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“Excellent stay at the Imperial Marhaba”

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STEIGENBERGER Kantaoui Bay
Ranked #1 of 33 Hotels in Port El Kantaoui
Reviewed 7 August 2009

Just returned from a lovely 10 days on an all-inclusive basis. Good sized room with queen size bed, we did not get a sea view but this was not a problem. When the maid cleaned the room it was spotless and she always created swans etc using the towels, or left petals on the bed, which was a nice little touch.

Excellent choice of food in the main restaurant, for breakfast, lunch and evening dinner. The evening dinner is first or second sitting (6.30-8pm or 8.30-10pm) and you are allocated a table for your stay which is very nice as you get to know your waiter very well by the end of your stay. On the last night our waiter decorated our table with flowers and petals which was a lovely touch.

Food is also available at the pool bar from 10-5pm. The beach bar is not included in the all-inclusive and as no-one was using it for this reason they have now shut it which was a little disappointing, but you can go to the pool bar or main restaurant. Also the piano bar is not included in the all-inclusive so this is empty most nights.

There are 2 fixed menu restaurants, an italian and a tunisian restaurant, we visited the italian restaurant and it has a more intimate feel to it due to its small size. The menu is very similar to the main restaurant apart from the main course which is either a chicken or fish dish.

There is a new spa and fitness centre, we had a look round and it was very nice, but we decided not to to use the facilities. If you do want to use a gym during your stay there is one in the main hotel which is free to use or there is one in the new spa and fitness centre which has a charge of i think £15 for 45mins, so i'd recommend using the free one in the hotel.

The pool hosts a variety of activities during the day such as water polo, aqua aerobics etc and so can get busy in the afternoon, but they are usually held at one end of the pool. There are many activities to take part in should you want to and the entertainment team work extremely hard and are very friendly guys. The evening entertainment was variable, but the entertainment team did try to accommodate different tastes and nationalities.

We visited the marina at Port El Kantaoui, a taxi cost £2.50 each way. You do get alot of shop owners trying to get you to enter their shop but a polite no thank you usually stops them, but it can be quite daunting at first as they do it at every shop you pass.

Overall we were extremely impressed with the hotel and what it has to offer, the food is the best i've experienced so far in an all-inclusive hotel. If you have children they have an excellent kiddies club and they will love the beach, which is always cleaned and tidied every morning.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank beach_babe_sheffield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 July 2009

Very quick check-in to our room but unfortunately not too happy with our view from the balcony but able to change rooms following day. Lovely hotel, could do with a bit of TLC. Spoke to the Manager Julio (very friendly) who said things were going to be upgraded over the next couple of years ie: new carpets, pool bar makeover etc. Went for a relaxing holiday and that's what we had. If you tip the waiters/pool side assistant a couple of dinars they will look after you throughout your stay. Staff very friendly and helpful. Entertainment team again very friendly but not too brilliant on evening entertainment. The alochol in the hotel doesn't seem to be very strong!!! Don't bother going on the Thomas Cook Rep Night - what a load of rubbish and costs approximately £20 each. Had a lovely massage at the new Spa Centre - very good and I should have gone again. Food exellent - best all inclusive food I have had.

  • Stayed: July 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank GR8DORI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2009

We are just back from this hotel after spending 2 weeks there. We were a little dubious about it after reading some reviews but there is no pleasing some people.

We arrived and we impressed by the hotel foyer, its beautiful and were quickly shown to our rooms. The room was quite nice and clean and tidy and had carpet not tiles as we hate tiles.

Water: All you have to do is ask the waiters in the hotel bar and they will give you a chilled bottle to take to your room.

Dining: Breakfasts were great and had a wide selection of food, French toast, fried eggs or omelettes, bacon, fried tomatoes, croissants, freshly squeezed oranges and coffee was my average breakfast. The times are from 7.30 to 10.00.

Lunch and dinner were very similar but more of a choice at dinnertime. Lunch from 13.00 to 15.00 and dinner 1st sitting at pre appointed table 18.30 to 20.00 and 2nd sitting 20.30 to 22.00. There is a dress code for men at dinner which is long trousers and no sleeveless tops or shirts. They do enforce this. If like you do like I once did do down for dinner with shorts on you will have to wear an Arabic dress/tunic. The food was excellent. There was a large salad bar, the meats and fish were all cooked in front of you and there was always 2 soups to choose from, also an Italian hot foot bar, and traditional Tunisian food, the potatoes were excellent and done in saffron and there was usually prawns and I mean big prawns. There was always pizza and chips for the unadventurous. The desert bar had a wide selection and there was also ice cream. Also there was a chief to cook fritters every night. Yes as you can gather I like my food...LOL

Bar: The service was excellent and eventually the waiters were able to bring you drinks when they noticed your glass nearly empty without having to be asked...how’s that for service...a few tips do help...LOL The drinks were unbranded but if they served Courvoisier and Johnny Walker the place would got bust. The beer was nice though, and try the Muscat which I found very nice.

Pool: Yes you had to be up early as the Germans and Russians are early risers. The pool boys put mattresses on the beds which makes them very comfortable.

