14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"We stayed at the Marhaba Hotel Sousse from the 12th to the 19th of November 2014.
This was my first experience of an all inclusive holiday and also my first visit to Tunisia both of which excelled beyond my wildest dreams.
The management team have certainly got things right.
On our arrival at the hotel at a bout 10.00 pm the whole process of registering in was quick and efficient.
Our room 343 had been refurbished and was extremely clean and had a lovely view from the spacious balcony.
Because the restaurant was closed there had been a plate with rolls meat cheese & tomatoes covered in cling film left in our room a thoughtful touch.
I have stayed in over 30 Spanish Paradors and many hotels in the last few years and I can honestly say that the overall cleanliness of the hotel Marhaba
Is excellent and I must also make a special comment on the public toilets they where without any doubt the best I have seen in any hotel.
Access for wheelchair users throughout the hotel was also good (thankfully I do not have to use a wheelchair).
Our room and bathroom was kept to a high standard of cleanliness with clean sheets and towels supplied every day. The cleaner also made a swan out of two towels and placed them on the bed nice touch.
The dining room was large and spacious with plenty of room between the tables. The tables where spotlessly clean and on occasions decorated with red Bougainvillea petals.
Our waiter Fsycal was excellent and very professional. Drinks where on our table waiting for us to arrive for our evening meal nothing was ever to much trouble for him, on our last night he had decorated the table with Bougainvillea petals made in to the shape of a heart.
All the waiters and cooking staff where very courteous and helpful.
The dinner is a help your self buffet style which is of excellent quality plenty of verity a good selection of hot & cold meats, poultry, pizzas& stews,
A large selection of salads which where kept topped up regularly. Deserts also a very good selection including fresh fruit, cakes, flans & ice cream.
Breakfast again was of a buffet style an excellent choice of hot and cold food eggs fried, boiled, scrambled, omelet, all quickly cooked to order by the chefs.
To sum up the food in the hotel is of good quality and plenty of it.
I noticed on several occasions one of the Hotels management team inspecting the buffet bar and talking to the chefs & serving staff also seen inspecting the lounge and the beach areas. Well done good detail.
We found no problem with the drinks that where on offer if you prefer your drinks in a glass then ask. The gin and tonics are good (Schweppes tonic) & are served in a glass with ice and a slice of lemon.
The Gardens are clean and well maintained as is the hotels private beach the pool was kept to a very high standard & beautifully clean as was the arrears surrounding the pools.
As for the hotel bar in my opinion it was a shame that at the time of our visit they did not use the main bar in the lounge area but a small rather plain one located between the reception and the closed main bar.
So we made a 3min walk to the sister hotel the Marhaba Club where the bar and lounge was more to our liking (and it still comes under the all inclusive of the Marhaba). Plus Wifi is better in the lounge area than the Marhaba Hotel not complaining just an observation.
I would suggest like many other reviewers have said before to tip the waiters and your room cleaner at the start & also at the end of your stay, they work hard to make your holiday enjoyable and it does mean a lot to them.
On the First morning we attended the Thomas Cooks rep Talk nice girl Do not be put off going in to Sousse by in my opinion some slightly scary words Like Donât touch any thing in a shop you will have to buy it (thatâs absolute rubbish) just a bit of common sense and be aware. Go & visit the city of Sousse & its Medina on your own rather than the organized trips that are available.
Yes you will be approached by mainly men saying do you remember me I am the Cook, chef waiter etc at your hotel and will try to guide you round the Medina NOW the way to stop them in their tracks
As used by my wife, when they approach you and say do you recognize or remember me you reply immediately you're the Cook from our hotel they disappear as if by magic.
When in the shopping areas donât ever take any thing offered by people approaching you in the street a polite NO THANK YOU and walk on.
And donât forget to haggle haggle haggle in the shops. My wife haggled so much with one handbag shop owner for over 30 min getting the bag down from 35 to15 Dina telling the man that she would be back the following day because we where catching the train to Monastir with that he gave up the will to live and yes he walked from his shop leaving us In there. Yes she did return the next day and he had put the price up to 20 Dina saying she had upset him yesterday so No bag. Buying some hand made sandals from a very nice man a few shops down & yes there was a bit of haggling.
