Iberostar Diar El Andalous
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- Tennis Court
- Reduced mobility rooms
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Historical Traveler Reviews Iberostar Diar El Andalous Port El Kantaoui
It was fantastic
Well, firstly i will say that no to all the reviewers that this is not a five star hotle, but in case it has escaped your mind this is a third world country! need i say more! You must be dissalusioned if you think you will get the ritz for the minima prices you pay here, so please come off it!!
The hotel was more than i expected, it was great, quiet and relaxing, friendly helpful staff. Pool attendants were great more than happy to help.
Food was good, i didnt go in the A la carte so i cant comment.
You do get beach towels and you get them from the beach club, below the coffee shop just off main reception. Safety deposit boxes are free. It costs 40tdn to keep your room on if you have a late flight, less then £20!
There are very few children and if you intend to take your kids make sure you can occupy them as there is little for them to do.
The trips i would reccomend are Sidi bou Sid, El Jem and if you get time the safaie.
Enjoy its great and ask me anything you want i loved it and will be back next year
Not 5 Star
This place is definitely not 5 star!
The rooms are very basic.
The food has no variety for example for breakfast there was egg roles, scrambled eggs, poached eggs and small sausages. The buffet was the same every night and the same desserts every night. The A La Carte was pitiful and my wife just stopped ordering a main and just ate the salads. The restaurant staff were snobby if you didnt want drinks and the hotel staff werent friendly unless you spoke French which everything seemed to be in including a letter we got under our door on the last day telling us about the hotel. You had to pay to use the facilities, sauna etc. On one day the cleaner finished cleaning our room and left our door open. They had room service but no menu?! Hardly no tour info in English. We spoke to an english and Maltese couple who both felt the same way and everyone at dinner looked disgruntled. In Malta we stayed in a 3 star which was much better. We were very dissappointed at the standard and went and saw our travel agents after the holiday and got them to cross it off their books.
Myself and my girl friend have recently returned from our holiday. Tunisia is a very different country compared to the UK, and the salesmen are extrememly friendly,yet very 'in-your-face'. The holiday overall was a pleasant experience, and we would conider going back again. The hotel overall was superb, and the food was excellent, with a wide variety of choice.
Lovely rest and very good value for money
We came back yesterday from Tunisia, having had a very relaxing week's holiday. We booked last minute through Panorama, and it was a bargain.
The hotel is calm and quiet, and while the main areas were plush, the rooms were a little tired, (not really 5* - but we didn't pay 5* prices!) We had clean towels each day, clean bed linen three or four days, a seperate bathroom and toilet, satelite television - with three English channels, a mini bar refreshed each day, and a balcony overlooking the gardens, pool and sea. The pillows were awful and took some getting used to. The room was spotlessly clean.
The weather was fabulous and we spent lazy days relaxing around the pool or in the gardens. There were loads of sunbed, someone to put on a matress for you, free beach towels (clean each day) and ample sun umbrellas. The sunbeds on the beach were also free.
The staff were all lovely, extremely polite and well mannered and would go out of their way to be helpful. The hotel attracted a mix of nationalities and British guests were not in the majority, but never the less well represented. The hotel attracted mainly couples and there were very few children. Not a hotel I would have chosen for my children when they were small - few children to make friends with, no mini club, no children's pool, there is a play park, an indoor pool, a games room and bowling alley for older children. Well behaved, quiet children were just about tolerated.
The food was not the best, breakfast was buffet, plenty of croisants and bread, jam and cheese, coffee or tea and syruppy juices. Lots of eggs but the rest of the hot brakfast was not very inviting. There was a part buffet in the evening for hot and cold starters and pudding. (Fill up on them because the waiter service main course is nothing to write home about and a very small portion) Having said that, the dining room had lots of waiters, it was very clean, and you could just about find something to eat. Food was a massive problem if you were vegetarian however. We had lunch around the pool most days for about £10 including a drink for both of us. It's cheaper if you walk into the port and eat around the harbour but didn't feel confident that the little cafes were as clean as the hotel.
