Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba

4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 Stars

Jinene El Kantaoui, Port El Kantaoui, 04089, Tunisia
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 99% more than similarly rated 4.5 star hotels

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Good For Solo
  • Families82
  • Couples84
  • Solo93
  • Business60

More about Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba

RIU Plans at Imperial Marhaba

by A TripAdvisor Member

Just enjoyed 2 weeks All-Inclusive over Easter'06. RIU are (gradually) making their mark, with a more extensive hot-Buffet area in the main Restaurant opened on 20th April. Dinner now has 6+ meat/fish-based mains in addition to the Pasta-Pizza section.

Until this week Breakfast was personal display-cooking for Omlettes etc, now it's still display cooking BUT to top-up dishes full. They will if you ask - BUT it's no longer as easy-going. Display cooking of Pasta also now only for big batches, not personal. Hopefully they will put that right.

The Bars offer alcoholic drinks from 1000am-0000am all-inclusive or chargeable, and chargeable from 0000-0100am. A request for wine routinely brings a bottle of the local White-Rose-Red which is fine. No request is a problem, even if you choose to drink more than one bottle, or multi-shorts. 1-2 Brits seriously hit multi-ordering at midnight, but still got the drinks and a smile.

Having walked around some of the other Hotels at PEK, I'd say the RIU Imperial Marhaba is the best of the bunch in overall feel. The Melia Palm-Marina next door is very similar BUT the main building looms that bit more over the Pool area.

Took a 12-year old daughter, who found enough friends to make it worthwile during the school holidays dates. English, French, German, Spanish & Russian guests mainly.

They even organised "Easter" kids activities, with Easter-Egg Hunt etc.,

All Staff fluent in English, no problem. Always ready to smile and help. They are good. Not one awkward moment in 2 weeks.

ATM & Exchange in Reception, as in all of the larger Hotels I looked at, and in the Towns.

The worst exchange Rate was at the Airport luggage-collection (even then it was 2.2 instead of the average 2.4) . No receipt there...

Monastir Airport, if you've never been, is a joke - so just relax. Arrival was a standing mass of approx 1000 people queing for Immigration stamps. Don't be deceived, they really are individual queues of approx 2m wide. It's like a motorway jam, don't bother swapping lanes. On the Sunday evening it took 1.5 hours...

We pre-booked a Taxi via the Hotel, he stood there for 2 hours holding our name up, and still asked for the price the hotel advised in advance.

Not as bad on Departure (20 mins @ Immigration), although you could sell a seat for a fortune... Don't arrive early.

Taxi from Monastir to PEK-north approx 25+ D. RIU to PEK 30mins walk = 3-D. RIU to Sousse = 6-D. Most Taxi Drivers offered a close price, nothing outlandish, so haggle is at 1-2 Dinar levels. Noddy Train Sousse-PEK was approx 3-D one-way.

There must be a thousand Quads in the 3Km between RIU and PEK... The area inland is solid Oilive trees with tracks used for Quad, Camel, Horse etc. 20-D per Hour approx gets you any of that kind of ride 1-to-1 or in Groups.

The beach in front of the Hotels is super-soft Sand with Sports every 200m (Ski, JetSki, Parasail, SpeedBoat, Dinghy, Pedalo). Take you time with the price, there are lots of options & prices...

Don't over-state the hassle you get from traders - even the busy alleys of Sousse were fine - it's their job to offer a "good price". If my 12-year old daughter can shop for trinkets and enjoy it, you can.

The RIU BellVue adjoining next door is currently closed for major re-build, but the noise is not a problem at the Imperial.

The Night Club is at the Entrance (ie. back) of the Hotel, and doesn't spill noise BUT is usually empty - enjoy it anyway, we did....

Nice place, nice staff, nice food (mains vary daily- the bulk is the same, but very wide range), good rooms/maids, nice beach, cool pool - as usual (but indoor pool is a bit warmer). Don't expect to find any trinkets worth buying in Tunisia (I'll swear that most of the newer-larger shops are Indian not Tunisian) , otherwise they deserve more visitors.

Big Disappointment

by A TripAdvisor Member

I have just returned from a weeks break in Tunisia at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel. I have stayed in Tunisia 5 times, twice in this hotel. The hotel was taken over by the Riu chain last year and what a noticeable change, for the worse.
The hotel now offers all inclusive as well as half board. I went on half board and was segregated in the pool snack bar and other areas of the hotel. I upgraded to all inclusive half way through the holiday and was treated much better.
The cleanliness of the hotel has dropped and the whole place needs a good clean and general refurbishment.
The staff are nice and friendly but are obviously fed up.
At first the food seemed to be improved, but I soon found out that hardly any meal is kept hot and the whole dining is buffet style. The restaurant now offers 2 sittings - 6.30 to 8pm and 8.30-10pm which you have to stick to all week, you cannot change.
Our room had a lovely sea view which we paid extra for, but it was extremely noisy until well into the night. The hotel entertainment from the hotel was very poor but went on loudly until past midnight, which doesnt suit me at all.
The pool area was crammed with sunbeds which were fully used by 9oclock in the morning. Some parasols were missing and had been sent away for repair some weeks ago.
The plumbing was awful, some taps hardly worked at all and the water pressure was very slow.
All in all a very disappointing return to this hotel. It is still rated as 5* but it definitely isnt anymore.