She even managed to get a ride on a camel down from 20 Dina to 2 Dina.
So the point being get out have fun Sousse is a lovely city in the 6 days we had we walked about 80 kilometers. But to be honest as I first mentioned in this review of the hotel Marhaba this was my first
Visit to Tunisia but it was not my wifeâs she had been here on three occasions in the mid 70âs returning for the third of those visits and staying for 3 months so we did a lot of walking around Sousse
Seeing how things have changed and too much delight revisited where the disco Bujaafar used to be all that remains now is the circular dance floor that has now been paved over.
I must just mention the taxi journey from the metro station in Sousse returning from our trip to Monastir (bit of a scruffy place except for the Mausoleum of Habib Bourguiba) asked the driver to take us to the
Marhaba hotel once under way I noticed he was texting on his mobile phone but seemed to be having a bit of a problem he then proceeded to remove the back cover of the phone and to change the Sim card
for a different Sim card that found on the front passenger seat on trying to insert new sim he dropped it on the floor of the cab fishing down with hand to find it when finally locating said Sim put it in phone then proceeded to put the back cover on dropping that managed to find a spare on the passenger seat finally got the bloody thing back to some sort of working order then resumed his texting this all going on while driving one handed at best and on occasions with his knees.
He had heard a squeal from my wife when swerving to miss a coach and nearly hitting some street furniture he turned smiled & proceeded on his merry way the fare was 5 Dina a tip was given.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
The hotels restaurant dinner sittings all the food cleared away sharp at 9.00pm make sure you leave your self plenty of time to enjoy your evening meal.
The Noddy train the ticket is a return eg hotel to Port El Kantaoui and back to hotel or Sousse.
Enfidha Airport Duty Free all prices in Euros NOT DINA the only place in the airport you can spend Dina is at the drinks and food concessions.
30 Dina exit stamp Can bought at the Marhaba Beach hotel shop itâs on the same complex as the other Marhaba hotels.
Port El Kantaoui is well worth a visit and if you fancy a boat trip can recommend the catamaran Albatros lasts just over an hour donât forget to haggle the price.
- Travel date: Fri 19th of December 2014
sorry r hols were cut short
"went out thinking we were going to a hellhole after reading reviews it is very basic but we had a room overlooking the sea u could get your drinks and get 4 at a time food ok rooms need doing up but clesn staff were ok we only had 4 days and had to return home due to the trouble but we were sorry to have r hols cut short if u want 5 starr then u should pay for it a cheap holiday it was ok hilda n harry from blackburn january 2011"
- Travel date: Mon 24th of January 2011
please dont book hotel
"The hotel is poor there are rats running free in the indoor pool and vermin told thomas cook and hotel manager but they just let it run around pool
food was poor they cooked beef every day and if it wasnt eaten the reused it rice every day chips are a luxury
so dont get caught out this is not the marhaba club or beach they are the wort hotels i have stayed in and i would not recomend this hotel we travel 4 times a year and this hotel and the the other ones in the same complex use the same pools so would not advise this either
john and julie blackpool couple "
- Travel date: Wed 12th of January 2011
Avoid at all costs
"Don't get mixed up by other reviews for Marhaba beach or club, they are different hotels in the same grounds.
Was due to spend 3 weeks in this hotel, however, got moved. This is the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. When we arrived, we were informed that they did not have a pen for us to fill out our details nor did they have connecting rooms, which was untrue. Got our rooms moved to connecting ones only to find that the taps in the bathroom were on the wrong way, we did not think we had hot water for a day until they came to look at it. The room ended up flooding a few days later and took 2 phone calls before someone came to mop the room up. There are only a few pleasant members of staff at the hotel including Ash, the very busy barman. Most of the staff are very unhelpful and unpleasant and arguments in the restaurant were not uncommon between them. Guests also got into a fight at the pool over sunbeds.
