3 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Our worst holiday ever at this hotel
"I'm not normally compelled to write reviews but any help I can provide to future holiday makers and any damage I can do to the El Mouradi hotel in Gammarth just spurs me on.
If you are a student bent on a cheap 'n wild break, this hotel is not a bad option. If you are organising a large conference and want somewhere with a difference, it is not a bad option. If you are a coach of a young sports team, organise your tour and base your team at this hotel.
If you are a couple or family and just want a decent, relaxing holiday - just, please, do not come here.
During our stay (2 adults, two children 9 & 10), we had no more than 3-4 hours sleep at any one time. Traffic noise is virtually constant; with accompanying hooting, whistling and shouting too. Then, if that doesn't keep you awake, the corridors seem full of people returning loudly at all hours of the night - mostly young kids it seems, having their first trip away from mum and dad. (Sports teams mostly, while we where there but, apparently, this is very typical. Finally, if you've had any sleep at all, it will end when people start arriving for conferences, swelling the restaurant so hotel guests have to queue and then pick up what's left of the buffet when the locusts have been through.
Actually, the restaurant (and staff in it) is really good and, along with the indoor pool, somewhat of a redeeming feature, even if the coffee (only available at breakfast) is foul.
Oh, I should mention the golden beach they mention in El Mouradi brochures/website. It is pretty much a linear waste dump lined with broken shacks and old beachside restaurants that clearly have failed to survive some devastating typhoon many years ago.
In all, the experience adds up to the worst holiday we've had in 15 years, probably ever.
Make plans for somewhere else - and unless you are particularly fond of Roman ruins, you may want to avoid Tunisia too.
- Travel date: Sat 17th of April 2010
First off if you are reading this review...
"First off if you are reading this review please do not go to this hotel on any board basis. AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS! AVOID JUST SUNSHINE AT ALL COSTS!
I booked it as a last minute deal and thought I had got myself a brilliant deal. It was advertised as a 5 star hotel and that is a complete lie!
I went with my cousin for 1 week all inclusive for a relaxing time in the sun. We arrived at the hotel on sunday the 7th at about 3am. The porter instantly grabbed our bags as soon as we got through the door before we even had a second to breath.
Check in was fine. the main reception area is beautiful and really has the wow factor. Found our room and settled for the night.
The room we had was fine, enough space and clean. The main light switch in the room didnt work and kept making funny noises. It took about 5 trys to get the room lights on each time. The bathroom was clean and we also has a balcony which overlooked the pool which was nice.
The main restaurant you eat in is ok and food is all served in a buffet style. It is hit and miss with the food. Some of it is hot some cold.... most cold. The table cloths are always dirty and good luck if you can find a seat at dinner time.
The first couple of nights we got to the buffet about 1hour after it had started. The only table left in the entire room was dirty and full of left overs so we cleared the contents and sat down. We were then rudely told to move to the other side of the room, where all inclusive people were crammed. There were no free tables so our already cooling food was now cold. We had to stand with our plates till someone had finidhed their meal and then finaly try and eat ours. Again we had to clear our own table! The waiters never came to us to help or even to take our drinks orders. When we tried to flag down a waiter they ignored us!
Obviously at this point I was thoroughly miffed and was looking forwards to a drink and a trip to their onsite nightclub. It was then that we were told that the nightclub would be shut the entire week as it was ramadam. Both my cousin and I were not aware of this and when booking the holiday I would have gone somewhere else if they had informed me.
The bar at the hotel was nicely laid out and you can smoke in there which is a bonus for us english. As we were all inclusive we got drinks for free. When ordering our drinks as we are both female, the waiters and bar staff would not leave us alone. All holiday we had to fight off constant advances from the male staff (which is 99%) of the staff. Even when we were uncomfortable and told them to leave us alone or go away they wouldn't and contastly asked for our room numbers or to go home with them.
When ordering drinks you have to sign your receipt with your room number. ******ALWAYS LOOK AT YOUR RECEIPTS BEFORE SIGNING - ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT ALL ENCLUSIVE**************
The added 4/5 drinks to every receipt no matter how many drinks you had asked for. We were unsure how they benefited from this but they got very unhappy when we asked for a correct receipt!
We met a lovely lady who was on half board and the staff constantly tried to short change her and gave her terrible service. The staff's nickname for her was "the black." I assume this was due to the colour of her skin! How terrible is that!
She tried to get a drink at the bar one night and the charged her alot more than she had been charged another night. At that point she asked for a receipt as she was not happy it was the correct amount. The barman muttered something under his breath looked very annoyed and then opened the till gave her a handful more change and then produced the receipt.
It only got worse from there.
We went on an trip organised by "just sunshine" on the wednesday to a safari park and for a zulu evening after.
For starters "just sunshine" should be called "just useless!"
It was sold to us on the understanding we would have an english speaking tour guide for the whole day and evening as our entire group only spoke english. Our coach arrived 30mins late, our coach driver didn't speak a word of english or understand us! We arrived at the safari park and there was no english speaking guide to meet us, there was no guide at all! after alot of shouting we finally got the coach driver to come with us and he seemed to know where he was going.
I personally found the safari park very upsetting. I enjoyed my ride on the camel and found the Zulu evening the best experience of the whole terrible holiday.
When we saw a "just sunshine" rep with another group (the same one who promised us an english speaking guide - rachel) I approached her and explained that we didnt even have a guide just our non english speaking coach driver. She just said "really?" and walked off! What a useless, unhelpful, ignorant woman. Talk about useless. She had our money she didnt care about us any more!