Beach: Was nothing special but the sand was soft and the water sports were very reasonable, parasailing for 25 dinars.

Excursions: We booked through the Thomas Cook rep, Shaun who recommended the Sahara Explorer for 165 dinars. Its was a 2 day adventure were we went to El Djem, where the film the gladiator was filmed, Matmata, Camel ride in the Sahara and also the oasis of Tozeur and canyon of tamerza where I dropped my digital camera in the water without insurance...bummer, and the waterfall oasis of Chebika by jeep. We watched the sunset over the desert but the down side is that you have to be up for breakfast at 04.00 which is very early. A very long trip but well worth it.

Tipping: It is not compulsory but the service does warrant it. We tipped the room maid every day about 2 dinars, the pool bar 40 dinars and the same to the main hotel bar and also 20 dinars to the restaurant waiter who was a wee bit over the top with "hello mister or hello big man"...I don’t think I am to over weight.

Hotel manager: Is a Portuguese guy who is always on the ball.

Animination team: They were very hard working and got everyone involved in something from water polo to archery. OK the night entertainment was not fantastic but neither is the hotel the West end or Broadway...They did there best.

There are many bars in the centre, we went to an Irish one called the Pucka Bar, and ordered a whiskey & coke and vodka & coke, the whiskey was a cheap brand but still came to 15 dinars for the whiskey alone and 24 dinars for the round. Needless to say we got a taxi back to the hotel.

Overall: This hotel is for people who like to relax not party, but it does have a good night club if you want. We came home on a Wednesday and booked it again for September 2010 on the Thursday, but with a friend also coming with us. We have no complaints about this hotel and everything was well laid out and the hotel even had a cash machine or you could exchange sterling at the reception. All in all we were impressed by the hotel, service and that’s why we have book for next year.

If you have any questions feel free to email us and we will happily answer them for you.

Tony & Trisha

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank TnTBelfast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2009

Check in - breeze
flight - basic, does the job
monastir airport - The airport was very very basic. The Thomson rep was waiting in Arrivals. We were directed to

the coach for the transfer. Luckily, the coach had air con as it was quite hot. The transfer was fine with the

Thomson rep providing us with some useful information on the way.
Currency - the exchange rate does not vary much, but usually you will get more money for your pounds in the local

shops than at the hotel, though the difference is only worth some tips to the waiters.
Hotel - The arrival sets the tone. You are welcomed by a beautiful massive lobby, the reception staff is very good

and check in was a breeze. While filling out the forms, we were served welcome drinks. The porter than takes your

luggage to you room. He would be happy with a pound or a dollar or a dinar.
The pool is good size. There is also a kiddies pool with a max depth of 0.5m. The sun beds are available and

plenty, but if you need a parasol, I am not sure what time you need to be up. The workaround is to ask the pool guy

to 'save' sunbeds with parasol. I used to tip him 2 dinars (just under a pound) and he would do this for me daily. The towels can be had from the reception. Some comments say you need to pay a deposit of 20 dinars. We were 7 of us and we did not have to pay any deposit and we got fresh towels from the reception every day.
The restaurant was quite good. The variety of dishes was quite good. The desserts were great. The only issue was

with the rice. While it seemed that the names of the rice was different -'risotto', 'oriental rice', 'pilaf rice',

they all tasted the same to me. There was one day when they served all sorts of seafood - I loved it but the missus

does not eat seafood so really struggled - her only options were freshly stonebaked pizzas or freshly made pasta

(these options were available daily at both lunch and dinner) which was fine for her.
Book to go to the Tunisian or Italian restaurants. We went to the former and it was good but do not expect a veg option.
The beach is nice and clean. The water sports are a must-do. They are much cheaper than back home. Parasailing

costs 20-25 dinars. Jetski 15 dinars.
Quad biking costs 30 dinars and there is a centre just outside the hotel on the main road. The terrain for wuad

biking is great.
THe animation team is brilliant. The shows are a little boring in the evening but the team works really hard to

entertain every one.
Tipping is part of the culture. 1 Dinar would suffice but you do not have to tip if you do not want to.
Trip to the medina (shopping) is Ok. You can set the price with the taxi drivers rather than go by the meter. The hotel staff will tell you how much the taxi would cost. Haggle and haggle hard at the shops even if they say it is a fixed price one. Aim for 20-30% of the quoted price. Usually the shops outside the hotels pre-haggling are a much cheaper bargain than what you get at the medina post-haggling.
Checkout is at noon. If the flight is later, you can keep the room for 50 dinars or if you want they can offer a

complimentary room for half hour to an hour to shower before your flight pick up. The all inclusive does NOT stop at noon and goes on till you leave, so keep drinking.
The flight back home was the worst part of the experience. The flight kept getting delayed and no one would tell us

why. It was past midnight and there were small kids crying but there was no Thomson rep telling us what was wrong.