NOT 5 Star

by TripAdvisor Member 24077591

Returned home on the 20th of Nov after a 2 week stay at this hotel. On arrival it took 4 attempts to get me a room that I had paid for, ie sea view. Not an impressive start. The accommodation was nice but a little dated. The food was awful. Same thing night after night, which I suppose is ok if you only eat salad and fish. Hotel staff were in the main very polite and helpful, but of course they are always looking for a tip. There was no entertainment to speak of and not enough chairs in the lobby to seat all the guests that went for a drink. We ended up going to the hotel next door during the evening. RIU are in the process of taking over the hotel so things may well improve. However, building work was being carried out in the hotel next door (7am - 7pm) so you can hear it all day if laying by the pool. The beach was excellent as were the hotel gardens. On the whole Nice building shame about the food. NEVER AGAIN.

Absolutely FAB

by A TripAdvisor Member

I just want to say i do not agree with some of these reviews in this page. i am a 17 year old girl and i had an excellent time. i loved this. it was one of my favourite holidays i have ever had.
I shared a room with my sister and i must say we didn't keep it the neatest of rooms, well what do you expect? but the cleaners never complained. they kept the room spotless. cleaning everyday fully. they also added extra by making your nightwear into fans etc. very nice touch. The staff were absolutely outstanding. every single person i met there treated us with open arms. there was a photographer who was lovely that you could have photos took of you and your family every night. this was wonderful for memories of the holiday. the bar staff were wonderful too, they didn't let you get a drink from the bar, they would always come to your table and bring the drinks across.
The food was lovely. i usually don't like any food abroad but this was wonderful because there was a range of everything.
The whole place as soon as you walk in takes your breath away, with the grand entrance. when you first arrive you are greeted with a cocktail and the staff take up your luggage.
The beach was gorgeous to take a walk with a loved one.
The beach people and entertainers gave a wide variety of things to do. Games of fun darts by the pool at dinner, parachuting, jetskiing, songs and dances etc.
Finally the waiters, i can't go without not mentioning the waiters. they were lovely. they couldn't do enough for you. they looked after you. when i was there i went out of the hotel and down the road and saw some of the places they lived. i mean they were very rundown i have to admit, but you couldn't see this from the hotel. but when you see that and then talk to the staff they are just so full of life and happy. it really makes you think about 'what is happiness?' they were happy wihtout all the materialistics in this country, and that made me happy too. i most certainly would go back because the people are just the nicest people i have met, i am planning to after college, to see the friends that i made over there, i'm saving up now to go for a month. i was only there for a week so a month is going to be totally brilliant. i know i might sound a bit over-exaggerating but i mean it! Thank you to the wonderful staff for a truely wonderful holiday. hope to see them all in a year n a bit. frankly if anyone is going here soon i am verrrry verrrry jealous. xxx


by TripAdvisor Member jinje

At first sight the hotel is very impressive. Clean and spacious and the room ok, but small and basic, unless you have a big suite. Beds made every morning, sheets changed once a week, maid service, good. Found that the clientele were mostly pensioners and the place was boring. Stuck a good way from Kantaoui but within walking distance along the beach. Longer by road. Plenty of taxis. The staff were in the main helpful but the bar staff had no idea what a full glass of ''beer'' was. Food was in the main good, buffet style but repetitious. Entertainment was rubbish. The so called piano lounge was nice but the pianist was a ''frustrated jazz'' musician who couldn't sing and chased away quite a few who were in there for a quiet drink. A small group of musicians in the massive foyer/bar lounge were ok in an old rock style but were appalling as soon as the singer started wailing. There are no real bars or night life and there is nothing to do in the evenings.. Most of the old people sat there playing cards and dominoes or wandered around aimlessly. The pool and its surrounding areas are good, clean and have a set of waiters wandering around to cater for those (it seemed) on an all inclusive package. An indoor pool is available 8am to 8pm free of charge, but the gym and massage etc. are to be paid for. Our brochure said bycycles were for hire. This was not the case. All other activities such as horse riding, quad bike, paragliding are all to be paid for outside of the hotel. The room service was ok. The cleaning maids were good and all staff ( friendly) speak a fair amount of English, German, Spanish and of course French, the second language. Remember, Tunisia is a dry country and alcohol is more or less taboo. A good place for drink is the Golf Brau at Kantaoui. They make their own German style beer. Kantaoui is a small Disneyland style area built specially for tourists and is worth a visit once. all the shops sell the same goods and the beer offered is non-alcoholic. Would I go back to the Imperial ?? No!!! Ok so we hit the end of the cheap season for pensioners, but the lack of entertainment for what is basically a captive audience was abysmal. Five star? No. but then by what standard do you classify it? A large German clientele with the usual bagging of sun loungers in the morning. Also remeber you cannot take Tunisian currency into the country and you can't take it out!! By the way, a bottle of whisky in the local supermarket at Kantaoui, (Black label) was 296 Dinars, equivalent to £145.00 yes!, one hundred and forty five pounds.

