We have just returned from an 8 day stay at this truly amazing hotel which we booked because of good reviews we read on TA. Our flights with Thomson were on time and comfortable. We were fortunate in that our outbound flight only had 47 people(due to seasonal flight schedule changes) therefore we had as much space as we needed. However this was also irritating as we had paid extra to be seated together only 2 weeks prior to our flight. Also the seats allocated by Thomson were across the aisle which is useless if you both want to watch a movie on your iPad. It is worth checking on line which seats you have been allocated so that you can switch to other seats if available. The return flight was very good in what appeared to be a new and very comfortable 737. On arrival we obtained our visas from the bank which is just on the left as you enter the airport terminal. We also changed some sterling into Egyptian pounds and the exchange rate was good. The transfer to the hotel was very quick and comfortable as was check in at Sol y mar. The first choice rep Ahmed is such a lovely man. He was so helpful and even came in on his day off to make sure all was ok.
The reception staff were very welcoming and provided a cold drink on arrival. Throughout our stay the reception staff were amazing and sorted out any problems we had(I must add of our own making like losing keys to case etc). We had requested a top floor pool view room and this was granted. We had room 701 which is very close to the bar reception and dining areas. Lovely bright spacious room which was kept spotlessly clean by Mohammed who surprised us every day with some of the most creative towel art we have ever seen. Bathroom is spacious and no need for a bidet as the toilet has a tap on the side for hygiene washing. Walk in shower with very hot water if you want. There is a retractable drying line in the shower (aluminium disc on wall under towel rail). Hairdryer with 2 speed settings but mine didn't have a nozzle I could have asked but I usually take my own travel dryer which is great for styling. Balcony with table and chairs and a 3 bar wooden drying rack, due to the breeze found most things on floor next morning. Mini fridge at extra charge. 1 litre bottle of water delivered every day as part of all inclusive and if you want more water this is provided just ask. Flat screen tv with a few english channel bbc world news and a film channel. Room safe included at no extra charge. Very efficient and easynto operate air conditioning. Fresh beddingand towels every day The room also had a kettle with tea and coffee provided. Decaffeinated coffee wasn't available at this hotel but we had brought some with us. They provide a wide variety of fruit teas and Lipton's tea which was very good. There were expresso type coffee machines in the beach, pool and dining rooms so cappuccino and lattes are available on the all inclusive option.
The food at this hotel is delicious and the buffet area is contained and well laid out. There is a grill (evenings only) outside near to the pool bar so it is worth checking this out on the way in so you know whats available. This made a refreshing change from other larger resorts where you can wander around endless food stations only to end up with a plate of mediocre cold food. We found the choice available at Sol y mar was fine for us but if there was something you couldn't find then the chef would rustle this up for you. The waiters were very efficient and very friendly. The staff bend over backwards to accommodate your needs here.
The beach bar provide freshly cooked pizzas,sandwich of the day,salad and McDonald's type chips. We take little vinegar sachets for the chips because vinegar isn't available. Little tubs of ice cream also available all day. There are toilet facilities behind the beach bar which were clean The sand on the beach is typical for Egypt and quite gritty with some imported soft sand here and there. There are plenty of beds and shade. Access to the sea from the beach is restricted to the middle of the beach to protect the reef. We snorkelled from the jetty most mornings at 7 and access to the sea is very good. The reef on the far side from the jetty is better in the mornings because the position of the sun provides more clarity and nearer the jetty in the afternoons as the sun moves around. There is a 1600 metre footpath that stretches around the bay which is lit at night. We thoroughly enjoyed an evening stroll after dinner enhanced by the lovely fragrant flowers on route.
The hotel pool is very clean and so refreshing. Plenty of beds and shade here too so no need to reserve beds early in the morning. The pool bar offer similar food to the beach bar but no chips???
Service is excellent and Bahnessi(sorry for any mis-spelling) always ensured we had plenty of drinks. The animation team were delightful and not too pushy. We read a lot so didn't participate in many activities. We had a go at the darts and this was fun and a good way to get to know some of the other guests. We found the pool area more relaxing than we expected and this may be partly due to young families having free access to the water park near by. We don't usually bother with evening entertainment but did watch the belly dancing and whirling dervish act which was ok. I think the animation team provide all the other evening entertainment which I think the kids might like.
The drinks provided on the all inclusive are local spirits although premium drinks are available at extra cost. The wines and beers fine and the cocktails delicious. If you really prefer premium drinks you could buy a few bottles on the plane. Soft drinks sprite diet coke etc all available.
We think that this hotel is very special because it is smaller and therefore able to provide a more personal service. The customer care is excellent and we have booked to return for a 2 weeks stay late September.
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- Also Known As:
- Sol y Mar Dar El Madina Hotel Marsa Alam