The Residence Tunis
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Residence Tunis La Marsa
Be Careful in Tunisia
I visited The Residence Tunis in Cathage which is a 5 star spa hotel in September 2005 for a long
weekend. I only left the hotel for one meal at a restaurant they recommended.
All meals were eaten at the hotel. I never came into contact with anybody outside of the hotel. I never ate at the airport or on the flight.
I returned to London and two days later was violently ill. I had contracted dysentery which can be caught through water, food or bacteria. The strain I had
can bring on acute arthritis however I was lucky not to get this.
When I visited my doctor she said that over the past two years she has seen many patients coming back from Tunisia with nasty tummy bugs.
I would suggest if you visit you remember it is a third world country and you should be prepared. You cannot get immunisation against dysentery before you go so please be careful.
Some more balance..
Whilst not in the 5 star class of a Chedi (Oman), in general we enjoyed our 5 night stay. I would agree with the immediately preceeding comments but also add that the prices for food and drinks were very reasonable at this standard and that although the Spa needs an update, its prices were also very reasonable. I would make one comment on the language - the reason the staff should speak some English is that the hotel is designed for all international guests - would they expect someone from Finland to speak French or Arabic?
Very enjoyable for a short break
Having returned from a five day break at the Residence on 20th October, we felt we had to write a review to try to add some balance to some of the other less than complimentary reviews posted. While we do agree with the previous reviewer and would echo his/her sentiments that it was not quite as impressive as other 5* hotels we have stayed in, we could find nothing that deserved the comments of others. It was almost as though we were staying at a different hotel from the one mentioned by some of the other reviews we had read. The room was lovely, very clean (cleaned and tidied twice a day), with fresh fruit daily and the bathroom was huge. L'Olivier restaurant was very good serving a combination of modern Mediterranean and traditional North African food. We were particularly impressed with Li Bai the Chinese restaurant on site. The pool is huge and again clean and well set out. The staff were superb and contrary to one of the reviews we read spoke excellent, Arabic, French, German and English (although why the reviewer felt they should speak English in a French speaking country is difficult to understand). We felt the only thing that could have been significantly improved was the spa, which is looking slightly tired when compared with newer, more modern alternatives. All in all a very pleasant, relaxing place to stay for a few days.
A great place for a break
We have just returned from 5 days at the Residence and having read some rather negative reviews posted on this site we felt we should share our more positive experience of the hotel. Yes - it is a 5 star hotel and no its not as cosmetically impressive as other 5 star hotels we have stayed at. However the service was good, the staff, friendly and attentive and the facilities were first class. The spa offers a good range of economically priced treatments though the pool area decor is a little dreary. The food was reallly very good and each restaurant ( there are 4 different ones) offered a high standard of service and presentation. The L'Olivier restaurant offers a superb a la carte menu and runs themed buffets during the week. This was truly outstanding. The pool area is exceptionally large and the pool staff were great.
This was the ideal venue for a relaxing 5 day break and is just 15 minutes from Carthage and its ruins and only 20 mins from Sidi Bou Said - a delightful 13th Century village thats well worth a visit. Cabs are cheap and easy to get get and many will negotiate a rate to be your driver for the day. If you go to Tunis centre the Souk is a little disappointing as it appeared to be full of cheap Chinese and Far East imports ! Worth looking at though but keep your hand in your pocket.
Forget about it
My husband and I just returned from a 6 day stay at the Residence Tunisia for our honeymoon. We were told by many its the "nicest hotel in Tunisia" and how wrong that statement is. It goes to show what a little word-of-mouth marketing can do among taxi drivers and travel agents.
If this is the nicest hotel in Tunisia, it does not say much about their country.
For the money we paid for a sea view room, we could hardly see the water, it was so far away. Once we walked to the beach, we saw its very dirty and one is not even able to swim in the water, its too rough. The hotel is very run down and while waiting for the elevator every day we could see mold growing on the light fixtures...gross! Badly in need of paint, the rooms are dirty, more mold in the shower, bugs inside the room.