Outstanding - Riu makes it mark

by TripAdvisor Member ktduomo

Stayed here with my husband for two weeks in April. Very surprised by the high standard. Without doubt the best overall hotel in Port-el-Kantaoui but would recommend taking the all inclusive option as we took.
Superb welcome on arrival - front door men/concierges wonderful and willing to help with anything - always a genuine smile. Front desk very welcoming and helpful although warning - this Riu does not accept American Express despite the website saying that it does. Would suggest that in Tunisia you mainly rely on cash, taking just what you need out each day and try to use the cashpoints in the hotels for security reasons. However we generally felt very safe in Tunisia and will have wonderful memories of the Tunisian people we met. Food at this Riu was very good for Tunisia and consistent with the high standard food that Riu hotels provide. Restaurant service generally very good, good quality wine provided at mealtimes for those on all inclusive option. Our only small criticism is that the excellent a la carte restaurant could be charged on a fixed price basis (perhaps ten dinars per person)for those on an all inclusive basis rather than the random way it seems charged at the moment (although still very reasonable but still a shock to be charged when you only order from the "all inclusive" menu). Rooms very good and spacious with very high quality control by the room supervisors and discreet service by the room ladies. Wonderful beach with clear blue water and beautiful grounds which were very relaxing. One of our memories will be listening to the bird song and watching the spectacular sunsets. Weather was excellent and only too hot on one day (37) but generally 28-34 degrees - a lot better than a cold April in Britain. Would highly recommend this Riu and Tunisia and feel that this hotel has the potential to become one of Riu's palace properties.


by A TripAdvisor Member

The Imperial Marahba is fine if you want a week of sun and relaxation but it is not a luxurious hotel. The enterance to the hotel is impressive, the pool area is lovely and the staff were on the whole friendly but I would not return to the hotel for a number of reasons:

1. The food is sub standard. Although there is a good range of choice the quality is not great and all meals are served in what is essentially a cafeteria. You often have to share a table with strangers and there are only 2 sittings for dinner which limits your flexibility. We ended up going to the port for dinner on three occasions during our week's stay even though we'd paid for half board. If you enjoy eating out and look forward to a good meal and a nice bottle of wine when you are on holiday this hotel is not for you.

2. Whilst the pool area is nice you have to be down early (around 8am) to secure a sun lounger near the pool which is a bit frustrating.

3. The rooms and bathrooms are clean but tired and definitely not of 5 star standard, I would say they are more equivilent to around 3 stars.

Overall, we enjoyed our holiday but I would not return to the hotel and I doubt I would recommend it to friends.

Good, but not 5*

by TripAdvisor Member systemoff

First of all, although the hotel is rated 5*, this is not quite true...It's a bit old and needing some remodelation. I would rate it 4*.

The rooms are always clean, the food is acceptable, but as i said it´s all a bit old, so don't go expecting to much from it...

The hotel has gymn, and interior pool but i've not tested them. It's a little bit far from the marina, so you have to get a taxi to go there.

All the staff is very nice and always help when you need it.

In general I liked it, but the next time, i will probably try another one.

superb honeymoon

by TripAdvisor Member phil_&_laura

my wife and i thoroughly enjoyed our honeymoon here! thw weather was unbelievable some days 40+ which was a bit too hot for the missus but i loved it. we were only half board as we enjoy going to eat in different places in the evenings and enjoying the different foods available in each restuarant. anyone going for a meal in the marina area of port el kantoui must dine at the "meditteranean" service and food first class. the entertainers hichem,helmi,zuzu and wissem were superb and there was never a dull moment, especially for the children which im sure you parents were more than happy with!! evening entertainment began at 9 and was finished by 12 sharp so even if we decided to have a quiet night in you werent kept up all night and to be honest we couldnt hear anything anyway and we had a sea view room. plenty watersports available and a lovely beach should that be your preference to the pool. one thing i would say, 5*s? i dont know. 4*s at the very best. but then who goes on holiday to spend time in your room?!! i know my wife and were in our room to sleep and it could have been a 2* and we wouldnt have noticed! why peolpe complain i dont know!!! phil and laura

Great Staff and nice setting.

by TripAdvisor Member nick_2006

I was a little worried about visiting the hotel after I read some of the reviews on this site (as I had already booked it!!), but when I got there I was pleasantly surprised.

