Vincci Taj Sultan
Travel Blogs from Hammamet
... I never bought a donkey. When I'd been too lazy to wake up early for a livestock market, that was the smartest thing I ever did.
-----And now ... I was going to do something even smarter! I was going to write my newest MODERN ODDYSEUS' TOP 5!!! And I wanted to end the story of my trip to Tunisia on a good note. So, the Top 5 Worst Things about Tunisia! would start us off:
1. TOO CONFIDENT -
-----The men, whether strict Muslims or normal ...
... what could be misconstrued as cynical views no doubt. The weather is starting to be more what I suppose we are to expect within Europe for this time of year but is a big change from what we have been used to but it is quite good to have a gradual return to our climate. We sail to Menorca tonight where we are due to catch up with friends so looking forward to that before heading home via Lisbon. Sent from my ...
Another place that far exceeded our expectations. When we heard that our Egyptian ports had been replaced by this visit we were disappointed as we have been to Tunisia before to Sousse and didn't enjoy our stay very much. However this day trip was fantastic. As the ship berthed we were met by traditional drummers and pipe players and a man on a camel which was very jolly - they even played God Save The Queen! Also the sun shone yet again - we can't believe ...
... they loved.
-----I felt relieved when I returned from Kerouan to my Dreedy family and Sminja. The only thing I needed to make my relationship with Sminja perfect was a girlfriend. Somehow, to my great surprise, I had found one.
-----In mid-March, this unmarried women whispered to me: "Nti besh turgud ma-aya?" (Do you want to sleep with me?) I quickly nodded. "Niheb." (Yes, I'd like to.) Her brown eyes widened and she swallowed ...
... s beard was sacred because it was grown for religious purposes.
-----The following day, Haikl told me: "Hmida told Monsoor he doesn't like you, because you put the card in his beard." My heart dropped. Oh, no. Had I really offended poor old Hmida? ... "Ha ha." Haikl's friendly gray face laughed at me. Hmida hadn't really said that, it was just a joke!
-----Monsoor's family quickly became my own.
-----One night, however, Monsoor's son ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Vincci Taj Sultan Hammamet
Not 5 Star
The hotel initially appears to be impressive (although not 5 star impressive) but flatters only to deceive. Nice spacious reception, large rooms with daily maid service, plenty of hot water and decent ensuite facilities. Unfortunately this impression is quickly spoiled once you experience the restaurant. The food is awful at breakfast and dinner. Poor quality meats, veg and fruit etc and soup that would have been called 'gruel' in Charles Dickens days. All very badly presented and the staff are surly and seem very unhappy to be there at all.
Also the entertainment is appalling at evenings, just amateurish. The gym is a joke, with minimal equipment some of which does not operate properly.
In the bars the drinks menu is limited and generally only lower quality brand names are available.
The plumbing also seems not to be sealed properly as often a smell of sewerage could be detected from the bathroom wastes.
All things considered a 3 star resort if i were to be kind !
beautiful hotel, wasnt the best five star but value for money and in a nice quiet location! the rep was really nice and told us the best trips to go on and they were great. walking distance from the medina, where we saw some of the best shows.
the hotel mainly catered to European taste, but it was great seeing no british yobs! everyone was friendly, the food was ok, but id rather have had one of the chefs for dinner happily!
the pool was masssssssive, and there were two of them, the beach was also beautiful until the sea weed came, but still lovely!
one of my best holidays, must sees sees are the sahara and cathage!
I loved it
its really great its really beautifull
and where you have seen an 2000m pool its giant!!!!
5 star dont make me laugh
The hotel in its self is quite nice but that is where it stops. Reception hated us, were rude and couldnt be bothered. The food was terrible, like school dinners. The entertainment was based on Black Lace greatest hit. You could here it even in the piano bar and that music around the pool. Only 3 tracks playing over and over and....
