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Hotel El Mouradi Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
BP 106 Route Touristique 2200TozeurTUN Tozeur, Tunisia -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Formerly part of the Abou Nawas chain, this, the largest hotel in Tozeur, was bought in 2005 by the Mhiri family - the founders and owners of the El Mouradi brand, which now owns 15 upmarket establishments in Tunisia. Following major renovations, the El Mouradi Tozeur reopened in late 2008. It is housed in a huge white block that dominates the tourist resort (as far as the hotels are concentrated and not the main tourist attractions) of the more elegantly named La Corniche. One of the hotel's major positive points, and something which comes as a pleasant surprise in a hotel of this size, is the warm and spontaneous welcome you'll receive from the management. The El Mouradi is now seen by locals and Tunisian visitors as an essential part of any visit to the area. Far from the image you might have of a Saharan hotel, this one actually follows consistent international standards, much to the comfort of its cosmopolitan clientele.

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    Location 4.75 /10

    Along with the Palmyre, this is the closest hotel to the airport, just 5 minutes away, whilst the centre of Tozeur and La Corniche are a maximum of 10 minutes away. If you are arriving alone, the taxi ride will set you back 5 pounds but the hotel can provide you with a car.

    Accommodation 8.20 /10

    With 144 guest rooms, including 3 suites (one Presidential, one Junior and one Senior) and 80 bungalows, visitors are guaranteed all the comfort of a hotel of international standing, irrespective of the kind of accommodation they choose. All of the rooms are fitted with air conditioning, Wifi, a direct phone line, satellite television, a mini bar, a safe, a walk-in wardrobe, and a balcony. The standard rooms come with a king size or twin beds, each with its own little lounge area and vanity table, and whilst the balconies are not very big (furnished with a small table and two chairs), they have completely unobstructed and superb views. The traditional, low-key, orange and sandy-coloured decor is not particularly original, but the materials used are of a high quality, which is notably visible in the fine wood furniture, all of which has been produced by the El Mouradi's owners' family business. The well-equipped bathrooms come with a bathtub, hair dryer, hospitality products, thick towels and a separate toilet, but they are not very big for a hotel aiming for a 5 star rating. Having said that, they are perfectly clean and comfortable. The bungalows are more original in terms of decor, though they are still rather traditional and more western-influenced than they are 'exotic'. Perfectly functional, they consist of a lovely double room for mum and dad, a large separate lounge area where the children can sleep, and a terrace area and garden, far enough away from the neighbours not to be a problem. All of this is set amid the orange blossoms and bougainvilleas, making for very tasteful, if unoriginal, surroundings.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    The El Mouradi is built around one central block, the entrance to which is through a huge lobby overlooking the palm grove, the desert and the large outdoor pool. With large picture windows, imposing marble and stucco columns, the Art Deco and contemporary style of the bar and lounge areas surrounding the lobby, plus the decorative detail of the light fittings, chandeliers and artwork, you're certainly not going to forget that you're in Africa here, and especially in the Maghreb. The guest rooms, two restaurants, central bar, Moorish cafe, shop, brand new spa and gym (which was in the process of being renovated when we visited) are all arranged around the central block. Just below you will find the very large, traditional swimming pool, in an area spacious enough to accommodate entire families or groups of friends in their own little corner, complete with a garden table, parasols, and deck chairs, all with spectacular views of the palm trees and the golden desert. The superb indoor pool, which is open to all guests, is also particularly nice. Surrounded by picture windows and topped with a clear dome, it offers welcome views of both the gardens outside and the sky above. This pool is accessed either via the spa or from the inside of the hotel, which is a particular bonus when the weather is dreary or when you're in the midst of a sandstorm! Guests looking for a little more privacy are better off going for one of the bungalows located alongside the central block. These are arranged around an inner garden to create the riad-like effect of a little village and each one has its own private entrance, a small garden, and a small private terrace. The hotel has plans to expand into the palm grove by building a series of Moroccan-style caidal tents and various other private and luxurious areas where guests will be able to enjoy the coolness and tranquillity of the gardens. It is also interesting to see that at sunset, the outdoor lighting gives a certain magical feel to the place, which, it has to be said, can look rather austere by day, despite the dominant white of the buildings and the lush vegetation.

    Food and drink 6.70 /10

    In terms of the restaurant services available here, there really is nothing to write home about, which is unfortunately the case for the majority of the hotels in Tozeur. The restaurant serves a rather conventional buffet for both lunch and dinner, with a selection of European dishes and Tunisian specialities, enhanced by a little touch of originality in the form of local south Tunisian flavours and 'Berber secrets'. The wine list consists of a selection of local wines as well as safe bets, such as the Vieux Magon and a variety of foreign wines from France and Navarre. The breakfast buffet is also rather conventional and consists of a selection of pastries and various sweet and savoury dishes, though it's a shame there's no real orange juice in a country whe the fruit is so abundant! It is also worth noting that the restaurant opens very early for those setting off ?on excursions or having to catch an early return flight. Although the large dining room is bathed in light and overlooks the palm grove and the desert, the rather canteen-like appearance of the place, with the tables arranged too close together, is rather lamentable. However, this is true of the vast majority of dining rooms in Tozeur's hotels. Having said that, the hotel has a second, more elegant restaurant, with small, well-spaced tables and orientalist paintings on the walls, that serves a selection of more sophisticated dishes Ó la carte.

    To know

    You'll receive a traditional welcome at the reception, but with a simple phone call beforehand, the team will be happy to arrange an Ó la carte welcome according to your wishes. The same goes for those desiring to enjoy a special evening in the dessert. This is also an ideal hotel for seminars and incentives, but not to worry, the business travellers sections exist harmoniously with the hotel's holidaying tourist clientele. This is also where you'll find the most contemporary of Presidential Suites, equipped with the best technology and 'secret' direct access to the huge conference room. During low season, the hotel offers unbeatable rates (sometimes under 43 pounds a night for a double room) that are often on par with those charged by hotels of a far lower calibre!

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      beauty salon, spa, keep fit, hammam, sauna, massage, Turkish bath

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, golf, water-polo, sports, gym

    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • It also offers breathtaking views of the Tozeur palm grove, the golf course, Chott el Djerid, and the city itself.
    • The huge indoor pool with a view of the outside
    • All the comfortable facilities and services of a large, modern hotel
    • Close to the airport (just a 5 minute drive away)

    disadvantages

    • No room service
    • The walking distance to the city centre, some 2 mi away
    • The feeling of navigating a maze to get to your room or bungalow

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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