The Phedra Hotel is very nice. It has a small boutique in it and huge pool built in a way that it look like it's just dripping into the desert. A golf was in construction when we were there (yes, a golf in the desert), and you could see it from the pool.
Our room had not been cleaned when they checked us in, so we had to go back to reception and have them fix the problem, but they did so immediately.
The hotel has a tiny boutique and, of course, a buffet restaurant, which is like all buffet restaurants you will find around Tunisia, no more, no less.
All in all, it is a good hotel that is located pretty well. I would stay there again.
I allowed myself a splurge...Tozeur did not seem to be awash with budget accommodation, and the only real cheapie was on the main drag wedged between some particularly garish souvenir shops, so I gave that a miss. Instead, I tramped down the road towards the caleche stand by the entrance to the oasis, where I checked into the Residence Karim.
Overlooking the oasis, you'd never know it from the outside, but the interior of this hotel has been cleverly transformed into a peaceful traditional Shami (Damascene) house....i don't know if that was the intended style, but it did remind me of my house in Damascus, with two courtyards covered in bright tiles, water features, mosaics on the walls and flowers everywhere. It was all quite pretty.
My room was small, probably the smallest on the trip, though it had a very good bathroom, spotless with a hot shower. More importantly, it had 3 power points, so i could charge up my iPod, my mobile and my camera batteries simultaneously!
Breakfast in the restaurant was a strange affair...the hotel was busy, and nobody seemed to know what the system was...simple really, you just sit down and wait, but you do have that awkward period when it feels like the kitchen staff haven't noticed you, but that all the guests are looking at you! Anyway, when breakfast did appear on my table, it was the standard Tunisian hotel stuff of coffee, bread and jam.
The roof terrace was nice...somewhere to retreat to when the tour buses came too thick.
The best thing was the tiled balcony overlooking the caleche stand. While standing on it, pondering my next move, a British tourist down below spotted me and took a photo, saying to her friend "that's a lovely balcony, that..."Her friend then got her camera out and took pictures of me on the balcony, remarking that "some of the locals are terribly white-skineed, aren't they!" Hahaha. Only later did I realise that the hotel sign would have been invisible to them, and they must have thought it was a private house.
Bed and breakfast costs 25TD (April 2007: GB£1 = 2.5TD)
Residence el-Amen is an excellent small hotel located in the "zone touristique", and therefore close to the Dar Charait Museum, the Belvedere Rocks and an array of souvenir shops and restaurants. As in most hotels we stayed in, the rate included breakfast (French baguette bread with jelly, werved with hot chocolate or coffee). There is an extra fee for heating, but we were fine under the blankets even though it was mid-February.
Each of the three clerks was very polite and always willing to answer our questions. One of them even accepted to keep our container of orange juice in the fridge and instructed the kitchen staff to serve it to us in the morning.
Even if you don't feel like walking to the town centre (it's some 20-30 minutes away on foot), there are so many taxis passing by on Tozeur's main street (Abdulkacem Chebbi) that you will have no problem hailing one on the way there.
The hotel would be rated "A Great Experience", were it not for the disappointing mountain oases tour we took with them. Our "guide" knew little more than how to get there, and once on the spot, had to ask local employees where to go and what to do with us. Not only that, he brought a friend along for the ride and spent the entire trip talking to him -- and playing blaring music -- perhaps trying to hide his ignorance by avoiding our questions?
In short, this place is highly recommended. Just don't take any of their half-day and full-day trips.
the hotel.. nothing remarkable.. except for some lovely flowers and a wonderful swimming-pool. However it was winter and the mention swimming-pool remained far too cold to even think about going near it
the hotel's hammam. wonderful, relaxing... all covered in nice traditional tiles. a really nice place to chill out in the evening
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