The hotel is either half board or all inclusive. If you are all inclusive you are treated terribly compared to half board who the call "paying guests". Thought I was a paying guest as the holiday cost me Â£4000 pounds. You need to queue for drinks at an all inclusive bar which was understaffed resulting in long queue, meanwhile the barman at the "paying" bar walks around doing nothing on the chance that someone will buy a drink. Not once during my stay was I ever approached by a barman and asked if I wanted a drink. You also could only get 2 drinks at a time and had to have your band scanned everytime you wanted a drink. Drinks in the bar were served in plastic cups whilst "paying" guests got glasses. Your waiter in the restaurant does not ask you if you want a drink, you need to queue to order drinks then take your slip to your table and wait for your barman to take the slip and get your drinks. This could be very lengthy and one time I waited 20 minutes just to get served at the bar. If you stay at this hotel get used to queuing and slips as you need to queue to get a slip for a sunbed every day. The restaurant did not have beer one night and no-one offered to get beer from another bar or give you a bottled beer. You are treated terrible in this hotel. You are also not allowed to take your bag into the restaurant and are expected to leave it outside in the hallway.
Although the staff did not offer your drinks at the pool, you were indated with people associated with the hotel trying to sell you a camel and a board ride. Every day I was asked and the same camel seller asked me twice in ten minutes.
The grounds were quite rundown with repairs to the common areas not being maintained, stairs were dangerous and rotting and poor lighting and slippy steps made the journey from the restaurant to the pool quite dangerous.
The animation team were awful and we were subjected to very load "club" music every day despite complaining about the noise. You could not have a conversation. Eventually the team left the hotel and we were provided with no entertainment apart from the one night a very drunk guest pole danced on the stage and did an explicit act with some balloons. The next day my daughter plugged her iPod into the sound system for there to be music at the pool on this day. We left the hotel shortly after this.
What a difference when we moved hotel as staff at the club kantaoui could not do enough for you and you were treated as you should be.
To sum it up, terrible hotel and terrible service, AVOID AT ALL COSTS if you want to enjoy your holiday as everyday we stayed there was very stressful.
- Travel date: Fri 20th of August 2010
"this hotel is no good if you cannot use steps, as this hotel has loads of them.
bar staff at pool donot smile & serve you unless you tip them, bar staff at reception bar
(night time) brill. day time nick name p.m.t. all inclusive not all day for food.but other wise
not to bad (been to better hotels)"
- Travel date: Fri 19th of March 2010
"Myself and my friend went to Tunisia for a weeks break and myself having been their 5 yrs previous was not ecxpecting much but i was so wrong, i can honestly say the hotel was excellent, the food was great the rooms were clean the staff were friendly and shops, coffee restaurants etc were with in walking distance. The only fault i have about the place is that the carpeting and decor in the corridors was worn and tacky but this was in the process of being rectified when we were departing. restaurant is very efficently run and a goodd choice of food at all meal times is great. the pool is fantastic and the beach is just a short walk away. Defiately recommend this hotel to stay in. having been to tunisa 4 times this has definately been the best i've stayed in so far."
- Travel date: Thu 18th of March 2010
Excellent value, but for me the wrong location.
"The Marhaba is a 3 star hotel situated about two miles out of the centre of the city of Sousse and is adjacent to a beautiful sandy beach. Built in 1964, the hotel has a rather tired look and would benefit from refurbishment.
There are over four hundred bedrooms arranged over four floors and in two wings, one much longer than the other having been extended, and which are on either side of the reception area. Each wing has just one lift, and if you are in the longest one as we were your bedroom can be quite a long walk from it.
The reception is the most attractive part of the hotel. There is a white marble staircase rising to the first floor and light-coloured wood has been extensively used on the long reception desk and rear wall and on the pillars.
Through archways to the rear of the reception is the hotelâs sole lounge area. This is where the nightly entertainment takes place. Here you will find the two bars, one all inclusive, the other a pay bar. Doors open onto a large terrace overlooking the gardens, and there are a few tables and chairs. At some time the hotel has been considerably extended with more bedrooms added and the restaurant enlarged. There was no means though of extending the lounge area, and although the hotel was not full it was often difficult later in the evening to find somewhere to sit once the entertainment started.
The entertainment was put on by the hotel's animation team; all young men. There was bingo, quizzes, the team performed dances, and there were events such as the Ideal Couple and Miss Marhaba contests.
I would have liked another lounge area where you could sit quietly and talk.
