Nour Palace Resort
Travel Blogs from Mahdia
... Sousse. It isn't quite in the desert, but you can feel it from here. It also has a rabat, supposedly in better condition than the one in Sousse, but its medina/souk is not nearly as traditional or historical.
However, Monastir does have the mausoleum of Habib Bourghiba, the dictator of 31 years (1956-1981) after Tunisia obtained independence from France, He was a *******, but he had a vision for Tunisia as a moderate Islamic country, ...
... He seems to be almost venerated by the people & his times are seen as a kind of golden age. We wandered in the medina with narrow passages between the houses & enjoyed seeing the range of products available.
After lunch, back in Sousse, we went to the ribat to see the recently re-opened museum of 2nd century AD mosaics & artefacts taken from villas in the area, in its courtyard. These were truly stunning, in size, ...
... in Tunisia and North Africa the city boasts a ribat and mosque. The mosque, unlike mosques in other cities, is located outside of the medina. As the birthplace of the deceased ex-President, Habib Bourguiba, Monastir also has the impressive Habib Bourguiba Mausoleum.
There wasn't time to explore the inside of any of the monuments so I had to be content with walking around the oustide ...
... some photos. Just by way of context and since this is a repeat visit we have reproduced some of the text from our earlier entry.
Amphitheatre - History repeating itself
The amphitheatre at El Jem was built by the Romans under proconsul Gordian, who was acclaimed Emperor at Thysdrus, around 238. It was never completed, because of political rivalries and lack of funds within the Empire. The amphitheatre would have seated some ...
... There are other Roman sites - covered and preserved under sand - which have yet to be excavated.
Film facts - The amphitheatre was used for filming some of the scenes from the Monty Python film The Life of Brian as well as the film Gladiator.
We take the short walk from the car park, passing a few stalls with tourist souvenirs and local crafts, as well as some shops further along the road. The stalls seem to have changed very little since the ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Nour Palace Resort Mahdia
A great 5 star hotel
Just came back from a weeks holiday last Sunday 19th Feb. Great hotel lots to do, swimminng pool, massage, 5 lane bowling alley! Went 1/2 board, the food was great! the room was great & my Ten year old loved it.
Not 5 star. food poor. hassle in hotel
the hotel has favourable facilities. the food and service in the restaurant was 3 star. shops owners within the hotel harrassed us. food ran short 1 hour before closing of restaurant. good bowling alley with hotel and lovely indoor pool. love Mahdia and would love to go again. not vincci nour palace. germans majority
We have just returned from a week (16/11/05-23/11/05) at the Vincci Nour Palace Resort Hotel, Madhia. We booked through Travel bargains and Medhotels. The journey to Madhia took about 50mins from Monastir Airport. On arrival the hotel has an impressive entrance and reception area and the staff were courteous and efficient. Note: change some currency at reception before going to your room so you can tip the bellboy. Our room overlooked the front of the hotel, the outlook is not the best, looking out onto the main road and the metro station 300 yards away, but we were not there for the view. In fact during the whole week stay we were on our balcony for approximately 2 hours, as there is so much to do at the hotel. The room was neat and tidy, the only comment was the lack of attention to detail in the grouting of the en-suite bathroom tiling, and one broken hinge on the wardrobe. The servicing of the rooms was what we expected and fresh towels appeared as required. The only English speaking channel on the TV was BBC World which grated a bit after several repeats of the same old news, a second channel would have been welcomed. Our arrival time meant that the first meal we had in the hotel was dinner on the first night, we were on a half board basis. A number of the tables had wine and water already set out and we found that these were "reserved" for "All Inclusive" guests, so be careful which table you sit at. The buffet was extremely good , with plenty of choice both of hot and cold meals. There is a counter at the back of the restaurant where chefs cooked a number of dishes to order, and also a pasta counter again with a chef to prepare the sauces. The wine list in the restaurant was limited to Tunisian wines which are not of the best quality. There is also an a la carte restaurant near reception which we tried on a couple of occasions and a pizzeria beside the pool. The facilities that the Vincci Nour provides are impressive with everything from free cabaret shows to dancing in reception, when did you do that at a five star hotel, come on be honest. There is an "animation team" at the hotel who provide a host of activities, anything from aquarobics through to a rather "naff" cabaret, but they are very keen to dance in the evenings in the Bar Azur. The hotel has a policy of not allowing drinks bought outside the hotel in through the main gate which is fair enough, so don't flaunt your bottled water when you come in. Taxis are available outside the gates and the fare into Mahdia should be no more than 3-4 TD's for a party of four. Don't pay any more than 4TD. The hotel deserved the 5 stars on the facilities it provided, and to be fair it is a tourist hotel. Find me an equivalent hotel for the price we paid. The Medhotels representative, Cheryl, was very helpful and informative. Don't miss out El Jem on your visit to Mahdia, it is impressive.
