Opening times: Mon-Fri, 9am - 5:30pm
02/10/2015 | Bowls
Published in Bowls International, May 2008
Jonathan Plumridge of Personal Touch Holidays writes home from its new resort base of Port El Kantaoui.
Greetings from sunny Port El Kantaoui and the delightful Riu Bellevue Park Hotel, where Personal Touch Holidays has just completed its Spring bowls holiday season.
What a wonderful time we’ve all had! The brand new eight rink bowls surface has bowled extremely well and several highly enjoyable matches and competitions have been played.
Apart from the sheer luxury of boarding on a fully inclusive basis, with exotic items such as a selection of cocktails also included, several aspects of the hotel’s service have stood out.
Firstly, and above all, the friendliness. Smiles seem to greet you throughout the day, from your first cheerful contact with your maid in the morning to the last time you order a drink from your attentive waiter before bed.
Secondly, the variety of food on offer is extremely impressive. Both European and Tunisian specialities are served in the restaurant, meats and fishes are grilled fresh, a pasta station will prepare a choice of pastas to your precise specification, cakes and breads are fresh-baked, and colourful salads and fruits are adorned with adeptly carved fruits and vegetables.
Thirdly, the efficiency of the bar staff has been remarkable. Given the facts that all beverages are included, that a full range of popular alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is on offer, and that they are supplemented by an attractive range of cocktails, it is absolutely awe-inspiring how the senior bar staff manage to keep up with the demand.
Also well worthy of a mention with regard to service is the wonderfully well-priced spa, where treatments are available at a fraction of their UK cost and where many PT travellers spent much of their time.
Weatherwise, there has been a little rain and the occasional overcast day, but by and large it has been sun, sun, sun; with bowls co-ordinator Rae Knights currently very difficult to pick out against a dark background, having spent two weeks outdoors organising matches.
In addition to outdoor bowling we have also recently concluded a very successful short mat event here, in the hotel’s wooden-floored Carthage Ballroom, ably overseen by Hampshire Short Mat Bowls Association event organiser Alan Sparling.
And then there’s Tunisia itself, which most people have thoroughly enjoyed, purchasing on average two or three of our optional excursions in addition to spending time exploring Port El Kantaoui’s Western Mediterranean style marina on their own.
The most popular trip amongst those that took it was undoubtedly the trip to the Sahara and the mountain Oases, where camel treks and carriages were taken into the desert fringes at sunset. Also unforgettable for many were the wondrous Roman mosaics displayed in the Bardo Museum in Tunis, which houses the very finest selection of Roman mosaics in the world. Very welcome on warmer days were the sea breezes enjoyed during our catamaran trips, and the Souks of nearby Sousse and Monastir provided fascinating insights as to the day to day lives of native Tunisians.
The local ‘best buy’ by popular consent has proven to be leather jackets and coats, which can be tailor made in 24 hours for less than £100.
Traditional Tunisian experiences I would recommend would be the Tunisian food on the hotel buffet, a glass or two of local mint tea and a couple of puffs on an apple flavoured ‘hubble bubble’ (one can be shared for less than £1 a person). Personal Touch will be returning to Tunisia and the Hotel Riu Bellevue Park both this coming November and next Spring, and it would be a great pleasure to share everything they have to offer with you.
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