Hi Guys (again!)
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I highly recommend that you read this to the end. It's quick and straight forward and trust me, you'll save over £200 ($300+US) per person whilst you're out in Hurghada.
I'll break this down into bite-size chunks to make it easy to follow and put *SAVE* where you can save some instant cash.
1) Airport *SAVE*
2) Hotel *SAVE*
3) Evening Meals *SAVE*
4) Taxis *SAVE*
5) Excursions & what to do **MASSIVE SAVINGS* ***BEST PART OF REVIEW :) ***
1) Airport…we flew from Manchester to Hurghada via travelzoo. 7 nights cost £280 per person. As soon as you get to the airport you will need to get a 'tourism visa'. These cost $15 USD.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND DON'T GET TRICKED. As soon as you enter the airport ...and I mean your first 2 or three steps into the building...you will see approx 100 local airport workers trying to hurry you along. They will try to guide you along to some make-shift stalls selling visas for £16 UK pounds = $25 USD.
They can be very convincing as they flash your booking-agent signs and logos around on cards...such as Thompson holidays, Virgin Holidays, Lastminute.com...they hurry and point and urge you along and make you think they're part of your arrival team...whereas in fact they are nothing to do with anything at all other than making some easy doe out of us all.
So...what do you do and where do you go for your visa?....Take your first 1 or two steps into the airport...IGNORE all the noise and chaos, and simply look to your left. That’s all you do! Look to your left and you will see a rather crappy looking open-counter style bank counter stall which is the official place to get your visas for the right and official price. You can easily miss the place if you just walk into the airport and get swallowed by the waiting mob…..so please...all you do is take 2 steps in...look to your left and walk over to the open-style bank counter where you will find some official guys selling you Visas at the right price. Save yourself approx £10 per person...Easy :)
2) Hotel – The hotel is clearly a 5* hotel. It’s Huge and is cleaned all around the clock. It has chandeliers that are grand and spacious and the hotel has plenty of seating areas in reception (small lifts though). The hotel has a few front gardens, evening entertainment every night such as magicians, belly dancing, snake charmers etc, and the staff really can’t do enough to help you. All the way from the receptionist to the room cleaners they all are really wonderful.
Reception and check-in was quick and easy, the bell-boy took the bags to the room. They don’t expect cash but to give them 5-10 Egyptian pounds (£1) will make them the happiest guys in town…and they will do anything for you from that point on.
The rooms are fantastic. We had a grand 4-poster double bed. The TV was a bit crap as was the fridge, but we didn’t mind as we were there for the weather and beach. The room also had an electronic safe which was good, and all the wardrobes were huge and very spacious. We had a balcony that overlooked the pool and were very happy with the cleanliness. The room was cleaned daily as was the bathroom.
The Bathroom….hmmmmm…..probably a 3* experience….spacious-enough and cleaned daily, but, you could tell the bathroom had plenty years of usage. The sink was a bit dirty and faded, the tiles on the floor were a bit cracked and worn and the bathtub had a bit of staining and mould. The air extractor didn’t work too great either…this was probably the only down-side to our stay but don’t get me wrong, no where near bad enough to complain…easily do-able for myself and wife. The shower was a great power-shower and instantly hot and the mirror in the bathroom was huge. We had the usual sockets for shavers and also had a hair dryer for the ladies.
The hotel provides a beach towel and bag set which in the bedrooms, you obviously take these to the beach and bring back each time. The cleaning boys change the used towels for clean ones daily. Don’t leave them at the beach as otherwise you’ll pay around £10-£15 for replacements! Ouch…
*SAVE* Because it’s a hot country, you all need to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated or you could do yourself some damage. Seriously…it got as hot as 42C during the day.
The hotel sells water for around £1.50-£2.00 per bottle, and you’ll go through about 4 of them each day, which costs you around £5. If you leave the hotel and walk for 20 seconds straight out and across the tiny road, you will walk directly to a small bank, and to the right of it is a small shop. You can buy 4 large bottles of ice cold water for £1.20. Another quick saving and trust me, it all adds up for virtually no effort at all.
The pool is delightful…large enough, sparkling clean, warmish water and really really great fun. However, the sea is what I’m sure most people go for….again, the beach was amazing outside and I think the majority of tourists were German and Russians…most of the brits probably were in Sharm El Sheikh.
Served from 6:30 to 10:00am. Restaurant is huge, indoors and cool, or outdoors in the morning sun…take your pick. Fresh omelette, beef sausages (all meat is halal and has no blood content) steamed vegetables , hard boiled eggs, cheeses, salads, beans, roast potatoes, yoghurts, fruits, fruit juices, cakes, biscuits and pasteries…eat as much as you want.
Just be aware of flies that sometimes get into the breakfast area and sit on the fruits. Also, if the food from the previous day wasn’t finished in breakfast, they’ll serve it the following day …..other than that breakfast is great. Be aware though, they do start cleaning up the tables at 9:45 sometimes so get breakfast in good time.
Evening Meals – Don’t bother eating in the hotel – the food is much of a muchness, go out in a cab, see the place, enjoy yourself, eat out at a variety of places for half the price.
