The hotel is pleasant, grounds well looked after, lots of pools to choose from and the rooms are more than adequate.
The animation team were great, and our daughter LOVED the kiddie disco every night. The animation team were also customer service reps, and regularly coming round to check on things and take feedback or help address any problems. I do cover some problems or issues we did have below – but in general they weren’t worth raising there and some were pretty obvious and shouldn’t need raising. But again – the animation team was one of the biggest positives of the hotel.
Food from the buffet area is ok, but it is also VERY hectic and getting a table at lunchtimes or breakfast can be a challenge. They also had the Mexican restaurant doing breakfast – but similar situation there and I’ve got more details on that down below if you want to know more. Each night (apart from the first) we ate in the ala carte restaurants – which is good as I think we’d have gone mad having the buffet and its challenges every day. At lunch times we generally went to T-Bones where they had some burgers + other bits and a pizza bar which was great.
So overall – we’d think about going back if we got a really good deal, but unfortunately I’ve a feeling Egypt doesn’t agree with my stomach and I was ill for most of the holiday. Thankfully only a couple of days where I was too ill to do anything, but not feeling well for 12 days wasn’t fun, and neither was the £100 spent on medication, then docs then more medication. But I won’t put that blame on the hotel as the rest of the family were fine. The hotel could easily take a small step up in a few areas that would significantly enhance the experience.
As others state there are Russians there and at times we wondered if there were any other nationalities. But I will point out we met a great couple at the family pool (outside block 35) who were sharing food/snacks and although their English was not good they really made an effort. They were really nice.
The airport is hell, but this is Egypt, unfortunately it can really ruin the start of your holiday if you get there and it’s busy!
Our first week was quiet, and was great because of it. The 2nd week was VERY busy and it really amplified the bad points of the hotel.
The onsite pharmacy is a complete rip off. When pointing this out on another site for the hotel. I had it repeatedly pointed out that there are other pharmacies you can go to, also the Senzo mall. Yes try going to those when you’re extremely il! The hotel really needs to sort out its onsite shops/services as this wasn’t acceptable.
Now I’m not sure right now what star rating the hotel is, for us . . we’d probably rate it at 3 star, but not the 4-5 star it can be sold as. With some minor changes this could easily become a 4 star – and give you that good comfy feeling you’d expect with a hotel at that true rating. At time we DID see that level of service and quality – but it was far from consistent. Again this is from my perspective, we’ve stayed at true 5 star hotels and also at 2 star hotels in the past. So you generally do get what you pay for. . but again. . some small changes would make this a much more pleasant stay and give it the 4 star feel.
Ok take a seat and have a read. . some of my comments can seem a bit nitpicky. But the reason for this is that the hotel is SO close to being really good, and it was just some more minor things or consistency that bring it down. Again – not so much as something that will ruin the holiday (mostly) but if they were fixed would make a massive difference overall. My summary is clear we had a nice time, it was pleasant.
That said,reading some of the recent reviews, I’m glad we didn’t experience some of those things or the review would probably be a lot worse!
The rooms overall were fine, we had a family room which had 2 single beds and large super king bed. Thankfully we also had a sofa bed in the “main bedroom” – we’d gone with our 3 year old daughter and the main door opened straight into the single bed part of the room and we didn’t feel comfortable having her there alone. So bear that in mind if you’re going with younger children. All we did was open up the sofa bed in the main room and have her sleeping on there with us.
As people have mentioned the rooms are fine, plenty of storage space and kept clean. They do look a bit dated (especially in the bathrooms) and the TV’s are quite old. But again nothing that would ruin your holiday. We were on the 3rd floor, so didn’t get any noise from “above” but we did have people on the one side who were pulling chairs across the floor from about 6:30am every morning during the second week that drove us round the bend. If it had been from day 1 we would have complained. But decided just to put up with it, unfortunately it’s a common problem in any hotel with a tiled floor + furniture.
Our room had a small safe, very easy to use and was nice to have somewhere to put passports/money etc.
There is a fridge in the rooms – but to be honest it wasn’t great and slightly cooled bottles of water rather than making them cold. So better than nothing – but a bit of a shame. It was also stocked with some soft drinks (as part of the all-inclusive) but this is only replaced once a week so when its gone you have to wait for it to be refilled the next week. We did mention this to the reps who said they’d get it restocked for us, unfortunately that never happened. Again – we’ve experienced this in other hotels before. So not a holiday breaking problem and common.
