During my recent stint in Northern Africa, I had a short two-night stay at the Tunis Marriott Hotel in Tunisia’s capital city.
This hotel is a brand-new addition to the Marriott portfolio, having opened just recently in April 2022, and I was looking forward to checking out this new property in what would also be my first trip to Tunisia and the Maghreb region as a whole.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Booking
It’s relatively cheap to book on points here at the Tunis Marriott Hotel. You can expect to pay between 12,000–14,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a one-night stay.
In my case, I was able to book this property for just 12,500 Bonvoy points per night, even during the summer peak season. On the other hand, cash rates during my stay hovered around 550 Tunisian dinars ($225 CAD) per night.
Thus, I was definitely quite pleased with this award redemption, as it was an excellent value for my Bonvoy points against the ongoing cash rates.
We currently value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point, and I was getting around 1.8cpp – twice our target value – here at the Marriott Tunis.
If you’re a Marriott loyalist, the other option in town is the Sheraton Tunis. I picked the Marriott simply because it was newer and looked nicer from the pictures.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Location
Located in the North Urban Centre neighbourhood of the Tunisian capital, the Tunis Marriott Hotel is situated in a relatively new part of town that’s geared towards business and commerce.
It’s quite a distance from the main tourist sights and sounds of Tunis, and you’ll most likely have to take a taxi to go anywhere. The Bolt app is popular for ordering taxis in Tunisia, and we used it quite frequently to get around.
When it comes to must-see destinations, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, the economic heart of Tunis, is a 10-minute journey by vehicle. On this arterial avenue, you’ll find everything from beautiful architecture to international shops and restaurants.
Habib Bourguiba also leads to the Tunis Medina, where you’ll find 700+ historic monuments dating back to the Middle Ages. Travelling from the hotel by car or taxi will bring you to the Medina in about 20 minutes.
The ruins of Carthage are found on the eastern outskirts of Tunis, about a 25-minute taxi ride from the Tunis Marriott Hotel – 30 minutes or more with traffic.
This picturesque seaside town of Sidi Bou Said is also next to Carthage, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Although the city’s main points of interest aren’t a hop and a skip away, I’d say that the hotel is still a sufficient home base for exploring the city, as most key attractions can be reached in under 30 minutes with a taxi ride.
At the very least, the hotel is close by to the country’s main airport: Tunis-Carthage International Airport (TUN) is only eight minutes away by taxi or shuttle.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Check-in
The exterior of the new Marriott property boasts an ultra-modern appearance, using various layers and line movements throughout the sand-coloured façade.
The elegant appearances continues upon entering the lobby. The sleek wooden check-in desks contrasted with the marble flooring for a classy appearance, while a more contemporary look emanated from the light fixtures and the floors.
There’s a security checkpoint before entering the hotel. Then, as you enter, you’ll find the check-in and concierge desks on the right- and left-hand sides.
I quickly took note of the professionalism of the hotel staff, who were noticeably well-trained in their etiquette. This set a precedent for what I later discovered to be a level of hospitality here at the Tunis Marriott Hotel well above what you’ll find throughout rest of the country.
Initially, I wasn’t offered an upgrade to the base-level room at all; however, upon arrival, I decided to do some “suite-talking” and asked if a Junior Suite might be available.
The staff agreed to check, and to my delight, they eventually found me one. For what it’s worth, the hotel didn’t seem very full to me during my stay, so I wasn’t sure how the suites could’ve otherwise been occupied.
I was then walked through my benefits as a Marriott Titanium Elite member.
As a freshly built hotel, the Executive Lounge hasn’t actually opened yet. It typically resides on the ninth floor, but unfortunately, it wasn’t ready at the time of my stay.
Platinum Elite members and above are entitled to complimentary breakfast, and, on account of the unavailable Executive Lounge, two daily meal vouchers of 60 Tunisian dinars per guest per day were provided as well.
The vouchers were redeemable at the lobby restaurant, which was a nice little bonus. Furthermore, the minibar in the room was entirely complimentary during the hotel’s post-opening period, which was another small but welcome perk.
The hotel lobby is quite a versatile space, with a bar, a restaurant, and working spaces. There is a mix of comfortable plush couches, as well as ample lounge and dining chairs dotted around.
Near the bar is an eight-person table with outlets in the centre, ideal for those looking to do some work. This small lobby bar and restaurant is where you can redeem the daily meal vouchers.
After a smooth and quick check-in, I headed up to the third floor to Room 312.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Junior Suite
The Junior Suite kept with the modern appearance of the hotel’s interior and the sandy beige tones of its facade. However, it was pretty small compared to what I might’ve expected with a suite.
Entering the room, there is a king bed in the centre flanked by two side tables. Above the side table, charging outlets and USB ports were positioned on the wall.
