13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"This is what I have sent to Riu and Tui travel, My 49 yr old wife has been led astray by a dream promise that was just not there, she loves Tunisia and the warm weather but after the cancellation of our 2nd holiday there last year due to the shooting she just had a mental breakdown and jumped at the chance to go. We all fear for her and want her back safely but she has dug a hole so deep she doesnât know if she can ever come back now from it. Please investigate as this happens more often and it is awful to know families are broken like this.
We have stopped in this hotel 4 times but no more. Your staff at Riu Palace Hammamet Marhaba in Tunisia are disgraceful. a member of staff called Mehdi Ibrahim has taken Â£9000 from my wife and spent it promising a better life a house and a restaurant business for her set up and waiting. There is no house or business. He said he was ill and needed an operation, i doubt it very much. I knew nothing about this until it was too late. My wife has now left me and my 10 yr old daughter to go over there on a promise from him but there was nothing there. She has now rented an apartment to "Find herself" and take time to sort herself out. We have now lost my wife, my daughters mother and up to now Â£17,000. My wife has got in such a mess that she had no choice but to follow through and go to see if it was for real. That was all my daughters university savings and I know from other friends that he is still doing this on Facebook. I want his EMPLOYMENT TERMINATING so no other families have to go through this,I WILL CONTACT THE MEDIA ON TV OVER HERE. We were happy, relatively well off, have two houses in the uk and my wife didn't have to work, thatâs all gone now and it sickens me to know that this happens. PLEASE CLICK ON THE PICTURE SO YOU KNOW WHO HE IS ***********************BE AWARE************************ NAME : MEHDI IBRAHIM, HAMMAMET, NABEUL GOVERNORATE, 8056, TUNISIA, DATE OF BIRTH :9/6/82
I hope you will take this matter seriously and I await you response to this matter
- Travel date: Tue 29th of March 2016
Can't wait to go back!!!
"Arrived at enfidha at about 10.30pm in pouring rain, and thought it was going to rain all the way through our holiday but woke up the following morning to glorious sunshine. Well the hotel was stunning, red carpet leading up to the entrance, the only thing was we didn't get the sea view we opted for prior booking but wasn't too fussed as it wasn't a bad view anyway. The hotel itself was completely spotless and sparkling clean it really is a palace , all of the staff are really nice, really friendly and would do anything for you, on a couple of occasions we had notes put under our door wishing us an enjoyable stay.
Food was really nice although It would have been better if you knew what you was eating as only some dishes and name signs. The pools are lovely a bit nippy at times but on hot days it's heaven trust me.
Ignore the reviews about not being able to get sun beds because there are always some free, they won't be in the best spots but they have wheels so you can move them to a nice spot. Entertainment was a little cheesy some nights but bearable. The entertainment team do try their hardest to make you have a good time though which is nice, one person I will have to mention on this is midou he is a very talented young guy whom my fiancÃ© and I became very fond of and he can move he's the best dancer there and will go in sit people in the lobby for drink after. The photographer guy in the hotel took some lovely pics of us and they are fairly cheap to buy at 7 dinar a photo very nice when he captures shots of kids and families mucking about in the pool. Beach is beautiful only downside is that every minute you got the guys walking past trying to force you to buy items such as bracelets, cigarettes etc but when the security boys come over and bring you mattresses for your sun loungers give him a tip and he will tell the sellers off and keep them away from you. There is also a nice beach bar too that do some nice refreshing cocktails, my fave was sex on the beach and my fiancÃ© loved mojito.
Really lovely place for relaxing, not a lot to do around the hotel but you have the marina just 5 mins away in the taxi and taxis here are very cheap, I also recommend port el kantaoui it's fantastic to spend a day there although about an hour to get there by taxi, nice shops if your buying gifts for loved ones and they won't hassle you half as much. Overall definitely one of the best holidays I've ever had and I can't wait to go back, will sure be staying at this hotel again by all means!!"
- Travel date: Tue 24th of May 2011
"I have just returned from two weeks at this hotel and felt I had to warn people about the weekend invasions, overseas visitors were subject to.The Tunisian government allegedly in their wisdom decided to fill empty hotel rooms, by offering subsidised accomodation to Tunisian people, especially over the three day Independence weekend.