Okay - it is a bit dated in its decor, but it is all very tidy and well kept. The staff were wonderful - always really helpful, smiley and friendly.

The facilities were just what we were after - the pool was a good size, and the beach was at the bottom of the garden. Just one problem - we did sometimes want to be able to just sit and relax at the pool side - but there are A LOT of activities going on around the pool side organised by some really friendly, but VERY enthusiastic staff. However, that said - if you wanted a quieter moment, you could go to the beach.

The food was okay. Not great, but okay. Nothing special. We went half board, and did feel a little like the poor relations some times, as the vast majority at the hotel are on the all inclusive.

If you are on the half board, you can swap between lunch and dinner by simply going to reception and ask them for a docket to do this. However, food in nearby Marina is not great either! I would say - better the devil you know! We both got quiet ill from some food somewhere, but couldn't say with any certainty where it was from.

On the whole - for the money I would recommend this hotel…but as others have said – it is not a true 5 star hotel.


Buying breadBuying bread

Comfort in a traditional houseComfort in a traditional house

The Ribat watchtower - SousseThe Ribat watchtower - Sousse

Kerouan, near SousseKerouan, near Sousse

Forum Posts

Transfer time from airport to Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)

by FSloan9


Does anyone know the approximate transfer time from Monastir Airport to the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)? Also, is it wothwhile going 'all inclusive' whilst there?


- Fraser

Re: Transfer time from airport to Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)

by TrickyPaul

The transfer time by taxi would be around 30 minutes.

Re: Transfer time from airport to Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)

by loonytoon01

From Tunis airport approx 2h, from Monastir approx 30-40 min. All inclusive is never worth it unless you're planning not to move from your hotel at all and hang around the swimming pool the whole day. The food in Sousse and Port is affordable. More so towards the centre (or Sousse Madinat) than in Port. I'd recommend restaurants, we ate there very often, 3 dolphins, Planet Food, The saloon, and something a bit of the tourist route Totem restaurant (they don't serve alcohol). Also, there are schwarmas to be found everywhere and it's safe to eat. Food generally is, so it's nothing like in Egypt. There are numerous cake shops and cafes where you can grab a bite. And a pub which servers "pub food".

Re: Transfer time from airport to Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)

by mary444

only go all inclusive if you want to drink a lot of alcohol, as that can be expensive. bars will charge about 3 dinar for a beer, and 8 to 10 dinar for a spirit. Food in the tourist restaurants will be reasonably priced by UK standards, but extremely expensive by tunisian standards. If you check out my travel page you'll see details of a restaurant doing local food where you will get a fantastic meal for 4 dinar with soft drinks about 1 dinar. The most expensive thing on their menu is pizza, which goes from 3.500 dinar to 7.500 dinar

Re: Transfer time from airport to Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel (Port El Kantaoui)

by vikkicollins

It's not worth going all inclusive, however you can get some incredible deals on half board (depending on the level of accommodation you require)Breakfast starting about 06.30 hours and dinner (evening)finishing about 21.30 hours allowing plenty of time for daytrips - self catering was not much cheaper.

We regularly stayed in a 3 star hotel which was clean and comfortable, with en-suite.

Port El Kantaoui


Please can anyone give us any information on the hotel: Riu Imperial Marhaba in Port El Kantaoui. We are a couple in our 40`s and are due to arrive in Port El Kantaoui in early September 2006, we have searched many sites throughout the internet and have only been able to find a few sites that give us information and reviews on the hotel itself, maybe you yourself have stayed at the Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel or know someone that has.
Any information would be most helpful.

Port el kantaoui

by boo5

Staying in Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in late Nove for a week, is there lots to do outside the Hotel, we would like to go quad biking, and have a look around the local area, is it easy to arrange by ourselves as we dont tend to like the package type tours! Will it be quite warm in the day, say shorts and tee shirt weather!. Would be grateful for any other advice and good places to eat, bars etc....

Re: Port el kantaoui

by boo5

Thanks so much for all the info, will take your advice.

Re: Port el kantaoui

by LitDoc

I'd pack some warmer clothes -- it's already quite chilly! I've turned on the heat in my apartment, and everyone is wearing coats and jackets outside. Have fun during your visit!


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 Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Imperial Marhaba

Address: Jinene El Kantaoui, Port El Kantaoui, 04089, Tunisia