We are a Belgian family (2 kids, 15 and 12) that stayed in Tui Magic Life Penelope in Djerba the last 2 weeks of August in a family room (2 connected twin rooms). The previous years we have been to ML in Turkey (Belek Imperial, 2 times Waterworld, Jaccaranda) and in Rhodos (Plimmiri) and we were always very enthusiastic about ML and became real fans. Unfortunately ML Penelope is not good and we will never go back to Penelope. Penelope is an old club. You can see the rooms were renewed, but that must have been already more than 10 years ago and it is time to renew them again. The carpets in the room were dirty and full of sand, we immediately took them away. It was also the first time ever in a ML that so many things were broken or didn’t work properly: the sink was constipated (they fixed it later), the fridge did not cool (in the end we got a new fridge), the airco leaked (we mentioned that to the reception but nothing was done), the safe did not close (got fixed) etc. The beds were extremely hard: after 2 days we had pain in back and hips (the kids too!); after putting 3 feather blankets on the mattress, we could sleep a bit better. Apart from the rooms being old and damaged, the rooms were clean. The restaurant however was not clean: the tables and chairs were very sticky and were not cleaned at all! Unlike in other ML, the waiters did not clean the tables with water when new guest arrive at the table, even not at the end of each meal period! So I mentioned this to guest relation, but nothing was done. Then we mentioned this to the restaurant manager and then only our table and some tables around us were cleaned when they saw us coming. Unlike in other ML, the food choice was very poor in Penelope: is was always the same choice and the same taste. The pasta bolognaise sauce was too spicy, the soup had no taste at all, the French fries were awful. Only the deserts were excellent. Moreover, the drinks were not cold. It was very hard to find a cold bottle of water or a cold bottle of coke/Fanta…; the red wine was too warm as well. The restaurant had only one fridge that didn’t cool enough and it was most of the time empty anyway. Only at the activity pool bar you could get a cold bottle of water, so we ended up taking one from there into the restaurant. In Penelope you can only get a big bottle of water, not small ones as in other ML. One of the things that bothered us the most was that the blue beach towels you receive, were way too small: they only cover half of the sunbeds! So we asked reception if we could get extra ones and we were willing to pay extra for this, but they said that this was not possible as there were not enough towels. However, in the towel exchange house we always saw enough available towels. The sunbeds are covered with a yellow plastic mattress: again, these sunbeds and mattresses were NEVER cleaned (in the other ML they were regularly sprayed with water). You can not believe how sticky (of sun cream, spilled drinks) and dirty (full of spots) the mattresses were. Also, as they were of plastic, they get extremely hot in the sun, so you really needed to have them covered by a towel to be able to sit on them. So we ended up taking the white bathroom towels with us to put on the sunbeds together with the blue ones. In all the other ML, we always got big beach towels covering the whole sunbed! So make sure you bring some towels of your own when going to Penelope!
When we arrived, it had rained the day before so extremely hard that the hotel was completely flooded: other guests told us that the water was everywhere: in the corridors, in the rooms, one could not see the difference anymore between the swimming pool and the terraces. The bus that took us to the hotel had to drive through high water to get to the hotel. The heavy rain is of course not Penelope’s fault, but apparently this was not an exception as we noticed later that at every outside door that gave access to the room corridors, shelves were foreseen to stop the water. You must know that the hotel corridors are with fixed carpet, so you can imagine the terrible smell that hang in the corridors as all fixed carpets were soaked. After 3 days, the hotel took finally the fixed carpet away….but after another few days, they put it back!? Okay, it was dry by then, but still so dirty! I suggest to the hotel to simply remove all fixed carpet - that would be better for allergy reasons as well! Because of the rain, the second week of our stay there came lot of mosquitos: the kids had over 20 bites each! We all had to stop playing tennis in the evening because of the mosquitos.
Guest relation was a disaster: the man itself was not suitable for guest relation: he never said a word to anybody, never smiled, avoided (eye) contact with everybody, he just stood e.g. in the restaurant without doing or saying anything. The woman was friendly but we hardly saw her. All other personnel was very friendly and did their best to help, to fix problems etc. Most of them were happy to be able to speak in French (2nd official language in Tunisia) to us.
One of the reasons we love ML for is the sport facilities. As in Penelope the aerobics place is on the roof and out of sight, we were only with 1-4 people in the lessons, which is not nice. The tennis and archery was okay, the water sports were also good and it was very nice that you never had to stay very long in the waiting line: the banana made each time 2 rounds which was fun, the water-ski was great, the catamaran sailing was good, but very little wind. The water sport people were all lovely, except for the chief (Mr. Oktay) who was not friendly at all. The beach was dirty due to lots of (rotting) seaweed, waste and… faeces of the many camels and horses that walk with tourists on their back along the sea side.
The entertainment team did their utmost best resulting in good shows and some nice activities, but as Penelope is a small club, there was less atmosphere as in the other clubs.
The public consists for a majority of German people, followed by a lot of Czech and Polish people; only a few Belgian, French or English people, only a few Russians as well 😊. Most families had very small kids.
One good thing about Djerba is that outside activities do not cost a lot. Therefore we booked in the hotel at a local stand a great quad trip (75 euro for 3 quads for 1,5 hour), a trilling jet ski trip (130 euro for 2 jet skis for 1,5 hour), a nice parachute flight above the sea (35 euro for 3 persons) and a trip to visit the famous synagogue and some other things (45 euro for 3 hours with a 4x4 + guide). The people at the stand were extremely friendly and the trips were unforgettable! It is a pity that the pictures the photographer of the hotel made during these trips cost so much (6 euro per photo which is much more than in Belgium!).
To summarize: it is clear why Penelope has only 4 stars and not 5 like most other ML clubs. We had to book through Tui.at as this ML club was not available with Tui.nl and now we understand why. We will never go back to this club, but remain fan of ML! Please note that we talked with a lot of other guests about all of the above mentioned issues and that they all said the same things. It is not so that we happen to be just extremely critical, on the contrary. We’re sorry, we are just telling the truth.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC