Africa

Enjoying Hammamet at Hotel Paradis Palace

Sometimes what you need as a family is an all inclusive resort with activities for the kids and loads to see around. This is what we were searching for and this is what Hotel Paradis Palace offered us. We were really keen to visit North Africa and, living in Marseille, we had been recommended Tunisia so many times. So we grabbed an offer and planned a trip to Hammamet. Here’s what we saw, experienced and enjoyed:

Hôtel Paradis Palace

Me at the conference centre

So we chose a hotel in touristic Hammamet because we wanted beach, pools, service and program for kids. This time the parents would relax too!! We were extremely surprised that we could get an All Inclusive hotel with pools etc for 4 people for about 1400€s. To me that’s extremely cheap. So my expectations for this hotel were fairly low. I really assumed it’s going to be fairly ran down nightmare that we then have to endure for a week. On arrival we were right away told that our ‘All Inclusive’ was only ‘Full Board’ aka 3 meals per day. This didn’t really bother us since we wanted the kids to drink more water anyways. We got into our hotel room, which overall was pretty nice, to find out right away that our toilet didn’t flush properly. I was already grinding my teeth thinking a week without pooping in peace.. Not my kind of holiday. Oh and I forgot to tell you about the no WIFI!! Wifi was only available at the reception and this was a true bummer. After the rough start at the hotel, we were actually fairly positive about our hotel. The toilet was fixed in a blink of an eye next day. I was given a whole empty conference centre to work in because there was no wifi in the rooms. Service was really great all throughout. Hotel was always ready to sort us out with a taxis or a private tours around cities we wanted to visit. All the little problems we had were dealt with timely manner and overall we had a very positive stay. The kids absolutely loved the kids program twice a day (I can’t say that us adults wouldn’t have loved it too) and they really really loved the mini disco every night where they got to do their line dancing to the most annoying kids songs in repeat. I mean it’s painful for us parents but oh my the kids loved it. So overall we were fairly happy with our hotel and destination. Our hotel was directly on the beach and we even had an indoor heated swimming pool, which turned out to be great because the weather wasn’t as warm as we expected it to be in April. So overall good vibes on the hotel although I’m really looking through my fingers with all the little things that were broken around the hotel (toilet door locks, lifts and their buttons not lighting up, no soap dispensers, no hand drying possibilities etc.). Food was plentiful and at times very delicious. Most of the days it was average but we can’t say we would have been hungry. There was always something for everyone. So how to grade this hotel? It was a 4 star hotel and I think overall it did it’s job as a 4 start hotel. It was a bit run down but we were only at the beginning of the season 2022 after two quite rough Covid years.

Hammamet & Carthage

I haven’t mentioned yet but I was actually on an online cabin crew training throughout our holiday in Tunisia. I was training most days from 9am to 5pm and that was the reason the hotel gave me the empty conference centre to work in. It was truly nice of them and I didn’t have to pay anything extra. But this meant that I didn’t end up enjoying much of Hammamet or Carthage. My mother-in-law flew in to give us a hand with the kids and keep my husband company whilst on holiday. And they did a lot more walking around in Hammamet than I did. Mr Merry and his mum would walk down the beach to North Hammamet as well as South Hammamet. They were the ones investigating near by ruins and also did a day trip to Carthage. I was up in my conference room studying away. The only thing I managed to do before starting studies was a day trip with the camels. I really wanted to experience riding a camel but it wasn’t as glamorous as thought. We were sharing the camels with a big group of people and we were riding through what many would call a dumpsters. Broken cars and rubbish everywhere. But hey we got our fancy pictures. This is tourism in it’s worst. Carthage is one of the oldest cities around with loads of history and ruins to see. My family came back with beautiful pictures and here some for you to enjoy.

El Jem, Sousse, Hammam Sousse & Hergla

El Jem Archaeological Museum

I had one day off from my online studies and I wanted to spend it with the family exploring Tunisia. We hired a private taxi to take us around as we were 3 adults and 2 children so this actually was quite a cost effective method of seeing places around. Plus it gave us freedom of choosing our own restaurants and destinations. Tunisia is an extremely old country with loads of historical sites to see. Faced with all the different options, we were really struggling to choose what we wanted to see. I studied Latin when I was younger and I’ve always dreamt of visiting the Colosseum in Rome. And I dreamt of visiting it properly. Wandering around and seeing old marks on the walls etc. Obviously nowadays the Colosseum is hugely touristic and you’re not even allowed to walk inside the Colosseum much. So when I heard that the movie Gladiator was actually filmed in El Jem and the amphitheater is pretty spectacular, I said right away that this is the one destination I want to go to. And it did not disappoint! It cost us about 4€s to enter the amphitheater and because it was April and Ramadan there was like no one inside. They hadn’t closed any part off and we were allowed to freely wander around. We were even allowed to go underneath the theater and see it from below. It was just mesmerizing. I think we were all in loss of words afterwards (except the kids that kept on going on about the lions fighting in the arena). It is definitely a place where everyone interested in ancient Roman history should visit. It was a dream come true for me. El Jem as a city was very small but it felt a bit more authentic. There were no big hotels and resorts to please tourists. They have this beautiful history and a very good museum that attracts tourists to visit. Museum was filled with old mosaic and objects from around 2000 years ago. The city itself felt pretty authentic and I bet if you’d really start visiting the stores and shops, you could probably get better price than in Sousse or Hammamet for example.

Afterwards we chose to go to Sousse, a bigger and more touristic city in the south. We chose Sousse because it was Ramadan and small places wouldn’t have anything to eat. Touristic places still had restaurants etc open. Also I wanted to do a little shopping if possible and Sousse had all of this to offer. A big museum, the port, shopping and restaurants. Sousse turned out to be quite a touristic place and because we were the first wave of tourists starting their season of income, every shop owner was desperate to sell stuff. So haggling was even harder than before. Well easier in the sense that you could name any price and they almost always ended up agreeing to it. But if you didn’t want an item it was so hard to get rid of the sales people. Tired from all the shopping and haggling we decided to see the museum in Sousse. Unfortunately for us it was just closing and we didn’t get to see it. Instead our taxi driver then decided to take us on a small detour to Hamman Sousse and later to Hergla. Hamman Sousse is an area of big touristic hotels and they have a nice little port there. We managed to get a cheap boat ride to the sea so we enjoyed a moment on the sea. Afterwards we drove to this tiny little local blue and white village called Hergla. This place was probably the most beautiful out of all the places we’d been to. It’s more commonly a destination for richer Tunisians to visit during summer. It was very authentic and quite unique. Recommend a small visit there, specially if you’re Instagramming.. There was many places to take that perfect shot.

So my conclusion of Tunisia? I think it was worth a visit! People were extremely nice. Food was good. Hotel was very attentive and overall more safe than our last experience of an All Inclusive resort in Fiji. Tunisia definitely sparked us to explore more North African destinations.. Already checking flights to Algeria next door.

Child of the World. Language enthusiast. Wanderlust running in my veins. Making the world Merry.

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