Contrary to some of the opinions expressed in these reviews, this hotel, especially at the discounted price we paid, impressed us. The food was varied and generally good with local dishes as well as international cuisine (mainly German and Italian influenced, but no worse for that) and the produce fresh, and service friendly. The hotel was clean and amenities good, and while the entertainment was not exactly west end, it was youthfully enthusiastic. it is however isolated from Mahdia, which in itself has few amenities for tourism - so be prepared for round the clock hotel life or going much further a field for attractions. The beach with its gently shelving sea is perfect, and worth the visit in itself.
David and Caroline
We got what we paid for
I went there with friends for a spring break. We got a super cheap deal so I can't complain; however, if I paid aregular price most likely I wouldn't be happy. First almost no one speaks English in Tunisia. Besides Arabic they speak French and some German. I didn't mind that - I am open to other cultures and I don't expect the entire world to speak English. I realize, though that some people may not feel comfortable if they can't communicate.
Our bus transfers were quick, virtually stressless, and in a nice airconditioned bus. Hotel loooked very nice from the outside; however it was located in the middle of nowhere and the surroundings weren't picturesque. Lobby was nice. Unfortunately my room smelled like sewage and they had no available room's to move me to. Contrary to other reviews, we enjoyed the food at the buffet, especially breakfasts were delicious. It wasn't just bread and cheese as someone wrote. There were cooks, who made to order different types of eggs, pancakes, crepes, etc. The outside pool was gorgeous!!! Now the entertinment: our age on average was 21 and the hotel guests' age average was about 60. It appeared that seniors were drawn to this hotel. Disco and various shows were cheesy an quite boring so we would go out at night to places outside of the hotel. Most important thing: women be aware! Females are treated differently in Arabic countries. We were harassed on many occasions. I was constantly harassed by a scary hotel emplyee named Basim who worked in the hotel's gift shop. I was literally terrified of him - he threaten my guy friend for talking to me because apparently I was Basim's "girlfriend" - horrifying!
Overall, we had fun. We are young and we got a cheap deal so we made the best out of it. If I went back to Tunisia I probably wouldn't stayed in this hotel again mainy due to the scary Basim (he will probably work there until rest of his life).
Good Value for Money If you Haven't Paid 5* Prices
Hotel is not 5* as advertised mainly because the food is disappointing (though not inedible - just not 5*) We wondered if this was because most people staying there were on bargain breaks or whether it was a cultural thing.
The good things about the hotel were ; the kids club (very friendly staff), the lovely indoor pool (it was too cold in Feb to use the lovely looking outdoor one), the ten pin bowling alley was cheap, clean and very modern, the beach, and some aspects of the food (fresh baked bread, croissants and fresh pancakes), the restaurant had a special kids club (supervised) corner so it was great to be able to eat on our own for a change !
The bad points - try and ensure that your room faces the tennis courts as the side rooms look out onto a scruffy scrub land / mud football pitch and there is building work currently going on at the adjecent hotel. Also those rooms that looked directly out to sea had balconies that were in shade most of the day. Beware the free 'ministry of tourism' trips into Mahdia from the hotel - whilst they are free, they are just a russe to get you into a carpet shop and subject you to some high pressure selling ! Though the place looks quite palacial, it is a little let down by the odd chipped and cracked tile here, there and everywhere which makes it feel older than the 4 years that it is. the mini disco is excellent for the kids but the adult entertainment is fairy amatuer stuff.
