Written on: 10/09/2004 by tillytart (1 review written)
Excellent staff especially Animators
Beautiful clean hotel on beach
Fantastic choice of food
Didn't find any!
Having read all the reviews on other sites, my family and I went on holiday with great expectations from The Houda Golf & Beach Club. We were not disappointed!!! It surpassed our wildest dreams! To say it was the best holiday we've ever had is an understatement! :-)
On arrival we were bowled over by the palatial hotel facade and foyer. The porter couldn't have been more helpful. We had a room with a sea view which necessitated him lugging our four heavy cases across the garden and up four flights of stairs, with no word of complaint! There a no lifts here, which helps in keeping off the extra pounds you pile on from all the delicious food! We had no dinar, having only just arrived, but the porter was happy with a couple of £1 coins for all his hard work!
The room was large, air-conditioned, and very clean. There is little in the way of storage space, so you do have to live out of suitcases when there are 4 sharing, which was no problem for us. The children loved their ornate bunk beds, and the different positions the maids put their cuddly toys in every day!
The maids were very polite, efficient and hard working. I took extra toiletries with me to leave for them, knowing how poorly paid they were, but was gob smacked when I saw shampoo on sale at £4 for a standard bottle!
The food was superb. I fail to understand how even the most fussy of palates could not be satisfied! But I was surprised at the amount of people who were complaining about it. Breakfast offers a wide choice, from cereal, toast and croissants to eggs cooked to order any way you choose. (I recommend the omelette!) Lunch can be eaten either in the restaurant, where there is a varied choice from the salad bar, and numerous hot dishes to choose from. Or you can have pizza and chips from the poolside snack bar, where a small choice of salad and hot dishes are also available. Dinner is a massive affair with 2 salad bars, and such a variety of hot dishes to choose from, always including at least one Tunisian speciality. For those with a sweet tooth there are fantastic desserts, the gateaux are works of art! Chips are always available in the restaurant at lunch and dinner time, as is ice cream. There is a selection of fresh fruit at each meal.
There are also the 2 A la Cart restaurants, Tunisian and Italian, which you are told to book on arrival, one night each per week, but don't be fooled, if you go direct to the restaurants you can book for any night! The Tunisian was superb!
The waiting staff are most helpful and attentive. They appreciate an alcoholic beverage left discreetly on an empty table as they are not allowed to drink in the hotel, even when off duty!
Ice cold water is available all day, as are soft drinks.
The choice of alcohol is limited to lager, and a few spirits, and of course the cocktail bar! Scotch is not available. I regret not having taken a bottle with me to barter with, as I had been advised to do!
The pool and garden are breath-taking, so green! Cleaning/gardening staff are hard at it all the time to keep it immaculate. Likewise the beach, where a man rakes up the seaweed by hand, early every morning, and a pony drag a rake across the sand!!! The beach activities include parascending, banana boat, and ringos, all very enjoyable and reasonably priced. Beach vendors will try to sell you anything from Arab headdresses and palm trees to cigarettes, the latter working out to only 75p per pack, compared to £1.25 in the hotel shop!
There is a 24 hour doctors surgery, although be warned that each consultation cost 35dinar, with medication on top, but that's what insurance is for, and it saves a lot of aggravation!
:-)The one thing which made our holiday for us was the entertainment team, known as Animators. I can't sing their praises enough. :-) They work so hard, from 9am to 2am with only one day off in 7, for very little pay. They are all very talented in their chosen field, and also speak up to 8 languages fluently!!
Fou Fou, the main children's Animator, is a real star. He has time for every child there, and the ability to make each and every one feel special. How he manages it I don't know! Aziz is his main helper and is excellent with the kids too. He also takes other activities, (as do all the animators!) including aqua aerobics (a really good work-out!) and Arabic classes. Watch out for Mimo and Ahmed, The Crazy Boys! (Club dance, aqua aerobics and more!) They are brilliant! I've never seen dancers like it. They are quite a double-act and have you in stitches. Ramsey takes football and aqua aerobics (did I ache!) and dances beautifully. Stefano teaches archery, which my 10yo thoroughly enjoyed. Amir is the new Mr. Bean!! (you have to see the shows!) Among Souley's list of activities are volley ball and water polo. He was instrumental in getting my hair extensions done, which was above and beyond the call of duty!! Unfortunately he is leaving at the end of the season. :-(
There are some whose names I don't know, but they all work equally as hard at ensuring everyone has a brilliant time. When not teaching their specialised field, they socialise with the guests making sure they are having a good time, including at their meal times!!! God know when they have time to rehearse for the nightly shows! These are fabulous, a different one for every one of our 14 nights stay! Michael Jackson, Lord of the Dance, Travesty (?), Comedy Sketches, to name but a few! Their drive, dedication and enthusiasm have no bounds. Thank you Animators one and all!!
Skanes itself is made up of hotels. The Mirama Hotel next door has an English run bar where I'm told you can get a cup of Tetley's tea!! And a load of washing done for 5 dinar! There is also a small supermarket there, which is adequate, but don't expect Tesco!
We had no reason to leave the hotel, due to there being everything you could possibly wish for there, but felt we should have a trip into Sousse. We travelled by local bus which was an experience, but very cheap! Sousse is just what we had been lead to believe, but we were pleasantly surprised by the local shopkeepers. We found them very polite and not at all pushy.
The taxis are very good, but be prepared to haggle for a good price.
The First Choice rep was very good, but we didn't really need her for anything!
I would recommend this Hotel to anyone looking for a memorable family. We intend to return next year!
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