8 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Don't go there!!!
"Djerba Palace? More like Djerba Prison if you ask me! I can't really think of anything that would make me want to go back there - or back to Tunisia for that matter, as this experiance really put me off the country.
Firstly when me and my family arrived there in April for a holiday we were not greeted by very friendly staff -they gave us dirty looks and did not even offer to help us with our luggage, which means that whoever is the manager obviously does not highlight the importance of customer service.
Secondly the restaurant: the dining chairs had spears that seemed ready to cause serious damage to someone, as myself and my brother got hurt twice by them! The food was nothing to right home about as there was pretty much the same every day. It got to the point where we ended up eating out everyday which made paying for half board a complete waste of money! Tunisian food is actually very colourful and full of variety and flavour, however it seems that the manager of the restaurant in both Djerba Palace and Cesar Palace ( apparantly his name is Ahmed!),simply couldn't give a toss about what he serves his guests. One very shocking thing that myself and my mother witnessed was that this restaurant 'manager' actually scratched his head and picked his nose while standing next to the buffet when he was supposed to be welcoming guests! Needless to say we left our food straight away as that really put us off-BIG TIME!
The rooms were hardly ever clean - probably because the cleaners are too busy shouting at each other in the corridor where everyone can hear! Wonderful when you've just spent money on a holiday that is supposed to give you tranquility and fun! The beds were so uncomfortable that all of us came back home with backaches and the rooms were so small that we were constantly squeezing past each other.
Finally there is practically NO 24 hour room service, which I have recieved in every hotel I have ever stayed in. After coming back from a night out my step-father called the reception for some tea. He rudely replied, 'NO ROOM SERVICE AFTER 10!' and hung up the phone-how awful!"
- Travel date: Wed 17th of December 2008
Being a Greekophile, I rarely consider o...
"Being a Greekophile, I rarely consider other resorts but when the chance of a winter break arose, I opted for the unusual and steered clear of the Canaries.
We chose Tunisia for a variety of reasons. First a different culture, second the price of the holiday and the standard of accommodation offered and finally the chance of good weather. We were not disappointed with any of these.
Djerba is an island on the south eastern side of Tunisia towards Libya and the tiny but efficient airport is capable of dealing with a decent amount of tourism. The trip from the airport to the hotel was just over 20 minutes. As we arrived in the evening the sights of the town were not visible.
The Miramar chain of hotels are French run and have that subtle mixture of French and Arabian charm.
On the coach we were told some bad news and some good news. The rep said the bad news was that our 4 star hotel was not yet finished in time for the new season but the good news was that we were being placed in the sister and adjoining hotel, the Miramar Caesars palace hotel. This was a 5 star hotel complete with spa etc.
The rooms were absolutely fabulous with lots of space a good sized balcony overlooking the pool and maid service to die for. Every day we had fresh towels and bedding and the towels were formed into patterns or shapes such as hearts or swans etc. A wonderful personal touch.
The cuisine was also a blend of French, Arabian and Mediterranean food. The breakfasts were ample with the unfamiliar sight of two egg chefs preparing crepes, omelettes, fried, poached, or scrambled eggs. We opted to stay half board because the evening meals were sumptuous and filling.
Every night there were at least 9 choices of main course, 5 starters, and 5 desserts to choose from. On top of this were salads, cold meats etc. The Tunisian wines were pleasant and went well with the food. We were never disappointed with the wines.
Fortunately the restaurant was self service and the continuous updating and replenishing of dishes never left you feeling upset that your favourite dish had all gone.
After evening meal our usual habit was to sit in the tea rooms where an assortment of hookahs and hubble-bubble pipes of varying sizes were available. The keeper of this treasure was a delightful Tunisian man whose name escapes me but served a wonderful mint tea that really settled your stomach after your dinner.
The bars were good and nothing was too much trouble. We arrived a little after 11pm but the All Inclusive bar prepared sandwiches for us. Each bar had its own entertainment that ranged from piano bar to disco to meeting place.