The hotel has an ant problem, fly problem and rude useless staff problem. Saying that the maids were very helpful and deserve a big thank you.
At the end of the day the hotel was beautiful.
The pool was lovely.
99% of the staff were rude, useless, unhelpful and out for what ever they can get.
The food was 50/50 and I can honestly say that immodium saved me the whole holiday.
Spoons are like something from a fairy tale here. Good luck getting one!
The people I went with and other holiday makers we met made the holiday and saved me from possibly throwing myself off my balcony with disappointment.
- Travel date: Sun 14th of September 2008
A cheap holiday booked on Lastminute.com...
"A cheap holiday booked on Lastminute.com through Just Sunshine. The sunshine was great, the pool fantastic, but just about everything else lacked in some way. Would I recommend it to others? No.
The problems started at the airport with a 2 hour delay on the chartered flight to Monastir with Karthago. Nothing to do with the hotel but it set the tone for the holiday. We completed the two-and-a-half hour transfer to Gammarth at gone midnight (Tunis airport is 15 minutes from the hotel!). We were desperate to simply get to bed once we checked in with the unsmiling reception staff, but the hotel porter absolutely insisted on bringing up our two small wheelie cases. This left my girlfriend twiddling her thumbs for 20 minutes desperately needing to remove her contact lenses with her fluids in her case.
When he finally arrived, he all but demanded a tip. We explained in Franglais that we only had English money as we hadn't changed any yet and he said that was okay, but when confronted with a quid (all we had shy of a tenner note) he pulled a face and asked for "paper money". We managed to get rid without spending a tenner for the privilege of wheeling our bags 75 yards, but found out the next morning that he did it to everyone, even changing up his pound coins with another guest!
The hotel pool is superb and massive, and technically clever too in the way the edges swallow up waves, meaning it's always calm and super relaxing, and for us, the temperature was just right (I hate cold pools!). There're plenty of sun loungers although there was a bit of reservation-by-towel going on, we never had trouble finding a spot in the morning.
The beach is small, crowded, dirty and on our trip, the shoreline was lined with a metre or two of green algae, so we stuck to the pool.
Contrary to other reviews, we found French less useful than expected - both of us being relatively fluent. The hotel had an even mix of English, French, German and eastern European guests, and English was the most useful.
The staff were largely dismissive, unsmiling and unhelpful, except the waiters who are after tips... but we often felt they deserved them. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the food which, by the end of the holiday, I was starting to find nauseating. Always beautifully presented, but always utterly lacking in any flavour. Bland with a cloying bad-school-dinner smell hanging in the air (my girlfriend did enjoy the cake desserts though). By the end, I was surviving on salads for dinner and leathery cornflakes for breakfast.
There also seemed to be a chronic shortage of spoons in the dining room â places were bizarrely set with 3 pairs of knives and forks, problematic when it comes to ice cream and yoghurt!
The problem with this hotel is that itâs on its own. Youâre stuck there unless you taxi it into Tunis (donât bother with La Marsa and definitely not Sidi Bou Said). They obviously know this and everything is at rip-off prices. Think UK motorway service station pricing and youâll get the ideaâ¦ although at least there you can be pretty sure of getting a decent sandwich or burger! The hotel may have warranted 5 stars once upon a time but itâs not deserved now. The carpets are worn and marked, the paint peeling in places and the turnaround by the maid so slow that many of us took to permanently hanging the âdo not disturbâ cards. At 11am, your towels and sheets would disappear and it might be 5pm before they were replaced, making a shower before and a snooze after lunch a bit difficult. They also seemed to have a real blind spot for bog roll â 3 times we had to snaffle a roll from the toilets in the foyer (itâs very thin stuff and you go through it fast!).
DO NOT go on any organised trips with Just Sunshine. They couldnât seem to get anything right, and the one trip we did end up going on gave us 45 minutes in the Medina in Tunis (which was fun and needed several hours), a museum of mosaics (interesting to Roman history buffs maybe but wasted on me), half an hour at the ruins in Carthage (roasting and with very little shade, and these ruins are indeed very ruined with only very limited info plaques in French), then unaccountably, 2 hours in the supposedly âmost beautiful village in Tunisiaâ â Sidi Bou Said â where there was absolutely nothing to do apart from enjoy the AC in the supermarket (where the hotelâs prices really hit home!). The rest of the day was spent on a hot, crowded coach doing the kind of mileage that could be taken in a taxi for only a few dinar.
Our advice â get together with another couple and share a taxi into Tunis if you want to properly experience Tunisian culture and prices. The notable exception is the Moorish cafÃ© in the Hotel â do try the mint tea and a water pipe even if you donât smoke.
Other trips were cancelled with no notice meaning we got up at silly-oâclock for no reason - twice! Those who got to go on the trips said they werenât worth it. Getting hold of the rep, Ahmed, was difficult, and he seemed pretty useless except when it came to charming the ladies. Refunds were only given at the last minute meaning we ended up with a sizeable wad of cash to spend in the last hours before the airport, or exchange back for pounds with an obscene 30% commission.
The return flight was delayed for nearly 10 hours (meaning the next weeksâ intake got the same delay on their outbound journey) â just long enough for us to receive a free drink. All other Karthargo flights were still on the ground when we finally flew â the delay times increasing hour by hour with zero information. The pilot hinted that their company had had a âdifficult weekâ â make of that what you willâ¦.
I did really enjoy the Tunisian version of Fanta orange, like melted ice lollies from when I was a kid :-)"
- Travel date: Mon 7th of July 2008