There are a few gift shops, a small supermarket, an ATM, a couple of cafes and a phone facility (cheaper than the hotel) five minutes walk away (turn right through the hotel gates). There is a train station opposite the hotel gates across a rough dirt track (3 mins walk) The station is called Madhia Zone Tourist- trains are frequent and very cheap.
Unlike a previous reviewer, I strongly recommend the 2 day desert tour (but do haggle on prices, especially for children with the rep.) Yes , it was 2 very intense days and very early mornings, but it was fantastic watching the sun rise over the desert , camel treking in full arab costume (!), doing the mountain jeep safari, and seeing the ancient colosseum. The over night accommodation was a little unusual to say the least - but we were not there long enough to let it worry us. The only words of caution on the trip; (1)don't let the hawkers on the camel ride put bottles of (expensive) coke into your childrens' hands(2) be aware that practically all the quartz stone you will be offered for sale will be dyed (3) don't take the tour of the carpet shop at the end - look round the market instead.(4) Make sure you take enough stuff to entertain the smaller kids with on the coach. We saw alot of Tunisia and it was very educational.
In Summary, all in all we felt we had a really good value for money break - it would suit families with young kids or older couples but it definitely not for you if you are looking for nightlife and british bars etc. Oh, yes one last thing; if you have kids it is much cheaper to book flighs and hotel separately as the hotel has free child places.
Not for UK people
As shown in the other reviews this is by no means a 5 * resort, however it isn't too bad and I would ate it as a 4* by uk standards, Tunisia is a poor country and for this reason I would strongly recommend that you shouldn't book anything below a 4* in this country.
My wife and I are both in our late twenties and went there for initially some Rest & Relaxation.
When we got there the airport transfers were extremely slow and we waited around for over an hour (unairconditioned) for the driver.
Finally we got to Nour palace, where on first impressions looked very nice, however the next morning we went for a explore and noticed that only about 3 staff in the whole hotel can speak English, then we realised that it only had 1 English TV Channel and that was mainly the news (BBC Worldwide).
I know you don't go on holiday to watch TV but surely something should be available for the odd hour here and there.
The Breakfast is very poor, a typical French Continental breakfast (bread and bit of cheese) the tea and coffee was poor.
I felt that this resort having boasted a 5* let us down with quality.
We found some of the staff to be very rude (even if they don't speak English)
For this location there isn't allot to do, you have a few hotels in the area and Mahdia itself, mahdia doesn't have much to do.
I would say that Sousse is probably better and more entertaining.
I would say , don't be deceived by the lovely Last minute advert or the lovely adverts because the pictures and the description are very deceiving.
PS.. If you go through lastminute or Medhotels or Thomas Cook, beware of the 2 day excursion that visits the coliseum and the sahara camel rides and the jeep rides etc, because the first day is very very intense ,they put you into a hotel in the sahara that is probably the worst hotel in my life, it had GIANT ANTS and SALT WATER runing throught he shower, it smelt and was very dirty, then the second day is even worse with a 4AM wake up call then again a intense day, so all in all we spent £60 each and had a terrible deal where in 2 days we spent over 20 hours on a coach with no airconditioning.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BEWARE OF THIS EXCURSION - TOTAL RIP OFF, these people are out for all they can get!
Never a 5 Star Hotel
This is NOT a 5 Star hotel. More like an OK 4 star. UK tourists are in the minority, the hotel caters for French, German & East Euopean customers.
Rooms were clean but a bit spartan - no chest of drawers in the room.
Gym facilities were a joke - the machines were old and rusty and couldn't be connected to a power source - there were none. Beware the weight machine - it wasn't fixed to the floor properly !.