The weather for February was delightful being in the top 70's and mid 80's all week so we had a good little tan. The outdoor pool however was a tad too cold for me!!!! Even this pool had its own bar where food and drinks were available all day. There was bags of space for sunbathing.
There was little to do outside the hotel during the evening as the resort had just come into being but I imagine in summer walking along the main road will lead to other entertainments.
I don't recommend anyone to go All Inclusive because the hotel is a little restrictive in that aspect. When you purchase your drinks from the All Inclusive bar, drinks come in plastic glasses and are half pints instead of pints. You are not allowed to enter other bars with fellow guests whilst drinking beer, wine etc from the AI bar.
This tended to cause a little friction but you can't have the best of both worlds!
The only down side was the animation programme which was predominantly aimed at the French market. All shows and children's programmes were in French. When we were asked why we didn't participate in the shows etc we said it was because we didn't speak good enough French to comprehend what was going on.
The Italians and other nationalities also declined to attend the shows for the same reason yet only the Brits were criticised. But this was February; perhaps it gets better in the full swing of the season. I was told by our little tea-man that in July and August the temperature is too hot even for him and gets in the 100+ in temperature.
The excursions are good and reasonably priced. We took the trip to the Star Wars villages and Tattooine and paid by MasterCard. On checking our bill upon arrival home it was 13 pounds each for a full day out with 3 course lunch included! Very reasonable and we stocked up on Desert Roses, the quaint little pebbles that abound the perimeter of the Sahara.
One tip about the money. You cannot buy Tunisian dinar outside Tunisia and therefore you are not allowed to take it out of the country. There is a money exchange in the airport that you are directed to use but BE CAREFUL, make sure that you keep your receipt otherwise you cannot change back into Euros and when stopped at the Customs they will take the money off you with NO recompense."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of May 2007
We stayed at the Cesars Palace but this...
"We stayed at the Cesars Palace but this review encompasses the facilities on offer at the Djerba Palace too, as the two hotels are basically one and the same thing.
Firstly though, the room and the restaurant, which were part of Cesars Palace. We couldn't fault the former - it was a new room and was spotless, with a sea view and a maid who created fancy shapes out of the bath towels.
As for the restaurant - we had a buffet style breakfast and dinner and again, you couldn't really fault them. The food at dinner was piping hot and there was a very good selection of Tunisian dishes and beef/lamb/fish/pasta/veggie.
Neither of us had any adverse reaction to the food and the service (limited as it was being a buffet) was fine. Also, the Tunisian wines aren't that bad.
Basically, both the Djerba Palace and Cesars Palace are mainly occupied by French tourists, with a few Germans for good measure. Clearly therefore, the staff don't have a great grasp of English, so we tried our best with our limited French. Even if you don't, you won't have a problem as long as you don't expect to have in-depth conversations with waiters etc.
As mentioned on this site, entertainment is geared towards the French, although we were told that the entertainers themselves had been ordered to make an effort with the English and other nationalities. Don't expect to be included - if you want English based entertainments then go elsewhere.
The singalongs etc needn't bother you too much but if you're looking for a quiet getaway then be aware of them and particularly the disco that runs till 2am. We could hear it in our room but it depends where in the complex your room is located.
We based ourselves next to the small pool nearer the beach, which is to be recommended as it has a small bar and is reasonably peaceful. The other, larger, pool is where the entertainment occurs - water aerobics etc - and also where the (loud) music is played during the day (particularly the morning).
If you like a bit of raucousness then great - if you like falling asleep on your sun lounger then perhaps not.
As for the beach - not the prettiest and the huge piles of seaweed put us off. However other guests we spoke to said it was nicer down there than by the pools. A matter of personal opinion therefore.
The best thing about our week in Tunisia was the organised overnight excursion to the Sahara. It involves a lot of travelling by coach but is more than worth it if you want to witness Tunisia outside the Djerba resorts. It isn't too expensive and the opportunity to visit the desert/oasis/mountains/markets/villages is not to be missed - and again, the food wasn't bad at all.
Overall, our experience of Tunisia, Djerba and the hotels was a positive one. It won't suit everyone's tastes due partly to the French-based entertainments but if you can put those to one side and the weather is good (very hot, even in early May) then you'll have a good - and slightly different - holiday."
- Travel date: Wed 23rd of May 2007
Having read the other reports about this...
"Having read the other reports about this hotel my family and I set off with less than high hopes for our weeks holiday, and I have to say that it has turned out to be one the best we have had, and our previous misgivings were totally ill-founded.
The hotel staff went out of their way to help us, and always had the time to pass the time of day.
Yes, most only spoke Arabic and French with a spattering of English, but we made the effort, calling upon our limited French and also learnt "Shukran" (Thank you in Arabic), which went down very well.
As for no porters at 3 in the morning - yes our flight was delayed - we had two who worked their socks off to get our bags to our rooms.
I was worried that one of them was going to have a heart attack he was working so hard! Yet all through out our week, whenever we saw him, we said hello and were always met with a pleasant reply and beaming smile.
The adjoining Djerba Palace has a far more palatial appearance, and seemed to have mostly French guests, although some English were staying there.
There were organised activities for the French, by the French holiday company based there, with which we could have joined in, should we have wanted to. Really not our scene so we gave it a miss.
Evening entertainment for us is a few beers or bottle of wine, couple of tubes of Pringles (bought at the local supermarket) and a game of Uno!
Our rooms were very clean and spacious and the beds were extremely comfortable. We prefer a firmer mattress due to a history of back problems so slept like babes on the new ones on our beds.
Our children had a mezzanine style room right next door which was also very comfortable and ideal for them. The "minibar" (an empty fridge) was a little on the old side in our room but nevertheless kept our drinks chilled to perfection.
We stayed in the Spa block which is very new and is still suffering with a few teething problems as a result of poor building techniques. We experienced a terrific storm one day and our room was awash as the double glazed door to the balcony was not fitted correctly.
However, a quick call to reception brought the staff rallying round, we even had a visit from the hotel manager (along with the builders!), very apologetic and eager to try to put things right. Not there was really anything really wrong just a very wet floor and carpet.
The food was nothing but excellent. Good choice at breakfast and evening meal, even my fussy 11 and 15 year olds never went hungry and always found plenty to eat. Waiters, chefs and bar staff were all great. No complaints, or tummy upsets, whatsoever.
DJ Sammy could upset some though starting up at 11pm and running through till 2am, although he never kept us awake. Any room numbered from 714 to 722 ( sea view rooms in the spa block) will experience noise from this, so something to bear in mind if you are a light sleeper or go in mid summer and have to have the door open for some air.
The weather was a bit of a mixed bag although we have come back with slight tans. Evenings were cool, and rain (as previously mentioned) can be very heavy so to pack a waterproof is a wise move.
The Thalasso spa was enjoyed by all of us, and everyone else we spoke to who had tried it, and considerably cheaper than UK prices.
The excursion to the Sahara was great fun. We just did the day trip, not the overnighter, and thought it was good value for money.
Hope they have fixed the exhaust back on the coach properly now, and not just left it tied on with the bit of rope acquired from the local berber/RAC who happened to come to our aid complete with donkey and wagon of old wood!
Length of rope purchased in exchange for cigarettes and cut with the aid of 2 rocks! But it all adds to the fun doesn't it?
We thought the crazy buggies outing was overpriced (Â£44 per car, 2 in a car) for what it amounted to and also involved, a lot of travel on main roads rather than off road, which we would have preferred.
Djerba itself is very much a work in progress, really not much to do outside of the hotel, although there is a bowling alley within walking distance.
The beach was generally clean although it did have quite a bit of debris after the storm.
