Lella Baya & Thalasso Hotel
About Lella Baya & Thalasso Hotel
- high speed internet in room
- swimming pool
- free internet
- fitness center
- bar lounge
- free parking
- room service
- air conditioning
- smoking rooms available
- dry cleaning
- meeting room
- non smoking rooms
- laundry service
- concierge desk
- family rooms
- banquet room
- multilingual staff
- breakfast buffet
- outdoor pool
- conference facilities
- free breakfast
- private balcony
- breakfast available
- reduced mobility rooms
- heated pool
- indoor pool
- poolside bar
- kids club
- tv channel one russia
- tv rtr planeta russia
11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Not 5* service.
"I stayed at the Lella Baya for 1 week at the end of June. I went alone, and was almost ignored by the majority of the staff.. The male pool staff were about the only ones who took any interest in getting drinks. And I am sure that is because i was in a bikini.
I was ignored at dinner in the evenings, I sat one evening with my meal in front of me and I waited 15 mins for my cutlery. Each time I tried to get staff attention, they would scuttle off. Just looking busy.. not actually doing much. The food was dire. I truly believe that the chefs did not taste the food before It went out to the buffet. Always cold and bland most of the time or over spiced with chilli - not appetising.
The Pool resturant was ok, but you have to get in early as it got very busy during the day. It is not open in the evening. They do have al Al La Carte resturant, but the whole week I was there I did not see anyone eating in there.
Unless your French, Russian or Italian the staff are not interested in your requests. Or openly sigh if you have a request that is not to their liking. They were generally just plain rude.
The bedrooms are OK, bathrooms could be better - mould on the shower curtains and they could be generally cleaner. The water ran bright orange most of the time in the shower.
I have stayed in many types of hotels around the world and this hotel is really NOT 5*. The building and its interior could be considered 5* in Tunisia, but the service lets the whole place down.
I would never go back."
- Travel date: Thu 26th of July 2007
Loved Lella Baya
"I cannot believe the other reviews on this page are about the same hotel! It must have had an overhaul since these people stayed there!
We booked last minute and thought Tunisia looked nice for a change. When we arrived at the hotel we were served a (free) drink whilst we waited for the paperwork to be completed and then shown up to our room, which as others have said was very lovely.
The maids cleaned the rooms to a high standard daily. If you did fancy a lie-in you could sometimes hear them cleaning other rooms, but this is to be expected as they have their job to do!
We found all the staff friendly and helpful. Their grasp of English is much better than my French or Arabic! Especially as they also have to speak a bit of German, Russian, Dutch! The guests before us had left the safety deposit box locked with their code and the reception very quickly sent someone up to the room to fix it.
We found the food very nice. At breakfast omlettes and crepes were cooked fresh for each guest. There was also a continental style buffet and cakes/pastries as well as a hot buffet (scrambled eggs, sausages etc). Dinner was also nice. A wide range of salad/soup for starters. Then a whole array of options for main, followed by freshly made cake and homemade ice cream. I didn't see a chip the whole time I was there! As you would expect the food was TUNISIAN (not English or American) as you would expect in Tunisia!
We stayed by the gorgeous pool most days (towel available for a small deposit), however the beach is just over the promanade and was very nice and clean with a bar/snack bar. We ate in the pool restaurant a few times which was very reasonable and no-one tried to rip us off. Getting served at the pool bar sometimes took a while. You just ahve to remeber people are more laid back there and you're not in a rush anyway!
Most of the restaurants outside the hotel do serve the same kind of thing- pizzas, salads, fish of the day, pasta etc. But it was all reasonable.
Entertainment is generally a man with a keyboard who sings but nice all the same if your just looking for a relaxing holiday. We were at the front of the hotel and weren't disturbed by the entertainment at night. There is also an a la carte restaurant but you have to pay extra to dine there. 2 bars in the foyer charging similar prices as the bars outside the hotel.
Minibar in the room also but we just bought beer/water/snacks at the supermarket and kept them in our fridge. We did have to bring these in through reception though, not via the pool area. For hygiene reasons apparently ?!