The entertainment was quiet and low key and fitted the ambiance of overall calmness and relaxation. The hotel does it's own 'Tunisian' night. It's not cheap, doesn't include any drinks and in another hotel would be part of the hotel entertainment. Wouldn't recommend it. We felt we were subsidising a party of Tunisian business men the hotel were trying to impress and were just there to help pay for it and make up the numbers! We watched the same musicians in the hotel across the road for free another night.
We didn't go far as we needed a rest, however the little port is somewhere to walk to. It is a lovely walk along the beach but you can walk along the road or get a cheap taxi ride. The medina in Sousse is worth a look but brace yourself to be hassled.
All in all we had a lovely rest in a quite nice hotel for a bargain price. We both have stressful jobs and it was the perfect antedote. We feel we got very good value for money and would go again.
Me(15) and my mum (53) went and found that we met a wide variety of people, we made some great friends. the hotel is beatuiful, the staff are friendly and the beach (a few yards aways) is stunning. it was ashame that at the time we went it was to cold. Even thought it was to cold for the beach and outside pool, the indoor pool was lovely and warm. the sauner was great!!! we recomend that you go on the 2day desert trip. The experience can only be called awsome. The hotel was fine for small children but the trip involves alot of coach travel, walking and climbing. I would say children 6+ who can sit and be patient and who will not act up.
We were very pleased
We were very pleased with the Diar El Andalous (DEA) Hotel and enjoyed a relaxing break. We arrived on Sunday 9th October on the 5* allocation on arrival deal with Panorama. Having read the review of 20th June from the Cornwall trip advisor, I was quite content to learn that we were to be accommodated in DEA and as our stay progressed I was impressed by the accuracy of the June review.
I would also support all that the last reviewer has said. I think that those who have been disappointed with this hotel and with the resort have gone on holiday with unrealistic expectations. One cannot expect 5* in Tunisia to equate with a 5 star hotel in UK.
We have paid more in the past for self catering accommodation and therefore took the attitude that the food was a bonus. There was sufficient choice in the buffet breakfast to cater for most tastes and it was clear that some thought had been given to the preferences of UK, Western and Eastern European guests. The evening meals varied but overall there was a sufficient range of salads, soups, fruit cheese and puddings that, even if the main courses were not to your pleasing, there was more than enough to compensate.
I thought that the quality and value of the food served during the day in the Rimmel restaurant near the pool, was very good. I enjoy tea and coffee in my room and found that the room service was very reasonably priced. In fact we ordered a snack lunch one day which we enjoyed on our terrace and the basket of fruit for 1 person did us both for 2 days!
Our room was on the ground floor and our terrace overlooked an extensive and well maintained garden. The wardrobes were roughly fitted out but otherwise, I was very pleased with the room and found the outlook very relaxing.
As for the staff, they were all very courteous although, like everywhere else, some were more pleasant than others. Tipping was appreciated and always acknowledged with thanks. We were happy to reward good service with a tip and if you were known to tip, the waiters were keen seat you at their table however, we did not experience the pressure to tip that one would find in USA!
I was sorry to read the account of the person taking ill on the beach and the very strong criticism of the life guard and staff. I have to say that I was also extremely surprised as, on the last day of our holiday, just one week later, we witnessed a very different episode. My husband and I were sitting on sun beds on the grassy area beside the pool when a man who was in the pool shouted for help. The life guard who was standing on the island immediately dived in to his rescue and with the assistance of other guests lifted him out on to the side of the pool. Unlike the evident experience of the previous week, the bar man from the pool bar ran over and dragged two sun bed mattresses over to make a screen. Two guests who are nurses and one who is a paramedic worked with this man, assisted by a second life guard who brought a large bag which I assume contained equipment. I was full of admiration for the lifeguard who had responded so quickly.
I do not understand the comments made about having to accept Health and Safety risks. I would be very conscious of potential risk and saw no need for concern. The rooms and public areas were all very clean and the staff were extremely neat and well presented. I along with 2 other guests that I am aware of, did have a tummy upset which lasted about 12-24hours. However in each case the spouse was fine. One should not assume that such upsets are always due to food poisoning. This is to be expected when travelling to hot countries.
If you have already booked your holiday, relax and look forward to it, just don't expect the Savoy 'cos you won't have paid for it!
Well, we loved it!
