Homer’s Odyssey recounts how, after nine days on the sea, on the tenth day Ulysses and his seamen reached the land of Lotus Eaters. This land is now known as the island of Djerba in Tunisia.
According to the legend, the lotus was so delicious that those who ate it did not want to return home. True to the legend, Radisson Blu Ulysse Resort & Thalasso provides the level of comfort and service that you too, may find it difficult to leave.
Located on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, Ulysse Resort was constructed in 1963 and completely renovated in 2010. Originally one of the four 5* hotels built by the Tunisian government in an effort to develop luxury tourism, the hotel hosted some famous (and infamous) names like the Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba, Libyan leader Mouammar Khaddafi, German chancellor Willy Brand, and the French actor Alain Delon.
High ceilings, marble floors, oriental rugs, and a distinctive North African colour scheme in the lobby area blend to give a calm and soothing feeling as you enter. Although there is the traditional reception desk, instead of queuing at the desk, you are welcomed into the lounge area to relax in a comfy sofa with a refreshing drink while the receptionist sits next to you and checks you in.
Tip: visit in the Spring (we were there in late March), when the prices are lower, the temperatures are around 20°-25°C and the hotel feels even more tranquil and relaxing without the summer crowds. The weather may be unpredictable with rain one day to glorious sunshine the next, but with an amazing spa and a range of onsite restaurants there’s plenty to do on a rainy day.
The hotel is ideal for couples wishing to spend some romantic time strolling along the sandy beach or relaxing in the spa, but it will equally make for a great family destination, with connecting rooms, a range of sport activities and a children’s club.
There are 238 bedrooms and 21 suites, with a contemporary design combined with pastel Moorish colours that add a dash of Djerban flavour. All rooms have a private balcony or a terrace, with either a sea view or overlooking the garden.
Rooms are spacious, with comfortable beds, a selection of pillows and air-conditioning. A nice touch is the welcome fruit basket and the selection of Tunisian cakes and mint tea that await you in the room.
Food & Drink
Radisson Blu Ulysse features three restaurants serving local and international cuisine.
The main restaurant, Kalypso, is where a buffet-style breakfast is served. There’s an impressive selection of fresh pastry, fruit, yogurts, different breads, cheeses and salami, and freshly cooked pancakes and omelettes.
Offering amazing sea views, Neptune restaurant serves fresh fish as well as local meze and every day is different. One day it could be the “Chef Special” and on another a buffet-style lunch includes a combination of Tunisian and European dishes.
El Malouf is a fine-dining Tunisian restaurant, decorated in oriental style and serving local delicacies.
There are also four bars each with their own vibe including one by the beach, Maurish shisha bar, or night-club-style lounge bar.
The hotel has a huge 3,500m² (37,670ft²) thalasso & spa, with 69 treatment cabins offering a wide range of massage and beauty treatments. There are two seawater pools, one of which is part indoors and part outdoor and is equipped with hydromassage jets. The spa also includes a jacuzzi, sauna and hamam.
There is also an indoor and an outdoor pool and a private beach.
There’s plenty of sports on offer two with four tennis courts, a fitness room, a range of watersports such as kite and windsurf or sailing catamarans.
Is there WiFi?
Yes, free WiFi is available throughout the hotel although connection is intermittent.
Rooms start from 226 TND (£65/€75/$87).
Radisson Blu Ulysse is situated on the North East side of the island, overlooking the El Hachen beach and the Mediterranean sea.
Ten minutes drive West gets you to Houmt Souk, the main town on Djerba. Houmt Souk meaning “the market town”, this is where you can test your haggling skills at the traditional souk (market). Just a few minutes drive in the opposite direction, you can learn or practice golf at the nearby Djerba Golf Club.
Other notable attractions on the island include the Guellala Museum, depicting scenes from the local culture, including the traditional Djerban wedding, and the Djerbahood, a street art event established in 2014 where local artists were given 4500 painting sprays to create 250 mural paintings.
How to get there
Djerba International Airport is less than 30 minutes by taxi from the hotel.