The resort itself was pretty busy when we went. There are many other nationalities there. We felt in the minority being English. There wasn't a great lot to do in the evenings. Mainly strolling around the shops and bartering. There are some fixed price shops but we enjoyed getting into the spirit of things and bartering. They do start off at ridiculously high prices, but they know they're not going to get it. If you just say no and walk away they usually shouted a much more reasonable price after you!
I don't think i would have been so confident if I was a female on her own and wouldn't recommend going without a man!
There were a few nice bars but it being a mainly Muslim country the spirits were expensive (about Â£6 for a 40ml measure of gin). Beer was about Â£2 per pint and you could get a nice bottle of wine for Â£8.
We had a massage in the spa which was lovely although our rep had recommended the local Hammam which was a bit cheaper. Several other excursions were offered through the hotel or our rep. e.g. camel caravan, quad biking, pirate ship cruise etc.
All in all we had a great holiday. You just have to remember that you're in an African country not England. We would recommend this hotel to anyone and the resort also if you want to have a relaxing holiday and experience a different culture."
- Travel date: Sun 15th of July 2007
Awful Off Season
"We stayed at the Vincci Lella Baya in March 2006 on half-board basis. The weather in mid-March was rainy and windy, but with 2 days of sunshine. I'll break this review down for you:
By far the best thing about this hotel is how it looks. It's not for everybody - some have criticised it for being too 'Vegas-style'... although I really think that the quirkiness of this hotel is still way too tame to be anything like a Vegas hotel!
The pictures you see of the hotel on the website ( [--] ) are true to form. It is clean, bright and tidy, with grand and quirky interiors.
The rooms were spacious and cool, with air conditioning. There was ample storage for 2 of us (one wardbrobe, a chest, dressing table and 2 bedside cabinets). The balcony was also nice - although the 'sea view' was a bit of a con - it overlooked the hotel grounds and road opposite; with the sea in the distance.
Food and Drink:
Whether it was because we went off season, I'm not sure, but on the website you have pictures of friendly chefs serving up all kinds of Tunisian treats. There is supposedly 4 bars and 3 restaurants - although only one of each was open when we went, and I don't know where the rest were! The poolside bar was not open, even when we had a few sunny days.
The food was very bland; the breakfast was awful. It was a self-serve cafeteria style. We wish we'd stayed B&B instead of half-board, as we ended up eating out most of the time - although it must be said that I found the food in the local area rather bland and tasteless, too. With the exception of a lovely seafood restaurant that is actually on board a harboured boat; located on the main 'stip' of bars and restaurants. A few restaurants in Hammamet, a short taxi ride away, were recommended in our travel guide.... but I'm sorry to say that we were really put off by their outside appearance. I don't mean to cause any offence, but we found much of Hammamet (and Yasmine Hammamet) to be slightly dingy looking.
I was disappointed with the drinks offered in the bar. It seemed to be wine or beer, or orange juice. There were no spirits, like vodka, archers, malibu, etc. They also wouldn't serve wine by the glass! So every time I wanted a drink, we had to buy a bottle, which was extortionately priced, too. The entertainment was dire - a 40-year-old guy playing the keyboard.
The hotel, as far as I'm concerned, is the best looking in the area. The hotel opposite (I think it was the Ibis) had it's sign hanging off, which was very dangerous as it could easily have fallen and injured someone from the height it was at.
The hotel was a short 5-10 minute walk away from the main strip, which had numerous cafes all seeming to offer ice cream, pizza and paninis, as if they were some kind of Scooby Doo background repeating on a loop! There were a couple of nice bars - but unfortunately, we were the only ones in there! There were lots of little shops around, selling general Tunisian knick knacks, like wire bird cages and leather bags.
The main town of Hammamet, with the Medina (enclosed traditional marketplace) was a short taxi ride away.
Things to do:
Only one or two staff members spoke English, as the main language seemed to be French. There was a shabby tourist information centre down the road from the hotel, which was useless and unfriendly. The hotel staff did not help us to find things to do, and made no suggestions. There was no entry pack in our room telling us about local sights or excursions. After much searching, we found a hidden table in reception which had tourist leaflets written in Arabic, German, French, Polish, Italian... any language other than English! Because of this, and because hardly anything was open, we spent a lot of time just drinking and eating out, which became boring, especially when the resort was dead.