In response to the review below, we also just returned from Diar El Andalous on Sunday morning - so we were there the same week and do recall the arrival of the paramedics on the beach on Saturday.
I can only imagine that the previous reviewer was staying somewhere different to us, as we found the hotel great fun, the room clean and well cared for during our stay, the entertainment (admittedly sparse as it was October) good, the food more than adequate and the staff friendly and helpful throughout the whole week.
One of the things you really should do if you arrive in a new country with a tour operator is attend the welcome meeting - this helps set your expectations. We never forgot what Michael, the Panorama rep told us - Tunisia is a third world country with tourism. Remember that and everything falls into perspective.
Don't go if you want it to be like London or Paris or anywhere in Western Europe for that matter (it is Africa, after all!) Don't go to Africa and then complain that the food isn't like "back home" - of course it isn't - it's a third world African Islamic nation - what DO you expect???? Yes, the food is different to the UK, but that's half the fun. We had one meal that we didn't enjoy in the seven nights we stayed here half board. Breakfasts were excellent and, using a little imagination in the evening, the evening meals were pretty good too. The lunches in the poolside Cafe Rimel were REALLY good - 9.5TD or £4.05 for a steak sandwich! Fantastic!
And don't go expecting it to be like Ibiza or Mallorca - alcohol is tolerated in Tunisia, if not encouraged and you should be grateful that these gentle people allow us decadent westerners to imbibe what is foreign and vaguely offensive to them in their own country.
You might also wish to consider whether your trip falls at the start of Ramadan, which ours did - it wasn't particularly a problem for us, but it is a very important religious festival for the locals, who, if they are good Muslims, refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and any form of intimate contact between the hours of sunrise and sunset - try doing that for a day, let alone a whole month! And then they have to serve tourists food and drink who don't have the grace to appreciate it.......
No, the Diar el Andalous is not a 5 star hotel as we would imagine one to be in the UK - but guess what? You're not in the UK........
The location on the beach is fabulous. The grounds are gorgeous. They use a mule and cart to collect grass clippings around the place and it was great to see her clopping around during the day. The hotel has a humane policy towards the local cat population - they are neutered and returned to the grounds, and fed in specific areas and even have little huts to sleep in - this keeps them away from the restaurant outside and they keep down the rodents - the only mouse we saw was in the possession of a cat....
The pool is large, clean and even has a pool bar where you can buy ice cream, water, tea and coffee and local beer (2% alcohol). Tunisian wine is very good indeed (12% alcohol on average).
The Moorish Cafe or "hubbly bubbly" room is fantastic - give it a try - sit with the local men and women and drink some Arabic coffee and puff away on the strawberry flavour water pipe. You're in Tunisia after all!
The main bar is plush and the actual bar itself, shaped like a boat, is a joy to sit at - comfy chairs, wee man on the piano and resonably priced cocktails - 8TD or £3.40 - you can't complain - they will even make up cocktails of your own creation for the same price.
Bowling is great fun and so much cheaper than in the UK - 4TD or £1.70 a game PP! Sadouk, the main man, will sit with you and help you score and keep you right. And no, he doesn't put his hand out for a tip at the end of the evening.
Port El Kantoui isn't up to much, really, I agree. It's mostly tacky touristy shops but there are a couple of nice jewellers if you look hard enough. The walk along the beach is nice, but get a taxi back - at 3TD or less than £1.30, how can you argue? There are some half decent restaurants, but the best part is the marina itself, where you can walk around the boats there.
You can buy bottles of good wine in the little supermarket (5TD or £2.15 a bottle) and you can also buy boukha, the local fig liquer. Buy a small bottle - you won't want to buy any more......
No food in the shops??? Eh? A 3TD taxi ride takes you up the road to Supermarket Miami, where you can buy anything you like! Come on! Be adventurous. Ask.
As for the taxis - if you're payng 3 or 4 TD a ride, don't expect too many Mercedes, okay? The boys are friendly and polite and they know what they're doing. Even if it doesn't look like it sometimes!
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we were sorry to leave - we plan to return in May next year for two weeks for my fortieth birthday.
Always remember, wherever you go, that you're not at home. Don't complain about the differences - embrace them and accept them. You'll enjoy yourself a whole lot more that way......
