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Historical Traveler Reviews Alkantara Thalassa Djerba
Good value for money for a family
I liked the Alkantara. We (family of four with two boys 8 and 10) stayed for two weeks mid-end July. The staff don't speak much English it's true, but they are extremely friendly and if you can speak some French or German, it's fine.
For children (4-11 ish), there is a mini-club (free) and they can join or not, as you like. The mini-club animateurs try to include all children (in July, the other children from Europe are mainly pre-schoolers, but by late July, there are children of all ages). For adults, there are also low-key activities throughout the day (waterpolo, aqua-aerobics, boules, belly dancing! etc) but there is no pressure to join in, if you would prefer to lounge and read. Entertainment in the evening is not that sophisticated and great for kids - the teens also appeared to be having a good time at the disco which followed.
The large pool is excellent and appears to be immaculately clean (as are loos!). There is a small paddling pool for tots. The seaweed is a bit smelly, but it's not unbearable and it's not all the time. Meanwhile the hotel is doing its best to clear it. The digger-dumper expanding the beach has moved further away and its beeping is less intrusive! The sea's a gorgeous colour but a little cloudy off the pontoon - possibly it's better further north toward the Club Med site. The snorkelling was disappointing but maybe Northern Tunisia is a better bet than Djerba.
Rooms are very clean (though family of 4 has to take 2 rooms, there are only beds for 3) as is Tunisia generally. Rooms are also air-conditioned and those overlooking the sea with a balcony are lovely in the evening despite a long walk from reception!
The food is so-so. The veg and fruit are great but the meat is sometimes rather gristly for youngsters. If you stick more to Tunisian food - couscous, brik, mechouia salad, it's generally better. If you're on half board, lunch is pricy and not that great - try to eat more at breakfast and have an early supper instead! Or just jump in a cab (TD 7 to Hammout Souk) and try a local restau.
We "did" the excursion into the desert (a sort of Sahara for Softies!) 4 x 4, staying at Ksar Ghillane. We all loved that - the Sahara is magnificent. Some stops on the way were a bit hard-sell from art & craft vendors but a polite no if you really aren't interested (don't waiver!) works OK. The troglodyte caves and landscapes of Tunisia make the trek well worth it. OUr driver who responded a little too eagerly to our boys' encouragement to go faster, got really stuck in one sanddune - but it all added to the adventure. For shopping, Hammout Souk is probably best but be prepared to "negotiate" on things that you'd really like to buy. (Half of the price is a good starting point).
Unfortunately, I had two bracelets (the only jewellery I took) taken from the hotel probably by hotel staff (we had a problem with our safe on arrival) but the hotel manager tried hard to help.
A big plus if you're travelling with smaller children or older parents perhaps is that the hotel has a mini medical centre with a trained nurse on call 24hours. I have never thought about that, but we were very glad of it, when our younger son slipped in the shower and needed stitches. The nurse & doctor are French-trained and the level of care was better than in the UK. The Alkantara says that it is also well-equipped to cater for older snowbirds in the winter. (Apparently the hotel is a firm favourite with Swiss, French and German retirees in Jan-Feb.)
Tunisia is fascinating from a historical and cultural point of view. It's only a few hours from the UK and the weather was gloriously hot while we were there. A sea breeze makes it enjoyable rather than oppressive. French guests who had returned to Djerba reckoned that Tunisia was now less commercial and better value than Morocco. (Can't comment - haven't been to M)
The Tunisians are generally very hospitable and although parts of the country look a bit litter-strewn (you can'r tell whether some of the buildings are going up or coming down!), hotels and restaus etc are usually immaculate. I would say the Alkantara is a 4-star , good value for money base from which to explore southern Tunisia and to spend some quiet play time by yourself or with the family.
Would I go back? Yes - though not in August - too busy.
A great holiday all round.
Before going on holiday to this hotel I had read a lot of reviews. Some were negative and some were possitive. Overall I must sat this was one of the best holidays ive had in a long time.
The resort is in the middle of know where, but this is ok because it is a self contained resort with evereything you need. The beach is ok. There was a lot of sea weed, however the hotel has actual constructed a pontoon which you can walk out to, and thus avoid the sea weed. Inaddition to this there is also a variety of water sporting activities on the beach such as jet skiing. The resort tends to focus more on the French, however this is not a problem as all the staff were friendly and helpfull and there English was ok. The staff infact are eager to talk to the Brits as it improves there English.