On the last day of our trip, the hotel was organising a quad-biking day. We would have gone on this if he'd have asked sooner! There was another guy earlier in the week organising a tour of the area, but we didn't fancy being herded around like sheep! We didn't want to be told what to do - we wanted to know what we could do by ourselves if we wanted!
Staff / Local People:
The staff were friendly enough, but did not speak good English, and those that did looked at us as if we were stupid when we asked about things to do in the area. At a major 5* hotel, you would expect more tourist information and more staff to speak English.
A word of warning to any women - the local men are vultures. You'd think it would be flattering to be in a country where every man stares at you, but it is very intimidating. If you smile at them or engage in any kind of conversation, they will not let you get away. Although I could deal with it, my boyfriend frequently got annoyed with how pushy and rude the men were, and the comments they made to me. It was the same for all women that I saw around.
By far the worst thing about the hotel and the resort is the pushy touts and reps. Inside the hotel, the only 2 times we saw the reps all week, they hassled us. As soon as you step outside, you have people offering you drugs, people with clipboards trying to get you to go somewhere, and store keepers trying to drag you into their shops. They will literally stand in your way and block your path to get you to talk to them. It was very suffocating to be hassled everywhere you walked. Bartering with the shopkeepers can be fun, but you'll find it hard to walk away without buying anything as they won't let you. They will also try to rip you off. I spent a whole hour in a shop buying a wire bird cage, because he'd started off at about Â£100! I managed to get him down to Â£10! Don't bother buying anything in Tunisia if you don't find haggling fun.
If you go to Hammamet, you will probably want to go and see the indoor market (Medina). Take a man with you, or make sure you're in a group. Never go alone if you are a woman. When we entered the market (which we had to pay for!), a man told us that he was a guide and would show us around the market. We were naive and followed him. There are lots of winding paths and there is no way out without going past dozens of shop owners trying to get you in their store. He led us up to the top of the Medina, to a deserted and dingy cafe, and tried to sell us jewellery. He made us very uncomfortable and was not happy when we left. Whilst trying to find the way out, we were constantly baraged by male shopkeepers who thought nothing of grabbing my hand, or forcing their produce into it. I hated it there, and unless you're a really fiesty woman, I strongly advise you to go with a man, or not at all.
There is a pleasant 'strip' of about 12 bars and cafes, with a few restaurants. Around the hotel there are a couple of clubs and bars - although some of this were closed. I imagine if you went in high season, it would be much more lively.
This is one of the best hotels in the area - but don't even bother going off season. Whilst other countries, like Cyprus perhaps, can be at least semi-busy during the Spring months, Tunisia is a ghost town. If you are a woman, take heed of all the warnings you will read about the men in the area and be prepared for how pushy they are. If you like to stroll around the streets in a bikini top and mini skirt, I don't think Tunisia is the place for you. I wouldn't go back there - but if you placed this hotel in another country, I'd book it up straight away!"
- Travel date: Tue 10th of July 2007
Hell on earth!!!
"On first impressions the hotel was ok and nice enough room looking over the beach.
We went half board as thought it would be a cheaper option, the food was vile, i have travelled the world and never seen anything like it. We ended up paying to eat out and that wasnt much better, food is not their specaility!!! I did loose a stone though through lack of food!!! When i tried to take bottles of water and crisps (as i needed some food or would pass out) the guard told me i was not allowed to bring anything into the hotel but by this time i was so fed up i told him i would be bringing it in! We were not the only ones to think this as when we got on our coach to go home everyone cheered, that really says something!!
Not only is the food bad the resort is awful, it seemed like a ghost town, people were so rude and there was nothing to do in the evenings except walk around the small market but after doing that twice you didnt feel like going again.
We didnt go on any trips thankfully but speaking to people who did there coach didnt turn up or said it was a waste of money.
Rep was also rubbish!!
If you want a nice week in the sun i would suggest Egypt (sharm) which you cannot fault or stick to Turkey / Greece etc .
I was so happy to get home, but what a waste of money and taking up my leave from work!!"
