12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Dont even bother
"The hotel is ran down, the staff cant speak English at all, they only know "I love you" and "Beautiful" which is a real help when you want to know something or ask them a question. The food was horrible, nothing is labelled and you had to guess and outside at the pool bar, was full of flies. The WI-Fi was rubbish, it kept buffering. Outside the hotel was interesting not in a good way.. Don't go outside the hotel unless you want to be ran over by crazy drivers and smell drains. On a good note, the rooms were cleaned most days. Yet I wouldn't advice this hotel.
- Travel date: Fri 31st of July 2015
Just got back from a week in this hotel....
"Just got back from a week in this hotel. All the staff are very friendly, warm, and welcoming.
The food was varied and tasty and also plentiful. You can eat and drink as much as you want on this all inclusive holiday. The pool area and beach bar is very well laid out.
The rooms are very clean and well maintained. The entertainment was not very good however, the hotel caters for a lot of Germans, Dutch, and French people, while I was there, and there were only about 20 British people.
There is not much to do when you get outside the hotel; the nearest shops are about 3 miles away, with a small row of tourist shop just over 2 miles away on the opposite direction. There is a bowling alley about 1.5 miles away.
There is a hospital just opposite the hotel, and the whole area looks very run down with lots of rubbish scattered all over the place. The tour operator was very good also helpful, you could go on trips if you wanted. There is a beach just outside the hotels gardens, that was clean and had lots of parasols laid out.
Watch out for the hagglers in the shops in the hotel and also when you go out, as they will try and sell you carpets, silver and leather jackets. They don't seem to let up; they keep on trying to sell you something that you don't want.
My holiday was very relaxing so I would recommend here."
- Travel date: Mon 17th of September 2007
Just returned from a fantastic week at the el mansour. Great staff, good food and clean everywhere. Cannot recommend this hotel enough book it with confidence.
Only downside I saw was the poor cleanliness outside of the hotel, I think the tunisian people need to start loving their country and stop the wanton littering. The infrastructure seems to have had no maintenance i.e. poor/dirty paved areas and roadsides."
- Travel date: Sun 20th of August 2006
"Overall an excellent holiday. My Girlfriend and I stayed in the El Mansour for 1 week in mid July. The Hotel itself is fantastic, clean and the rooms are very spacious, we were lucky enough to get a sea view room aswell! Staff are very friendly. The food is excellent and has a large variety for everyone. There is an A La Carte restaurant but be warned this books up quickly so we missed our opportunity to go! The only down side would have to be the evening entertainment. This left a lot to be desired. The beach is excellent with free sun beds and umbrella (needed as is very hot!!). If want a bed around the pool you will need to get there early as towels are put on these to reserve them! We were on the beach by 10am most days and all beds by the pool were gone!
Overall an excellent hotle for a quiet relaxing week, nothing around the hotel so if for longer than a week may need something for more!"
- Travel date: Wed 26th of July 2006
31/3/06 excellent hotel
"Stayed for one week from 31/3/06 and thought it was great, OK there are a lot of Germans and not many British people staying there but we didnt find it a problem.The hotel was clean and well set out , the food was good and the white sandy beach is outside the Hotel. The beer was good , there is a wide range of cocktails , they are nice but not very potent (which we dont really find a problem) . Our party was made up of 2 adults and 3 teenagers , the kids loved the food and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. I was worried it wouldnt be very hot at that time of year but boy was I wrong ,it was warm and sunny every day but not very humid . I had a false sense of security and got badly burnt ,so beware.
The pool and the sea isnt very warm at that time of the year and you dont see too many people swimming although Im sure they both get warmer as May approaches.
Dont be afraid to book excursions via the locals in the hotel , they are exactly the same as the tour operators and you can bargain with them to get a cheaper deal
Madhia is a nice safe place to have a look around , there is a little bit of hassle from shopkeepers and vendors on the beach but just say "no thankyou" if you really dont want to buy anything.
The quad biking ,which is based nearby, is worth it for the trip to the huge salt lake (which nobody thinks to mention) its also pretty safe and is a good trip out for about 2 to 3 hours"
- Travel date: Wed 19th of April 2006
"Got back from el mansour 29.09.05 we had a brilliant time, previous reviews caused some concern so we went prepared for the worst. The hotel was beautiful we stayed in bungalow type rooms in the gardens 1 min beach 2 mins hotel. Food was plentiful and appetizing, boy can those germans eat. Not many brits but its new to Thomson so not surprising. The animation team worked hard all through the day entertaining the guests with sports and childrens club and then in the evening it was show time I thought they did their best I have to say alot of the time it was to put it mildly amatuerish. One night it was so funny I had to get up because I was laughing so much people where staring. It was hits from the musicals to see
3 phantoms of the opera and a miming evita was bad enought but 5 tunisians doing riverdance finished it. I do not want to sound critical because its not ment to be. The waiters all were friendly and attentive reception spoke good English and were very helpful. I have to finally say we went on the 2 day Sahara safari, very tiring but to see the sunrise over the sahara is a memory to stay with me for a long time added to that the people of Tunisia and the children waved as our coach went by with what I felt was a genuine welcome and not put on for the tourist"
- Travel date: Wed 28th of September 2005
Time of my life
"I was a little aprehensive prior to going on this trip due to some of the bad reviews I had read on this site, however once we got there all the negative ideas vacated!!
