Saw a late deal for the Siva and it was too good to miss with England being so cold and grey, the deal was for one week but being retired now we decided to extend it to two weeks and make the most of a bit of winter sun.
As there were so many on our flight going to the same hotel, which incidentally is less than ten minutes from the airport, we envisaged a long wait to check in but surprisingly everyone was checked in within a few minutes very efficiently, the reception/ foyer area on first view seemed very impressive as did the approach to the hotel itself which still had illuminated Christmas and New Year displays outside so we were sure we were going to have a good time in a nice hotel.
Our room was a junior suite on the 4th floor, room numbers are a little confusing insofar that rooms beginning with a 4 are on level 3 when you get into the lift but you quickly get used to it. Our room was spacious with a giant bed and two cane chairs and a cane sofa as well as a T V and plenty of storage for clothes, there is also a safe which is free to use. The balcony gave us a view over the grounds and pool looking towards the sea. The bathroom had everything we needed but was showing its age a bit the tiling looked decidedly scruffy and needed all the grout cleaning or replacing but it wasn't dirty just as I said a bit scruffy.
After rapidly unpacking we went down for dinner, there are two restaurants serving dinner we always used Shams but I believe the food is the same in both, the chairs are all cane chairs with cushions and while they are comfortable again they were showing their age. As normal these days it was a self serve buffet and my impressions were one of the better ones I've seen although both my wife and I thought the standard dropped a little during our second week, but we never went hungry and only spoke to one or two people who had a stomach problem and one of those knew they had a problem before they left home. Breakfast is also taken in these restaurants and a light breakfast is also available at the terrace bar which I have to say was mostly frequented by the smokers as smoking isn't allowed in the indoor restaurants, a great improvement for Egypt in my opinion. Lunch is available in the Oasis restaurant near the beach which again is a buffet style and there is also a pizza bar, crepe bar, waffle bar and burger bar where salad and chips are also available. Most of the bars have drinks dispensers for your own use to help yourself to coffee soft drinks, beer and wine and the waiters around the pool area are very good bringing you drinks, special mention to Ahmed who looked after us well.
The only public lounge in the hotel is the foyer which is large and on two levels with a mezzanine verandah running around one side, there are four bars (one of which is a pay bar) the waiters there deserve a special mention constantly moving furniture so guests can sit together and often bringing drink refills just before you finish your previous one, special mention also for Essam who was very good.Wifi is also available in this area but with what seems like every one these days having either a smart phone or tablet you need to pick a quiet time if you need to get online otherwise so many people are using the wifi you simply don't get a connection. Being January while we were there the evening entertainment also took place there, i suspect most of the year it takes place outside near the pool, what we saw was quite good for hotel entertainment but the problem was that the performance area was surrounded by comfortable sofas and chairs with a maximum seating capacity of I guess about 30 - 40 in a hotel with over 500 rooms, I would have thought smaller chairs and tables set out in a similar manner to say a cabaret club would allow more people to enjoy the shows.
There is a private beach with lots of umbrellas sun beds and windbreaks (Hurghada is notoriously windy) it may be natural but felt more like something out of a bag from B&Q to us. there is also a small concrete jetty near the beach going out maybe 30-40metres into the sea and from the end you can see some fish quite clearly without getting your feet wet some friends we met there went snorkeling around this jetty and said there was a good assortment of marine life to see, this jetty has tables and chairs and is a nice spot late afternoon to watch the sun go down with a glass of beer or wine. But we are pool people rather than beach people, the pool is quite large and has a swim up bar, there are also lots of sun beds available and being January we had no problem though as the hotel is used predominantly by German guests there was, particularly toward the end of our stay a noticeable blocking of beds with towels from early morning by people who rarely if ever used them during the day there were even some German people around us who tried a new trick for me, they used 4 beds for 2 people, 2 in the sun and 2 in the shade.
In summary we enjoyed our taste of winter sun and value for money was incredible costing less than a similar stay in the UK for a week and that included a flight of around 2500 miles, the hotel unlike some others in the Hurghada area at least has somewhere outside to walk to even if it is only to shops selling Egyptian branded tat. Further afield but only a £3 taxi ride is the very brash main street in Hurghada which we gave a miss as we had visited it before on a previous holiday, and the new marina, much more sophisticated with lots of nice restaurants serving western food at normal UK prices, we had a very nice meal in Dunes there on our last night. The hotel is showing its age and probably needs smartening up but cleanliness is certainly not an issue everywhere was spotless and the grounds maintained immaculately. What we did perceive this time more than on previous visits to Egypt was a clear almost overt expectation of tipping from some of the staff who were none the less very freindly, helpful and seemed happy in their work I understand that this is a poor country where many people live for a month on little more than we earn in a day but this expectation did take the edge off of our holiday.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Siva Grand Beach