Taxis are cheap, as are the souvenirs, of which there is very little to choose from.
The service on the Nouvelair flight was poor - very arrogant stewards, who were reluctant to top-up our soft drinks! A mini bar is advertised in their magazine, but not a drop of alcohol was available on either flight.
The cabin crew could not offer an explanation for this either, nothing to do with them being a Muslim country...
My advice is go, don't expect too much, as we did, and I'll think you'll have a good time. If I were going again next year I'd be very much looking forward to it, knowing what I do now.
We went wanting to recharge our batteries and a touch of winter sunshine, and we came back having got far more."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of February 2007
We booked this resort for a change from...
"We booked this resort for a change from the norm of Europe and were really not disappointed with the place.
It was scenic with beautiful beaches and blue sea and overall a lovely island for a relaxing week holiday.
We booked the Ceasers Palace on the understanding that it was the 5* option above the adjoining Djerba Palace and actually paid a little more.
On arrival to the Ceaser Palace it was very dark (night flight) and the reception was a little ropey not as grand as portrayed in the brochure web etc.
When we got to our room it was very clean a little on the small side but overall ok, definitely not a European 5* room though.
In the morning things looked promising great pool, near to the beach and quite a lot of buzz about the place.
During the course of the week things went a little downhill mainly for the following reasons:
â¢ We felt we had been duped in paying extra for the Ceasers Palace instead of the Djerba Palace as all the entertainment and shops, money exchange etc was located here. The reception in the Djerba Palace was lovely too compared to the concrete monstrosity of that greeted us in the Ceasers Palace. The staff in the Djerba Palace were ten times more helpful than the Ceasers Palace
â¢ Reception staff were rude and could not really be bothered at the Ceasers Palace
â¢ The food was not good and made my partner ill, this unfortunately seemed par for the course in many of the hotels in Djerba, when talking to other guests on our way back home
â¢ On an evening there is little to do if you are a) not French b) under 30 (we are) and c) want to go outside of the hotel
â¢ The main pool is noisy, it got a little irritating as the entertainments team catered for the French, when reading your book or listening to your MP3 you really donât need Mini Golf Competitions or Aqua aerobics in French diving around when you are just trying to chill out!
On a positive note when we did venture out of the hotel taxis are criminally cheap, the casino is a must, not for the gambling but for the restaurant and the bar itâs a real hotspot for the island and we had a great night.
We also decided to take a trip to the Sahara Desert as we were so close, this cost about Â£60 each for 2 days including overnight stay and all food travel etc and a 4X4 and camel rides.
This was excellent value for money and the tour guide was really good, the hotel we stayed in Douze was lovely and only rated a 3 star! It really is worth it if you have the time.
We would return to Tunisia maybe not Djerba again the beaches are great with water sports etc, climate is excellent and we tried to make the most of it, just a shame about the food.
On another note is near impossible to spend money here. If you want a cheap one Djerba in Sept is a good option taking into account all of the above."
- Travel date: Sun 31st of December 2006
I have just returned from a 2 week holid...
"I have just returned from a 2 week holiday at this hotel (I think). We were actually booked into, and registered on arrival, at the Djerba Palace Hotel. However on arrival we were told that we would be eating at the Ceaser's Palace and it was only when we came to leave that we were informed that we had actually been staying at the Ceaser's Palace Hotel... Lucky us, one might think a free upgrade! (Found out later that we and another family were upgraded because the Djerba Palace was over booked).
Firstly let me say this is not a 5 star hotel nor is it a 4 star. We were very lucky with the room we were allocated, (in fact it's the one actually shown in the Panorama brochure) fellow guests were not as fortunate; a family who had booked a 4 bedded room were given a small three bedded room with a camp bed as the extra, they were eventually moved to a 4 bed family room next to the disco which closed at 2:00am.. They were finally moved back to a larger 3 bed room and an extra bed was put in. Unfortunately this room was infested with large ants.