In my view – a little bit of updating, getting rid of the old TV’s and putting in some cheap LCD’s, tidying up the bathrooms (big chunks of sealant around showers etc. looks unsightly) and re grouting where needed would help. The beds were very hard, which some people would like, for us – we prefer softer beds. The patio sliding door on to the balcony was a nightmare to lock shut, but at least we could.
Well – this is the interesting part. The hotel has a number of ala carte restaurants that can be booked each night and is included as part of the all-inclusive. These range from Asian to Steak and Italian etc. We tried all of these except the fish one as we’re not fish lovers. The restaurant also has a large buffet restaurant for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Separately to this throughout the day there are also two other areas to get some food (pizza’s, burgers, chips etc.) so you’re not at a loss on what you can eat or where.
The buffet restaurant food quality was fine, we’ve had better and we’ve had worse. It will be very much to what your own tastes and expectations are. There is a very large choice of foods & salads. Breakfasts include an omlette/egg station and at lunchtimes they also have a pasta station to choose from. However – be prepared . . . our first week the hotel seemed quite quiet, we didn’t have any real issues getting a table after a short walk around. But in the 2nd week they stopped people going in and you’re then queueing for a table. Unfortunately not everyone seemed to care about a queue which mean others pushing in and grabbing tables while you’re still waiting. Once in with a table, you’ve got the normal situation you get in most hotels of the food rush, queuing and being polite is just an English trait it seems. Some of the Russians were just downright rude and pushing you out of the way to get what they want! We generally avoided the main restaurant in the end and used the Mexican for breakfast and lunchtimes at the Pizza bar/Burger bar.
There is room for improvement here as well, it seemed there were not enough “runners” clearing tables and re-laying them. You’d normally have to call one over to clear a table and then it wasn’t laid with clean cutlery and you had to go and request that. At breakfast times you’d finally get a table, that was empty – but again trying to get someone to give you cutlery was a challenge! You’d also got them pushing the trolleys clearing the tables, and just throwing the knives/forks etc. into the container on the trolley so the noise from that was just continual. Again – simple things to fix that would make the whole dining experience in the buffet restaurants a pleasurable experience rather than what ended up as a noisy school dining hall with banging and clattering going on. To be fair on a couple of occasions one of the runners saw us looking and helped find a table + arranged to get it cleared. But this wasn’t standard.
For lunchtimes we ended up using the Pizza bar at T-bones or near the pergola bar. Pizzas were great, staff helpful and friendly. They also had a selection of other food (ie chicken or beef burgers, rice, salad etc.). We used T-Bones mostly for lunch once we’d found out it was there, and again can’t really fault it. But – one word of caution for any strict vegetarians out there, I had the soup nearly every day and apart from one day it was nice. But the vegetarian soup did have some tiny bits of chicken in at times. I’m not convinced it was deliberate – but just a warning. Personally I loved the soup. In general – good service, good food and nice environment to eat. During the second week, it did get VERY busy and you’d be queuing for Pizza’s.
The Ala carte restaurants are a great idea, you book them up to 3 days in advance via some touchscreens to the right of the main reception. We tried all but the fish one – and it was a bit mixed. To be honest if you’ve been to a true ala carte restaurant, then these are more themed restaurants. But to be fair the food was very good overall. Some better than others. The service you received in these restaurants was what you’d expect/want – including great service on the drinks with a constant top up of wines/beer or refresh of your cocktails. Personally we favored the T-Bones, Asian and Italian restaurants and ate in those multiple times during our stay. I’m not sure if the restaurants are all linked/supported via the hotel or managed individually. The service in each was quite different with the Asian being great and some of the others just on the ok side, also the kids meals were not the same (same menu but the actual food served was different) ie spag bol in one was beef mince, another restaurant was chicken! They have two separate sittings in these restaurants, including the earlier 18:30 one if you’ve children. Just make sure you book them up each morning (unless you’re up at 00:00 when it allows booking for the next day). They did start to fill up in the 2nd week, but we didn’t really struggle to get booked where we wanted or were happy to eat.
