Visited 18th June 2013 to 25th June 2013 with friends.
Second time to Egypt, last time stayed in Sharm El Sheikh so thought we would try Hurghada this time.
Starting with reception, the staff were very helpful. There was an issue with our room as we had booked a two-bedroom pool suite for three people sharing. There were no rooms of this sort available and we were offered a one-bedroom suite with a pull out bed in the lounge. Considering the money we had spent and specifically for a two-bedroom suite, we refused this offer. The member of reception staff went away to see what he could do, he ended up offering us the executive pool suite as a free upgrade. We ended up calling this the vice presidents suite, as it was the best in the hotel, bar the new building under construction on the other side of the cove.
Moving onto the room, it seems to have been three standard rooms knocked through into one suite, entering into the lounge with a bedroom on each side, the bedrooms had a dressing room with safe in each as well as an en-suite bathroom for each. The bedrooms consisted of one super king size and the other a twin double bed. The bathrooms both had a bath, his and hers sinks, toilets and walk in showers, naturally there were towels and bathrobes for each. We had individual air conditioning for each room but the super king room had an issue with the air conditioning unit which leaked when we first occupied the room. I imagine this was because the room has not been used for a while and was soon sorted out when we phoned maintenance.
We had a further issue with the room when we came to shower on the first day as the water came out orange, when I say orange I mean very orange! I had the first shower so escaped this, as the water was clear to begin with, my friend who showered next ended up turning the towel orange when used to dry after their shower. Once again, maintenance was called and after much running of taps and another two further maintenance guys turning up they investigated the water tank and found a dead animal in it. This was somewhat off-putting to say the least but it was emptied and would were assured it would be cleaned the next day.
Our private pool was amazing; it was enclosed in its own garden and fenced off. The pool was cleaned daily, sometimes a couple of times we had a pool guy come and clean it. The garden was well looked after as well, grass was cut and flowerbeds tidied up regularly.
One point in regards to the room, it was the last room on the wing so it was a fair walk to and from the main building, approximately 10 minutes.
Food, to clarify I have guts of iron and I am willing to eat most things so food is not normally an issue and it was not this time in the main. The main rainbow buffet restaurant was ok, nothing to write home about but plenty of food and I never struggled to find something to eat. We used it for breakfast and some lunches if we did not use the beach bar for pizza, hotdogs or burgers. For dinner, we used it the first night and a couple of other night's the rest of the time we used the a la carte restaurants. The a la carte restaurants are spread over all three sister hotels, Mediterranean and Indian at Crystal Bay, Mexican and Asian at Mamalouk and Oriental and Italian at Garden Beach.
We used the Indian, Asian, Oriental and Mediterranean a la carte restaurants and the service was excellent in all as was the food bar the Oriental, which I will explain below:
The Oriental restaurant was open aired with no windows and very dark. We asked for a bottle of rose wine which we were told we could have only glasses of wine so we ordered three glasses and these tasted like some red wine and white wine mixed together, not very nice. A meze was brought to us with some bread to dip, when I was eating a wholemeal pita bread I tore it open and spread live flour mites all over the table, this was incredibly off putting as I had no idea how many I had eaten! Although it did provide my friends with much mirth for the rest of the holiday suggesting I avoid the wholemeal pita breads at every mealtime. The mains came out cold so at that point we got up and walked out, as there was nothing that could be corrected by complaining to the staff as none of us wanted to eat there after that episode. We ate at the buffet restaurant that evening.
Swimming pools, we used our private pool daily and we did venture into the man made cove a few times to swim in the sea but were put off by the jellyfish that arrived after a few days. Nothing that the hotel could do about that, plenty of other people swam in the sea with them but it was not for us. We used the main hotel pool a few times as well and had a day where we tested the other pools in the sister hotels, the Garden Beach was ok but not great and the Marmalouk had flumes which we shamelessly used as if we were a bunch of kids and enjoyed the pool there quite a bit. They were all clean and mainly well maintained so could not fault any of them.
The grounds were well maintained and gardeners were in abundance mowing the grass and looking after the plants although we noticed that when they watered the grounds the water did have an odd smell to it so unsure if using fertiliser or pesticides mixed in. Overall, the hotel was clean and tidy, our room was cleaned daily and we had new towels daily as we tipped the cleaner most days, which resulted in some towel art on the super king sized bed.
The staff were friendly, helpful and made an effort to make our stay as pleasant as possible, they should be commended as they work long hours dealing with us tourists and always managed a smile at whatever time of the day or night. The animation team left us alone as we were in our private garden mainly, which we appreciated. One of my friends tried out the cabana that we were allocated as we had a suite, she reported back that it was good but preferred our terrace and garden.
A negative point to the holiday was that one of my friends came down with a severe stomach bug on the Saturday, we were unsure as to the origin, he visited the on site doctor who diagnosed gastroenteritis which put a slight downer on the holiday towards the end of our week. The Thomas Cook rep Nabil was very helpful and even refunded the money for the day trip to Luxor that we booked on Sunday for our friend that was ill. So again a thank you to Nabil for his help in that matter.
As mentioned, we mainly booked this holiday as relaxing break from work, the idea being to sit by the pool with a book and chill out. The holiday met the requirements well on that front although being closer to Luxor than when I previously stayed at Sharm we all wanted to visit whilst we could. The day trip was long and when I say long I mean we were picked up at 5:45am and returned at 11:30pm-ish. The coach took about 4 hours to get to Luxor where we visited all the sites including the Valley of the Kings.
The location of the hotel was good, it was on a strip of hotels on the beach side of the road with shops on the other side of the road, I preferred these shops to the "mall" which is a cheap taxi ride away or you could walk it in about 10-15 minutes. The mall was fairly similar to a shopping centre anywhere in the world and so not as much fun as haggling with the locals in my opinion.
I think that overall I would not give this holiday maximum marks due to the restaurant issue and minor niggles with the room however I doubt other people would have the same issues so would recommend this hotel to friends and family.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the hospitality of Egypt. The 5 Star resort is located in a wonderful Garden Area and directly at the sandy beach with an own lagoon, which guarantee you a relaxing time. 20 km to Hurghada center and 15 km to the Hurghada International Airport provide you short distances during your vacation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sentido Crystal Bay Hotel Hurghada
- Sunrise Crystal Bay Hurghada