Eventually the plane left after midnight and reached Gatwick at about half three.
Overall the hotel was brilliant, bang on our expectations. Will recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank mastgul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2009

WOW what can i say we have just arrived back in the UK after spending 14days at this lovely hotel and country and we are all depressed and already looking to book up again next year. i was a bit wary of going after reading the tonnes of reviews both good and bad on here i must say that the very bad ones must have been written by people that were expecting to stay at a palace and treated accordingly.
Airport
We arrived at the airport having already filled in our visa forms (these should be handed to you on the plane) and got through all areas with great ease and speed i do recommend that you change up at least 10quid into dinar as the porters at the airport will jump to wheel your bags to your coach and expect a small tip for their efforts.
1st Night
On arrival to the imperial marhaba we were greeted with a much needed chilled drink and a fast check in the porter took our bags to our room and showed us how to work the air con!! again a small tip was gratefully received. As it was late in the evening we said yes to a snack to be bought to our rooms SNACK! it was more like a meal and it was a good advert for what was to come.
The Hotel
This hotel is very impressive with marble throughout and lots of water features, chandeliers and the glass lifts were very exciting to go up and down in! they had a inhouse hairdresser, shop and night club and an indoor pool and jacuzzi but it was too cold to go in for me personally
The Pool
Trying to get poolside sun loungers was a no no unless you have paid your 20dinar deposit or tipped the pool man the previous night but this never really caused us a problem we could always find 2 loungers and always placed them where we wanted too as the spa was already finished and open to the guests we had no problems with noise. The pool was always warm as if it was being heated.
The Food and Drink
The food was plentiful and varied everyday i was blown away by the amount of food there was and always spoilt for choice i would always have a great big plate full purely because i wanted a bit of everything. The main reastaurant gave us our own table each night and the food was different each day there was always selections for each and every country aswell as tunisian food. The al a carte restaurant was to die for it was the best food we had ever tasted. the pool bar made a nice change as we could eat in our swim stuff and they had food such as chips burgers spag bol ice cream etc and personally my favourite time of day was 3.30pm when the chefs would make pancakes. Admittedly my husband did have dodgy bellys quite a lot but i wouldnt blame this on the restaurant i think it was down to the way a lot of items were fried or cooked in different oils and water to which we are not accustomed too. The only downside was there wasnt any food to have later on in the evenings when you have had a few drinks and really need a snack but we just bought a few bags of crisps for our room. Tea/Coffee and soft drinks were available all day everyday but only in the hotel. Not the greatest selection of alcoholic drinks but they had what we wanted and we stuck with them anyway you only get half glasses of beers but we were allowed to order as many glasses as we wanted at a time
The Staff/Animation Team
These are the sort of people whose names you will always remember. If you took the time and effort to chat and tip them they would treat you like you were the only ones staying in the hotel. Rafik was my favourite waiter in the restaurant usually you would only get flowers on the table if it was your last night but we had flowers most nights and he would always come and chat to us for 10 or so mins to see what we had been upto that day. Kamel from the ala carte restaurant was very very polite and proffesional and deserved to waiter that part of the hotel. Belil the drinks waiter was a top bloke loved football so he and hubby got on well and from the 1st night knew what we were drinking and would just bring us the drinks without even asking us! Willy/Hosni/Ben & Temo were only a few off the great animation team we had a lot of respect for these guys they were up from 9am to 3am every day and night keeping this hotel entertained it started from 9am with lots of different activities in and around the pool, then a full weekly entertainment programme in the evenings and to finish they were working in the nightclub!. Our maid did a great job of cleaning our room and we would always come back to find our bed or towels made into fans or swans or some other weird and wonderful creation and if you tipped more than a dinar a sweet or 2 would appear.
Tunisia
We didnt venture out too much we had heard some stories about sousse and the medina and that sort of place really wasnt for us. We did however venture down to the marina and had a few good nights down there you do get a little hassle but nothing a good no thanks wouldnt get rid off but i will say if you are a blonde female make sure you are holding your partners hand when you go down there they do take exceptions to you and try and proposition you nothing scary just a little off. We did go on a few excursions, the reps show which was dissapointing wish we had stayed at the hotel for their cabaret as it was much better and wouldnt cost you 50dinar! el jem which is definatly worth a visit, the catamaran which is pretty cool but dont sit at the front if you dont want to get soaked! and the camel ride which was awful i just wanted to ride one for a few minutes not have to stay on one for nearly 2 hours.

All in all we loved every single minute of our honeymoon and i can safely say it was the best holiday ever for me and my husband we would thoroughly recommend this x

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank muttley8701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about STEIGENBERGER Kantaoui Bay

Address: Port El Kantaoui, Port El Kantaoui 4089, Tunisia (Formerly Riu Imperial Marhaba)
Phone Number:
Region: Tunisia > Sousse Governorate > Port El Kantaoui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Spa Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Romantic Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Luxury Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
#1 Family Hotel in Port El Kantaoui
Price Range: $103 - $249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — STEIGENBERGER Kantaoui Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 366
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Partially renovated in winter 2007/8 * 3 km from Port El Kantaoui * Located on the beach * Complimentary sun loungers and parasols on the beach * 5-story building * 14 km from the center of Sousse * 200 m from various shops * 23 km from Monastir airport * 200 m from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa, Amex ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Imperial Marhaba

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