We have just returned from a weeks honeymoon at the Riu Bellevue Park hotel in Tunisia and I daresay we are glad to be home!!
That said, I'll start with the positive points about our holiday: Firstly, the hotel was lovely; very clean and exactly as advertised in the Thomson brochure. The meals were varied and plentiful in choice, I'm a pretty fussy eater and still managed to pick something to fill my plate with at every meal. The staff were always very helpful and the management team were very visible throughout our holiday and asked regularly how we were enjoying our break. There were sunbeds aplenty, even for those of us who were not early risers, I did see some guests going out early to 'reserve' beds but there was really no need. The entertainment team were also constantly trying to get guests up and joining in with activities which is nice if you like that sort of thing (if not, unlike most in tunisia they do take no for an answer!) Oh, and the weather was glorious, mid 40's all week so if it's a sun holiday you're after then this could well be for you.
Ok, lets consider the negatives and I'm afraid there are a few!! Our holiday company did not inform us that it was Ramadan whilst we were away, whilst I appreciate that my lack of general knowledge is partly to blame here I really think this was a big oversight. All the shops and bars near the hotel were shut until after 7pm, after which restuarants were full of locals and not terribly inviting. The locals who were observing ramadan were.....irritable to say the least - to the extent that the rep actually warned us at the welcome meeting about it.
Having never been to tunisia before we were perhaps a little niave to the culture. m not sure if the fact that all the locals were fasting was a factor, but we found the constant pestering to buy things and for tips and money in general to be quite draining. Whilst in Kairouan and Sousse we literally couldn't move for locals trying to sell us things and we were warned to be careful of thieves and pickpockets. By the end of the week it felt a little like everyone was trying to rip us off. Word of advice: do not buy from the markets, the government shops sell the same things for considerably less - which we found out the hard way.
We also had a pretty poor experience with one of the Thomson trips - the 3 Cities trip which promised to show us the sights, what it failed to mention was that as part of the trip we would be locked in a carpet shop with 2 locals trying to flog us extortionately priced rugs for over an hour - something which they warned us to avoid constantly. Not impressed!!
If it's a holiday of sunbathing and staying int he hotel you want, then this place is great; if you like to go and see the sights without being hassled then I'd think twice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * 3 Km from Port El Kantaoui* Located on the beach* Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach* 4-storey building surrounded by a 24,000 garden* 14 km from the center of Sousse* 200 m from various shops* 23 km from Monastir airport ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Clubhotel Bellevue Park Hotel