Would not recommend Diar El Andalous
I would not go back to the Diar El Andalous (DEA), (nor Tunisia in general). My concerns relate to DEA's cleanliness, the poor quality of the half-board food, questionable health & safety and the general attitude of staff. All in all, this dated hotel should NOT be portrayed as 5 star.
Perhaps the hotel started out as a 5 star when newly built (back in the 80s?), but now it's rather shabby.
If you're on a budget and you willing to compromise on hygiene and safety(?!) the hotel's facilities aren't too bad for the money, (eg pool area/ private beach with loungers, bowling/sports, shops, beauty clinic....but if you must go to Tunisia (I won't be back) I'd suggest that you scan the reviews for a positive report of one of the newer 5 star hotels.
When we were there, a German man fell ill on the hotel beach. The lifeguard was useless - too busy stacking loungers to notice & it transpired he had no medical knowledge anyway - Luckily my partner was able to give CPR to the man, who no longer had a pulse & seemed to be having a heart attack. I ran back to the hotel beach bar to ask for a Doctor - the staff were useless - no sense of urgency/no phoning for help -finally when a man arrived & followed me to the beach it turned out he was just a barman. When he saw my partner was already tending to the man, he didn't even venture on to the sand, but watched from a distance. When the man thankfully came around, the hotel staff just offered him a drink of water & expected him to walk to a wheelchair parked at the top of the beach steps, but my partner & other tourists stepped in to lift the man on his sun lounger (maybe the staff were waiting for the ubiquitous tip before they took any action?!). It was around hour later that paramedics finally arrived & took the man to hospital -don't get sick or have an accident here!
With regard to the acommodation, it seemed our smelly bedroom in DEA had not been decorated (or cleaned!) since the 80s, and judging by how uncomfortable the beds were, they were still using the original mattresses! The multitude of cleaning staff don't seem to do much. There wasn't just one chamber-maid on our corridor, but a 'towel changer', a 'vacuumer' and a 'bed-maker' - unfortunately for us there didn't seem to be a 'bed-linen changer'. We discovered a used elastoplast (not our own!) in the bed on the first night, and even though the bed was subsequently remade, I don't believe the linen actually got changed in the whole week that we were there (or for goodness knows how long before that!) Another couple told us that their room had not been made up for their arrival either, but they managed to relocate to a nicer room.
On the face of it, the hotel foyer initially looked quite nice, but we soon noticed the dustiness & numerous stains on the sofas, plus the rings of drinks glasses on the coffee tables which don't ever seem to be wiped.
The half-board buffet food got progressively worse over the week. Not much choice - Very greasy, indeterminate meat/fish dishes (unlabelled, so you had no idea what they were). I survived on salads and the same pastries/cakes which were on offer every night (not good for food allergies as most had nuts in.) My partner & I both managed to get upset stomachs during the course of the holiday.
There wasn't much entertainment on offer, although perhaps this is better during high season. We opted to go on a 2-day 'Sahara select Adventure' excursion, but this was needlessly tiring & could have been a lot better. 5am starts both days for this 700 mile bus excursion, which lasted till 6pm on the second day. Day 1 wasn't too bad - you got to see a coliseum, a troglodite home, the Star Wars set and had a camel trek in the dessert. Fellow bus-trippers were not happy with the '3 star' overnight accomodation (we thought it was better than DEA!). Day 2 was a waste of time - we were allowed off the bus for only 15-20 min each at a salt lake and 3 oasis locations- too short to be any use at all. Often, by the time you queued for extremely dirty toilets you hardly had any time to see the actual sight. The much hyped 4x4 drive was pointless-they drove along a standard road, not cross country. Other than that you were couped up on the bus all day. We found it insulting that we spent the last 4 hours of the trip driving towards a 'notable carpet making centre', which in the end was just a tiny carpet shop, where they demonstrated carpet making for 5 minutes (no joke), then inflicted hard sell tactics on you for over half an hour. We wished we'd spent that day on the beach instead of being couped up, mostly inside a bus from 5am-6pm.
I will not be returning to Tunisia. I disliked the 'sharkish' mentality of all sales staff & the incessant need to tip staff to get any level of service. I was not comfortable with the standard of hygiene, both in terms of food and accomodation on offer. We heard similar views from other people on our return flight, and there was a constant queue for the toilet!