The one redeeming quality (and the only reason I didn't rate it as "terrible") is the very nice and accomodating staff, from the restaurants to the pool attendants, they were great.
Stick to making raffia work camels
Ok. I am English and we never complain right? People blow up our capital city and at best we are a bit miffed for a few days. V2 rockets rain down on us in their thousands and we barely grumble. I have eaten bits of old leather masquerading as steak at flash restaurants and when asked by the maitre d' if everything is Ok I will mumble that its perfect. So it takes a lot for me to log in here and take the time out to write this.
Lets put this in context: I work really really hard and whilst I am not a billionaire I am definately not poor. So the fact that this was not a cheap holiday rankles a bit but its not the end of the world. However time is valuable, especially time with my family in a great location, with pleasant staff, excellent service, a clean pool and a great beach. Which is why I am so very very angry about the "holiday" I have just been on. I have stayed in 5 star hotels in every continent and guys there is no way on earth that this is a 5 star hotel. I could tell this by the following things that typically do not happen at 5 star hotels:
- You do not find a --- in the pool at 7am (meaning its been there all night)
- The pool doesnt turn green and opaque for three days.
- The staff dont ask your wife for her phone number and address (no matter how hot she maybe).
- You dont get charged £9 for two espressos in the lobby.
- You dont get treated like an irritant that may go away if you ignore it enough times
- You dont get treated like an idiot for not being French
- At least some of the staff speak English that goes beyond asking for a phone number (see above).
- The staff are not surly, disinterested and on occassion down right rude.
- There is typically a gym with more than three items of rusting "machines" that were put in there in 1988. (I could tell the date because the software on the rowing "machine" proudly stated that).
- They do not tie three rather sick looking horses to a pole on the "private" beach and sell rides on them.
- The pool staff do not take 24 hours to return your wallet and mobile when they mysteriously dissapear from your lounger.
- You typically do not go to lunch and return to find that the pool staff have thoughtfully removed two of your loungers, dumped your stuff on the remaining lounger and given the others to some French people who have tipped them better than you. This may happen once, but it never happens three days in a row.
- You do not have to wait 20 minutes for staff to bring you a beer in the evenings.
- Five star hotels fill up the mini bar everyday with the same things.
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Its bad. Really bad.
So, we know its not a five star hotel. For definate.
So what is it? Well its meant to be the sister hotel of the The Residence in Mauritius; the fat, dowdy sister with a hygeine problem and facial hair maybe but thats it. The management of this hotel group should be embarrassed about what this place is doing to their reputation. If this is the best that Tunisia can do (which I kept being told it was) then stick to making raffia work camels and get out of the service business.
Not 5 star
We have just returned from 11 days at the Residence. I went with my two children aged 4 and 2. I had become a bit anxious after reading the reviews and am sad to report that in many respects I have to agree with the poorer ones.
The good points. The rooms are pleasant and kept very clean. The airconditoning really struggled in the 40 centigrade heat. We had a deluxe room on the second floor with a sea view. The lifts broke down 3 times in 11 days. Usually this is not a problem but lugging children up and down stairs is a bit tiresome particualry when they are hot and bothered.
The general state of the hotel falls into the category - needs some paint. I have to admit we did see some of the peeling window surrounds being painted whilst we were there. One wonders why this was being done at the height of the season and not during the quieter months. In any event it was long overdue.
The food was pretty good. The Italian buffet night is by far the best. Personally the Tunisian night under the stars was a bit poor and we were not the only guests struggling to find something attractive to eat that night.
Breakfasts are good save for the man making the eggs. He was never there and couldnt fry an egg! This may appear a small point but having spent many holidays in 5 star hotels this appears to be a skill every other hotel has mastered.
The poor points. The service is dreadful. The one exception was Nooma in L'Olivier. If you didnt speak French then forget it - go right to the bottom of the queue. The poolside staff are shocking, in particular the head barman who was rude to females. None of the staff (apart from the delightful chambermaid) smiled. The hotel ran out of apple juice for 4 days and when I asked at reception when this was going to be sorted out I was ignored. Once again a small point but if your child only drinks apple juice this is a problem and this is a 5 star hotel - a member of the leading hotels of the world and they cant get apple juice! A 15 minute taxi ride to the local supermarket and I managed it - why couldnt they?
