Houria Palace Hotel
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Travel Blogs from Port El Kantaoui
Enfidha airport is gleaming in the hot sun when we arrive for our flight home. Check in effortless and security, despite the recent troubles, is light touch.
It's a modern day oasis, which is somewhat souless and seeming ...
... refilling drinks, but it is sporadic and seems to happen when the fancy takes them or when guests are about to depart.
Finally the time comes, our meal is over and it's time for the tip. We give some notes to Gracie to give to the waiter. He seems to appreciate the gesture. Slipping the notes into his pocket he disappears into the kitchen and presumably home for the evening.
... Aghlabid period, and on the south side during the Fatimid era. Following works during the time of the Hafsids the surface area of the fortress expanded to 4,200 sq m.
Many consolidations as well as several polygonal and circular towers were added between the 11th and 13th centuries then the 17th and 19th centuries in order to accommodate artillery pieces.
In the past the ...
After a walk back in time we decide that a journey back to the hotel by cab would be preferable to the land train. We don't have any problem finding a cab, sitting just outside the medina under the shade of a tree seems to be a sign that you need a cab!
It's interesting ...
Today we explore Sousse focussing on: the Mosque and the Ribat. Whilst the market is busy, with locals as well as tourists, the mosque and ribat are empty.
Punic and Roman history
Founded in the 9th century BC by the Phoenecians as Hadrumetum this Phoenician colony pre-dates Carthage.
Because of its strategic location on the Mediterranean coast and fertile hinterland of the Sahel Hadrumetum became an important Roman community ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Houria Palace Hotel Port El Kantaoui
We have just returned from our holiday 2 women together and found the hotel safe and pleasant.
We did find the reception to be of little customer skills, however we could not complain about anything else.
The food was fantastic if you are willing to try local cuisine, but you shouldn't travel abroad to countries like this if all you want to eat is a british cooked breakfast and steak and chips.
We enjoyed our stay and would definately go back.
I think the majority of people expect too much with the ratings, it tells you in the brochures that the ratings are local and not international.
Apparantly 15 couples changed hotels when we arrived, perhaps if they had given the hotel a chance then they would have enjoyed it.
The staff in the bars and the entertainment team were great and were excellent with the children.
A prison. try and avoid.
i wish i had been able to read this site before we arrived here, our allocation on arrival hotel. we arrived in the hotel reception at 2am, with our toddler, tired and ready for bed, only to have 3 detailed forms thrust at us and told to fill in before we could have the key to our room, when we'd already filled in 3 similar forms on the flight an hour earlier i was almost reduced to tears. The hotel was shabby and the receptionists arrogant, and miserable. This attitude was continued throughout the stay.
So where to start? The room was basic, but acceptable (although more suitable for a 2 * hotel) The toilet was old and the plastic cover had ingrained dirt. The food was so revolting - the breakfast you could just forget it was discusting and cold (and i've travelled a lot to other african countries, including 3rd world ones and found better things to eat!). - The breakfast ended at 9.30am and at 9.29am on the dot they closed everything down. The toddler pool had slippery tiles all around my child went flat on her back and banged her head, and i found it very dangerous. The receptionists treated you like prison inmates (which was very fitting as it was like being in prison). If you had any food or drink on you - including water - they confiscated it when you brought it into the hotel (even though you're not meant to drink the water there). A young shy boy went to ask for a hairdryer (non in the rooms)from reception and was handed a huge old thing and sternly told to return it within the hour!
We complained to the rep and wanted to be moved and she told us we would have to pay an £80 'cancellation fee' ontop of any extra cost of upgrading to a better hotel (at least another £100 for the week). What the cancellation fee was for i've no idea - we'd obviously paid upfront for the holiday.
Within 3 days i'd heard of 5 families complaining and moving. most absolutely refused to pay the 'cancellation fee' - one lovely family of 5 got their suitcases ripped out of their hands and the gates of the hotel slammed on them as they tried to leave. various hotel staff came running out trying to stop them leaving, made the little girl in the family cry and were shouting at them in the street. it was incredible, really like a prison. The hotel obviously want people to stay there as their main income is from the money the guests spend at their bar and snack bars.