Also make sure their isnt a convention when you are there. We were invaded by 200 Italian businessmen. Great when you are already trying to find a sun bed cos the Germans have nicked them. (sorry Germans but its true). We couldnt believe it when they set out a beautiful barbeque with steaks etc only to be told it was for the Italians. They even took the normal cooks from the restaurant leaving us with a young guy who didnt have a clue. Oh yes, don't buy the obviously fake watches. They don't claim them to be real but the will only last a few days. Overall the only good thing was the weather.
We've been to some nice places much poorer and more underdeveloped and this has got to be one of the worst.
Don't go in winter
We also booked our holiday through a well known company that advertised "get away to the sunny beaches of Tunisia"..... Luckily we checked the weather and prepared for the worst!
Yes, the hotel was freezing cold upon arrival late on the 27th of December and we spent the night in a cold bedroom. Luckily we had a few jumpers with us, but lot's of others were told it would be hot!!! I didn't wear open shoes or a short top once. After reporting the room we were told it would be sorted, which it wasn't - second night freezing. After I could physically now show a cold and sore throat we got moved to actually a quite nice suite. However though, this hotel is a maximum 3 star! The food was not very good and the a la carte restaurant didn't offer much choice, pasta and pizza. The New Year dinner was dissappointing, even though the food itself was typical Tunisian and did taste good! We had to order (after this was already preordered the day before!) our drinks 4 times and waited in the end one hour to get a bottle of wine! The main course was served shortly after midnight - when no one was in the mood to sit and eat (or wait) any longer, we got our starter around 9.30 after seating at 8.00. Most staff were quite nice, even though you simply will have to be patient, it is not a service attitude which most European countries are used to. Spa facilities were not good at all. All in all, I would not go back and for anyone who thinks of going, try it in Summer, but please don't go over xmas or NY. Mind you, it's not as affordable as we were told, especially if you eat and drink in the hotel, so take a bit extra. We will definitely try Tunisia again though, unfortunately due to both of us having caught a cold there we did not manage to see much, but we heard lot's of good from people who did go on trips.
Not what we consider 5 star, more like 3.
We have just returned from a weeks holiday booked with Cadogan holidays, Dec 27 - Jan 3. The Cadogan brochure lists the Taj Sultan as five star, however in our experience and from hearing complaints from many other disappointed guests on our return flight home, not many if any would agree.
The weather on arrival was not warm and the hotel heating system was not able to cope with this and our room was cold and the hot air heating noisy. We arrived around 11pm following a delayed flight but the restaurant and bar staff were not at all prepared for guests wanting to eat, eventually sandwichs were available.
Whilst the hotel building itself is quite new, spacious and has various facilties, most things like use of sauna etc are charged as extras and the carpets in the corridors show signs of wear and are generally not impressive. The buffet breakfast was also a poor affair with limited choice and unhelpful staff who appeared not at all interested in serving guests.
We arranged to change hotel immediatly after breakfast on the first morning. We moved to the Hasdrubal hotel, literally up the road which is a beautiful hotel and thoroughly deserving we felt of its five star rating. For this pleasure we had to pay extra money, a matter we will be taking up with our agent and holiday company.
Superb hotel, thoroughly recommended
Rooms are clean, spacious and bright, airy and comfortable. Ours had a beautiful sea view and balcony. The rooms are serviced every day and the staff do an excellent job of cleaning and tidying up - there are fresh towels and the beds are made, bins emptied etc. There is a mini bar in the room with beers, bottled water etc which is useful and reasonably priced, restocked daily. You can buy bottled water in the hotel and via the mini bar, there is no need to take it with you. There was a safe in our room, and we had a bathroom with bath/shower - again clean and well presented.
There is daily entertainment for children; activities all day and then discos in the evening. The 'animation' (entertainment) team are very friendly and absolutely super with the kids of all ages (and adults!). There are also shows and discos every day in the evening - dancing/comedy/karaoke etc. The children loved the mini discos where they get on stage and do all the actions to songs with the help of the team. We stayed over Christmas and New Year; the Christmas show included many other dancing/music acts. The team also assembled a small stable outside with animals for the children to play with which they enjoyed very much. For the New Year's party the whole restaurant moved into the foyer and both the animation team and, again, many other acts provided a colourful evening of entertainment of a very high standard. The party was still going strong when we left for bed at 3.30...!!