For us, some changes would really make some big differences. The children’s menus and actual food being the same in each would help. That said our 3 yr old was more a fan of the full menu than the kids menu. Service with a SMILE! The buffet was a challenging experience either way. But some of the people working there just looked and acted completely miserable. This was in the main and the Mexican. But the biggest change we wanted to see was tables being cleared quickly (and quietly!) and being re-laid ready for someone to sit at. In general it was rare we sat a laid table and either got our own bits or tried to get some attention to get it done. This sort of service changes the overall view and makes you feel special in a good hotel rather than what you’d expect in a 3 star.
Lastly the fruit juices, our daughter LOVED the apple juice. The orange juice was varied (sometimes VERY watery and not drinkable) other times, just sweet. I’ve a feeling it’s made from concentrate + adding water to it rather than cartons of it as sometimes it was drinkable other days not.
So overall for the food, it was mixed, some excellent and some not so great. The service again – some excellent and some quite poor. A common trend was consistency with the food quality and service when comparing with other areas of the hotel (more to follow if you’re still reading and with me!).
I will say that the food & service in T-Bones was excellent throughout the holiday. Including our last night where they squeezed in another family to join us that we’d made friends with even though they were booked up. Oh and the fact they doubled up our steaks as I’d asked for a large one :).
The more important side of things! 🙂 The local beer, wine and spirits were great – I was very surprised as the flavour/quality. I drink Gin at home and I’m quite fussy to my gin + tonic water and was really surprised when I had one there. It was very pleasant and good flavour. I also drink wine (red/white/rose), the white was towards a Sav Blanc and when chilled was VERY drinkable. The red was nice to drink as well – especially and surprisingly refreshing when served from the freezer which the bar at the slides did at times. The rose was something I started drinking towards the end of the holiday – again, cannot fault this. To find an all-inclusive with 3 very drinkable wines is rare and good! Some of the cocktails were pleasant to drink – my wife particularly liking the Havana cocktail.
The service in some bars was excellent, particularly the bar to the left when you go into the reception area. I think it’s classed as the cocktail bar. The service we got there was brilliant (and resulted in a few nice tips to the guy as well . . whose name escapes me). He has a lazy eye – so apologies on not remembering his name! But worth a pat on the back. He was polite, smiling and the service was 110% from him. Always ready to get you another drink, great with our daughter. If this service was replicated across the whole hotel – it would make a massive difference. Other bars – you felt you were inconveniencing them by asking for a drink as they were on the phone or watching something on the phone. Or others with no smile who threw the drink together then slammed it down in front of you and just looked plain miserable. My wife actually complained one night after a few cocktails when asked by one of the reps, because smiles are free and good service and manners are free. So no reason they shouldn’t be doing it. I can understand they work hard, are busy at times and have some unpleasant people to put up with. But unfortunately they are the people you interact with and will make a holiday special. Again the bar at the pool with the slides had good service and smiling and happy to serve in general. One example where things could be improved would be the pool bar outside of block 35. It was VERY quiet in the first week there, but rather than perhaps taking service a little further with a walk around parts of the pool to offer people a drink, or collect empties – they’d just stay in the bar. Usually on the phone or watching something on it. Personally if it was me working it I’d have “worked it”. Great way to have got some nice tips etc. Again – during one of the breaks the guy from the cocktail bar covered for a couple of hours and my – what a difference it made. Happy to serve you, watching if you needed another drink and being friendly. That said – it wasn’t that it wasn’t bad service in some bars, but a small change would make a BIG difference in the overall feeling. You want to feel special on holiday, be served and have someone happy to serve you. I did tip at first to encourage the better service, which slightly helped – but then I decided I’d tip FOR good service not to receive it.
Lastly, the glasses (or plastic cups). In some of the pool bars you’d get a nice solid plastic cup that held a reasonable (normal) sized drink. In others you’d get these very flimsy plastic glasses that would blow away in a small bit of wind (even worse when it’s half full and gets blown over you). If you took one of the bigger glasses to bars when they only had the small glasses they’d happily serve you in that (and rinse between drinks). But I couldn’t understand why all bars didn’t have the bigger plastic glasses (for adults at least).