We ended up spending as little time as possible there, we were mostly on the beach and eating out. We were very glad to leave.
Definately not one to recommend. . .
On arrival at the hotel, our initial impression was that it looked a little tired and dated, but nothing too worrying. We have travelled to many parts of the world and stayed in many hotels, but nothing compares to this one! The rooms are very basic, and despite suggestions of room facilities, the rooms are very basic. No chairs, tables, drawers or a fridge. Cleanliness of the rooms is OK at best, and I do not believe it was just our room, as we changed twice hoping for some improvment, but did not get any.
Not easily put off, and determined to enjoy our stay, we ventured into the restaurant, and wished we had not bothered. The food is appalling, and depending on the time you enter the restaurant, scarce and lukewarm at best. We had booked on a half board basis, but having sampled what was on offer, were forced to eat out five nights out of six (fortunately some really good restaurants in the marina). We ate once in what is described as a 'Moorish Cafe' in the hotel, at cost. The food here was also unpleasant
The toilets in the reception area are disgusting
Most facilities are at extra cost - gymn, sauna etc
I am amazed this is classed as a four star - it does not deserve even one. Worryingly, our local rep claimed to be oblivious to any issues, and had apparently never been advised of the shortcomings of the hotel previously - likely story!
Any time away is always precious and we are not easily put off, but this really is one to avoid. Unlike other hotels where I have taken previous reviews with a pinch of salt, I would recommend you pay attention to this one!
Our advice - find somewhere else to stay!
We have just returned from our fourth holiday in Port El Kantaoui, our first staying at the Houria Palace.
We are optimistic travellers and always seek to find the best in accomodation/resort as we believe holiday time is too precious to waste being miserable. We have never, ever, complained about food wherever we are in the world and are happy to sample local cuisines. We most definately DO NOT go abroad seeking to find "English food" half the fun of traveling is to experience something different. So, all in all, we are neither fussy nor demanding.
However, I am sorry to say that we have, this time, broken our no complaints mantra. The Houria Palace was a huge disappointment to us and no matter how hard we tried not to join in the comunal whinging and to convince ourselves that all was well - as the days passed it became evident to us that we were failing!!
The Hotel is grossly over-rated in the star department - even given that the starring system is not the same as the UK. The general decor of the place is tired although acceptable. The rooms were basic but clean - no chairs, drawers, hairdryers or fridge (even though the hotel website states this is in all rooms). Maid service was acceptable if not outstanding. Corridors of hotel quite tatty but, in truth, anyone having a half decent holiday does not spend much time in the corridors! Pool areas are nice. One busy with loud cheesy music playing all day and various people enticiing you to join a whole array of physical butlinesque activities, the other is quiet, peaceful with nothing to disturb except the traffic noise as it is next to a main road,lthough the ice cream seller comes round shouting his wares at least every ten minutes throughout the entire day. The same man then turns into the mint tea and local spirit seller in the evening going round the restaurant the whole night shouting his wares. (Incidentally did any other guests know that when his little Tunisian hat gets hot and sweaty - he just swaps it for another in the hotel shop putting the original back for sale to guests? We watched him do this several times a day).
The reception area and bar is clean and comfortable although a little dated.
The toilet facilities on the ground floor by reception are nothing short of abysmal. Do not even venture in out of curiosity. They seem never to be cleaned or inspected and are just too terrible for words. Avoid and use your room instead.
The restaurant is in a class of its own. The food is absolutely dire. We felt the problem was that instead of cooking Tunisian food (which is lovely) they were attempting to cook what they believe English people want and it just does not work. It really was, for the most part, inedible. The atmosphere in the restuarant was not conducive to a leisurely dining experience - more like a bear garden!! It was, I am sorry to say, just a matter of going in there to eat just for sustainance and not to enjoy. Breakfast was just a complete shambles. The bread is self cut from fresh loaves but just one bread board and knife and one toaster tocater for hundreds of guests - just picture the scene? We know some good restaurants in Kantaoui and dined out most evenings so we were okay.