We arrived on a night flight and were greeted by a very helpful Marion (thomsons rep) and were taken by private bus to our resort. The 50 mins taxi ride took about 25 mins in a fun (albeit risky) ride.
We were greeted at the hotel by helpful and friendly staff who took our cases to our rooms where there was a plate of fruit, salad, water and bread waiting you.
The hotel itself was extremely clean and the decor in the lobby was very decadent. It truely was like stepping inot the picture. The staff were always friendly and helpful and although we did give small tips the service was second to none.
I am a vegetarian so wasn't expecting much choice from the all inclusive buffet but I am pleased to say the food was fab. I was spoilt for choice on each day and although some of the meals were repeated (pizza, pasta, chips etc) there was always different speciality dishes available each day. The pool bar is open for food during the day, although we tended to eat inside more often (air con).
The local brew was lovely. I'm a stella drinker at home and even if it wasn't my usual tipple it was a very good substitute. The cocktails were limited but the ones they did have were very nice and they do serve a strong barcardi and coke!
I couldn't fault my room. I paid extra for a seaview and boy did I get it. The balcony was huge and the view fab...a few vodkas went down well with the sunset. The rooms were spotlessly clean and the maids were in changing the bedding everyday. We also managed to keep a room on the last day for an extra Â£12...a good send off for our 4am flight...you got the room right up to you departed...bargain!!!
There is a spa in the hotel too. We got a two day package for two of us and was well worth it. We ended up with about 5 hrs worth of treatments each for Â£75 for the two of us...baragin!!!
The pool was always kept spotlessly clean, with plenty of loungers but do visit the beach. It is wonderful. Clean warm seas with lovely white sand. The guys on the beach are only too happy to get you a lounger and mat...can't help you enough. Also if you get the chance go paragliding. The most wonderful experience floating over the peninsula...truely magical...with such perfect landings everytime!!
Overall I had a wonderful holiday and was very upset that I was only there for a week. If we had anything to complain about my only fault being it was cloudy a few days....Hello this is Africa I want it hot hot hot!!! My companion...he didn't like the soup!!"
- Travel date: Mon 26th of September 2005
"Having just returned from Mahdia on Monday 15th August I thought I would write a report and hope that along with the other reports people intending to book into the El Mansour may think long and hard.
Firstly, I would have to go on record as saying that the hotel itself is very pleasant. The entrance and lobby are airy and welcoming. The building is air conditioned throughout and the Restaurant and Bar staff are both friendly and attentive.
It is the first year that Thompson have used the El Mansour (maybe linked to a takeover of Thompson by a German tour operator), but everything you read about the problems with the language barrier is definately real. All the entertainment is provided by the 'Animation Team'. The team consists of a small nuumber of men and one woman. They work throughout the day providing games for the children, aqua aerobics, Water Polo and other events. When night falls they turn their hands to providing adult entertainment. The shows are best described as amateur, but where it all falls down is the language barrier. Some things do not work, one being a multi-national audience listening and watching performers performing their acts in German, followed by French, Italian and then English. However unless you wish to spend all night in the upstairs bar (which is very nice) you will suffer in silence as there is nothing else around.
The town of Mahdia is a frantic 5 minute taxi drive away at the cost of 3TD (approx Â£1.50) each way. Travel on the local sightseeing bus and the price remains 3TD no matter how many are travelling in your party.
The choice of food is good but after a while it becomes repetitive. The gym area has seen better days, much of the equipment is rusting, probably caused by the moisture in the air coming from the indoor pool and the sauna. Satellite TV only has CNN and BBC World News in English everything else is either German, Italian or Arabic.
To sum it all up - a nice hotel located outside of the town (not much to write home about - market on Friday is busy but full of rubbish) surrounding are is run down. No restaurants or cafe's close by. Be prepared to come well down the pecking order with much of the attention going to the Germans. Towels on sunbeds at dawn (usual thing). Take a crash course in German to make a 4 star holiday bearable. Poor entertainment is a major let down on a holiday that costs a considerable sum of money!"