- Travel date: Fri 8th of June 2007
"Rude stuff. I stayed with my husband for only a night last Monday. I'd like to start with the bellboy who laughed when he received the 2 dinars tip and that was really rude and disappointed. And the most important... we made the reservation a month ago and when we arrived, they took us to our room which wasn't cleaned, so we had to leave all our luggage in there until the cleaning was done (which took about half hour without even offering a soft drink or just a bottle of water). I don't recommend this hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 22nd of March 2007
be careful for the stuff!!!
"First i would like to say that i was there at July 2006.The hotel is very good at the photos and the photos are true!the rooms were big the pool was very clean and everything seamd to be OK as we arrive.But the stuff is.....i dont know which word i can use for their behavor.First all the waiters are trying to steal you from the bill they dont bring you a receipt they just do the bill in front of you in a paper and they charge you diferent prices everyday for the beers and everything you pay (that's for lunch at the restaurant at the pool)!!!!!second the cleaning ladies are very impolite and they do so much noise at noon they push the beds and they don't care if someone is sliping to the next room.The hotel take's the towel's from the bathroom in the morning,they wash them and they bring them back to you at 16 or 17 o'clock in the afternoon,so if you want to get some rest in noon you cannot because you don't have towels!!!And there are so many kids and make so much noise they even hit your door just for fun and the hotel dosn't say anything.THE LAST BUT NOT LIST:be aware of the stuff (men) that do some jobs at the hotel.I mean one afternoon i went to my room to take something it was the hour that everyone is outside,i find one man out of me door and he started talking to me some stupid things that i didn't understand and he smiled and left.Then i went in and found that my luggage was break down !!!!!!!!!I was lucky because i had only some clothes inside and we had our camera with us.
The food at dinner was not very good and with no variety.
The breakfast defenitly it is not for European people or i could say for cristian they do not have any ham or bacon or even a gouda or edam or something like that.This is not an american style or european style breakfast as they say.
THIS IS NOT A 5 STAR HOTEL AND I WILL NEVER GO AGAIN."
- Travel date: Sat 20th of January 2007
Hotel not good spa lovely
"The hotel although looks attractive in the online website pictures, which admitedly was exactly how it looked as long as you dont take into account that it was meant to be 5 star!!!
The hotel is in need of a complete overhaul in many areas - outside paintwork, resteraunt, location of bedrooms, staff attitude etc - I shall explain below in more detail if you need to read on.....
The hotel has an ok pool which is cleaned daily, and has a smaller pool area for children - the main pool area is on the beachfront. The hotel has a private area on the beach, and this was generally pretty clean, additoinally provided was a complimentary sun lounger
However the rooms are directly above the "entertainment area" so called, but in reality was an ugly din that played every night until about 11pm and only kept you awake like a bad nightmare
The food - was very limited in choices from day to day., the good point is that most of the food in the evening was traditional however even as its traditional it is extremely poor and if you are vegetarian forget it!! You will be on pasta and tomato sauce every night- and even this was poorly made and most dishes are often regurgitated in a similar dish the next day - one day one of the dishes was even bubble and squeak!! In a 5 Star resteraunt i dont think so!!
The food during lunch is very limited, Every dish comes with chips chips and more chips, which are re fried, soggy and bascially not very good at all, and the wait for food was always long, sometimes in the region of 35-45 mins, and this was when it was quiet, so in the height of the season I dread to think
The laughably poor excuse for a fitness centre is basically non-existent and very limited in what it can offer, a few bikes and a rowing machine and that is it.
Lastly and most importantly, the staff are quite slow and some are really unhelpful - However!!
The staff in the spa area were wonderful, really helpful, polite, couteous and efficient. I think the rest of the staff should take lessons from them! The spa was restful relaxing and the treatments were delivered in a very professional manner. Between every treatment you are given a herbal tea to further aid relaxation.
What I would recommend to anyone is stay somewhere else and use the spa here. My mother whom I was travelling with, tried a treatment at the Sofitel and said that the spa at the Lela Baya was much better in layout, professionalism, and efficiency.
I would recommend the sofitel, and the iberostar to stay in amongst many others that are better than Lela Baya"
- Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007
bad food & quality...
"I will write ending comments in beginning in order to make things easier for you.. I will not go to this hotel next time.. I, personally, prefer food-taste and quality instead of comfort... For a better understand i will write my comments in a clear way..
a little note for Turkish people (who are likely to book trips via agencies) do not choose this hotel.. there are many better hotels with better quality and near to the casinos..
