I stayed here from 5th April 2013 with my partner and daughter. We stayed at the Grand Makadi Hotel for one week on an all inclusive basis.
When we first arrived we checked in and were shown to room 1009. I was immediately very disappointed with the room, which had a poor standard of decor and is certainly not what one would expect from 5 star accommodation. A few inches of plaster above and all the way along the skirting was blown and had come away from the wall. My daughter looked around the room inspecting cupboards and a cupboard door came away in her hand. The bathroom was tatty with terrible grouting and a bath tub which needed replacing due to water corrosion on the base. I had asked for a sea view room and although it was dark I don’t believe this was a sea view room as it was on ground level and looked immediately out onto the gardens and pool.
We asked if we could be moved to a nicer room with a sea view and, to be fair, we were moved promptly to a first floor room (room 2150) from which, we discovered the next day, you could just about see the sea, although binoculars would have been helpful. The decor was better in that the plaster was intact and the grouting round the bath was less botched, but the bath was still very corroded so that it looked permanently grubby, a cupboard door came off during the course of our stay and was not fixed, as did the towel rail in the bathroom. The air conditioning wasn’t particularly effective either.
The next day we had a look around and spent some time around the pool. The size of the resort and size of the pool was impressive, and we particularly liked the pier into the sea which enabled guests to get beyond the coral shallows and do some decent snorkelling. However the hotel gave the impression of once being a 5 star hotel but now having fallen on hard times. In particular the pool was dirty and poorly maintained. There were big patches of missing tiles. After spending the day and night in the hotel, during which time we found the food very average, we had a wander into the Makadi Palace Hotel which is the Grand Makadi’s sister hotel and happened to be very close to our room. That pool was in better repair, and it had quite a pleasantly situated snack bar which was in pretty good nick, so on the Sunday we paid for wrist bands (an extra £20 or so) so that we could spend the day there on an all inclusive basis. It was strongly emphasised to us to us when we purchased the wrist bands that we had to return them after 24 hours.
We did not return to reception to get the wrist bands cut off first thing in the morning and we shortly received a note through our door asking us to report to reception. I think it was on this day that I went to reception a bit later on my own and said we wanted to pay for another day and I handed over cash for this.
I have to say that I don’t really understand why guests have to pay to use the other hotel. They have a shared management I expect (we later found out that the food for both hotels is bought and prepared by the same catering team) and so if I spend the day in the Makadi palace eating and drinking, then I am not eating or drinking in the Grand Makadi. Where is the additional expense to the management? This is I am afraid typical of our experience of the hotel however. The hotel was very quick to charge for extras which should not have been chargeable on an all inclusive holiday, such as freshly squeezed juice and king prawns at dinner. The room didn’t even have an iron and we could not arrange for one to be sent to us – we were told we’d need to pay to get our clothes pressed.
In any event we eventually paid to spend the day and night at the Makadi Palace hotel for 4 days I think it was, so over 50% of our stay. Not once did a member of management ask us why we were paying for the privilege of getting away from our hotel each day. Astonishingly, instead of enquiring about this, we were cross examined about whether we had paid for each day we stayed at the Makadi Palace. Towards the end of the week I received a curt phone call to our room where I was grilled about this and when I was trying to recall how many days we had purchased wrist bands for I was told that I needed to think very carefully about this because the hotel’s records indicated I had not paid in full, and I should report to reception when I had been able to have a good think about it. I was quite upset about the accusatory tone of the phone call, so my partner and I went to reception before dinner to explain that we did believe we had paid in full, in Egyptian currency. The reception staff appeared to accept the explanation so we assumed that was that, but the incident didn’t leave us with a good impression of the hotel or its staff.
Similarly, there seemed to be lots of rules around the hotel which needed to be observed and which made us feel ‘policed’. I was confronted about taking a glass of wine to my room (no glass allowed within a few yards of the bar apparently) and we were stopped when taking a yoghurt and a metal spoon back to our room in the morning (for my daughter’s breakfast as she was still sleeping). Why this spoon was not allowed out of the restaurant area is a mystery to me, but we had to hang around for about ten minutes while staff located a plastic spoon for us to take instead. We showed a couple from the Makadi Palace around the Grand Makadi hotel and stopped to order an inexpensive round of drinks for all 4 of us and the waiter immediately spotted that they didn’t have Grand Makadi wrist bands on and told us they would have to pay, so we left for the other hotel (again). My partner asked for two drinks to take away on one occasion and he was grilled about where he was taking them. They were in plastic cups and the tone was interrogatory, so my partner felt compelled to tell the waiter to mind his own business. I suspect he was trying to establish whether we were getting the drinks for non-Grand Makadi guests.