- Travel date: Mon 15th of August 2005
Riu El Mansour
"Just got back from El Mansour. It's a nice hotel but if you're going remember it's a German hotel and as such the English aren't catered for particularly well. The best rooms seem to be reserved for German and French, when we arrived we were given a room which was almost underground behind the entertainment area (room no.s in the 500s are not in the main body of the hotel), we complained to the rep and were subsequently given a very nice room on the first floor of the hotel. The staff are very friendly and many of them speak English, you'll spot the one's who can't speak English as they will avoid you! Our restaurant waiter couldn't speak English and we had very poor service from him whilst everyone around us had drinks delivered to their tables we had to fetch our own. We did try to converse with him but he was very surly - no smiles and no sign of recognition when we went in for meals. The TVs only have CNN (American news channel) for the English. We did manage to tune in to BBC World News for a couple of days but then lost it completely. When you go to collect your beach towels you have to get them from the small shop in the reception area, they also sell postcards, crisps, sweets etc. and magazines but if you want reading material take plenty yourself. The only mag I could get was Woman, there was one copy on the stand (which by the way was full of German magazines) along with one copy of Business News and one other magazine I'd never heard of. There are no books to buy and the "swops library" is on the first floor near the communal TV but again all books are German (although I did leave an English book behind and my copy of Woman for anyone desperate). The animation team work hard and there are always games of some sort going on either around the pool (don't sit behind the nets on the top pool - you'll have loads of kids jumping off the wall into the lower pool and be pounded by the ball when they play Water Polo) or at the beach. The Spa is good and you can buy a package for approx. 80 quid which will give two of you a Turkish Bath, algae treatment, a full body massage each, aqua massage and back massage. The entertainment finishes early and bars finish serving at 11 pm and close at midnight so you wont have any late nights. As usual the Germans get up early and snaffle the best beds. We spent our time on the beach (which is a lovely beach but can be very smelly) and never had a problem finding a shade and beds, but again the Germans make sure they have the front row!! There is nothing to do in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. There is a small shopping area and the rep will probably tell you it's a 10 to 15 minute walk but it's more like a half hour walk. We started out one evening and turned back as it was just too hot to walk that far. The market in Mahdia is an experience but you will be pestered frequently to buy. Rather than taking a taxi from the hotel try to get a Tuk Tuk, it's a much cooler ride. I went in shorts and felt very conspicuous so if you don't want to be looked at/pointed at, wear a skirt or trousers. Several of the English families (including ourselves) had problems with the room phones at night, it seemed the best game for German kids was to find out which rooms English people were in and make phone calls at all times of night. We ended up unplugging our phone.
Food is pretty good with a good choice although inclined to be rather repetitive."
- Travel date: Mon 8th of August 2005
Fantastic Apart from...
"the hotel was ok apart from the labels on the food because they were in french or german and the staff didnt speak english but tried there best and they were very helpful."
- Travel date: Mon 1st of August 2005
"The hotel itself was very nice, but huge. It had over 400 bedrooms and many cottages nearer the beach. The beach was beautiful and with Mahdia being in a bay the wind kept the heat to an easy temperature to bathe in.
I went with my partner and was disappointed to find that although I had booked a double room I got a twin, with 2 single beds. The Rep said this was normal.
The area around the hotel is very rural. Not many places to walk to, only Mahdia town centre and a few shops, both walks take over 20 minutes, not easy in the heat. The hotel had enough activities to keep you occupied throughout the day and plenty of places to relax in. The indoor pool was mostly empty so it was nice to have a private pool. The two outdoor pools, although very nice were full of children with lilos until about 6 and then it was empty.
The staff at the hotel are very friendly and you could not ask for more from them. It would be helpful if you oculd speak a little French and or German as that is what the staff and guests mainly speak. The food is great and every meal is buffet style, they cater for everyone and have snacks in between meal times, pancakes, ice cream etc. Coke, Sprite, Orange Tango, water, beer and wine are all self service spirits you can get from either bar.
Overall I would say that this holiday is ideal for anyone seeking a very relaxing beach holiday, although there is the town it is not very nice to be so hassled in the heat, being lead from stall to stall, it is not an easy thing to avoid. This is a great place for families as there is plenty for all ages to do."
- Travel date: Tue 12th of July 2005
"Riu El Mansour - Madhia -Tunisia
First time in Tunisia so as we had been to a Rui hotel in the Dom Rep, we decided that we would go there as it was all inclusive and we had always enjoyed staying in an hotel run by the Rui Group. What a bad mistake,
it was the first year that Thomsons had used the hotel and no forethough seemed to have taken place as to introducing a new nationality into what was a German used hotel. The labels on the food in the restuarant were all in German/French and if you asked what it was the staff spoke little or no English. They are now having English lessons!!
You couldn't join in much of the daytime activities as all the scoring was done in German. The evening entertainment was the same and forget a game of bingo, usually the same number was called out twice as the understanding of English left a lot to be desired, and make sure that when you order a drink at the bar that you say please/thank you in German or you won't get the drink you asked for. We felt as though we had been put in as guinea pigs (there were only about 8 British people in the complex)
and with little forethought. Must say the pool area was lovely but to get to the sea you had to walk over a lot of stuff that had been washed onto the beach. We don't like staying in an hotel that is exclusively British but on this occasion we very much felt like the outsiders that were just filling the last few rooms."
- Travel date: Sun 3rd of July 2005