This resulted in the hotel suddenly downgrading,as seen especially by food given.Overseas visitors who had paid the full amount for a five star hotel found themselves sharing the hotel with people who had not. Hygene became a hazard,as Tunisian children were allowed to put their hands in the food,often returning what was not liked.The same children were allowed to run around the hotel unsupervised,proving a safety hazard. The lifts were broken-one after another by unaccompanied children.The noise and lack of seating for full time guests resulted in their having to go to bed by 9.30pm each evening.
After many complaints,the management did finally see the need for more staff, including security by the following weekend and separate meal sittings. Though at no point were we warned about this sudden influx of people each time and that their standards would be so different to our own.
A lot of time instead of relaxing, was spent consulting both with our rep,regional rep and then talking to management.I was given a free massage but that was not enough to take away all the tension. I returned home feeling more stressed than when I left. I also felt cheated out of five days, being in a five star hotel.I am writing this review to warn people to check ,if this is going to happen before you go. I thought that Tunisia wanted overseas visitors to help the economy.Instead you now have numerous people now, who will not visit Tunisia, Tui hotels and use a certain travel company.This has been very shortsighted of the hotel,to allow this to happen.Beware!"
- Travel date: Wed 30th of March 2011
"Stumbled across this hotel through Tunisia First (via lastminute.com) and really happy to find both. As solo female traveller looking for an impromptu escape from London, I was really pleased with this no hassle peaceful retreat.
I'm not one for package style trips but this hotel really fits the bill if you want to opt in or out of entertainment. Rooms are large, well presented and clean. The staff are friendly and the hotel is literally right on the beach front. The spa is amazing and one of the best I've been to. (word of caution, do pre-book treatments as way more pricey once there)."
- Travel date: Fri 19th of March 2010
Our 5th trip to Tunisia and this is the best hotel by far
"From the moment we walked into the hotel we were made to feel most welcome and special. Our room was huge and spotlessly clean. The food has been very good with lots of choices for any diet or tastes. The entertainment staff try very hard to involve you in all their programmes. In total a very nice week and we would recommend it.
A couple of improvements would be a microwave (s) in the dining room to reheat food because quuite often it is not hot enough. Also, shower caps, shoeshine kits and body lotion would be nice additions to the bathroom."
- Travel date: Fri 29th of January 2010
RIU Palace Hammamet Marhaba - a truly wonderful experience !
"Recently we spent a superb week at the Riu Palace Hammamet Marhaba. We have previously stayed at 2 other Riu hotels in Malta and on Lanzarote but this was the best Riu hotel so far.
Apparently this hotel was supposed to be open for the summer after being rebuilt from an old Sheraton hotel but wasnât ready in time. Even when we were there, the large spa complex wasnât due to open till the end of Nov.09 and work is still discretely being completed all around the place. However, none of this negatively impacted on our experience.
Two outstanding features about this hotel immediately come to mind. In equal measure, the food and beverage operation and service levels are second to none and truly five star.
Normally not a fan of 'all inclusive', having the convenience of eating and drinking (including alcohol) whatever one desired turned out to be a rather practical decision when having our 3 year old in tow. When I say eating, I really mean feasting as so much of the food is freshly cooked 'a la minute' in front of you. The quality and selection of foods was enormous with mouth watering daily roasts, freshly prepared pastas, salads and french inspired desserts. If you are trying to lose weight, don't come to this hotel ! I believe that a large part of the reason why the main restaurant is so successful is because top management are constantly in there. The Executive Chef can always be seen hovering around the buffets checking on presentation and if you are lucky, you might even find him cooking your fried eggs behind the breakfast buffet! The GM and other senior managers can also be regularly spotted in there as well keeping an eye on proceedings and making guests feel welcome.
In terms of the service, from front desk, cleaning, grounds staff to food and beverage staff you will rarely find a more friendly and obliging team. Most spoke at least some English although the predominant language that I heard was German due to the fact that a large number of guests were from German speaking countries. The majority of guests seemed to be seniors and there were also a considerable number of Dutch, Belgian, and French tourists at the time. Although it is an 'all inclusive' hotel, tipping the food and beverage and cleaning staff (we did it on our last day) who look after you should not be forgotten. Local salaries are low compared to most countries and the staff really appreciate the top up to their earnings.
