Travel Blogs from Hammamet
... that sells refreshing mint tea, so we are forced to quench our thirst from a can.
We're flying back to London Gatwick on a charter flight TOM 353 which is scheduled to depart at 12:05 and arrive at 15:10. Insha'Allah.
... to our table and dishes cleared away with a flourish.
There must be some sign that marks us out as departing guests and an expectation that we'll leave a tip. Unlike the dining room, where tables are reserved and looked after by a specific waiter, guests sit at any table in the breakfast room and tables are cleared by whichever waiter appears to fancy a break from talking! Unfortunately their performance is in vain and we leave without dropping the tip they ...
Tonight is our last dinner at the Marhaba Palace and so not unexpectedly we receive exceptional service this evening. It's a ritual - which sometimes descends to pantomine - we've seen acted out a few times now. Waiters rushing round guests at their last meal, presumably to ensure that they get a good tip.
So we play our part and let our waiter go through the ritual. ...
Arriving back at the hotel I head for the water dispenser adjacent to the bar and quench my thirst.
It sure was hot out there and unfortunetly I was without money so couldn't stop off for a drink on the road from Sousse.
So after a shower and change of clothes, I was actually dripping wet, I feel a lot better and can genuinely put my feet up!
This morning Sue, Josh and Grace are going cruising on a catamaran out of Port El Kantaoui.
Three hours sailing in the Med is a nice way to relax, especially when the captain drops anchor which means that it's time to go for a dip in the azure sea to cool off. After a refreshing swim the cruise continues and the catamaran head back to port!
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews SENTIDO Phenicia Hammamet
Would recommend it
My husband and I stayed here for 2 weeks and it was our first trip to Tunisia. When we arrived in the early hours we were shown to a room which didnt have the sea view we had paid for. They said we could move rooms in the morning and after a well needed sleep we did change rooms and the hotel staff were very accommodating and friendly.
The rooms are a bit basic (one small drawer in the wardrobe) but were kept clean and the bathroom was well equipped. It would have been nice to have the facility in your room to make tea/coffee.
It isn't very clear where you need to go for breakfast and dinner and mealtimes can be very hectic. Be prepared to get up early for sunbeds! This was the only downside of the holiday although I soon got used to getting up at 6am (leaving my husband in bed)! Once up I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast - it got very busy by 8.30am. If you're not prepared to get up early there are plenty of grass areas where you can sunbath. You can hire a comfy cushion for your sunbed (or the grass -50p or free if AI).
Evening meals are suppose to be in 2 seatings however I don't think this was adhered to. You get allocated a table and waiter which is yours for the holiday but it can mean you share a table with complete strangers!
For our first week we sampled the food and it was very good and couldn't be faulted. Plenty of choice and variety. It was busy though and you're not able to enjoy a quiet meal with a bottle of wine. Everything was a rush and they started to remove the food by 8.45pm. We ate in Le Panache which is next to the restaurant. You have to pay but get 10% off and the service and food was excellant and you weren't rushed. We also went twice to the Pomodoro in Hammamet which was very reasonably priced, good wine, excellant steak with good views over the beach and medina. We met a nice couple who were regulary visitors to Tunisia and they invited us to join them one evening to the Pomodoro. I don't think we would have ventured out of the hotel otherwise as I found it a bit daunting to go out of the hotel complex.
We were Half Board which suited us as we are not big drinkers/eaters. It also meant we drunk in the Carillon Bar which was very relaxing and away from the AI guests that used the bar within the reception area. This became smokey and crowded by 9.30pm.
The weather was good, a couple of cloudy humid days and one morning of rain. We walked along the beach to the new resort of Yasmine Hammamet to discover there wasn't much there but didn't venture out of than that and the trips to the Pomodoro.
Had a very relaxing holiday and we would recommend this hotel
We stayed in the Phenicia for a week and found it to be excellent particularly compared to other hotels in the area. The room was very nice and clean as was the rest of the hotel. The pool area was excellent, with lovely surroundings. The beach was also really nice. We found the staff friendly and helpful - most of them had a reasonable level of English comprehension. The resort itself was a little way away - 'old' Hammamet (where the Medina is situated) has quite a few places to eat and drink - we particularly recommend the Berbere (above the Brauhaus) for it's views, food and service. The 'new' Hammamet (where they're building hotels) was not so interesting.
The negative points:
- the food was average with the meat being fairly poor and the dinner did feel a bit like a 'cattle market' because everyone must share tables.