We have suggested to the Tour Op that this hotel be removed from their list of providers and feel that for the Tunisian tourist industry to maintain the credibility it so needs for its economy, hotels like the Houria need to be made aware that they must smarten up their act or close.
We have still come back believing that we had a good holiday. PEK is a lovely little resort, albeit purpose built for tourists, and, if you dont fall for all the commercial rubbish and learn to smile but not engage with the many local vying for your custom you can have a lovely time even if, like us, you stayed at the Houria!
Holiday from hell at the horrible palace!!!!
What an awful hotel, don't know how they can rate this 4 star, i would not even give it 1!!! food awful, rooms filthy, staff arrogant, an overall holiday from hell!!!
4star you're having a laugh
If this is a four star hotel all the £15 per night B&B's I've stayed in must be at least 7 star.
The place was filthy, the staff are ignorant, the food is an absolute disgrace, the room we had was tiny apart from all that Port el Kantaoui is a very nice palce
Just had a week in this '4star' hotel - well thats the official rating (must be the owners!) It's a big hotel that's got some clean parts (reception, restaurants, most public areas) and some grubby bits (rooms are looking tired, lifts are dodgy, exterior is scruffy)
Overall it's seen better days and is undergoing a renovation programme - so if you like the smell of oil based paint you will love it.
The Breakfast/Dinner buffet was great for salad but poor for hot dishes - good waiting staff but don't get stiffed on the wine! - all very drinkable but pricey.
Housekeeping staff all very polite and immaculately turned out. Most of the staff are well trained and attentive - although some do look at you like you are some sort of infidel!
Watch out for the persistent/annoying hotel sanctioned salesman in reception - hardly a sanctuary from the annoying traders in the street/on the beach.
It fronts onto the main road (if you want a sea view) which is noisy until 07:00/22:00hrs weekdays - a quiet room Pool View looks out onto the Aqua Park construction site, so take your pick! most rooms are basic and poky.
5min walk to beach - which is a bit mucky and lot's of glass about. 15min stroll along to the zoo that is the marina complex, learn new levels of tolerance in a matter of hours.
Overall it's a 3+ star hotel that needs a facelift, but compared to Marhaba or Hannibal it's a loser.
Sun was nice though!.........
We arrived at 2.00am Monday, just wanted to crash. About 5.00am woken by air con unit starting outside.
Showered went to make bed, blood on top and bottom sheet, not mine!
Went for breakfast, wife had coffee spilt on arm, cattle market, butlin's in the 60'. Food eat out!!!!
30 odd guests surounded the rep( which we felt sorry for) with complaints.
Changed room 2.30 pm. next morning found t-shirt in bed belonging to earlier occupants.
Got room and beding changed, and cleaned on thurs. after complaining to the tourist info board. Not bad only 4 days.
Icing on the cake one lady had her jewellery go missing on the thurs.
Sorry PANORAMA not 4**** maybe 2**
Quite nice actually!
Just returned from this hotel and wonder if we visited a different one to the previous review!!!!
The hotel was fine, quite smart. Our waiter was politeness personified. The food was fine, remember you're not in England, if you want 'bangers n mash' and a 'Full English' stay in the U.K. As for the country being muslim, yes it is, and supermarkets tend not to sell alcohol but in Port El Kantaoui right next door to the supermarket is a shop exclusively selling alcohol!!!
I suggest visiting Tunisia in general with your eyes and minds open and it will be a good experience.
This is a two/three star rating
Just returned from this hotel 1week holiday on the 30th October, rooms clean and that it. The kids pool was dirty, my bikini top went walkabout, waiters paid lip service to wantering about aimlessly. The food was terrible and I mean terrible, bread and jam for breakfast and the dinners were rubbish we call them dog meat. Drinks in hotel are very expensive ie: £4.50 gin and tonic average bottle of wine which you can only get in hotel or restaurants were abour £9.00. Started laying carpets just outside our room and painting and decorating. The staff are okay if you really do not need anything. Hubby had sickness and diarrhoea and needed medication from pharmacy he was not the only one and I was ill two days. Just remember this is a muslim country and the supermarkets do not sell alcohol and no bars