Registered: September 2005
Review Date: Sun July 1, 2007
||Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes |
Price paid per week?: None indicated
| Rating: 8
This is a true Riu
... but think of it as a Riu Hotel - not a Riu Palace
Reached Manchester ‘Autostrong’ secure car parking at about 14:00 on 23rd June. Easy check-in for the car then after about a 10 minute wait we were on an easy 30 minute ride to the airport.
This is where the woes began – we were dropped off at ground level and due to construction work we had to take the lift (elevator) to the third floor where the check in was located. There were two lifts each big enough to take maybe 50 people that slowly wound their way up and down the building – 9 floors in all – it took ages for the lift to arrive. Once we reached the third floor we joined the MyTravel check in queue. The queue was maybe 80 yards long (out the door) and stopped in by the 15 check in desks of which 5 were manned. A hour later we were checked in and had to join a longer queue for the metal detector arches and carry-on xray (5 desks out of 8 were manned).
Two hours after arriving at the airport we could finaily relax in pre-booked the exec lounge to imbibe a very welcome shot or four of complimentary scotch and a snack.
We were called to board the plane – an airbus 321 – 30 minutes before scheduled take off time. The aircraft took off 15 minutes late on the start of our 3 hour 10minute flight to Djerba. – we flew south on a route that passed to the west of Paris, Marseilles, Sardinia before crossing over most of Tunisia to land at Djerba.
On landing had to fill in a ‘Non-Resident’ visitors card – which is them presented to passport control – who keep half (you need to save the other half to present to passport control as you leave the country). Passport control is slow.
After passports – carry-on luggage was x-rayed to ensure we were not brining anything dangerous into an Arab country
Luggage on the carosel – picked it up and we had a taxi transfer to the resort.
The roads have a good surface and we had a good taxi-driver … he looked before doing stuff and watched for others who didn’t (not infrequent!). We were travelling late and saw several ‘bars’ – these reminded me of the Greek ‘Kafenions’ where the men would congregate to discuss the harvests etc that the women were brining in.
Arrived a the hotel – security on the gate had to move the very solid gate (looked to be made out of steel 2 x 4 bars) out of the way to let us in.
Reception very impressive – we were welcomed with a fruit drink (as All Rius should but most don’t) and given the key to the room (a smart card with a chip on it)
We took our own cases to the room since there didn’t seem to be a porter.
The rrom was large (4.5m x 6m for the main part, plus a washroom single basin, shower over the bath and a separate toilet & bidet room). 3 cupboards for hanging clothes. An electronic safe (elsafe) and a fridge with 3 bottles of plain water and two of 2 of carbonated.
The room has two hard beds pushed together each is 1.2m wide by 2m long (I brought a tape measure from home)
It appears that the Garden Palace is a Riu managed hotel – not Riu owned.
Breakfast – Usual stuff – greasy bacon, Eggs fried in an egg ring (I prefer eggs cooked without a ring – the white sets but the yellow doesn’t). Fresh bread probably cooked on the premises. Cereals, fruit juices (it would be nice if the orange juice didn’t have pips)
There was a bar service by the pool (no waiters) self service on soft drinks and water.
The beach bar is not part of the AI.
Animation was interesting – all male – 6 of them – they were good during the day, but with little idea at night – just used to waltz around with the German wives. Generally speaking the staff were disinterested. (Remember this is a Muslin country – the women don’t show their ankles – I don’t know what they think of the topless ladies on the beach and round the pool) – they should bring in dancers from Europe.
There was a waiter service for evening drinks but it was very hit and miss if they came an took your order. If you went to the bar they would serve you but you had to add your own mixers (… not very ‘Palace’).
There was just one ‘a-la-carte’ restaurant that you could book – the Tunisian – we were bumped out here on our last night so they had room in the main restaurant for incoming guests.
Food: Generally OK – could have done with more veg selection on the hot buffet and have served more than just chips (French fries) every night – though 2 nights they did serve mashed potato as well.
I didn’t feel the hotel was up to the Riu Palace standard.
* no waiter service at the pool
* hit and miss waiter service of an evening
* poor variation in the food
* no sight of a champagne bottle
* if you wanted a non-local drink, there was a charge
* I watched a dead fly on the bathroom floor for four days – the cleaner didn’t get it nor did the room ants (the cleaner didn’t get those either)
… but then we didn’t pay a Palace price (£490 / person / week including flights etc) – so it was OK, but think of it as you would a Riu Hotel, not a Riu Palace.
Oh: End of june - 40C+ with high humidity ... far too hot spring/autumn would be better.
I had a talk with Ahmed Mabrouk, He’s one of the sub-directors at the Riu Palace Royal Garden.
If people take school supplies packs etc to him – he will be happy to distribute whatever is brought (he would probably take people with him when he did it). He remembers getting stuff from tourist when he was a boy – it was really exciting fro him them and he’d like to pass the excitement to others