Having said that (and reading the other reviews here) we found the hotel quiet in the daytime - there was no 'blasting music by the pool' at all when we stayed and we enjoyed many hours quietly sitting on the balcony (overlooking the pool and the beach) in the sunshine - and this is over the Christmas/New Year period.
The food is of a very high standard & there is always something different on offer - we stayed half board & ate extremely well. It is served buffet style with a starter/main course/desert carousel, and a chef cooking different speciality dishes every day. It's a good idea to get to the restaurant fairly early after opening as the desserts seem to disappear fast! They open for breakfast as early as 5am so if you're going on a tour you are catered for. There is other restaurants - one for special events (the 'oriental evening' event we attended and paid for served food which was not much different to that found in the buffet restaurant - but we did get entertainment that evening which was different and enjoyable). There's also an al la carte restaurant which we didn't eat in but had drinks in as there was a lovely pianist playing (who incidentally managed to pull off a jazz duet with my 6 year old daughter who has never touched a piano in her life!).
The hotel staff - waiters, reception, room cleaning, animation/entertainment etc go out of their way to be helpful & friendly and to provide information. They all work extremely hard and you could be forgiven for thinking they never sleep or take the day off..!
Re: the facilities - my children/father used the heated indoor swimming pool quite often and were very happy with it - there is towel hire available as you can't use the room towels, for a refundable deposit (about 35 dinas). There is an outdoor pool but we did not venture in as it isn't heated and it was a little cold at this time of year! The sun loungers round the pool were used a lot while we were there. The grounds are well tended and very well maintained - setting is attractive. The adjoining beach is absolutely beautiful - miles of clean white sand and various hire facilities available (volleyball/pentaque pitches next to the beach too).
I'd also add that the 2 day tour to the Sahara desert which can be booked via your travel representative (although the hotel staff will help find you another agency if, like ours, your representative doesn't bother showing up!) is absolutely worth every penny. There's a lot of travel so maybe not for very young children (my 11 and 6 year old girls were no problem) but you see two thirds of Tunisia including riding on camels as the sun sets in the Sahara and seeing the mountains/waterfalls where many films were made. I understand this is only available in the colder months as during mid summer it's too hot in the Sahara.
The hotel is ideally situated - of course next to the beach but also close to Jasmine Hammamet where there is Cathiagieland - a really good fun park for the kids (entrance was 15 dinas a head - about £7.00 - for all day) and hundreds of little gift shops and small restaurants and bars. There's a chemist just outside of Jasmine on the main road - a short walk or a taxi for about 3 dinas/£1.50 from the hotel. There are also various other towns nearby - we didn't like Hammermet but were told Nabul was worthy of a visit although didn't have time. There's a tour from the hotel to Tunis available - again we had no time but many people staying there gave it a good review.
I would thoroughly recommend this hotel to anyone and in particular to anyone with children. We stayed in the bars pretty late most nights and felt quite comfortable letting the kids go off with the other children - besides the entertainment, there is pool/air hockey for them in the bar and they are very well looked after.
Having just returned having travelled there on the 27th Dec 04 for 1 week, all I can say is don't go.
The hotel has the setting to be a 5 star hotel but is currently at best a 3
The food is appaling, the service non-existent and they admitted they are not used to english tourists. There were vegeterians and the hotel did not cater for them at all. The spa area is at best clean but needs sign posting and updating, the staff talk together in Tunisian whilst you are having a massage and there is no ambience. Someone has told the entertainment staff (if you could call them that) that all english play bingo.......I could go on and on but I am sure you have got the gist. I am off to the travel agency to book a holiday as I have not had one!
Don't Stay there
We just came back after 2 weeks from end Oct/beginning November 2004. This place blares music by the pool all day with a thumping base, apparently "french people like this" we were told. The air conditioning is only on in July & August - as we were told "Tunisian people don't think its hot now"- it was 88 degrees and we were very hot.