So again – consistency and some small improvements (free I’d expect) would completely change your experience. But as above – perfectly fine, but just missing that extra bit to make it special all of the time.
Well, there are plenty of pools around to choose from, some great slides to play on and overall really nice. We tried all but the VIP pool – our pool of choice was mostly the pool outside block 35 (‘ll refer to this as the family pool). In fact if the bar had been as good as the bar where the slides were we’d probably have not moved from there apart from a visit for a play on the slides. It was deep, a nice swim up bar and clean. At this point – let me mention the towel points, in the first week the guy doing towels at the family pool was excellent. It was nice to see the efforts he made with our daughter, always happy to help and with a smile. Again – it cost nothing but DID make a difference. One day we came down, he saw us and got 3 towels out ready and put them on the loungers we’d been regularly using. It made us feel good and special.
Some people have commented that the pools were cold, in our first week the pools were about 25-26C and a little nippy but fine once in. However, by the 2nd week the temperature had dropped to 22C in most pools. Yes it’s nice to cool down, but it was too cold and generated a lot of people complaining. It was to the point our daughter after 20 mins would have blue lips and shivering away. I saw this with others as well. I mentioned in my summary about some things that shouldn’t need to be complained about – I’d expect this to be one of them. I’m sure that the people that run the hotel know at what temperature a pool becomes uncomfortable and should really be planning to have the heating running to avoid it getting too cold. Again for us – it wasn’t a game breaker, but I think it’s fair to say that in the first week we spent a lot of time in the pool but the second week much much less. The sea by comparison was warm.
The new slides are great, some minor work still ongoing, but fun all the same. I did find that some slides were a little rough so I ended up with some grazes on my back. But I think that was resolved while there either through use or tidying up the sealant. My daughter loved them as well (key reason we went to this resort). Only being 3 – she’s young for that sort of thing, but all the same she loved it!
Pools were mostly clean, the main pool by the pool bar we went to once was probably the least clean with bits floating in it etc. But this was in the second week so we didn’t go in much anyway as it was a bit too cold.
Again – overall it was fine, nothing stand out, just . . fine. But the heating of them should be evaluated BEFORE they get really cold. There was some “reservation” of loungers ongoing, but nothing that really impacted getting somewhere to sit in most cases.
Shops & Pharmacy
Well â€“ where to start here. The resort has a few shops, and you’ll need to haggle for ANYTHING you buy. There is a great little sand art shop, the guy was great with our daughter and gave her a couple of bracelets (thin plastic ones) for free. We ended up getting some sand art and bracelet to take back. . we didn’t haggle and to be honest, it was our fault we got totally ripped off. It was when we got to the airport we saw the same sand art for £5 rather than the £20 we ended up paying. Not the resorts fault â€“ but lesson for all. No matter how friendly and nice they are â€“ they will fleece you for all they can get ïŠ. We did have some help from the animation team for a couple of other gifts we got and got pretty good prices. But again â€“ these only matched the prices at the airport BEFORE you’d haggle.
The pharmacy well . . .I was disgusted with this place. I went in to get some antinal (recommended to grab so if you get upset stomach) this normally fixes it). I wasn’t well with very bad Diarrhoea, and rather than give me those, which he said wouldn’t work. . gave me 3 lots of other tablets that cost me £25! At the time I just wanted to get well. They did nothing, and I ended up going to the doctors on site who was excellent. He then prescribed 3 lots of meds (unfortunately they didn’t work either) and I mentioned how much should they cost. He called the pharmacy and said not to over charge, however I then had the joy of the pharmacy taking out some of the tablets to reduce costs and then charging me over £50 saying it should have been nearer £70!!! But as ill as I was. . I had no real choice. But this put a BIG downer on the holiday. The response from the pharmacy was â€œthe rent is very high hereâ€ hence his prices. But the hotel should address this. IF you are well enough then go to the senzo mall. A pack of antinal there is about £1 !!!! Rather than the silly prices in the on site pharmacy.
So overall, it was a pleasant place to go, some good bits, some bad bits. Unfortunately, as said , the 2nd week was much busier which made the negative points stand out even more.
So much potential to be better, much better in ways. But go with your eyes open and what to expect and you should have a pleasant stay.
Happy to answer any questions if people have any.