- no lay ins! If you want a sunlounger then you must be out by the pool by 8:00.
- it wasn't easy to find your way around: there was no map or signs for anything and nobody explained where to go i.e. for breakfast etc.
- (on the resort) it was surprisingly touristy: very many people trying to sell you everything for a high price.
- The 'animation' team did not live up to much, perhaps being more entertaining for children.
Overall, we had a lovely time here, and if we returned to Tunisia we would definitely return to this hotel.
Clean and friendly
This hotel was spotlessly clean the rooms were basic but again clean.All the facilities are modern and fresh looking.The staff were frienldy and helpful.The food was ok a bit boring for me but there was plenty of it, and always something you could eat.I would recomened going all inclusive well worth the extra. The pool and beach were excelent. All in all well worth the money would recomend it to any one wanting a relaxing holiday.
Lovely hotel and great service.
We stayed at this hotel in May and wanted nothing else but a relaxing place to stay and enjoy some sunshine.The hotel was spotless and the service was excellent. The food is served by way of a buffet and was excellent,always fresh with numerous different dishes at each sitting.The pools and beach were clean, well maintained and with an abundance of sunloungers.
We would highly recommend booking all inclusive- it saves so much aggravation and for very little extra to pay if you book through your tour operator.Some brochures do not show an all-inclusive option for the hotel but an enquiry may reveal that option and it is well worth it!We were provided with a bottle of wine each at each meal!
Nothing was too much trouble for the hotel staff-even when I lost a valued ring down the basin in the bathroom and they had to dismantle it!
We generally prefer holidays with lots of opportunities to visit sights and places of interest and although this was not our aim on this occasion we did book a trip to Carthage,which we found very very disappointing.In fact what should have been a very poignant visit to an area in which there were stones marking the sacrifice of small children many years ago, was ruined by the fact that a gardener had thrown his jacket over one of the most important relics and the surroundings resembled a builders yard. Even the Roman ruins on the coast were not marked and dsiplayed to their full advantage.A visit to the Bardo Museum-home of beautiful mosaics was much more interesting- done preferably with a guide.
We fully intend to go back to this hotel as soon as we can-it is perfect for a relaxing week in the sunThere were only tiny children at the hotel when we went and it may take on a different complexion during school holidays for those who want a little peace. I would recommend it for off peak early or late season holidays.
Very Nice Hotel
We decided to get some Winter Sun in November 2003 and chose this hotel as we often stay with Iberostar. When we arrived we were impressed with the hotlel and the spacious lobby gave it a bit of a WOW factor.
We were taken to our room by a friendly bell boy and were equally impressed by it, right by the pool with a great view. The room was simple and spacious, reminded me of a modern executive dockside apartment. The bed was Kingsize and has to be the most comfortable that I have ever slept in!!
We travelled with Thomas Cook on a half board basis, but at the hotel decided to ask about upgrading to all inclusive...this cost another £150 each for the two weeks but was worth every penny. The local/national beer is very nice, it appeals to both the lager and the ale drinker alike! Food was very good and there was always a wide selection to choose from.
The beach was clean and not too busy, the sea was pleasently warm and clean. We walked along the beach to hammamet which was really nice and took about half an hour.
A taxi to hammamet costs about 3 or 4 dinar from the hotel, which is about £1.50 to £2.00, but it is worth it. The taxi drivers are friendly and most quite knowledgeble. There are plenty of shops to browse, but in a lot prices are not displayed. Beware of carpet sellers who will approach you and say that they work at your hotel...follow them and they will take you to a good shop. Ask them what hotel you are at...that stops them in their tracks. If you do follow them you will not come to any harm, but you will visit a carpet shop and the pressure will be on big time!!
Visit the souk, but keep close to your wallet and your travel partner as some of them try and block you to get you into their shops....quite good fun dodging them though!
We have stayed in many Iberostar hotels and have NEVER failed to be impressed with their style or quality...this one was no exception!
If you are thinking of going make sure you go...and go on the sahara safari and experience a camal ride on the sahara dessert...well worth it!!
If you have any questions then feel free to e-mail me and I'll do all I can to help!!
Highly Recommended Hotel
We've just returned from a week at the Hotel Phenicia and cannot recommend it highly enough. Service is excellent and friendly, and the layout, pools (one heated - indoor/outdoor) etc first class. The weather during our visit was poor so we really valued the hotel's facilities.