The food is also of a good standard and there is always something different in the evening meals which is good. One review I looked at said the food was laced with spices and this is simply not true and all the food is tto a high standard. The hotel was very clean and well maintained. Services was a little slow however not to a large extent. Drinks are a little epensive however the rep adviced going to a neighbouring hotel which is only a two minute walk. One of the really great points for me however is the hotel pool. It is massive!! This hotel also offers a wide range of trips such as a cruise on a pirate ship and a journey into the Sahara Desert. Entertainment in the evenings was limited so we usually just played cards or used the pool table.
Oh by the way, watch out for a reallllly camp guy who is one of the hotel entertainers, he is definately unique.
So, dont be put of by some of the really negative reviews of this hotel as they are simply not true and we are seriously considering going back to the same hotel again next year because we enjoyed it so much.
OK a fair and concise review
Me, the wife and two kids arrived at 5am on the early hours of a Sunday morning. The hotel is 35 minutes drive from the Lovely Djerba airport. Even at that time the check in and the staff were very good. I was worried after reading reviews concerning the "algie" issue with the sea, let me clear this up, this is not algie, or sewage but a natural dilema facing the hotel, it is seaweed, however, it covers all of about three feet from the beach head into the water.
To counteract this the hotel have built a large pontoon walkway into the sea which allows you to bypass the seaweed and get to the good, clear, warm sea waters. Many people use the pontoon and it can also be used for sunbathing. The water depth at the end of the pontoon is around 3 feet deep. Also to add, the beach outside the hotel is wonderful, it is totally clean apart from the bit joining the waters edge, it is a rather large beach as well.
Ok, the rooms, excellent, clean, tidy, well equipped and very comfortable. One word of warning, when you place a do not disturb sign on the door, the staff still knock, not once but twice, make sure if this happens to you that you complain.
The air conditioning is excellent and the beds very comfortable. Word of warning, if you want a sea view and you do not like noise, make a point of saying you want a view away from the disco area. The disco is really for the youngsters, and too be fair is pretty good, but it is noisy and goes on until around midnight. After midnight it shuts down and becomes quiet again.
My only hate of the hotel was its breakfast, basically, no real fruit juices, just cordials and as they tell you not to drink the local water then cordials are a no no for me. Breakfast is far too french and is totally unfair on other european visitors. Do yourself a big favour and take your own t bags or coffee as what they have on offer leaves a lot to be desired. Eggs ae plentiful and you can have fried eggs freshly made or an omlette.
Dinner, well ok, but i stayed for two weeks and it repeated itself, they have a bar b q but be very sure to check any chicken you have as i found traces of uncooked meat. If you are british then to be honest they do try, but not hard enough, again the food is more a taste for the french.
The swimming pool is superb, big and very clean, lots of sunbeds but as usual the continentals enjoy taking them before others have even got up, even though the hotel says no before 8am.
Bars, well in short, very expensive, 4 dinars for a beer (small) 3 dinars for a coffee, although i did go as half board, i would really recommend going fully inclusive, especially if you have children. But the bars are managed well by very friendly staff and are totally clean.
The locaility of the hotel is 15 minutes from the town of Midoun, which costs arounf 2 dinars by taxi, around 90 pence, the toen has a wealth of shops but be prepared for haggling on a big scale. My overall judgement of the hotel is that it is well worth a visit, forget the algie it really isnt that big a deal, the staff were excellent, the hotel is very clean, and take a phrase book in either french or arabic, learning the speak is part of the fun. The hotel wasbetter than i expected. I would ask the hotel though to move away from their total french ideal, there are many other europeans who would enjoy this hotel.
Good and bad
Good bits first.
Pool is excellent.
Rooms are very good.
Thalassotherpy and massages are great, (you have to pay for them).
Now the bad bits,
This hotel is simply not geared up for the English tourist. Fortunately for me I speak French, but my wife and 99% of English do not. The number of times I saw people in distress and I had to translate was unbelievable.
It's literally in the middle of nowhere.
Beer is expensive, so being a smarty pants I went to the two local supermarkets and tried to buy it. Yeah, right! The beer is sans alcohol, which means without alcohol. Back at the hotel, we started drinking a Vin Rose (pink wine) called Saint Augustin. We had about 10 bottles which were quite good, and 2 bottles (exactly the same label) were woeful. We did get exchanges when we complained.
The water bottles at the hotel are 3 dinars, about £1.40. and are half a dinar in the supermarkets.
The beach is a major dump with constant work trying to remove the algae from them, the work being conducted by the JCB's from 7am to 7pm. Beep Beep Beep when reversing.
The food, and restaurant. Well er... mmm.... lack of choice, low quality ingredients, either undercooked or overcooked, wait for a table, when you get your table, fight for crockery. The stupid location of the kitchen means you have to avoid bullish chefs and waiters restocking the buffet. I hope you like omelettes if you8 go here.
The Belgian and French tourists wore All Inclusive bands, English only go half-board, and as a consequence are always served last.
I suppose this ought to go in the good bits but I lost half a stone here, I simply lost my appetite for the same stewing steak and crass undercooked drivel.
The one good thing that I can take away from this holiday was that I relaxed, I had to, there was nothing much to do.
Will I go back to Tunisia - not on your nelly mate.
Rest and relaxation
just had a glorious week at this beautiful hotel, my sister and I wanted a quiet break and thats exactly what we got. Djerba is a relatively new resort for the English but that wasn't a problem the locals were so friendly and loved the English, they really like to speak to you as it improves their Englsh. The hotel was fabulous we were there very early in the season (Easter) so it was probably quieter than in the summer but this didn't spoil anything. Djerba is an island south of the main Tunisian resorts with its own airport, which is large and clean.
we went on a tour of the island (on one of the reps tours) and it was lovely it really is an unspoilt island if your looking for something not too commercialised then this is the place. the market where you can barter is wonderful, and they dont hassle you as much as they do on the mainland they will take no for an answer, the hotel is rated 5* personally i would say it was 4* but the staff were friendly and helpfull and the food was excellent, fresh omelettes every day for breakfast along with so much chioce you could have eaten until lunchtime, lunch was either the poolside bar sandwitches or the pizza cafeteria both very reasonably priced with service to match, and the evening meals were fabulous with so much choice we didn't know where to begin, talking of the pool I have never seen a pool as big as the one at this hotel it is massive! The animation staff were wonderful with lots of activities throughout the day (look out for the camp bloke, he is wonderful) the only niggle was the private beach which we couldnt use because there was a tractor clearing away seaweed all day but they were just getting it ready for the season starting and there was a fantastic beach 5minutes walk along the beach. all in all i would recommend this hotel to most, i dont think it is really suitable for people that want to be out and about as there isn't a lot to do but if your looking for a relaxing holiday and a bit of culture then this is the place for you.
Great to get away from it all
fantastic hotel set in a quite location. perfect for getting away from it all. hotel was very clean and airy. rooms are large and comfortable with much needed air con.
fabulous pool with pleanty of sun loungers and parasols. pleanty of food choice for breakfast & evening meal. friendly staff although English is not spoken too well. thalassatherepy centre is very good with loads on offer from massage to manicures.
Perfect for thalasso and quietness
The feedback on our stay in this hotel (30th october- 5th november 2005)is mixed. There are pros and cons.
With the pros, the hotel is clean and the staff is quite effective and friendly. The Thalasso center is very good with a professional and friendly staff. Some parts of the buffet are excellent eg grilled fish. The swimming pool is very large and clean.
On the other side, there are tons (literally) of algae on the beach and they were not evacuated which forbids to use the sea in front of the hotel and obliged everybody to use an adjacent beach (200meters away) were it was cleaned. The rest of the buffet (see above) is not of matching quality for a 5* hotel. Additionnally, the hotel is filled with french people which can be a noway for some of you. The hotel is also very far away from the main city (=25km), even if taxis are cheap it takes some time to go there and gives an impression of isolation.
Globally, we are have been satisfied but are not sure to come back to this hotel.
Not a five-star but still decent
First, i'm writing this review only because when i was looking for one on the net, i found only one here from a russian guy which was very negative - and this is not a bad hotel at all.
We spent 2 weeks here from 30.aug - 13.sept.
So..i agree that there are problems, but there are advantages as well.