Great location for us
My wife and I booked with Panorama (online) about 4 weeks before travelling for 5 star half board alllocated on arrival flying from Exeter in June 2005. We paid £319 which we thought was pretty good from a small regional airport. We arrived at the Daer El Andalous about midnight with one other couple and we're booked in quickly and effficiently. Incidentally the other lady was in a wheelchair and was very happy with the way hotel was laid out and the way she was looked after by the staff.
The hotel is one of the older hotels in the area but benefits from having a 47 acre plot right on the best bit of beach. The extensive gardens are lovely and many people chose to sunbathe in them reather than around the pool or on the beach. The hotel is also well away from the road and there is no traffic noise even in the gardens, unlike many newer hotels which are on more urban plots and away from the beach.
The hotel is only 3 floors and the accommodation wings are a sort of big H shape with the horizantal bit of the H extending towards reception and onto the public areas. All the balconies on the wings are at 45degrees so it's impossible to overlook anyone except the opposite wing which was about 70m away across a mature garden with 50ft palm trees. A lot of rooms did come directly off the main corridor but as this was laid with new carpet I'd guess even they were quiet. As for our room, we had neighbours each side and probably above too but only ever once heard any noise from another room!! exceptionally quiet for a 300 room hotel, probably due to carpeted rooms.
The room itself was perfectly ok with nicely tiled wc and separate bathroom but the bath was a bit old. The soft furnishings were of excellent quality and seemed new as was the 20" flat screen Sony tv, there are about 15 cable channels including BBC world. The double bed was a bit hard (but I've had much worse) and the pillows were firm but I think this is a Tunisian thing as all the cushions in pubic rooms are firmly filled. The bits that need attention are the woodwork like cupboards and doorframes and panelling in the corridors. When I first got to the room I thought this is never 5 star but my wife was happy (usually the other way round), but I changed my mind the next morning when I saw the rest of the hotel.
There are new owners and between March and when we arrived the reception, dining area and the piano bar had been fully refurbished to the highest quality. The piano bar was lovely and a couple of nights a week a chap played the grand piano after dinner, I'm no music afficionado but my wife plays and she couldn't fault a note. It overlooks the indoor pool on one side and the reception on the other. Quality leather and fabric settees and really solid wood tables, someone said it's very 1920's Casablanca!
The dining room was just getting the last lick of paint when we were there, buffet breakfast, same every day really, no bacon or sausages though we did have roast pork one evening! One great thing was the option to swop your evening meal for lunch if on half board. Dinner was buffet except the main course was served most nights. Food was good but not exceptional, I didn't meet one person in the hotel who had any tummy trouble. There is also an A la Carte restaurant, a Moorish bar area, a coffee shop and a poolside cafe wich is tiered to also overlook the gardens and beach.
In the basement there are also a disco, games room, 3 lane ten pin bowling alley (50p) shop etc.
The circular pool and patio area is very nice with island bar. We didn't use this as we sat on the beach, I'd guess there are about 80 sunloungers around the pool, another 150 in the gardens and a similar number on the beach. There are some tennis courts which I think are shared with the hotel next door with access through the gardens.
Beyond that is a golf course fronting the beach (fenced), beyond that a couple more hotels and thern the "town centre" and marina area with all the shops and restaurants. It took us about 15 mins to walk to town along the beach. The sand is fine and dry and probably as nice a sand as I have ever seen. As you get towards town the amount of seaweed washed up increases dramatically due to the geography of the beach, and further up the coast in the other direction the hotels don't enjoy such a wide beach.
We walked back along the beach in the dark a couple of nights with no trouble, the soft sand is quite dificult to walk on so most people walk barefoot on the firmer sand at the waters edge.
Waves were mostly a few inches to near 2ft and the water deepens quickly to 2' - 3' then levels out for 20m before dropping again. Because of all the power boats the hotels swimming areas are buoyed off but our hotels area was much larger than any other we saw.
We wouldn't have swopped our hotel for any other we saw, even though they may be more modern and look a bit more glitzy they didn't seem to have the space or relaxed feel.