Food is very good especially the freshly made omlettes and crepes (inc chocolate ones!) at breakfast. Do, however, try to avoid coming down between 9.00 and 9.30 as it can be difficult to find tables at this popular time (especially when weather is bad and so the outdoor tables are not being used).
The hotel appears to have a good mix of nationalities amongst its guests (the majority being English, French, German, Italian, Spanish) such that no one nationality predominates (excellent, as I have heard that some hotels in Hammamet pander to German cuisine with lots of sausages etc).
The only minor criticisms that we would make are that it is a shame that the main seating areas round reception do not have a non-smoking zone, and secondly that although friendly the animation team's evening entertainment is somewhat shambolic.
Not surprisingly, the hotel's management is impressive. When we arrived, the main pool was being covered and closed at 4.30 (despite notices clearly quoting 6.30) by some rather officious ground staff (who presumably liked finishing early) - despite the pool being full of protesting swimmers! I complained to reception, spoke to a senior manager, and the problem was immediately sorted. Everyone swam till 6.30 on subsequent nights!
Top Tip - It's well worth making the train journey to Tunis. However don't go via Hammamet station which is not on the main line. Instead take a taxi to Bir Bou Regba which is only about 10 minutes away (3 dinar taxi ride) and is on the main line. There are several direct trains per day - reception has a copy of the timetable - a good one leaves at 9.46 (getting to Tunis at 10.36). All the trains appear to be 2nd class nowadays and the return fare is under 6 Dinars per person - excellent value! By the way, don't believe reps' stories about having to sit next to sheep and goats etc - it's only to help sell expensive excursions. The 2nd class carriages we used were clean, comfortable, fast and efficient - no animals in sight.
Great Hotel, Great People
We stayed at the Phenicia for the first time, although we have been to tunisia many times. (Our usual hotel was closed for referbishment).It was really Great the people were friendly and helpfull, as we walked in we were very impressed everywhere was so clean, the reception was like walking into Ikea, spacious and modern. Our room was clean and Ive never seen such a big bed, (the only critisimn was no drawer space). We were very impressed every where we went in the hotel pools were clean, garden was well maintained, right on the beach. I would recomend this hotel for anyone, and would certainly return.
We had a great time.
its nice to meet such nice people! they where all so helpful and friendly! we loved it so much we are going back as soon as we can!
We stayed at the Phenicia Hotel over New Year and had a wonderful time. The weather was pretty poor so we spent a lot of time around the hotel which is spotlessly clean, the public areas are modern and tasteful, the bedrooms are large with a minibar and safe (which costs 1 dinar a day) and the food is excellent considering the number of guests they have to cater for. We ventured into Hammament one evening for a meal at a top restaurant and it wasn't much better than the food at the Phenicia. We stayed all inclusive and made the most of breakfast (the chocoloate crepes are wonderful), lunch, afternoon snacks, the moorish cafe, the bars and dinner. Even the wine at dinner was absolutely fine and all part of the inclusive deal. The only complaint we had about the hotel was the coffee but that's about as far as it goes.
The main feature of this hotel, however, is the service. You never have to carry a suitcase, waiters are always on hand to serve drinks, all the staff make a fuss of any children and rooms are cleaned everyday even if you don't get up until mid afternoon! If you are looking for a hotel-centred holiday with easy access to swimming pools, the beach, activities, nice food, lovely surroundings and excellent service then you can't go far wrong with the Phenicia.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. We went on 6 June 2004 for a week and were very impressed. Our advice would be to pay that little bit more to go all inclusive. It is so nice not to have to put your hand in your pocket for every little thing. We met some fellow Brits out there who wished they had chosen the all inc option. At the bar, all our drinks were 'free' and they had to buy theirs. Food was amazing with a great deal of choice. No upset stomachs. I looked forward to every meal.
Cleanliness and hygiene of rooms and general hotel were excellent, the porters and staff very helpful (NB they expect a tip). Beach and swimming pools were clean and if you are all inc, sun loungers and mattresses were free. Weather was very hot. Many different hotel bars, all of them nice and relaxing. Hotel entertainment wasnt really our thing but others seemed to like it. Sports and water sports great. Beauty parlour great for massages, also had a manicure which was ok. Resort was so nice, we did not leave it much all week. My only complaint was that their air conditioning does not start until 15th June so we had to do with fans as we were a week too early! Would recommend it to anyone. All inclusive of course!