If you want Internet access you will find a computer terminal near the all inclusive bar.
We booked the hotel on all inclusive basis, as had all the other guests who arrived with us. When we checked in other people were given wristbands to wear which you need to obtain drinks etc., but there were none for us. When I asked why I was told that we would get them in ten minutes, no explanation for the delay being given, and that we would be shown to our room.
If a porter hadnât taken us to our room I donât know how we would ever have found it. We were in the longest wing, which begins next to the reception desk and were on the second floor. The porter took us down several extremely long austere looking corridors with so many steps that I thought that we were going to end up back down on the ground floor. In parts the corridors are carpeted with carpet that is worn and stained and in others tiled. The bedroom doors were mainly in need of painting. We were in the last corridor, and confusingly the bedroom numbers jumped from the 100âs to the 300âs and the numbers decreased instead of increasing.
Our room was a reasonable size with enough storage space for clothes. The floor was tiled with the same tiles as the corridor and balcony; toward the end of the holiday we unexpectedly acquired bedside rugs. Patio doors opened to a large balcony with a table and two chairs and a very good view of the gardens and the sea. The television picked up the BBC World News Service and Eurosport. There was no safe, but a safety deposit box can be hired at reception.
When you lock the bedroom door you donât use the key. When you are coming out you push in the button on the knob on the bedroom side and then just close the door. If you are in the room pushing in the button locks the door and prevents anyone from coming in, but you can open it by just turning the knob.
The bathroom was a reasonable size with an overbath shower, but it was rather dated and the bath was marked and the tiles chipped. During our stay the towels were frequently changed, but quite often the bathmat would not be replaced or we would find that we only had one hand towel instead of two.
When we went back to reception for our wristbands we found that a large party were checking in and we had to wait some time to speak to the receptionist. Again I was told that we would get the wristbands later, and again no explanation was forthcoming for the delay. It was nearly lunch-time and I said that we wanted to have a drink before lunch. The receptionist directed us to the all-inclusive bar and said that we could have one. At the bar though we were refused drinks. The wristbands I discovered had a bar code which the barman has to scan every time you have a drink, a fact which the receptionist obviously had to know. I was feeling extremely annoyed because we were clearly being put off. Back we went to the receptionist, and I told him that we were not moving until we got the wristbands. Without saying a word he produced them!
After a drink we went down to lunch. The restaurant is situated on the lower ground floor and there is no lift access, you walk down a staircase from the lounge area. When you check in you are given a card for the restaurant which gives details of your board arrangement and you take this with you the first time that you go and show it to the restaurant manager who sits at a desk by the door. The manager calls over a waiter who shows you to a table and puts your card on it. That table remains yours for the duration of your stay.
The food was quite good, varied and usually well cooked. I found the choice at breakfast to be the most limited because the cereals were not Western-type ones, and at that time of day I donât want to eat such things as salad or rice in milk. There was a good choice of cakes, and on the hot side you could have grilled tomatoes, sometimes bacon, but very fatty, baked beans and sausages. A chef would cook pancakes and omelettes while you waited. At lunch and dinner there was a variety of meat and fish dishes, chefs would bake pizzas while you waited, and cook spaghetti and pasta. I was very disappointed with the choice of fruit at all meals because it only ever consisted of oranges or other orange-type fruits and either dates or apples. Two things that the hotel did not have were low fat spreads or margarine and sweeteners.
The hotelâs grounds are very extensive, planted with palm trees, thereâs a path opening directly onto the beach, and the grounds merge with those of the adjacent Marhaba Club Hotel and Marhaba Beach Hotel. Thereâs a very large freeform swimming pool with a water slide and children have their own adjacent small pool, also with a water slide. For children, there is also a play area with swings etc., located near the entrance to the beach.
In the grounds is a building with a very large heated swimming pool, and a fitness centre and sauna for which you pay an extra charge. You can also get massages here.
Thereâs a bar near the swimming pool and one on the beach, but that wasnât open during our stay.