Two large, modern lights hung over the bedside tables. A flat-screen TV is mounted on the opposite wall, with a shelf and a small ottoman below it.
To the left of the bed, the wall concaves to create a nook with some pillows.
By the windows are a chaise longue, armchair, and coffee table. On the coffee table, the staff had left two thoughtful handwritten notes, one of which let me know a welcome smoothie was waiting at the minibar.
The minibar is positioned at the entrance, with a Lavazza Blue espresso machine for coffee and tea and a couple of snacks. Moreover, the fridge was stocked with a few soft drinks, water, and, of course, the smoothie.
The hotel’s bathroom looks perfectly fine at first glance, with its marble walls and floors, a soaker tub, and a rain shower. However, upon closer inspection, something was missing.
The shower, tub, and sink are all located within the primary bathroom, while the toilet itself resides in the half bathroom near the entrance!
I’m typically accustomed to hotel rooms that have either a full bathroom or “one and a half” bathrooms, including a half-bathroom or powder room near the entrance.
In this case, it wasn’t quite one and a half, but rather two half-bathrooms – one with a sink and bathing facilities and one with a sink and toilet – on two opposite ends of the suite.
Overall, it felt a bit generous to call this a Junior Suite. I would’ve loved to have more space and a more straightforward bathroom setup, especially at a Marriott-branded hotel that’s meant to be a flagship property within the city and the country.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Breakfast
Breakfast was served in the hotel’s main restaurant, L’Urbain, as opposed to the Executive Lounge, which is still in its finishing stages.
Once complete, breakfast will be provided in the lounge as well, which is where elite members will presumably be welcomed.
The spread was a fairly plain affair for a Marriott-branded hotel. Food was provided buffet-style with a mix of hot items available, such as pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon.
A selection of some traditional items was also available, including Tunisian masfouf. Furthermore, there were also a series of dried fruits, granola, and cereals, as well as the usual fruit, pastries, bread, and cold charcuterie.
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On the first morning, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with some friends who were also staying at the hotel.
On the second morning, however, we had overslept beyond the breakfast hour, so we redeemed our food vouchers at the lobby lounge instead, where we enjoyed some pastries, fruits, and eggs (including shakshouka) off the à la carte menu.
While these weren’t necessarily the most elaborate breakfasts I’ve enjoyed at a Marriott chain hotel, they were certainly enough to satiate us until lunchtime on both days.
To comment briefly on the service at the hotel, I wouldn’t say that service was exactly polished, but the staff had certainly undergone very strict training in how they performed their roles.
From the way the front-of-house staff addressed guests – I was consistently greeted as “Mr. Zhang” whenever I walked past the lobby – to the way that the waiting staff meticulously placed down cutlery and arranged tables, the hotel staff evidently took pride in their jobs working at one of the city’s newest and best hotels.
On the whole, I was very impressed with the level of service, especially when considering that the hotel is still in the learning phases. As we’d later discover when travelling around the country, it was a clear cut above the usual level of service you’d expect here in North Africa.
Tunis Marriott Hotel – Other Facilities
As you enter the main lobby, you’ll pass by a small shop with various clothing items and jewellery available for purchase.
There are two other dining options within the hotel. L’Urbain, where breakfast is served, is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers an à la carte menu of international cuisine.
L’Onzième Grill & Bar is situated on the 11th floor. Here, the restaurant offers grill-style selections throughout the day.
In the evening, tapas and shared plates are served on the rooftop terrace, alongside cocktails and other innovative drinks.
I went up for snacks and drinks on a few occasions and enjoyed myself. The outdoor space offers wide views of the bustling city below.
You’ll also find the hotel’s swimming pool on the terrace.
The pool isn’t too large, but has enough space that it would be an enjoyable spot to take a dip and relax. There are a few lounge chairs and dining chairs dotted around.
In the evening, the pool area fills up with locals coming in to dine at the L’Onzième Bar and enjoy the atmosphere. The pool certainly adds to the evening ambience while having a drink.
Lastly, the fitness centre is located on the 10th floor. The gym is modest in size, and the equipment isn’t overly extensive.
There are treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, a cable machine, and some free weights.
The Tunis Marriott Hotel is a classy new addition to the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio.
Although the Junior Suite was smaller than anticipated, the friendly staff and outstanding level of service are the crown jewels of this property.
With easy airport access and most points of interest located within a 30-minute taxi ride, the Marriott is a great spot for first-time tourists in Tunis. Furthermore, for just 12,500 Bonvoy points per night, it can be a high-value use of your points, too.
I’m not sure if I’ll return to Tunis in the near future, but on the off-chance that I do, I’ll be looking to return to the Marriott Tunis to stay again and check out the Executive Lounge when it’s open.
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