It is not true that nobody speaks in english at this hotel. Hard to find, but i found 2 receptionists who spoke..a very helpful lady (sooner or later) understood what i wanted to ask (not just simple questions) and a (fatter) guy also could communicate with me.
As i realized english is a problem in the whole country; since ages this is the first place when i cannot use my english (and had to dig out my 'fortunately forgotten, non-existent' french).
The food is not so bad. if you don't like egg you would probably face to problems at breakfast, but still, there are some options. The dinner stands of ~10-12 different plates, so you can select. E.g. the soups are always the same two (1 vegetable and 1 fish-soup(fish soup was ridiculous with some tomato, as i'm hungarian- if you know what i mean:))).
The hotel, rooms are clean. the problem is not that, but the feeling that it's not 5-stars at all. some examples:
- the toilet is however clean, but at first smell, stinks. as i understood it is because the water itself is stinky..
- the curtain is also clean but torn a bit.
- the bathplug was missing
- minibar fridge cannot produce ice (i don't know, why)
- at the (very decent) bar, there's a candle on the table. the candle is in a broken keramic stuff. if you order sangria (try!!), they serve it in a broken jar
- lounge is nice, but furnitures are worn
They have internet offer, which was 'funny': one PC (p3/xxx HP box, would be nice, but..) with an 56k usb modem which connects to local isp with 14.4 bps!!!! i was suffering to just read my mails - and ofcourse forgot doing anything else.
The pool is huuuuge - we spent almost all time at there. Especially because the beach was under renovation during the whole vacation. this is a big black point to them. some newcomers did not check in and asked their organisers to have been replaced to somewhere else. we did not mind..
..because the hotel was very calm. i guess about 50 guests were there..which made this place IDEAL to take rest (and no other hungarian detected, ehehe:)).
Some hotels offer special local (in-da-house:)) programs with 'animators'. this is not my taste, so i appreciated, that here only 2 of such made some rare activities, like excercise in the water, valleyball etc. they did not disturb the others...
Conclusion: if you want to do nothing just rest under the sun and get sunburst, and dislike shouting guests (=idiots) chasing each other on the beach/at the pool, then this hotel is ideal for you.
GREAT Holidays !
I spent a week at this hotel with my boyfriend mid-september.
First of all, the weather was very nice which is a good point !
The pool is HUGE is there is enough sun beds for everybody. the pool area is very clean.
I found the staff very polite and helpful. They listened to every request I had ( I live in france and speak French ! ). I fell sick and they immediatly called a doctor and payed for a Taxi to go get my medicine.
We both found the food very good and of good quality. The meals are very various and enjoyable. you can eat outside near the pool. The staff cooks you fresh fish and meat outside on a grill every night. Their are themes and shows every 2 nights. ( oriental dancers, magician etc.... ) They are very discrete but nice to watch with a tea after diner at the bar !
The rooms are big and nice. You have to pay 75 Euros to have a sea view wich i didn't find necessary ! the bed is big, the rooms are air conditionned and the deco is fine.
The Thalassa seems nice also. The only things we did was a massage and a Hammam wich were EXTRAORDINARY ! and very cheap also compared to france.
We spent an excellent vacation and would go back without a doute.
Not a 5-star at all
I've stayed there in the beginning of May 2004 and was disappointed.
We were met by the scandal with guests who arrived earlier and who were not given the rooms with sea-view, as they've been promised in their ravel agency. Staff and Main manager were not courteous at all. I was in the same position and to avoid same scandal I paid extra for the sea-view. Room was OK but noisy while discotique (so called) working.
An few remarks about the hotel.
Furniture in the lobby and in the rooms is crummy and worn
Nobody speaks English, no-bo-dy
Beverages in the restaurant - overpriced
Menu of the lunch restaurant - very poor
Breakfast menu - also poor
The beach is very dirty, staff cannot take away tons of seaweeds
Btw in this season sea was too cold for swimming, and weather was very windy.
The Hotel does not serve fresh orange juise (!!) and arabian coffee (!!)
SPA center is average. Big troubles for those not speaking French
It is nothing of the kind of that Luxurious 5-Star Hotel I've been told it was.
But if one does not expect much, it might be OK. For the price of 3,5-4****
TripAdvisor Reviews Alkantara Thalassa Djerba
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