They are loud and arrogant, but i made sure i tipped the same staff so they knew it was worth serving me!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank laidbakmatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2010

We stayed for two weeks and within an hour of arriving home my daughter is trying to book again for October. My only complaint in the two weeks is there was too much choice of food - I couldn't decide what to have!!!!. The staff are very helpful and friendly, the entertainment team brilliant without being too pushy. It was good to see different nationalities relaxing together(although we won't mention the italians!!) Can't wait till we can go again

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank hebs42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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