Having discovered after 40 odd years that i hate the Xmas period, i decided to try something different, so off to the Travel Agent to find somewhere hot, it was either Egypt or the Canaires, having been to the Canaries before i decided its Egypt, and when i plan a last minute holiday i don't want to leave anything to chance so i come to tripadvisor to get a heads up on the available hotels.
Firstly i have never read reviews of a hotel on this site without reading some bad feedback, so i go with the majority and in this instance i'm glad i did.
On arrival at the airport i was greeted by Red sea reps which was reassuring, if only to point us in the right direction, the transfer to the hotel was pleasant without any other stops(have you ever been away and the bus stops at 6 or 7 hotels before you get to yours!!). On arrival at the resort first impressions were good, it was getting late and we had been up from 5am,so we were a bit tired and hungry. The staff took care of the baggage while we went in search of food, and we weren't disappointed one step into the courtyard and we were greeted by waiters of the Italian restaurant, they showed us to a table and we ate freshly cooked stonebaked pizza with our choice of topping, perfect start.
Our room 1225 was spacious and clean, the bedding was fresh and the beds massive, the view wasn't the best as it overlooked the hotel lobby but i decided this wasn't important, but i'm sure if i asked for a different room i would have got one. Only downside to the room was the bathroom, it was tired looking and the bath was painted, the shower area was small and the plug in the sink didn't work(fixed day after), the separate toilet was welcome.
So far so good, and it stayed that way
The food was excellent wherever i ate, the problem was booking the restaurants as it wasn't explained to us properly. If you go here follow this advice.
Breakfast. Italian or Lagoon no booking necessary.
Lunch, Caribbean, Italian, Lagoon or the starfish near the beach, my boys enjoyed the chicken kebab stand again no booking necessary.
Dinner. here is where it gets complicated, if you want to eat in the hotels 4 restaurants, book them during the day except for Lagoon(bbq and buffet) where bookings are never necessary. If you want to eat in the other 5 restaurants in the the Mall, then you need to book them at reception area between 1 and 2pm, our mistake was not booking for the week because on the third day we were told all the restaurants were fully booked for the rest of our stay, i thought you could only book for the same evening, that said we did get in the Lebenese and the Italian without a booking. Not all items on menu are AI, but we got by without paying extra.
My favorite was the Caribbean, food was delicious(HOT TIP if you find a restaurant you like.. a small tip can go a long way).The staff remember you.
Drinks were ok, pretty much the same as all AI holidays i have been on.
Service was excellent, the staff were very nice
Hotel was spotlessly clean as were the restaurants, the poolside and the beach area.
The pools were cold, but the sea was warm.
The beach was what you made of it, you could walk out on a jetty to the end of the coral reef and experience some pretty amazing snorkeling, especially if you ventured out a bit.
If you walked down to where the Sunwing is, there is a sandy beach where you can sunbathe all day or you can relax on the private loungers by the rocky areas.
Beach shoes are necessary as is a snorkel, £4 and £8 in the hotel shop, don't buy from the beach shops, they rip you off.
Don't book a taxi from the hotel, just walk outside the resort, there are taxis waiting night and day for less than half the £50 we were quoted in the hotel, there is also a free bus to Hurghada, but again you need to book well in advance(at reception) as it gets full quickly. Another tip, visit the old town rather than the grand resort, its an experience you will never forget, oh and the spice shop you will be taken to, the saffron is the real deal, i got him down to £4 Egyptian per ounce(40p). By the way barter for everything, its expected.
Tips are pretty much a way of life in this hotel, take loads of $1 bills, for the sake of £30 its worth it. I reiterate, the staff remember you!!!!!
I didn't know what currency to take, my advice.. anything, maybe all of it, but take it, all rooms have a secure safe
US$ in airport and tips
£sterling for anything
£Egyptian for anything
Euro for taxis
No matter what you take its excepted, but you can only change money in the hotel and the ATM is expensive
The only downside was the hotel is looking a little tired and there was nothing in the way of entertainment at night time and the kids got bored, so its best to go bed early and get up early as there is much more to do when the sun arrives, like snorkeling before breakfast.
And take your own kettle and coffee, cause Egyptian coffee is disgustingly different in my point of view.
Pack plenty of reading material and coloring books for kids, you cant buy them in Egypt(unless your German). No English newspapers. I made good use of the 20 kg of baggage allowance.
If you like a drink, buy the 2 for £20 spirits at the Airport on your way in and just enough ciggies for your holiday, cause premium brand spirits are £80 per bottle in the hotel. On the way home buy your Duty Free at Hurghada Airport, Golden V is $36 for 1/2kg and L & B are $19 a sleeve, Hurghada's departure lounge is an experience in its self.
Dont be put off by bad reviews for this hotel, there are always people who will find something to moan about, i think some actually look for the negatives. We experienced one couple who did complain at every given opportunity and although it was mostly fueled by too much drink, it was embarrassing to watch them. Quite how the night reception staff put up with it, i dont know.
Special mention to Said on reception, very helpful and knowledgeable, thanks for making the stay more memorable, also Akram who was most helpful.
Would i go back to Egypt?, probably not, for me its a one off holiday, but if i did, i would go back to this hotel resort without question.
BTW if your still reading this review and not fallen asleep, i have saved the best tip for last. Once you have booked this hotel, email them asking if the poolside villa is available for the duration of your stay, if it is book it, its FOC and an amazing eye catching room.(steps from your terrace to the pool).Good luck on that though cause there is only one.
All in all, an excellent holiday.
Go to your allocated room, if you dont like it walk around the hotel find one you do like and ask fo...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.