I stayed at Sea Gardens at the end of August and after reading some mixed reviews did approach the holiday with a bit of trepidation. I have been to Sharm El Sheikh a few times and have stayed in some great hotels (Holiday Village, Tropicana Azure, Coral Sea Splash Resort, Magic Life) but saw some good reviews on this hotel and thought why not.... i really wish i hadn't.
First impression was the Sea Gardens reception, the lobby is small enough to swing a cat in and manned by one man who was pleasant enough but the lobbys in Sharm are usually huge with a team of staff on reception to help you out. Admittedly the Sea Club Hotel had a big reception but this hotel and the Sea Life are mostly occupied by Russians Egyptians and Ukranians. Sea Gardens is definitely the poor relation and is occupied mostly by Brits and Germans.
The rooms are very nice, we had a family suite which was big with a separate room for the kids but all balconies are very small (couldn't fit the four of us on, which is just as well as there are only two chairs!!). We paid a bit extra for the suite but please don't bother as my parents had a family room and there isn't enough difference to justify the cost.
The pool at Sea Gardens is ok except the fact that the steps are made of stone??? which just cut up everyones feet and lots of kids were getting cuts and scrapes. Its the most bizarre thing to have something that is so obviously going to injure people daily. It is sunbed wars i'm afraid with the towels going down from 6.30 am, a lot of these by the towel guy who reserves sunbeds for those who tip him and treats everyone else with disdain. The service from several of the staff here is just trying to get a tip from you otherwise they will literally ignore you. The bar staff are never off there phones and will let people stand at the bar while they finish their conversations and then sigh 'cos they've got to get you a drink. I've never had such bad service in any hotel. I must state this isn't every member of staff, the restaurant staff are brilliant, its mostly the bar staff and towel staff who are quite rude unless tipped.
A warning to everyone is that in Sea Club there is a beautiful bar on a lake and as soon as you sit down the waiter is over asking you if you would like a cocktail. Most people say yes (why not you're on holiday). They then come back and ask you for £5 per drink! They have failed to tell you that cocktails aren't included and you have to pay separately and they are quite intimidating. We refused to pay saying they should have told us beforehand to which the waiter replied he would have to pay out of his own wage. When we still refused he got his manager (mate) to come and try to heavy hand us and that he would take it out of the waiters wages. This is all a con! We refused and they said somehthing in Egyptain at us and then refused to get us any drinks and made us wait at the bar. We did go back to this bar a few days later (after complaining to the english guest relations person and nothing happening) and saw them do this same con on several more people. Some argued but some (more elderley) just paid which infuriated me. We watched the bar manager and he was the one sending the waiters out telling them to do this rip off. If this is the kind of service you can put up with then Sea Gardens is for you. I don't blame the staff as much as the Bar Manager and the Hotel Managers who let this blatant tip/money chasing go on. If you don't tip in the lobby bars the staff ignore you.
Next on to the food. I know that a lot of people have written the food is ok but they honestly cannot have been to a proper 5 star all inclusive hotel. I'm not talking about a mega bucks hotel just most other hotels in Sharm. The food is catered to russians and no-one can dispute that, lots of aubergine and cabbage. The soups are probably the worst offenders as they are obviously packet made and truly disgusting, i normally love having a soup every dinner but no chance here. The food is badly prepared, dry, and often inedible and the kids sections a joke. They do have an egg/omelette station at breakfast (but every AI hotel does) and they do have a pasta section (but again every AI Hotel does) except the pasta is dry and cloggy and the sauce watered down. If you have booked already you won't starve as there is something to eat every night but its more out of necessity than having a nice family meal. Ice cream is charged for £1-£1.50a go.
On the other hand the A La Carte Restaurants are fantastic especially the Japanese and
Lebanese and the steaks and chicken served in these are truly mouth watering. If you could eat in these every day you'd be happy.
There are no lifts in any of the hotels so if you have kids in prams like we did be prepared to carry prams etc. up and down stairs, its unsuitable for anyone with walking difficulties as the steps are all cobbles and the pools unbelievably slippy, again there were people slipping every day. The hotel is miles from anywhere so don't expect to go for a walk anywhere as you're in the middle of nowhere, everywhere is a taxi ride away.
The entertainment is non-existent, honestly its terrible, its mostly done by the animation team so as you can imagine is really amateurish but its actually cringeworthy bad (which i suppose its so bad you can find it funny). The animation guy in Sea Gardens (Ryan) is reallly nice and tries his hardest but you do feel he is looked down on by the other members of the team as Ryan is the only Brit and they cater mostly for Russians etc.
I don't normally write bad reviews as i know how disheartening it can be if you've aleady booked and see a bad review but i just have to be honest and give those considering booking fair warning, i wish someone had told me, but trying to get a real sense of what this place was like before i went proved hard so i just want to be honest. If you've booked don't worry The weather is fantastic, the sea crystal clear, the beer cold and the wine (red and rose but not white) is ok.Its just the food and horrible manipulative service in the bars and towel staff that let this place down (as well as being in the middle of nowhere).
If you haven't booked then don't, go to Holiday Village or Tropicana Azure or look on here for somewhere the food and service is good. The weather and sea(snorkelling) are guaranteed anywhere so these two things are what you need to be good. I think you've guessed i won't be going back. If there are any questions please feel free to e-mail me and i'll answer.
If already booked and have small kids, get a ground floor room. If not booked then don't.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.