Recently returned from a week in the Palace Gardens and thought the hotel was great (when I eventually got to see it) which is where the warning of the title comes in. As I got off the plane and arrived in Djerba I collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. Now the Tunisian medical system means they are very thorough and I had a lot of tests that seemed unnecessary, and the lack of staff that understood English did not help. The main problem was to do with insurance. I had a policy with AXA and the 1st clinic I was in refused to recognise them as a known company -- mainly by the horrible clinic owner with the Napoleon complex, I was then moved to a 2nd where the clinic and insurance company were locked in a battle where the clinic would not let me go as AXA couldn't guarantee payment as the clinic weren't providing the info they needed. Despite several phone calls backwards and forwards I felt like I was a hostage and the only way I could get out was to pay upfront in cash. Once I eventually got to the hotel over 36 hours after arriving we discovered that this has happened several times before. Obviously you cannot predict illness but just make sure you have insurance as you can at least claim money back and the clinics WILL do every test they can think of.
This is where the hotel comes in. The reception staff and the First Choice reps (Sandra, Jill and Sally from HQ) could not have done any more to try and help - making phonecalls, trying to translate, arranging taxis etc... If they are reading this then please accept my thanks.
The hotel was very clean (they even washed the plants in the foyer) did not see one speck of dust.
The rooms were quite large, although having the toilet and sink in seperate rooms seems a little
un-hygenic to me. The bath water takes forever to go down when you lift the plug up so found I had to remove the plug completely (makes sense when you get there). Personally found the beds far too hard and barely slept.
Food was lovely. Always plenty to fill up on. Breakfast was a little dissapointing for me, omelettes were pre-cooked so you couldn't pick what you wanted in it, no waffles/thick pancakes. We always had lunch at the pool bar and there was always pizza/chips if you don't fancy trying the more Tunisian fare. Crepes available from 3.30. At night you get assigned a table for the duration of your say and you normally have the same waiter which makes tipping easier and you will find by the 2nd day they will know what drinks you want. A very wide rnge of food, always a joint of meat freshly carved (usually quite rare), fresh pasta, and loads of other stuff Desserts were delicious and there was always ice-cream to have as well as fresh cooked crepes. Make sure you try the strawberries - so sweet and delicious. My sister is extremely fussy and she always had a full plate. We tried the Italian, you have to pre-order either chicken or fish for main (which is served in quite small portions) starters and dessert are buffet style. Glad we tried it but probably wouldn't go to the Italian again. Apparently the Tunisian was great.
Didn't sunbathe on the beach as the sea looked a little murky and there was about 2 metres of seaweed to wade through, but the pool is huge and normally quite cold which is ideal when you need to cool down. The pool guys will remove towels if the loungers are left unattended for too long which some people were not too happy about (especially the German couple behind us who "reserved" their loungers 2 days in a row first thing in the morning and never came to them until around 4 and then discovered on day 3 that they had been taken by someone else). There are plenty to go round though so there isn't really a need to, there is also 1 umbrella to about every 3 loungers too.
I was very disappointed with the Animation team, they didn't really seem to even try to motivate people to join activities and the moment they realised we were English, they just walked off mid conversation and ignored us for the rest of the week. The rest of the staff were all really friendly , just expect to be addressed in French first, then German. Trying to learn a little French will go a long way and they do appreciate it.
The only trip we booked with First Choice was the Quad bike trip. Roughly about £18 each, you can pick between 4 different times on any day and you get picked up from just outside the hotel, taken about 10 mins up the road, get helmetted up and off you go. Loads of fun, especially when you get to the sand dunes. Just make sure you have a bandana or scarf to tie around your mouth unless you enjoy the taste of sand!
All in all a great hotel, and would go back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Located on the island of Djerba * 3-storey building, oriental style architecture * Surrounded by 20,000 m2 of garden * Opposite the "Djerba" 27-hole golf course * 200 m from the beach * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 6 km from downtown Midoun * 18 km from downtown Houmt Souk * 6 km from various shops * 25 km from the Djerba airport ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Royal Garden