The hotel food was….average and very repetitive…some of it I’m sure from the breakfast leftovers… Jump in a taxi and eat out where the locals eat for 1/3 to ½ of the price. Jump in the taxi, pay 20 Egyptian pounds, get to the El-Dahar area and take your pick. El-Dahar is a busy suburb, loads and loads of shopping to be done, eating out and enjoying the real lifestyle of the Egyptian Arabs of the area. You could easily spend a day there looking and browsing. My wife and I ate out at a fish restaurant, had a big meal with drinks and it cost us about £6!!!
These boys sit in orange and black cabs outside the hotel whistling at you, shouting ‘Hey David’…. ’Hey Guy’ ….‘ Hey Man’ ….’You look like you need taxi!’…..all day and all night long lol.
It’s nothing bad nor aggressive nor rude….funny at first but then very boring later. They try to get you into a conversation so best thing is not to look at them unless you need them, otherwise you’ll spend unnecessary 5-10 mins apologising each time.
The thing to do is to agree your fare before you sit in the car…do not be daft and sit in and then ‘let’s go’ as otherwise you’ll end up paying for it…and doing it my way (the locals and normal way) will save you about £20 or so for the small quick local trips.
As an example…travelling to the local Arab precinct El-Dahar will cost you 20 Egyptian pounds, where as the drivers will want 50. Just hold your ground politely and don’t give in….remember, if they don’t agree, there are 5 million other drivers that will drive by every 20-30 seconds.
EXCURSIONS------- MASSIVE WHOPPING TABLE THUMPING SAVINGS!!!!
Right, you better get a pen and paper….
When you get to the hotel, you eat, relax, shower etc…then the next morning you are assigned a representative who will do a good job of telling you all good, the bad and ugly things to be aware of. E.g. keep up with the water and liquids…using sun-block cream (you will need sun-block), and obvious things like not taking lots of cash with you on short journeys etc. They will also introduce all the activities and things to do during your stay…with a tidy price tag!
Here is a sample list of activities that you can do via The Grand Resort
Quad-biking (called desert safari)
Trips to Cairo
Camel Riding and more
The reps make their living by selling these activities. However, they themselves buy the deals from agents located 5 minutes away from the hotel at half the price!!! Seriously, leave the hotel and visit the shops to the right of the hotel and you’ll see all the stalls and excursion shops before your eyes with different prices to those of the rep...cheeky hey!
We met a nice guy called Shazilli, about 30 yrs old (pronounced Shaz+eel+ee) who runs a business for activities and excursions…he simply said, ‘find me your best price and I’ll beat it’…which he did every time! He had two offices, one in Hurghada and one somewhere else I can’t remember.
We ended up doing the deep sea snorkelling (Lots of Oh My God moments because of the variety of fish you see, the cleanliness of the ocean and…because we had a free nice meal on the boat too!hehe), the trip to paradise island (Giftun Island AKA PARADISE Island, as the locals call it….squeaky clean and relaxing) Quad Biking (2 hours)and camel riding. We did a trip to Cairo, a different trip to Humaithra ( Humaithra has old mosques and is really really in the middle of the desert where real bedouins live)….it was amazing, absolutely amazing.
Put it this way, a visit to Cairo for a day-trip in a crappy taxi would cost approx £80-90 per person…we went with a bunch of us for about £90 all inclusive in an almost new air-conditioned mini-bus! Now that was a spectacular one off deal, I doubt he’ll give that price again but, you will always get the cheapest price with this guy. He spoke English well, I heard him speak German, not so sure about Russian though but you could always try hey….
You will get to do all the great things the locals do rather than just the ‘flog it expensive to the thick tourists’ nonsense. If you take anything away from this review it’s got to be saving yourself some serious cash with this guy. We will definitely go back and I’m in touch with the chap every few weeks to keep the relationship warm.
If you’re going to stay in the Grand Resort, you will have no problems like virtually all of the guests. The hotel pools is delightfully clean and spacious, and the views from the room are great….I think we had 1135…though I can’t remember now.
Overall our holiday was made even better because we met Shazilli who is generally an awesome lad. He did a great job of taking us around and getting us cheap prices which meant we spent more on gifts and bought back a few quid too. We tipped him £10 per day though he always was modest and said no a few times before giving in. We saved over £300 with all the excusrions because of Shazili. I HIGHLY recommend anyone that wants to do activities out there to use this chap. Like the rest of the Egyptians, he couldn't do enough for you and has a mobile on him 24/7.
Overall, I’d be happy to stay at the Grand Resort time after time, but moreso knowing that I can get whatever I want, wherever I like at the normal non rip-off prices because of Shazili whether it's to do stuff, go places or eat out.
If anyone would like his details please feel free to get in touch via email or via trip advisor and I’ll be happy to help. I hope this review helps you in making your choice where to stay and helps save you a few quid.
My wife and I loved our time out there, the hotel was great, we hope you enjoy the same too. Please feel free to ask me anything I will come back to you honestly and normally in 48 hrs and if you enjoyed this review, please cilck like :)
Ask for a room facing the pool..they always have spare
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.