In terms of the accommodation, we had a spacious and very comfortable bungalow near to the main pool.
We didnât use the gym but it looked well equipped. The indoor pool was nice but there arenât many deck chairs so you have to be fast to get one. The outdoor pools looked inviting but it was really too cold for a dip. The beach front area of the hotel was really pleasant with clean fine grained sand and crystal clear water. There are plenty of activities for the little ones as well as they have a small playground on the beach. If you have the interest, a camel called Fatima and her handler stroll up and down the beach ready to take people on a ride. The Animation team apart from kids duties are always trying to ring in people for activities.
The hotel has only been open for a few months and it is the off season currently with perhaps 200 guests in house. Everything was running smoothly when we were there but the real challenge will be when the warm months arrive next year. I understand that this hotel has the capacity to cater for 1000 people which will be rather daunting in peak season. It will be interesting to see if the high standards of service and catering can be maintained with the summer surge of people. The competition for beach and pool deck chairs could also be interesting to observe.
All in all, we had a great time in Tunisia which was our first visit to the country. This opinion was largely based on our experiences gained from staying at the Riu Marhaba."
- Travel date: Wed 18th of November 2009
A hotel that deserves the name PALACE, we lived like a queen and king!
"We had a wonderful week in Riu Palace Marhaba. We have been to several all inclusive hotels over the years but never to one like this."
- Travel date: Sat 7th of November 2009
Will return - again, and again, and again ...
"The hotel was built by Sheraton over 40 years ago, sited on the best beach in Hammamet and created to provide a relaxed holiday for holidaymakers to the new resort of Tunisia. The low main building housed the restaurant and bars while all the bedrooms were housed in the gardens in garden or seaside view "bungalows". . .
Move on to 2009 and under the mighty Riu group this hotel has undergone extensive renovation. The original hotel has been replaced by a 3-storey "Palace" and returning to Hammamet this year our first glimpse of the old place was shudderingly awful - looking like so many of the gawdy mock palaces in the new Yasmine Hammamet town down the road.
But forget the "architecture" and prepare to be pampered. The staff are welcoming, beds are heavenly and the food is exquisite. (We used the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner and the beach for (mainly seafood) lunch. There was so much choice! The alcohol was passable and a good quality red wine (Magon) could be purchased for an additional cost.)
We chose to spend our 12 days in one of the "seaside" bungalows. Apart from a bit of redecorating the bungalows are pretty well as they were built 40 years ago, so don't expect luxury and king-size baths. It took a few days (and bites) to realise that our room had been invaded by ants; we located the nest and the staff sorted it out, but I guess this is one of the problems of living in a well-worn old building.
Entertainment was provided by a group of talented youngsters who worked their socks off to provide guests with a relentless procession of awful activities - sorry, "crazy" darts is not really our idea of fun, but you could not fault their dedication. During the evening they supplied the main entertainment, dressing up to represent various "stars". We were fooled the first evening by going in to watch the "Lord of the Dance" and if you have ever enjoyed Irish Dancing in a Dublin pub you might be a touch disappointed by the Tunisian version. We discussed the entertainment with the Manager who smiled and said it is the "Riu way", so I guess it won't be changed. Sorry, we're not knocking the "Animation" team, they really worked their socks off for the kids. However, I think back to the old Sheraton days of dancing in the moonlight to the strains of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" and would plea for the managemet to supply a more romantic ambience for us old fashioned types who like to relax in a Piano Bar after dinner.
Having looked back over the many years we have stayed in this hotel, we can unhesitatingly say that 2009 was the best yet. We will definitely return!"
- Travel date: Wed 21st of October 2009
Disappointing, not a 5 star hotel!!