Food was basic and consisted of a self serve buffet for all meals. The layout of the buffet was chaotic, no room around the buffet and everyone milling about and getting in each others way. Thankfully the chef manning the pasta bar was a ray of sunshine among the chaos.
The indoor pool area was good and quiet 1st thing in the morning & the outdoor pool area was good - although the groundsmen spent 2 days cutting the grass while we were there.
This hotel seems to be pitched at families with young children - so be aware that it is NOT quiet or restful.
The majority of the staff were friendly - however, some were surly & brusque.
Sorry to be so negative, BUT we were expecting a 5 star and what we got was an OK 4 star. If you want 5 star - visit the Mahdia Palace - 100 metres along the road.
Lastly - the area surrounding the hotel had a lot of building works and the hotel was generally isolated
Five star, gimme a break
Please note if you are booking this hotel thru either lastminute or travelbargains, check the descriptions thoroughly. We have just come back from a two week break and could not possibly recommend either the location (isolated), food (grub rather than cuisine), service (shabby) or facilities (misleading advertising in nearly every section), which were at most three star. The buffet style food is not properly labelled and waiting staff do not speak english. In fact there was only one english speaker on reception. The rep was honest enough to admit they were having problems. Drinks are overpriced - we paid ten quid for two small irish coffees. And please ensure you get given a room starting with 4 or 5, UK guests seem to get given the worst rooms starting with 3... we asked to change twice. THere is no kettle in the room so bring your own. And iron. Entertainment "cabaret" was a bit corny, bring books. Telly has only BBC World. Sorry we can't think of anything exceptional about this place. It might be better from May onwards when the pools and activities are open.
Nice hotel, overcharged
Myself and my husband have just returned from 1 week in this hotel. We booked it as a package through the UK and the deal was room and half board - meaning breakfast and dinner included.
We arrived to the hotel quite late - circa midnight and while check in was happening we were fed - in true package holiday tradition. We then were shown to our room which was large and clean with a lovely balcony overlooking the outdoor pool and sea. The bathroom was also very large but was dreadfully tiled. The room had also a tv (bbc world and euronews for the anglophones), AC and a mini bar. Overall I would say nice room, but they could do with the odd picture on the wall - this hotel has potential.
Onto the food. Both breakfast and dinner were buffet style - they try really hard, but I was not impressed with the food at all - I don't think I had one hot meal in the hotel - selection was along the lines of - for breakfast: horrible sweet juice, delicious croissants etc, fresh fruit, coffee, cornflakes, scrambled eggs, pancakes, read etc etc; dinner: soup, salads, various meat dishes, pasta (tomato or bechamal sauce), pizza slices (more base than topping), desert - cakes and ice cream - in general the selection was good but quality and flavour poor.
Drinks in the hotel I felt were overpriced - a bottle of wine was ~30dinar(£16, €23), bottle beer (25-30cl) ~3.5 dinar, coffee 1.5 dinar and OJ 2.5 dinar - this pricing strategy was followed (to a lesser extent) by the "tourist" restaurants and coffee houses in Mahdia.
The hotel had great facilities - 4 pools (2 free - 1 indoor and one outdoor), tennis courts, pitch and putt, jacuzzi, hamamm, massage centre (tunisian massage highly recommended (30 dinar), thaslotherapy centre, bowling (50 dinar for 5 games! v. shocked at this cost, entertainment each night (a bit of fun but kitsch) and more restaurants and bars - but all closed because it was winter.
Mahida is close - 3 dinar by taxi or you can walk along the amazing beach. You will be stared out of it and get hassled by halkers - but they are good hunoured so just say no with a smile. There is not much to this town - market day is Friday and worth a look. We went to a couple of restaurants - le lido and le quai - fare is mostly grilled fish and lamb chops, steak - much better than the hotel food - actually no comparison, but could be better I think.
Overall, we had a lovely week in Tunisia, did very little except read books - I would recommend a busier place as I reckon you would get better value for money especially once outside the confines of the hotel - I think our hotel is not a 5 star as advertised, but nice and fitted the bill;