By the swimming pool thereâs an area for sunloungers, but you donât help yourself to them. Someone told me that if you are not all inclusive that there is a small charge. To get one you go to the pool bar, tell the barman how many sunloungers you want and if you are all inclusive he scans your wristband and prints you a ticket which you give to the attendant who you find in front of the shelter where the sunloungers are kept. He then puts out the sunloungers wherever you want them. There was a large stack of the hotelâs sunloungers on the beach, but they were not in use, no one was going on the beach except to walk on it.
If you want to buy postcards and stamps you can obtain them from the hotelâs large souvenir shop, which is situated on the lower ground floor. Postcards cost the equivalent of about 5p and stamps 30p.Thereâs a post-box just a few yards away from the hotel door. Just go outside and turn left.
You can obtain bottled water from the all inclusive bar, but all that they ever had was a sparkling type. If you want the still variety you can buy it quite cheaply from a kiosk just a couple of minutes walk from the hotel. Go outside the drive and turn right.
If you try, as we did, to obtain Tunisian currency before you go on holiday you will find that it is a closed currency and can only be obtained in Tunisia. We changed our money when we arrived at the hotel. The currency is the dinar, which is divided into 1,000 millimes, and there are roughly 2 dinar to 1 pound. We found that most prices are rounded off to 100 millimes, and that was the smallest coin that we ever had.
The only place that you can change dinar back into pounds is at the airport, and they charge a high exchange commission. There are also restrictions. You can only change 30 per cent of what you have obtained and have to produce the receipts you were given when you exchanged the money. Also, the maximum amount that you can change is 100 dinars.
Some advice for when you are coming home. Before your plane lands in Tunisia you will have been given an embarkation card to fill in. It is perforated and has two parts. You have to fill in both parts and when you go through immigration the top part is retained and the lower one returned to you. Donât do as I did and throw away the lower part because when you leave the country immigration want it. If you do lose it you can obtain one at the airline check-in desks at the airport.
Finally, what did I think of the Marhaba? Well, it was the best value holiday that I have ever had. I donât think though that I will be returning because I did not like Sousse at all. The city is Tunisiaâs third largest, itâs very busy, and in my opinion although the area around the hotel is reasonable the centre is quite scruffy, and not my idea at all of what a holiday resort should be like. The place though does not put other people off, and there were guests that we spoke to who have been returning to the Marhaba for several years."
- Travel date: Mon 1st of February 2010
Great place to be.
"Havin stayed a marhaba over the new year im glad i did so before reading other reviews.As we had great food and travelling with 3 teenagers i thought the food would be an issue but they did not complain once.We stayed all inclusive so ate 3 times a day and each time you could get different things, its up to you what combination of food you put on your plate not the hotels!!
The bar staff was abit reluctent to smile on ocassions but after speaking to them and making friends with them they were a great laugh and they are only human after all and we all have a bad day sometimes but you smile and they will as well. The animation team was great made our stay special with there help and card games at night!!. (You know who)
Rooms were clean and tidy with clean linen everyday, helpful bar staff at pool and resturant .
The only down side to my stay was as per usual a group of over the top english that let their kids run wild and did not care about how loud or the language they used in front of others.
I would recommend this hotel infact we are back again in april so lets hope we are still smiling the next time."
- Travel date: Thu 21st of January 2010
Not worth the money.
"This hotel needs a complete makeover.
It states it is a 3 star well I wouldn't rate it 1 star. Whilst the reception area is nice and the lounge area, you wait until you see the rooms they are really dated, cracked tiles, stained carpets horrible, the only good thing was that you had clean bed linen and towels everyday. Along the coridoor to the room there was a smashed window they had left half the glass in the window which is dangerous if you have children, it was like it all the time we were there.
The food at the hotel was a bit limited on the choice it was okay. However we did go out one evening to find a restuarant well find is the main word we couldn't it was all pizza's or burgers, whether because it was out of season not sure.
Whilst we only stayed a week we thought that a week was longer enough to do the sights. The hotel is in a good location it's just a shame the hotel doesn't get a makeover, the sister hotel nextdoor was great, whilst we didn't go into the hotel everyone's comments on the hotel were good.
If you are thinking of going to Tunisia I would strongly recommend that you stay in a 4 star."
- Travel date: Tue 19th of January 2010
you get what you pay for!!