- Foods; were terrible.. as a turkish guy i did not like them all.. as a comparison, they were worse than italian, mexican, chinese and turkish foods.. never try pizza at pool restaurant.. nugget and calamar is superb.. Dinners and breakfasts were always same with enough types.. I can guarantee that you will eat all kind of foods in different ways pasta with so many garlic, fruit pizza etc..(tunisian cooks tried to differentiate themselves but it was disaster)
- Pool; was big and cold enough.. so clean...
- Sea; was so bad although it is mediterrean.. I live in turkey and know evertyhing about sea but i never saw this kind of bad sea before (in egypt, dubai etc)
- Towels; are not clean (i think they only cool them instead of wash) and they can be taken from reception between 8-10 am..
- Stuff; are polite but extremely slow... when you want something, they forget when they turn around.. (esp. waiters in pool restaurant were so slow.. i spent 1 hours for only to be served and give order..)
- Rooms; were good.. fresh, clean, big.. so many tv channels..
- Atmosphere; was extremely good.. i was impressed with the style of reception and all around hotel.. it was designed as an arabic village, full of stone-houses..
- Place of hotel, is in front of sea but there is a 2-sided road passing between the hotel and sea which is not seen in photos.. it was not problem.. (there was so little traffic)
- if you go to the right hand side from front door, you can find a great shopping are..
- from the back-door of the hotel;
to left hand side; some shops and marina which is good for time-killing at evenings..
to right hand side; shops and couple of italian restaurants.. a casino (about 400m)"
- Travel date: Tue 24th of October 2006
Very unusual hotel let down by the poor food on offer
"My wife and I stayed at the Lella Baya for the first week in Oct '06. It was a 'late booking' with Airtours and at Â£344 pp for HB was good value.
the weater was very good, warm and sunny, with rain overnight once, but getting cooler in the evenings.
The hotel is very unusual in it's design and decor throught, and it's web site 'virtual tour' doesn't do the hotel justice as it is stunning inside - like a cross between an Arabian castle and Aladin's cave, with a huge foyer, lounge/bar area and reception. It has 4 floors with at least 4 lifts. The pool is large 'lagoon' shaped with a shallow walk-in end and a deeper end for full swimmers. It was clean and well maintained as were the grounds/gardens, with a lot of sun beds, free matteresses and thatched brollies, all on grass. The is an indoor pool as part of the Spa facilities, and a shallow kids pool. There is a nice pool cafe serving lovely snack meals to about 15:00 each day, and a pool side bar with seating. The grounds are spacious and we could always get 2 sun beds with brollie, small table and chairs in good spots by the pool, as long as you are out reasonably early. We used to get ours about 08:00 and then pop in for breakfast, but this was in the low season!
The first room we were given was at the far end of this BIG hotel, and overlooked a half built/half derilict hotel nextdoor. So we didn't unpack, but saw our Airtours Rep who arranged an immediate move to a much nicer room overlooking the main entrance, although the Manager did the move he was very unfriendly and reluctant to help until we insisted. NOTE you need to pay extra for 'Sea view' room and this includes rooms overlooking the pool, so if you want this BOOK IN ADVANCE or you'll need to pay extra per night to move to such a room. We were happy with our (2nd) room which although had no sea view, still looked out on to the town with mountains in the distance. The room itself was large, bright, airy, clean and well maintained. Nice bathroom and seperate loo. There was a TV (limited channels), mini fridge (empty), very effective individually controlled Air Con and digital safe all FREE.
Plenty of storage space, and overall one of the nicest hotel rooms we've had, despite the slight 'drain smell' in the bathroom in the mornings which is common in a lot of Tunisian Hotels (don't think they've heard of bleach or disinfectant?).
Maid service daily with change of towles etc, we never saw the maid, we must have always been out when they came, but the room was cleaned every day.
