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Reviewed July 1, 2015 via mobile

We were booked for a stay here for 2 weeks. We loved every second until the recent horrible terrorist attacks.

Arrival: We arrived approx 11:30pm and were ushered to the restaurant for some light snacks which was fab, as we were starving.
Check in: Staff let us fill out the information sheets the day later as we had our 5 month old daughter with us and they said we could just do it later so baby could go to sleep which we really appreciated. Easy to check in, very quick. The guy who took us to our room was very helpful and pulled two of our very heavy cases (bless him, he didn't seem bothered) he was lovely and showed us how to use the air con etc.
Room: We stayed in a beach bungalow which was fab. Just what we needed. Plenty of storage space although we would have enjoyed having a plug either side of our bed for ease as there was only 2 sockets in the room and we were using the kettle frequently to sterilise and make up our baby bottles. This wasn't really an issue. We had a flat screen 32" TV on the wall which was great. A channel for the news and a channel with constant films on play. This was great!
Cleanliness: Couldn't be any cleaner. We had lots of lovely nice touches like swans in towels. Petals on the bed. Even a balloon in the cot.
Tips: Personally we think it's complimentary to tip. They deserve it. We tipped the equivalent to £1 which they were so thankful to receive. Staff do not expect nor pester for tips.
Pool: Large and gorgeous. Breezy due to beach breeze, much needed.
Beach: Beautiful. Plenty of sun beds. Water is lovely. A little walk back to the bar for drinks so would suggest building a beach bar for ease but really it wasn't a problem.
Entertainment team: So full of life and laughter. Always trying to engage guests in activities which there are plenty of. My husband played water polo most days but there was beach volleyball, ping pong, exercises etc on offer.
Waiting staff: Amazing. Knew what you wanted by the second day. We frequently tipped all staff that tended to us as we think they work so hard in their job and we know they earn very little, more so due to recent attacks.
Kids: There is a great park for the little ones and a kids mini club, as well as a teenager club. The kids pool was small but apt. Perfect really. We spent all our time round the kids pool when at the pool.
Food: As always in a RIU, fab. We had steak most nights and always found something new to eat despite people saying in other reviews it was repetitive. We can't think of something they didn't serve?! Fruit was amazing. So fresh and tasty. Sure I ate a full watermelon during my stay. They served it all so well. Meat was made fresh in front of you and it was so tasty. My husband said that the spaghetti was the best he has ever tasted. We both loved it. Pancakes at the pool bar were amazing. Nutella, lemon and sugar on offer. Just what you need.
Entertainment: Some would say cheesy but we thought it was great. The team worked so hard and put on some really funny shows. We really laughed a lot!
Overall: If not for recent attacks, and going home early, we 100% know that we would have had the most amazing 2 weeks. We were there 1 week and they couldn't do enough for us and cared about all three of us. Even after the attacks, they were so helpful and reassuring. We really feel for them. It is an amazing hotel with amazing staff. Thank you to you all for our stay.

Stayed: June 2015, travelled with family
4  Thank jessica_hilton5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 1, 2015 via mobile

We have just got home from our stay at this hotel. The main entrance is lovely it looks very grand indeed. Our room smelt a bit musty when we first arrived but it was clean and tidy and the cleaners came in everyday.
The food was good, with any all inclusive it does get a bit repetitive but it was nice and there was always a wide variety.
We tried the Italian restaurant on site and it was good. Again it was a buffer and they just bought out some chicken on a plate. (The choice is chicken or fish). We didn't try the Tunisian restaurant.
You can get lunch at the pool bar and the main restaurant so it's easy if you're just chilling by the pool.
We always managed to get a sunbed.
The beach was nice and clean with security on hand. The water sports staff were brilliant and it was very reasonably priced. However, do be careful as my partner broke a rib on the jet ski!
The grounds outside the hotel are baron. We didn't get to see the actual town as our hotel was on lock down.
I have to say that the terrorist attack happened while we were out there and staff kept their cool and kept everyone in good spirits. Special thanks to Thomson for making the flight home so comfortable for all. I hope the staff can recover from what happened quickly and that it doesn't deter tourists from visiting Tunisia. As one of the staff members said 'this could happen anywhere' and it is very true.

Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Stacee93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 30, 2015

We have just returned from our holiday to this hotel. The staff and managers are friendly and always willing to help, no problem is too big. The food was hot and freshly cooked, although on a fortnight stay was a little repetitive. There was plenty of space to find an area to just chill, even with the hotel full. Cheryl our rep was outstanding, full of info and always cheerful even when dealing with demanding guests. If you had any problem the staff dealt with it quickly and efficiently.
I would just like to add, I do hope the staff cope with the events that occurred whilst our stay. We felt for them, they are lovely people.
Also our thanks to Thomson for the way they handled our journey home.

Room Tip: Sea view with higher floor
  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank holidayretired
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 28, 2015

this hotel is very good, all staff are so welcoming, rooms are really large, maids do a lovely things like putting petals on beds, and around bathroom sink. Food is good and there's plenty to choose from. If you want something different just ask and they will do it for you. The water melon man does a really lovely arrangements with the skins. The beach is great always a sunbed. Sea nice and clear. There are sellers on beach but we found once you say no thank you they don't bother you, but always said hello to us when we saw them.enternanment was good they work really hard all day. Only thing is don't sit near the stage in the day as they play load music all day great holiday..

Room Tip: we had a garden and sea view at the side it was really nice and quite, its on second floor 214
  • Stayed: April 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank anne j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 28, 2015 via mobile

Riu El Mansour was clean, tidy, friendly and everything we needed/wanted from our holiday.
We stayed in one of the bungalows which was situated right next behind the pool bar so when we walked out of our block, we had the pool, the bar and the beach right at our fingertips!
The staff were friendly and had excellent customer service and spoke a variety of languages very well, so language barrier wasn't too much of a problem. The bar staff knew how you liked your cocktails by the second day and they didn't pester you for tips or ask you outright. However, we did tip our waiter, housekeeper, bar tender and bellboy on the last day

The food was lovely- plenty of salad and vegetable options alongside the chips and meat dishes. The pancakes at 3pm were my favourite and problem to blame for my 3lb weight gain!!

The bank and souvenir shops outside the hotel were good. If you leave the hotel and go right and walk for about 10mins you will find clusters of souvenir shops- the spf creams etc are much cheaper here than in the hotel shop. It's a nice quiet stroll if you just want to stretch your legs and have a wander. I would also recommend picking up a white light cotton pashmina in one of these shops (around £2) as they are extremely useful for covering up in town and for protection from the sun!

We did a few excursions too.
First up was El Jem, visiting the colloseum. There are many souvenir shops here and my biggest regret is not taking one man up on his offer of beach sarongs for less than 5td!! When I went to the markets then were alot more expensive and I couldnt barter then down as low! So definitely take bargains when they are offered!
The colloseum is definitely worth a visit, the history is interesting and the views from the top are lovely.

We did the pirate boat half day trip midweek and the scenery was beautiful! The hosts/entertainers on the boat were a little irritating but their antics weren't to everyone's taste but as long as you don't laugh too much and encourage them, they moved on to someone else! They do take a lot of photos which they will expect you to purchase at the end. However I was reluctant to pay 40td for 8 photos when they werent all the best shots and some where generic pictures of the boat or scenery so I chose a few I wanted and bartered the photographer down to 20td.

Our next trip we went on was the lights and lasers night to Sousse for an evening or entertainment and a meal.
If you are staying in Mahdia, I wouldn't recommend this trip. It took us over two hours to get there due to horrendous traffic and I didn't enjoy the show as much as I did when I did something similar in Marrakech. The show was showing 6.000 years of Tunisian history but it was very flat And slow moving and was narrated with a lot of metaphors. Each section was translated into about 5 languages so I lost interest quote quickly because I was lost as to what they actually meant was happening!