"Having booked a New Year week to unwind and relax we had though we were going to a 4-star hotel. The information on the internet site is very misleading as it tells you it is part of a 3-hotel complex: Marhaba Beach (very nice), Marhaba Club (equally as nice) and limping along behind Marhaba Hotel - very shabby and only 3-star but this is not apparent when looking at the website and consequently booking. The rooms were very shabby although the bed linen and towels were clean. The food left a lot to be desired and was nearly always cold. The bar staff in the evenings in the all-inclusive bar were very surly and it was obvious they didn't want to serve you. None of the snack bars, etc. were open during the New Year period although there was no information telling you this. There were no non-smoking areas in the hotel other than the reception area and after a few evenings of being bombarded with smoke it became very unpleasant to sit in the main and only bar area, I would advise anyone booking with the Marhaba complex to be absolutely sure that they are getting what they want and would definitely only go for the 4-star option."
- Travel date: Mon 4th of January 2010
One of the worst hotels I've stayed in
"Arrived on 23rd December and wanted to come home on the 24th. The room was very basic and cold with cracked tiles on the floor and walls. The food was awful and the staff didn't do a good job. The first nights entertainmnet was dreadful. The porter was very rude if you didn't give him a tip. All in all it was an awful atmosphere. Our rep, Mary, was brilliant and moved us to the Marhaba Beach Hotel which was wonderful and what a difference - worlds apart. The Marhaba Hotel is supposed to be 3 star but it should be a 1 star in my opinion. It's worth spending a bit more money to go to a 4 star."
- Travel date: Sat 2nd of January 2010
Marhaba Hotel not to be confused with Marhaba Club
"Although the Marhaba Club and Marhaba Hotel are part of the same complex and are under the same name on trip advisor, they are actually different hotels.
We stayed at the Marhaba Hotel which is the Club's 3 star hotel (the club being a 4 star).
It's a little bit like the Marhaba Clubs poor relative!
There was nothing in particular wrong with the Marhaba Hotel, the communal areas were very smartly done. The rooms however and indoor pool were quite shabby and could have done with a bit of an update. The hot water was a bit of a dodgey colour, the rep said we could drink the water but after seeing it we chose not to!
Location wise the hotel is neither in Port El Kantoui or in Sousse, however there are shops right outside the hotel, millions (literally) of cheap cabs (6dinar avr to each town), the 'noddy' train (2-2.5 dinar to each town) and buses (under 1 dinar).
Food was as expected for a cheap all inclusive, always something we could eat, although we found it a little awkward being vegetarian (the Tunisians seem to think picking the meat out of a dish is sufficient!). in the morning there are freshly made pancakes and omlettes and for lunch and dinner there is a freashly made pizza and pasta station, both which were lovely. Some of the buffet food wasnt very hot, for which the hotel provides a microwave (?!).
We travelled with Thomas Cook and chose to do the sahara explorer 2 day trip. This cost 165 dinar each (about Â£85). We were unsure whether to do this trip after reading a number of bad reviews however we were pleasantly surprised. It was cooler when we went so the poor air con on the bus wasnt an issue, however we weren't on the bus for more than 2 hours at time. El Jem was great, toilets there were as good as any hotel, Matmahta was a disappointment as we didnt get taken to the actual Star Wars set. the camel ride (an extra 25 dinars each) was lovely at sunset. The desert hotel was excellent, the only bad part was going from breakfast at 5am to lunch at 1.30pm, i'd reccommend you take a snack or money to get one! We found the snacks and drinks on route very expensive compared to locally around sousse.
We also tried out the parasailing on the beach with Tina in the watersport centre. It was really cheap, Â£10 per person for a 'lap' of the beach. Jets skiing was also reasonable.
The staff at the hotel were very friendly, unfortunately as 2 young women travellers we did find a lot of the male staff a little too friendly. The requests to take coffee with them and go to the disco got a little tiresome and some of the staff were quite 'letchy'. Having said this it was quite apparent that a number of other customers were quite susceptable to the attention so you can't really blame them for trying!
In all for what we paid we had a great week and the weather was quite good too, we only had rain on one day out of the 7, and gorgeous sunshine for 4 days, much better than back home in november!"
- Travel date: Mon 7th of December 2009