Review: Sheraton Tunis

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

I had about 19 hours in Tunis, as my flight from London arrived at around 9PM, while my flight to Montreal left around 4PM the next day. The Tunis hotel market isn’t terribly exciting. One of the only major chain hotels in Tunis is the Sheraton, which cost ~$150 for my one night stay, so naturally that’s where I stayed.

The Sheraton Tunis is a Category 4 property, so a free night redemption would have cost 10,000 Starpoints. Given how much I value those points, paying cash was the better value.

For what it’s worth, a Four Seasons will be opening in Tunis later this year, which I’d love to check out.

I arranged an airport transfer through the Sheraton (as I always like to do when visiting a country for the first time), and that cost a very reasonable ~$12. The driver was waiting for me at the airport, and drove me to the hotel in a large van. One thing I found odd about the van is that it had curtains all the way around it, so the driver really couldn’t look in the rearview mirror. As someone who is sort of scared of driving (at least it scares me much more than just about anything else I do on a day-to-day basis), that put me on edge a bit.

Sheraton Tunis airport transfer

The drive to the hotel just took about 15 minutes, and once there I had to go through a security checkpoint.

Sheraton Tunis lobby

The lobby was beautiful, especially given that this is one of the oldest hotels in Tunis. The check-in process was quick, and the front office associates were extremely friendly.

Sheraton Tunis lobby

It was explained to me that the club lounge is undergoing some renovations, so as an SPG Platinum member I’d receive complimentary breakfast in the restaurant, happy hour in the pub, and access to snacks and drinks during the day in the lobby lounge.

Sheraton Tunis club lounge closure

There were vouchers in the envelope to present for these things, though given how short my stay was, I only ended up having breakfast in the restaurant.

Sheraton Tunis club lounge closure vouchers

I was escorted up to my room, which was located on the fourth floor. When facing reception the elevators were to the left, at the end of the hallway.

Sheraton Tunis lobby

While the lobby felt a bit outdated, the fourth floor hallway felt much more modern, and had clearly been renovated recently.

Sheraton Tunis hallway

Outside the elevator I turned left, and then my room was about halfway down the hall. As an SPG Platinum member I had been upgraded to a junior suite, which in reality felt a lot more like a full suite.

Inside the entrance was a large closet, which also housed the kettle (with powdered coffee and tea) and minibar.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite living area

Sheraton Tunis junior suite coffee machine

Sheraton Tunis junior suite minibar

Then there was a large living room with a dining table, desk, and a couple of couches.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite living room

Sheraton Tunis junior suite living room

Sheraton Tunis junior suite living room

Sheraton Tunis junior suite living room

On the dining table was a generous welcome amenity consisting of bottled water, some sweets, nuts, and whole fruit.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite welcome amenity

Sheraton Tunis junior suite welcome amenity

Then right by the entrance was a half bath.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite guest bathroom

Sheraton Tunis junior suite guest bathroom

There was a door separating the living room from the bedroom. The bedroom featured a comfortable king size bed, a desk, and a seat in the corner.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bedroom

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bedroom

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bedroom

Past the bedroom was the master bathroom, which had a walk-in shower, a shower/tub combo, a toilet, and a sink.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bathroom

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bathroom

Sheraton Tunis junior suite bathtub

I was impressed by the quantity of amenities in the bathroom.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite toiletries

The room also had a nice balcony overlooking the front side of the hotel, with the city in the distance.

Sheraton Tunis junior suite balcony

Sheraton Tunis junior suite balcony view

Overall I thought the room was lovely, especially given how old the hotel is. In-room Wi-Fi was free, and was fast enough — it certainly wasn’t as high speed as I’d like, but I was able to get everything done that I needed to.

After a great night of sleep I had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, located on the lobby level. It serves breakfast daily from 6AM until 10AM.

Sheraton Tunis breakfast restaurant

There was a buffet for breakfast, with a pretty good selection — I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Sheraton Tunis breakfast buffet

Service in the restaurant was friendly. I know this sounds totally random, but as someone who always takes their laptop to breakfast to work from there, I love sitting at a hotel breakfast the first morning I’m in a new country and observing and overhearing the other guests. This was an especially interesting crowd.

Just off the breakfast room was the lobby bar, which also had outdoor seating. Since I was only here briefly, I didn’t use it, though.

Sheraton Tunis lobby bar

Sheraton Tunis lobby bar

Down the hall from reception was the hotel’s huge recreational complex.

Sheraton Tunis spa area

There was a nice indoor lap pool.

Sheraton Tunis indoor pool

Sheraton Tunis indoor pool

The gym was massive, and had pretty good equipment.

Sheraton Tunis gym

Sheraton Tunis gym

Then there was also a nice outdoor pool.

Sheraton Tunis outdoor pool

Sheraton Tunis outdoor pool

After breakfast I arranged to have a driver take me around town, with the main destination being the beautiful area of Sidi Bou Said. The drive took about 40 minutes so I didn’t have that much time, but I still enjoyed getting a small glimpse into the city.

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

At around 1PM I headed back to the airport, so I’d have plenty of time to review the airport experience as well.