Now for the bad bit... for a lovely 4 star hotel the food was very poor and let the hotel down in our opinion. Yes there was at first glace a lot on offer, but it was a lot of the same thing and not half as good as we've had before in Tunisia. It was all buffet style and as the restaurant is large (ground floor overlooking pool/grounds) we could always get a table, but at peek times (e.g 8-8.30 for b'fast, or 18.30-19.00 for dinner) it was busy and there were some queues for hot food etc. The overall quality was poor, there were 'burgers' or chicken legs on two nights for dinner - hardly 4 star food, and the salads and desserts were very limited.
At b'fast there was always a queue for fried eggs/ommelets as there was only one guy doing them, very slowly. The so called fruit juice was very weak and watery, but the bread and rolls were nice, NO toast machine and tea/coffee only warm.
So, unfortunately the food spoilt the hotel for us, and a number of other 'Brits' felt the same, perhaps it suited the large number of French and Italian guests??? Not that we expected or wanted "Full English".
We both also had jippy tummies for the last few days, but nothing too bad, and we had only eaten at the hotel!
I was glad we were only there for 1 week, as we could not have taken a second week of the food and would have resorted to eating out.
Overall - a lovely, large, clean, unusual hotel in a great location across the prom from the beach and only a short walk to the Marina or the Medina/shops etc. But Yasmine Hammamet itself is still not finished, with a number of shopping centres etc empty and fountains/water features dry. Very little to do or see in the evening outside of the hotels themselves, only a few 'wine bars' cafes at the Marina, or at the Medina if you can stand the constant hassel.
The Lella Baya had little in the way of evening entertainment, a bloke playing an organ most nights, or a folk dance group one night, poor compaired to what we've seen in other hotels in Sousse or PEK. The hotel, although looking lovely, just seems NOT to try to cater for it's guests in the evening.
Would we go back, NO because of the poor food and the fact we've seen Yasmine Hammamet, got the T-shirts and there's nothing more to attract us back. It would be PEK for us IF we go back to Tunisia, and only for 1 week!
- Travel date: Mon 23rd of October 2006
It was PERFECT!!!
"We wanted to book a hotel which was 'special' as it was our honeymoon and decided to go for the lella baya hotel.
We were worried as sometimes images and information on the net can be incorrect, however this was not the case at all, the hotel is exactly as it is shown on the website, it was GORGEOUS!
The reception was was beautiful, pool area was lovely and relaxing, rooms were clean - we were upgraded to the honeymoon suite. Food was nice, staff very helpful and friendly.
The hotel was close to all local amenities - within walking distance, i would definately stay here again (but this time i would take a french dictionary with me as the language was a slight problem!)
Overall we had the perfect honeymoon and staying in the lella baya hotel just made our stay in Tunisia special."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of October 2006
Hotel Lalla Baya (Lella Baya) Okâ¦what...
"Hotel Lalla Baya (Lella Baya)
Okâ¦what can I say about this hotel? Smashing!! For what its worth and how its advertised, its very pleasant and lives up to its 5 Star category its advertised as. First impressions of the outside make you liken it to a fairy tale castle and on entering is even more grandiose.
Arrived here on 5th Sept 2004 for a weeks stay. On getting there...as we arrived by Taxi, (Beware of not being ripped off as we did and donât pay more than 20 Dinars per person from Monastir airport. We paid 40 Dinars each on our way to the hotel but days later and much wiser, on our way back, paid 20 Dinars each.) Bellboy immediately took our luggage; we filled out some forms and went up to the rooms.
Rooms are quite big, separate toilet and bathrooms and a balcony overlooking the pool and partial sea view. A safe is also provided free of charge which comes in handy and is normally charged for in most hotels weâve been around the world and also a mini bar fridge (Do not drink the stuff here if you know you donât want to pay for it, as what you drink is charged to your room on leaving. We were stung for about 30Dinars this way, when we thought the drinks were complimentary).
One other issue was changing our Pounds back to Dinars. You can do this at the hotel reception at mostly anytime. At the time we were there, Â£1 would give you 2.25Dinars and we tried a few times to change some money. Every time we went to change money, we were always told, they werenât open or in 10 minutes time or 10am or something ridiculous. When we got there at the times given, another time would be doctored up. Just accept itâs the receptionist being lazy as my girlfriend completely snapped after being fobbed off about the 5th time. It was done pronto by the manager after then and every time after that, we got it changed when we wanted with the same receptionist
The downside of getting pool view rooms is, just near the pool is where most of the hotel entertainment takes place, is mostly quite loud and was on every night we were there till about half past midnight. We overcame this by not getting in till 1am most days so if you want an early night, forget the pool view rooms.