I’m afraid to say that we found the staff rude and unhelpful, and we often felt we were an inconvenience to them. We experienced eye rolling, insincere smiles and muttering under breath in Egyptian when asking for a drink around the pool side, and I felt that we were only likely to get a good service if we tipped for it, which I refused to do in the absence of anything resembling good customer service. We started to get our own drinks, and were confronted by a poolside waiter who basically told us not to do that as it was "bad for him" (presumably as it deprived him of the opportunity to earn a tip). We made a point of refusing any offer of a drink from that particular waiter as we were so offended by his attitude.
On one occasion we had dinner in the Dome restaurant at the Makadi Palace (inside, as it was a very breezy evening) and could barely see our food so we asked for a candle and were actually told that we couldn’t have one; that there weren’t any. It was a point blank "no"!! My partner had to be very insistent and almost rude before the waiter reluctantly traipsed off to the kitchens and came out with a very small candle. I suggested that all tables should have one as it was so dark and we were told that every table did used to have a candle but no longer did as they cost too much money. The general attitude of the employees was simply not acceptable, despite the fact that the hotel seemed ridiculously overstaffed, especially with staff who had no discernible role, such as mindlessly sweeping a small area of gardens or sitting all day by a road side. The icing on the cake was a waiter in the Melange restaurant at the Makadi Palace; he leered at me throughout every meal we had there, to the point where he almost chased after me when I popped to the bathroom, and my partner was close to confronting him. We stopped eating at the area where he served in order to avoid him.
The entertainment was poor or non-existent, consisting mainly of below average vocalists singing covers to backing tracks. There really wasn’t any thought or effort put into entertaining guests, by day or night, and there was very little information about what entertainment there was. For example, we saw a small poster (A4 size) at the Makadi Palace advertising a beach party for the Thursday but we had no info about it in our hotel and had to get details by asking at our reception. We were told that it would be situated between the two hotels but that, surprise surprise, there would be an additional charge for alcoholic drinks. When we tried to find the party at 8pm we couldn’t, and we later found out that it had been cancelled as it was a windy evening. Again, there was no information provided proactively by the hotel about this, we had to ask.
Because of the lack of decent evening entertainment, the evening meal became the entertainment. We mostly ate at the Melange or Dome at the Makadi palace, and usually didn’t eat too late as my daughter is only 11. One evening we were a little late coming down to dinner (just before 9) and were told that the Dome and Melange were closing shortly, and whilst the Melange would be open again at 10, this meant there was no food service for an hour at peak dining time, which we found absolutely bizarre. Even worse, to our irritation, and even though food service hadn’t officially ended, all of the labels to the various dishes had been removed so we had to guess and/or ask what each of the dishes were. Unfortunately, the quality of the food was such that it wasn’t often discernible what the dish was without labelling.
This brings me to the food generally. The food was the same every day, and was mostly varying shades of beige. There was usually an averagely acceptable salad bar, but there was no appetising fruit at breakfast nor a decent selection of warm vegetables at night. A few days in and we were struggling to choose something which looked tasty and we all had developed stomach cramping and diarrhoea.
On the last night the selection was particularly poor. We put a modest amount of the least offensive looking food on our plate and I served my daughter some spaghetti bolognaise from a very large pot of the stuff which had just been brought out from the kitchen. It was stone cold, so I took it back and complained. By then we’d really had enough. Both my partner and I put our untouched food on the side with some disgust and went back to our table.
One of the restaurant staff saw this and fetched the head chef to speak with us. I should add that my partner is a trained chef and he now runs a kitchen as a senior catering manager.
The head chef was apologetic. We complained generally about quality of the food, the lack of variety and the lack of fresh vegetables. On this particular evening the only vegetable in the entire buffet was some very tired cauliflower. The chef agreed with us that it wasn’t acceptable.
The icing on the cake was when we checked out and no one asked us if we had enjoyed our stay. Instead we were subjected to a further grilling about the wristband issue, even though we thought we had resolved it, the suggestion being that we had somehow swindled the hotel by paying a mere £80 in order to leave the premises. I am again at a loss to understand why no one thought to ask us why we had chosen to spend our money to get out of the hotel every day. Basically our last impression of the hotel was an accusatory dressing down from the management.
I have stayed in 5 star all inclusive hotels in Africa and India in the last few years, and so I think I know what a 5 star Hotel should deliver in terms of facilities and customer service. Having never written a letter of complaint about a holiday before I felt compelled to writeone as I feel strongly that this hotel is misrepresented as a 5 star hotel. It is clear that the hotel has not had sufficient investment in the premises or its staff for quite some time, and the management at Red Sea Holidays need to either insist on some major changes and investment at the hotel or downgrade it to well below a 5 star. Having gone to the trouble of writing about my experiences I received a lengthy fobbing off from Red Sea, so that is why I am posting this on trip advisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.