Sheraton Tunis bottom line

The Sheraton Tunis was a great option for my overnight in the city. The hotel was close to the airport, the staff were exceptionally friendly, I got a great upgrade, and the hotel is well maintained, especially when you consider how many decades old it is.

I suspect the Four Seasons will be in a completely different league when it opens, but for now the Sheraton is a great option, especially for a quick overnight.

  1. Nice review. Flowers were a nice touch. Did you order them for Ford or a gift from the hotel?

  2. **Thanks @beachfan….

    I’m sure those flowers were a part of your welcome amenity too Ben. They’re not stocking Junior Suites with fresh cut bouquets at a Sheraton. 😉

  3. Hi Ben
    The UK Government has issued travel warnings to avoid travel to Tunisia (including Tunis) for all but essential travel. Did you feel safe there? I would love to visit but am I bit worried.

  4. The curtains in the van serve a couple purposes. One is security so people can’t see in. They are less likely to shoot at the van or try to kidnap you as they don’t know who or how many people are in the van. The other reason is to keep the sun and heat out at times.

    In Tunis it’s best to try to get car service with at least two escorts. A driver and co-driver.

  5. What is that white donut thing on your plate. i remember seeing it on your London – Tunis flight too.

  6. Lucky,

    It is not the medina, wich is located in the center of Tunis.

    I think you have been in Sidi Bou Said, no?

    Near the sea and Cartagena…

  7. @ Omoo @ Ben — I had no security concerns at all, and felt safe at all times. I’m also from the US, where goodness only knows how many people are shot everyday, so…

  8. “I know this sounds totally random, but as someone who always takes their laptop to breakfast to work from there, I love sitting at a hotel breakfast the first morning I’m in a new country and observing and overhearing the other guests. This was an especially interesting crowd.”

    Lucky, you can’t write something like that without following up on why it was so interesting!!! Please fill us in with the juicy details!

  9. Good review. Thank you.
    When an attendant escorts you to your room, do you tip them if so how much?
    With all the travel you I am wondering how well you adjust to time zones?

  10. I’m going to second Morris’s post. We really need to know at least a few details about what was being said!

  11. This hotel seems SUPER nice, specially being in a country in northern Africa. It also baffles me you travel to these beautiful places and spend $$$ only to stay a few hours in ur destination….obviously your motive is to review the airline but still…

  12. While it may be an “old hotel” — you said this a couple of times — it actually looks really, really nice, especially for a mid-tier chain hotel. By Sheraton standards, it’s exceptionally nice. Sure beats the tired old corporate office park Sheraton hotels in the U.S. I was really impressed by (1) the outdoor pool and (2) the room balcony. Look at how clean the balcony is — that’s unusual, in my experience. In my experience, it’s almost as if housekeepers aren’t paid to clean balconies at many chain hotels.

    What was the weather like? was it warm enough to swim outside? How was the hotel’s location if you wanted to see the city or sightsee?

  13. I’ve often wondered how much untouched food is reused the next day on a hotel buffet?

  14. In some countries having a tinted car window is illegal/regulated. My dad used to trade cars from Japan and they came with automated curtains – no window tints. I suppose Tunisia have a similar law in effect.

  15. @ Lucky –

    I think you should consider writing an article about hotel pricing comparing decor, atmosphere, location (in general), and other benefits (or lack there of).

    I travel the world for business and for personal trips. Often I am in Africa, Europe, and back to the US, often, and I am based in Asia and sometimes have travel around here, too.

    The problem with many places in Africa is that the price of many western branded hotels is pretty expensive for what you are getting and for the lowish level of decor, atmosphere, service, and overall quality, compared to many other properties for the same price or not much more, to make it a good deal.

    Firstly, you mentioned that your room was about $130. That’s pretty expensive for the lower level of the key points mentioned in the previous paragraph.

    Travelers also need to think about it in comparison to location and local alternatives. For example, in some places one of the few western hotels may be far out of town because of the amenities provided (often for an additional fee) and then getting to the city center all the time is a hassle, particularly in Africa where anything and everything including the taxi fare is a haggle!

    Sometimes I prefer to stay in hotels that are local and that are not part of a group because it is much cheaper, perhaps half or a quarter of the price for relatively the similar quality and services that I use, but has the location advantage too.

    Furthermore, you have to consider the cost of the additional services.

    These hotels tend to have overpriced meals specials for perhaps hundreds of dollars while local meals cost just a couple of dollars, literally.

    $12 for example for an airport shuttle sounds cheap, but is actually pretty expensive because I would think some of the hotels in town include their shuttle for free – I’ve experienced this. Often in Africa, you could take a cab for much less of the shuttle and have the convenience of being by yourself.

    Dealing with service issues is also a problem in Africa. Many times the top hotel management are just unwilling to give concessions such as a discount or taking items off of one’s bill. You also have the issue that “it is Africa” and so there is much that is beyond the hotel’s control, such as electricity and Internet outages, which can be very inconvenient. If you complain to the hotel group, they almost always push it down to the hotel level.

    Besides this topic, there may be a number of other topics we could write on together or I could send you a draft of my thoughts for an article.

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