Our last excursion and my favourite was the camel trek! Unfortunately we weren't able to trek through the desert due to the horrible things happening at the moment and it was too dangerous but we still had a good trek around the farmland!
On arrival we were immediately wrapped up with a white head scarf to protect our heads from the sun (we were later asked for a few dinars each to cover the cost of these) then they gave us each a stick of aloe to feed the camel...using our mouths to feed them!!
Then it was time to mount the camels. We had to mount with them in standing position which was hard work! You got a firm shove up and on!
With two to a camel, we were on our way... After about 20 mins, it was starting to get uncomfortable! I would recommend you take a pashmina or sarong in your bag as this came in handy so tucking under my legs to protect my bare skin from the rough carpet on the camels back!
After there was some dancing and music that they encouraged you to join in with then they showed us how bread was baked before leading us back to the seating area.
This is when I'd had enough. They then start trying to earn more money through incrementals so the photos were handed out, again with a high price tag which I obviously bartered!! Then they had a bird of prey in a box which they brought out and expected you to tip of you took a photo ( this is very normal in countries like this,they will expect money of you show an interest in their animal or whatever they are exhibiting or take any photos) they also had someone going round with ink, sketching designs etc onto people's legs. Finally, you were giving the option of having another ride on the camel or going back to your hotel. It was a very good value for money trip and I've fulfilled my wish of riding a camel in Tunisia but just watch out for the money squeezing stuff!

We also visited the old fort in Mahdia town, it was about 7td per person to enter and another dinar to be allowed to take photos- so cheap! There wasnt much to read or look at but it had nice views.

Market day on a Friday morning is an experience and a highly suggest you go but make sure you don't take valuables and your money is secure (I separate mine into a few small purses so when I go to pay, it doesn't look like I've got lots of money!) make sure you take water because it's exhausting in the sun at that time of day. The markets are more for the locals but it's so interesting watching them buy their every days items in such a crazy atmosphere atmosphere! There is literally people everywhere and vendors marching up and down selling things off their carts, people are all over the roads and everyone is shouting! We bought a lot of souvenirs at the market but the stall keeper had a whole shop and had set his stall up in front of his shop so we got some lovely items and for a good price!
Make sure you barter!! What ever price they offer you- half it, then half it again!They laugh at you but then you'll end up meeting half way!

All inclusive at the hotel was such a good shout, because even though we did a trip or went and explored ourselves every mornin, we were always back in time for lunch and never had to spend money on meals out!

I'd also recommend the Tunisian restaurant in the hotel. You need to book in advance and I wish we had done it more than once because it was a lovely evening. It included in the all inclusive but is a 3/4 course meal served to you by waiters.It was delicious and we got to try some traditional Tunisian eats!

A few other tips- always use a yellow taxi if wanting to get around Mahdia and don't pay more than 5td to get anywhere. If wanting to get somewhere out of Mahdia, you need to get another taxi firm as the yellow ones are only for Mahdia. It's illegal for them to drive out of Mahdia and if you get caught, you'll be stranded wherever the police stop you!

Only drink bottled water, you have to order the water the day before ready for the next day and we often forgot so just filled up our empty bottles from the water fountain at the bar!

It does get quite chilly in the evenings so I would recommend a hoodie for when you are watching the evening entertainment (which Simon Cowell would have a field day with!)

The shisha bar in the hotel is only 5td for a shisha (which my boyfriend and I shared) but we misunderstood the first time and thought it was 5td each so he ended up with a good tip but did bring us drinks! However the second time we didn't give double and didn't get drinks...!

It was a lovely holiday and one I would recommend to anyone wanting a good mix of excursions and relaxation!

(also the WiFi is free and pretty easy to connect to. It says on the site that it's available in reception but we got it everywhere in the hotel complex and I even got it on the pirate boat when we sailed past our hotel!)

Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Catriona M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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