The front desk cannot speak any English and answer the telephone rudely and abruptly with "What" as they cannot understand English, consequently you have to sort out carrying your own luggage, deliver your own laundry to front desk etc.
The service (or huge lack of) was absolutely diabolic to say the least. The "restaurant" was nothing more than a canteen serving tasteless food, with waiters who had no man-management skills whatsoever. For the second evening our wine was corked and arrived opened to our table. My partner reordered and then we waited and waited, at desert when the bottle did eventually arrive my partner was not at the table. The waiter (apparently) didn't have other wine we choose. He didn't tell me the bottle he had then given us is was not the one my partner had ordered. When my partner came back to the table the waiter had opened a completely different bottle without telling my partner beforehand or letting us reselect. When we queried the waiter said he had chosen it the other wine was "finish". We sent this back and went to the Piano Bar where we successfully ordered the wine which was "finish" - how strange the Piano Bar and Restaurant are next to each other!
At the pool bar they cannot even supply basics like ketchup for 4 children who had ordered chips - the main hotel did have ketchup and was ony 200 yards away. We went there only twice and both times the hot food was served cold to us and had to be sent back. The menu is very basic and the waiters are very unprofessional constantly shouting and arguing in front of guests - not a very relaxing holiday atmosphere. The pool was big, but with the music and the many many salesman also circling the pool, selling various camel rides, spa treatments, excursions etc., you were unable to sit there and relax either. There is no escape to the indoor pool either, this is colder than the outdoor pool as this is not heated.
My advice would be to stay at home in the U.K. in the cold and the rain rather than go to the Vincci Taj Sultan.
The Best Hotel In Hammamet
There were not many reviews on the Taj Sultan before I booked, so I will admit to being a little apprehensive, but a couple of good ones did turn up towards the beginning of June.
I stayed at this hotel in late June 2004.
I was incredibly impressed with the standard of the hotel. The photographs in the brochure didn't do it justice. There is a huge freshwater pool outside with a bridge that goes accross it, surrounded by gardens and sun loungers. There is also a very nice indoor pool with a beauty salon below it in the basement. The restaurant was also lovely and served a nice variety of food. Even a veggie could quite happily be satisfied with the selection.
There is a selection of two bars and a moorish cafe for the evening. Prices for drinks are quite expensive though because many spirits etc are difficult to get hold of and expensive to buy.
The entertainment and activities in the hotel were provided by the animation team. The only criticism I have of them is that the chief animator and a couple of the team can not speak any English and therefore any talking in the shows etc was done in German French and Italian only. This did not however generally detract away from the shows themselves as most entertainment was visual rather than audio (apparently they're doing Grease the musical one evening this week.) There were two members of the team that made a real effort to speak to us in English, and one of them (Ned) took us under his wing and really did everything to make our stay enjoyable.
Overall, though not particularly tailored for the English as we only made up about 5% of the total guests, this hotel was out of this world and I would definitely recommend it to couples young and old and families (providing your kids can speak a bit of French/German/Italian.)
The service offered by First Choice had both good and bad points.
THE GOOD: We took an excursion to Tunis Carthage and Sidi Bou Said. The tour guide was the most funny and inspirational man ever! Also the places themselves were breathtaking. I would also recommend the trip to Nabeul market (as long as you have your bargaining hat on.) I got a leather jacket for 50 dinar (25 quid) and a bottle of whisky.
THE BAD: The flight out was delayed by 4 hours and only £6 compensation offered.
Coming back, the journey to Monastir was hampered by the fact that we were given 2 5 seater Jeeps instead of a coach for 11 people plus luggage. The rep was apparently extremely unhelpful on the phone. However, we got there in the end and some holidaymakers were making a bad situation worse by shouting and screaming at the rep.
Overall, best holiday and best ever hotel. I wish I'd stayed for 2 weeks.
Bring as much whisky as you can carry.
Go to a fixed price shop in Hammamet before heading to any medinas/markets.
Slap on the sun cream and put on your haggling hat.