Another couple found black mold on the ceiling and then in the room they were moved to the toilet came away from the wall and after complaining about a green paint mark on a white wall came back to discover the wall had been repainted with paint which had had kerosene or diesel added to it. The room including their clothes stank. Many of the other guests had problems with their rooms which are far too many to mention here.
The food was adequate but the menu never changed so the same things were on offer every day. The chairs in the dining room are lethal, not only do they have sharp spiky decorations on them they are also very rickety. However the waiters are extremely helpful and make you feel very welcome. The star of the dining room is the chef in the morning who makes the crepes and the omlettes, he really goes out of his way to make what you want.
There are four swimming pools you can use, the large one where all the entertainment (in French) goes on throughout the day, the smaller one (where we spent most of our time) which is quieter apart from between four and half past five when all the French parents bring their children to swim after they have been in the Kids Club (Unfortunately there were 15 tiles missing from the bottom of the pool and a boy cut his foot quite badly while we were there). There is also an indoor pool which has a Jacuzzi and water therapy jets (but these are only on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. There is also a small aqua park with slides (but take care here the steps are very slippery and it is unsupervised.) The beach is ok but has lots of sea weed (definitely not dazzling as the brochure suggests). The snack bar on the beach definitely serves the best food at lunch time.
The hotel does offer massages and Turkish baths, but the actual place where they do this is horrible, offers very little privacy and is over priced for the therapies they offer. Next to the massage place there is a gym, my only comment about this facility is that itâs very dangerous and is a death or serious injury waiting to happen. (Ordinary rope is used to pull the weights).
There are two shops in the hotel one sells gifts and the other sells French newspapers and magazines and sweets. If you want to buy water or coke etc the shop is about 1 mile up the road. Anything else has to be bought from the town about 2 dinars in a taxi.
There is very little to do a night the entertainment put on by the animation team is extremely amateur and in French. We spent most evenings in the Djerba Palaces American bar with Abdul who played a good selection of music plus the waiter in there was by far the best in both hotels.
So what is good about the hotel. Undoubtedly the staff (apart from Ceaser Palace's reception where they are miserable and rude). The room boys and the maids go out of their way to make you feel welcome (every day our towels were folded on our bed to make hearts, butterflies, swans etc.)
This is definitely a holiday for people who just want to sit and laze in the sun."
- Travel date: Tue 29th of August 2006
We stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks in J...
"We stayed at this hotel for 2 weeks in June. So whatâs it like then?
Well this isnât Las Vegas. This Cesarâs Palace Hotel is little more than a foyer, a bar and a dining room with the bedrooms located in the grounds of its sister hotel the Djerba Palace. This is 1 hotel complex with 2 entrances, a French Butlins with a similar star rating, thereâs no way this place deserves a 5 star rating, even 3 stars would be pushing it.
So whatâs wrong with the place?
Although nicely decorated, the room we were allocated smelt of sewage for all of our stay. From talking to other guests this seemed to be the case in most of the bedrooms. Our room was also infested with ants. And, if youâre thinking of using the mini bar in your room, be warned itâs just an empty fridge and in our case, complete with broken door.
Described in the brochure as âDazzlingâ. Well that beach must have been somewhere else. Our beach was an overcrowded strip of sand with a constant flow of beach peddlers; all selling the same old tat. Watch out for the concrete and builders rubble in the water as you paddle in for a swim. Although you might not want too as I found out later that the local sewage pipe also runs into the sea here.
Health and safety
Obviously these words are not in the Tunisian language at the moment. Beware the sharp metal protrusions on top of the dining room chairs; I caught my arm on them 3 times. Also keep an eye out for the Bedouin tent structure in the dining room. This houses the dayâs selection of Tunisian dishes. It nearly caught fire while we were there. They use naked flame to heat the serving dishes on the buffet. Parents with small children and nylon t-shirts should be extra vigilant. Though theyâre more likely to burn themselves on the scalding water that comes out of the bathroom taps.