The pool is large and appeared clean but why were they were still cleaning it at 11 am most mornings when it was busy? The childrens pool is a disaster. The earlier report is correct. The entrance is cracked and has sharp protruding marble and is very very slippy. The play park (such that it is) is also old and made of wood complete with large sized splinters.
The beach is private to an extent in as much as there is a roped off area about 20 feet back from the shore line. To get to the water you have to go onto the public beach and there is indeed camel and horse poo all over the place. To describe this as a private beach is at best misleading.
I cant hold the hotel liable for the very windy weather which whipped sand into eyes but it did mean that for 5 days the beach was unusable.
All in all this would be a 3/4 star hotel anywhere else. If judged on service alone it is in 2/3 star class. As a base to explore Tunisia this would be a very nice place to stay. To treat it as a resort hotel and spend the majority of time there, is something I would not recommend. If you are not French or speak it well, forget the kids clubs.
Considering this was an expensive holiday (in excess of 5,000GBP) I was very disappointed. We will not be returning.
A fantastic week
The Residence was a delight! After reading the previous review I was skeptical, but my husband did more research and and it lived up to all the glowing reports he'd heard. The staff was really helpful (Noormen was especially accommodating) and aimed to please, even though we spoke no French, like the majority of visitors. The restaurants were superb and I highly recommend the "Bedouin night" under the stars as well as the Italian buffet. Additionally the spa was a lot of fun and good value for money with the Tunisian Dinar against the Pound. They must have EVERY machine ever invented to make one feel toned, relaxed and pampered. The pool was very well kept and the rooms were clean with a very attentive housekeeping staff. Although the hotel has organised tours into Carthage and the Medina in Tunis, we ventured out on our own with a local taxi and had a marvellous time. As a country Tunisia has obviously spent a lot of time and money in building its tourism industry and we had a very positive experience and would most certainly go back. The weather was great and temperatures comfortable with a constant refreshing breeze. The Residence is a solid 4-star hotel which I highly recommend. The only reason, in my opinion, it is not a 5-star is that it lacks facilities for much recreation such as diving or fishing.
What a dive
this place might have been a leading hotel 9 years ago when it was opened but now i wouldnt even give it a 3 star.. Since the opening they havent spent a penny on it.
The most terrible hotel expiernce of my life. Dont be fooled by the pics one the website as I was. I have stayed in some of the best hotel in the world and this was claiming to be one. It was horrible..... I dont mind staying in average hotels when you know what to expect but when your paying £170-200 a night in a so called 5 star it a con....
The beach is bad, the water is dirty, there are horses and camels shitting on beach and huge black beetles eating it up.
The pool is in very poor condition even worse is the kiddies pool where disaster awaites some poor family who is taking there kids on holiday......same for the kids play area rusty broken rides..
I cant even be bothered to carry on you get my gist dont go there
This is a genuinely excellent hotel. It is beautifully designed and wonderfully comfortable. The Arabic influences in the rooms and general decor are lovely and really reminds the visitor that they are in North Africa.
The pool and private beach are both beautiful and lunch by the pool a treat in the middle of the day. Rooms are spatious and the bathroom dressing rooms are unlike anything else I have experienced; striking and functional.
Food wise the centre of Tunis is some way away but the hotel offers some exceptional cuisine. The main restaurant offers international cuisine as well as some local specialities (avoid a brick!) and the Li Bai genuinely excellent Chinese cuisine.
Even though somewhat out of the centre taxis are cheap and Carthage and the Centre are short taxi rides away.
Overall service is extremely professional friendly and attentive - less package resort in Hammamet and more like a top international hotel. If you go to Tunis, in my opinion this is the only place to stay.
TripAdvisor Reviews The Residence Tunis La Marsa
Travel Blogs from La Marsa
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