"We stayed in the Riu Palace hotel for 10 nights and returned today. We booked a seaview bungalow A, but at arrival such a bungalow was not available and the receptionist (that only spoke French and German) tried to put us in a non-seaview bungalow, which are less expensive. When we complained about the location of the bungalow - the travel agency confirmed us that seaview did not mean seaview, but basically meant one of the bungalows closest to the sea - the receptionist tried to put us in a bungalow in the same building as the first one but then on the second floor. We again returned to the reception to state that we did not accept that room as it was not what we paid for and the only thing she could say was that we needed to return the following day as nothing else was availabe. We then basically were very fed up with the situation and asked to speak to the manager, who first was not there, but in the end someone appeared. They then provided us with a seaview bungalow B - for 3 to 4 persons - located closer to the sea. It took an official complaint to our travel agency to get us in a bungalow that finally seemed what we paid for later that same day. We ended up in bungalow 706 which also was a type B bungalow. So I would not recommend anyone to book a bungalow. They're renovated and not completely newly done as I believe the rooms are. I could not believe that they left in the old bathtubs, okay they've provided them with a new shower curtain, buth the bathtub is so small that you keep on touching the curtain when you're taking a shower. And well, during our stay the curtain still looked new and fresh, but how will the curtain look within 2 months.....
Furthermore the safe kept on beeping, so we had to take our valuables out when we were in the room. We complained about it with the hotel manager, but nothing ever happened. But on the other hand we did not think about putting our perfume/eau de toilette in the safe anyways, and that was exactly what disappeared from our room. My husband had bought a new bottle of Burberry Touch at the airport and and the fourth day of our stay it vanished and never reappeared. The guy who was supposed to be the hotel manager never provided for any follow up on our complaint and it was the assistant food & beverage manager to at least try to provide us with some compensation. Anyways so far for the complaints that formed the background of our stay.
Quality of the food was okay, basic ingredients and meat/fish, good service and very nice staff. The hotel is situated along a nice part of the beach and the sea water was very clear. There are enough chairs and loungers along the pools and on the beach. The gym was nicely equipped, but from the start one of the 2 treadmills was not working. Drinks don't offer you that much choice, there is no possibility to buy for example a Heineken beer at additional cost. So you have to stick to the local drafts and rums, which to be honest are not that good or tasteful. Furthermore there is no room service whatsoever and don't expect any chips or drinks in your minibar... only water is provided. You should regard all inclusive in this hotel merely as Full Board as besides meals nothing else is offered but some dry nuts with your cocktail. They don't provide you with nice hotel shampoos or shower gels, but with some strange looking sachets which are not inviting enough to use.
It's absolutely not a 5 star hotel, at least not to more general 5 star standards, but maybe it is for Tunesian standards, but we then would want to know what more is out there in Tunesia....
If you're looking for a basic beach holiday in Tunesia with a decent quality of the food, you can probably have a good stay in the Riu Palace, but we will never return!!"
- Travel date: Sun 27th of September 2009
Good beach hotel for a relaxing break
"We set pretty high standards and this hotel matched them in most areas. The vast majority of staff are very friendly and efficient. The manager and his assistant are the highest profile we have seen and are constantly keeping an eye on the operation of the hotel. We had a sea view room on the second floor - not sure that the first floor room would have such a good view. Rooms are a good size, all the fixtures brand new and in excellent condition, and reasonably well equipped. Food is primarily buffet style with two part-service restaurants ( no extra charge) and the choice is excellent, quality very good, majority cooked in front of you. The spa was not finished when we stayed, but gym has good quality brand new equipment. Pools are excellent with the exception of a couple of chintzy statues - plenty of comfortable sunbeds and umbrellas. Would go back again."
- Travel date: Sun 20th of September 2009
Almost like Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril Jamaica
"Rooms - The rooms are large and very clean.
Meals - Buffet style with a good selection. Breakfast just ok, Dinner very good. Italian great.
Beach - The beach is the best part of this hotel, best in Hammamet, and you stay very close to the sea which is warm.
Staff - Are very friendly and trying to help.
Pools-very nice and warm with the swim up bar. Drinks are poor.
Animation -is poor
Spa-was not open yet, gym nice
Overall, I reccomend this hotel and you can not find better in Hammamet."
- Travel date: Fri 4th of September 2009
I loved this resort!
"Me and my wife had a very good time in this hotel.
Very good room: clean, large, well decorated, comfortable bed, good view.
Excellent resort facilities: good and beautiful pools, plenty of chairs (also in beach), beautiful garden, good animation and one of the best beaches in Hammamet.
Very good food: Plenty of good stuff to choose from (I was not expecting so many good fish!). No complaint from the main restaurant, italian restaurant, beach, pool and resort bars.
Drawbacks: Minor construction work taking place, SPA not yet opened, garden not yet finished near the beach."
- Travel date: Sun 30th of August 2009