I am writing this review with mixed feelings. The Alf Leila is a beautiful hotel and the hospitality of the management and staff is amazing. What is lacking for this hotel to become a very good one is the small things, the touches that make the difference. I call it professionalism. To stay in the Alf Leila sometimes reminded me more of visiting a friend (you know where the coffee is-thing), rather than staying in a hotel.
Some examples: the coffee and tea-service is free for the guests, but the tray in my room was never filled during my nine nights stay. Normally, I expect that what is taken is replaced the next day, but nothing happend. Furthermore, no change of sheets in nine nights. No cleaning in fridays without someone telling me. No cleaning the day I happend to need my room for the exact ten minutes when it was time for it to be cleaned. I walked to the beach and expected the room to be done when I got back. It was not.
The design of the hotel is very relaxing and things are reasonably clean. In the website it is stated: 'All [room] have access to a private balcony or the beautiful courtyard'. My room (Mint) was pretty small (esp. for a nine nights stay) and did not have a private balcony or any outdoor privacy at all. As a woman travelling alone, I sometimes felt the need for somewhere to sit outdoors, in my swiming suit or having a beer. I did not feel comfortable doing these things in the (amazing) public area of the hotel, mainly out of respect for culture. Other guests who share these 'needs' with me, make sure that you will have a balcony room.
As for the breakfast, the continental is quite ok (god bread!). But the staff are willing to offer you an Egyptian breakfast (no extra charge, they would not let me!) and now we are talking! Lots of salads, falaffel, fresh Egyptian bread in the Arabic surroundings. Very nice indeed!
The AC, fridge, water and toilet worked very well. The Wifi is free and can sometimes be unpredictable, but it was never down for a whole day. There are face masks, snorkles and fins to borrow for free.
The next door bakery is ideal for picking up a sandwich for lunch or having real Italian coffee. Mabye a bit expensive, but very convinient. There is a bazar where you can by water etc just across the road. The traffic did not disturb me. The mosquitos are terrible. Bring your own net!
The Alf Leila has no pool. That's a misprint in the Lonely Planet.
The reason why I would not recommend this hotel is that I know that most of my friends would lack the privacy, which I lacked. It is not that I think the hotel is bad.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for the review. Since April 2011, Alf Leila has been under new management. We've looked through the comments on Trip Advisor and they've been really useful in deciding where we need to make changes. We've taken on board everything you have written - however, needless to say most of these things we had implemented before reading these comments!! Of course it is very important that coffee/tea is refilled daily. We also clean the rooms daily, refill the minibar and change the sheets every 2/3 days or at the customer's request.
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You are right indeed that Mint has no private balcony and that the hotel doesn't have an area for private sunbathing. You are right that culturally it is not quite right to do so in the public areas of the hotel but please do ask us for local info & the best places to relax in the town. There are busy places and quieter places --- and places very close where you can relax with a beer by the sea.
The Lonely Planet is not wrong in saying that we have a pool -- we have a dip pool in the courtyard. However it seems that previous managers of Alf Leila did not have it functioning as such.
Hopefully one day you might decide to come back and see how we, the new managers, are doing.
Kind regards & happy travels.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.