Thereâs not a lot on offer and what is available is all in French. The stand-up comedy night was hilarious, apparently.
If your room is by this, you might want to move. However it did tend to shut early due to apathy.
This was going on in some areas of the hotel. However this could be looked upon as a plus point as the hotel is quite shabby.
I think itâs Tunisian for boring. I canât think of any other way of describing it, apart from the Isle of Wight after a nuclear explosion. However if youâve come on holiday to buy a carpet.
So what's right with the place!
Well the staff were friendly and helpful. The food was good in the restaurant and bars, though after week 1 it did feel like deja vu. Panorama were efficient and friendly and finally there was Nouvelair. This Company flew us there and back. Flights were punctual and smooth. Couldnât fault these guys except maybe the in flight entertainment which consisted of a 200 mile long jet plane flying the route there and back on a LCD screen. But what the heck it was more interesting than the average night in, in front of the telly at home.
If you have booked to stay here, go armed with your air freshener, ant spray, a fire extinguisher and the fiction section of your local library. And chill out.
If you havenât booked yet, donât bother. Go to mainland Tunisia, itâs much better. The brochure said Djerba is popular with the French, and that really says it all."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of June 2006
Lovely hotel with a beautiful reception...
"Lovely hotel with a beautiful reception and bar area off to your left. Rooms are small but clean, all with air con, TV, fridge, with French doors onto balcony or terrace.
Food was out of this world, with a large selection for everyone! Just a tip though, if you have any thing from bbq at the rear of the restaurant just cut into it to check itâs cooked all the way through, as I didnât one night and was very ill all through the night till early morning. We put it down to the bbq as it was the only thing I had extra on my plate which my wife did not have!
The restaurant was on a self service basis, with waiters about to get you drinks etc?
So that meant you go up to help yourself again and again! The hotel Djerba palace adjoins onto the Caesars, so thus you being able to use the facilities of each others. The staff were all very friendly and helpful at all times.
But as only the two of us went away and my three kids went away with my mother, it was a good job really. As Iâve said lovely hotel with loads of activities, but all for the French, kids clubs for the French, evening entertainment all for the French, poolside and pool games for the French. So unless you can speak French you are stuffed. But that would of spoiled it if we had took the kids. But it's only the tour op's first summer season there, so give it time and let more British find out about the place, then itâll take my kids there.
Me and the wife made the most of one being without the kids and two just doing as we pleased. The local town is called midoun and a nice place, it only cost you 2 dinar or less which is about 75p - Â£1.00. The taxis are so cheap over there, one taxi driver even offered for a 5 -6 hours day trip all round the island going to all places of interest and his hidden secrets for the two of us for just 40 dinar. Thatâs about Â£37.00 bargain or what? Our tour rep offered us trips and also a good welcome meeting which is worth going to, to find all about Djerba. The trip we took was to Matmata and Deuz, which was fantastic on coach and across on to the main land by ferry. Then down through so lovely countryside and onwards to Deuz. From there upwards through the mountains to Matmata and down to the Sahara where we got on camels wearing all the traditional gear, and then off into the Sahara. Words cannot explain the experience. Its a must do if your so close from Djerba. It cost 150 dinar. About Â£70.00 for the two of us and well worth every penny.
Then onto the coach for 5 mins to a 4 star hotel for dinner, all inc with the cost of the trip. After dinner back on the coach, and off to visit where they filmed star wars. Yes star wars! It was great all the little houses built under the service of the sands. Make sure you have got your camera for loads of great pictures. Then onto the coach back home to Djerba island. Day trip lasting 13 hours. Long day but worth every minute.
Oh 1 dinar up the road from your hotel is the crocodile park, with 400 crocs and two museums. Great day out costing 24 dinars for two adults. About Â£10.00
Hope this helps you have a great holiday as we did, on the lovely island of Djerba."
- Travel date: Sun 7th of May 2006