Being there on half board, went in the next morning to discover what the food was like. Now Iâm a very fussy eater, my girlfriend though is willing to try most things, so she was loving it. All I can say is, donât expect the food to be something from the Ritz as it isnât, however, the food provided is quite good quality and very well presented being that this is North Africa and is mostly their local dishes modified to suit western tastes. If you go with an open mind and arenât extremely fussy, youâll get by. I did. Same thing applied during the evening meals I must say and Iâd note the food provided was on a cycle of about 2days, so you might get bored seeing the same things every other day.
Sun beds for the pool were mostly always available when you needed them except on really hot days (which was actually every day we were there) when the pool area seemed to be packed by about midday. I donât think the attitude of reserving a sun bed early in the morning is tolerated either as I didnât see this happening. Towels are provided for sunbathing free of charge but the way this works is you pay 10Dinars the first time you need one, can change it once a day and get your money back the day you hand it back in.
Entertainment is provided during the day (pool volley ball, water polo, aerobics, water aerobics, darts, table tennis and some other funny daft pool games) and at night youâd have other games behind the pool area (cant say much about the night entertainment as we never went, but from what we could hear, was mostly always in foreign languages, though youâd recognise a lot of the music being played as English)
Now to get to the beach, you have to walk out through the back of the hotel compound, across a main boulevard which is pretty quiet and safe and get to a beach area directly behind the hotel, provided by the hotel for its customers. Sun beds here are free but there is a horrid stench and the water here is discoloured with far too much seaweed in the shallow part (I was actually dubious of it being seaweed due to the horrid smell!!). There is also so much crap on the beachfront, (which we later found out was horse pooâ¦nice!! Considering weâd been in the water days before we found out). We stayed here on the first day and with your back to the hotel, moving right about 50m is where we went into the sea the first time. To get to a cleaner part of the beach, you had to go about 400m to your right (with your back to the hotel) and you had to pay 5Dinars per person to use the sun beds here as these are provided by other hotels. Try the Jet Ski or parachute on the beach. We went for the latter at 20Dinars each and it was such a nice treat. My girlfriend being a religious sunbather, definitely advises staying by the pool for sunbathing but beaching it for watersports.
By the way, beware of the hawkers trying to sell you stuff on the beach. Donât!! And I stress donât!! take anything offered to you in your hand, as once you take it, you have to pay what they ask for.. I was almost stung for 15Dinars for one poxy fruit the size of an apple. After I threw up a fuss, got security involved and made myself heard, he gave me 10Dinars back.
Yasmine Hammamet is a nice place for a vacation as a couple. If you have kids, forget it, as there is not much for them to do. Take a walk to the medina up the road from the hotel (If you come out the front its about 300m to your left. Youâll find some pretty good deals there. Nice open bars and restaurants and a supermarket for bits and pieces. Leather goods, jewellery are quite cheap and trainers though limited in styles, are unbelievably cheap as well, provided you have the nerve to barter hard.
Usman or Osram can be found on the hotel grounds of Lalla Baya selling his camel trip deal. Good value for the money, you pay at 30Dinars per person and heâs such an affable multi lingual man as wellâ¦ Try getting a taxi into Hammamet for about 5-7Dinars (2 people). Itâs about 20mins journey and thereâs a bigger medina, cleaner beaches and restaurants too or if youâre up for a longer journey, for 10Dinars, thatâll take you to Nabeul. Be very careful when getting out of your taxi/coach for the Medinaâs as you will definitely, at some point, be approached by a guy claiming to be a waiter from your hotel and wanting to show you around. He is NOT a waiter from your hotel and will take you on a wild goose chase to shops (that he probably gets commission from) and then expect to be paid for his troubles! Itâs just their way of earning cash but is very annoying.
All in all, a great holiday, Iâll definitely go back but would love to sample another hotel just for the love of exploring and not the fact that the lalla baya was not good enough!
- Travel date: Tue 31st of August 2004