All that said the Daer El Andalous is showing it's age a bit, as mentioned the rooms and corridors are probably not up to newer 4 or 5 star hotels there and outside it could do with a lick of paint in places (though not anywhere around the public areas). I'd guess the new owners will be addressing this soon judging by the other recent work.
The staff were excellent and mostly spoke several languages. The hotel was about 60% full and a mix of Germans, French, Russians, less Britons and others etc. A large group of Belgians arrived on our last night so I'd guess they would become the "dominant" majority! Not many kids there and a Welsh couple we met with three under 8's received a few rude Shhusshes from some guests but I guess that'll happen anywhere.
We have just returned from a rather dull week in rainy Tunisia, Port El Kanatoui in the hotel Diar Andalous.
We thought we had the deal of the century when we saw 5 star half board trips being advertised by Panorama for 290 gbp but when things are too good to be true they generally are!
The Diar Andalous is pretty far away from the Port, you do need to get a taxi to go anywhere although there is a small super market about 15 minutes walk away. There is nothing else but a road in this area and some other hotels.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful (to the Port is about 2 or 3 dinars - approx 1.50gbp), although usually flithy inside, all look like vertiable death trap and their driving is terrifying! You should always get a yellow taxi, and not one with a blue stripe - these pick up people as they go along almost like a bus so you have no idea who you will sit with.
The Andalous is a low rise hotel right on the beach. It does have a lot of amenities attached (indoor pool, small bowling alley, games room, hairdresser, beauty parlour), but they are all unfortunately rather crumbling and faded. Maybe 10 years ago the hotel would have been great but now its rather tatty and very much close to a 3 star standard rating anywhere else in the world.
The hotel has very extensive grounds, and the one day it was good weather (February is a bad month to travel!) we walked around the palm tree gardens and onto the beach. The beach is very secluded so I expect if you went in sunnier months it may be nice to lie on the white sand with no one else around you.
The rooms in the hotel are clean, simply furnished with have air con and heating, small fridge (ours didn't cool!) and satelite TV with one UK channel.
I get the feeling their maybe a tier system of what should be in the room compared to what you have paid, I did think it rather cheeky that we did not get bath robes as all the other guests (mostly German) seemed to be wearing. When we enquired why we did not have them, the reception claimed the guests we saw must have all purchased them in a shop in town (!!!)
But as with most things in Tunisia money talks, we slipped the maid a few dinars and low and behold two bathrobes turned up! Handy as its rather chilly in the rooms sometimes.
The food is very much Tunisian so if you are not keen on trying the local dishes you will find there to be limited choice, and strangely there were only small plates available - presumably so we did not take too much:O)
Staff are all friendly, chatty and with a few dinars always very helpful.
Take some books to read, there is little in the way of evening entertainment. Most guests are encouraged to walk in between the hotel complex looking for hotel entertainment, there are no bars or cafes within walking distance and you probably wouldn't want to walk about the roads at night. The Port does have cafes, but as it rained mostly most people did not venture out from the hotels.
One of our party was ill on holiday and the Panorama tour rep at the 24 hour centre, Gary, was exceedingly helpful and friendly. He gave lots of advise and even called up later to see how we were getting on. Our tour rep in the hotel, Nicki, was not interested at all and seemed to be invisible most of the time.
If you do go with My Travel be careful to listen at the welcome meeting. Its rather amusing!
From the moment they hint that they will not give you flight pick up times unless you complete their questionnaire first to the moment they tell you that you have to book plane seats or you might end up miles away from your party we looked incrediously at each other - all very strange!
It seems My Travel have decided to push up the money they make by telling you that noone speaks English at the airport so you need to pre book seats at a cost of 7gbp each.
Its total nonsense as the airport staff are all very bright, English speaking and helpful.
It was obvious however that people had fallen for the hard sell (you will have a lot of this from My Travel though out!) as most of the flight seats were all pre booked and some of our party had to sit across from each other.
All in all the hotel I think is not bad by Tunisian standards I have read about, but its more 3 star then 5 so please don't expect the height of luxury or you will be very dissapointed.
This is not the place to go if you want night life and fun, the hotel is very much catering to older guests who want to taste Tunisian cuisine and who want peace and quiet.
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