After a wonderfully swift 10 minute transfer from the airport, we arrived at the impressive looking Iberotel Lamaya. We were welcomed like old friends and greeted with a flannel, cold drink and a brief talk to point out where everything was and we were then shown to our room.
A few days before we arrived, I emailed Thomson customer services to request a nice room with a sea view – they said they would do their best but could not promise anything – however we were upgraded to a top floor extremely spacious suite with a wonderful view over the ocean – we were over the moon! So it's definitely worth asking!
The hotel grounds are absolutely immaculate and throughout the day you will see gardeners and groundsmen working very hard to ensure that they stay that way – I challenge you to try and find one blade of grass out of place!
There are 3 lovely pools, 2 heated and one was freezing! So only attempt this one if you are feeling brave or have had a few drinks to numb the pain first! There are plenty of sunbeds and we were pleased to see a big sign saying that any towels left on sunbeds to “reserve” them would be removed!
There were 2 places to eat- the large main restaurant next to reception and the beach snack bar. We used the main restaurant each day for breakfast and evening meals, and the beach snack bar for lunch. Main restaurant serves beautifully cooked and excellent quality food – there may not be as much choice as some other all inclusive hotels, but everything is cooked to perfection! For breakfast I would highly recommend the pancakes, and the omelettes were cooked to order. In the evenings there is an outside grill where the chef can be found cooking chicken on huge skewers, whole crabs and quails, which are all delicious! The beach bar serves burgers, hot dogs, pizzas etc. I would recommend the seafood pizza! Also there is a freezer full of ice creams and ice lollies which we definitely got our money's worth of!
The reception and beach bars are both great – the staff are friendly, helpful and are all so welcoming. We tried some of the cocktails but mainly drank the local lager “Sakara”. The pool bar serve cappuccinos – be sure to order at least one even if it's only for the “coffee art”. You will see what I mean! :) Every day between 3-5pm you will also find coffee and cakes being served here.
The animation team are great, they all make a big effort to walk around and have a chat with all of the guests to ensure that you are having a good time, and they try to get everyone to join in with the daytime activities, but if you say “no” they do not try to push you into it. You will also see people walking around trying to sell massages too, again they are all very friendly and never try to push you into anything. My boyfriend did have a massage which cost £30 (sterling) and he was very pleased with it.
The biggest part of the holiday for my boyfriend was the snorkelling! He purchased an underwater digital camera at the airport and he was so glad that he did! He spent at least an hour in the water every day and has some absolutely AMAZING footage – the fish are so surreal, you just cannot believe the colours & shapes until you see them for yourself. But the highlight of the holiday was seeing a turtle, 2 rays and an octopus! My boyfriend was absolutely ecstatic! He has snorkelled all over the world, even in the Barrier Reef and he said Marsa Alam beats anywhere he has ever been hands down! If you are not much of a snorkeller like me, you can still walk along the pier and just looking over the edge you can still see some fantastic fish and coral through the completely clear water. It really is breathtaking and you have to see it to appreciate how beautiful it is.
Whilst at Marsa Alam we went on 2 trips. We took the shuttle bus (£10/ 100 Egyptian) to Al Quesir. The trip takes around an hour and when you reach the town you should be prepared for an initial shock! The town almost looks “war stricken” - all of the shops are run down, dirty and dusty and there is a lot of litter everywhere. You can grab some bargains in the shops but you do have to work very hard with your haggling to get a decent price! Stick to your guns and don't let them over charge you! Also be very wary about the young boys who follow you around asking you for money – they all get a little too close for comfort and try to look inside your bag/ purse to see how much money you have. I don't think they would steal but they will follow you around like a shadow insistently asking for “five pounds”!! Just ignore them and eventually they go away!
We also went on the Super Safari which we booked through Thomson. This was an absolutely fantastic day out and we thought it was great value for money too – would highly recommend it! The jeep took us on a very rough and rugged (but great fun) drive through the desert and we arrived at the small nomadic Bedouin village camp site. Here we were greeted with a cup of Egyptian tea before we participated in quad bike and camel rides. The villagers then cooked up a fantastic feast for us, which we enjoyed whilst they put on a dancing and entertainment show for us. After this our guide took us to watch the sun set over the immense sand dunes, and then he gave us a detailed talk on the stars and constellations - we were all invited to have a look at Jupiter through a telescope. We arrived back at the hotel around 8pm – all in all it was a brilliant excursion and great value for £59 each!
We also visited the free water slides down the road, worth doing and kills an hour or so! Water in pools is very warm :)
Over all we had a wonderful week at Lamaya and we were very sad to leave. The staff are all so friendly and will go out of their way to ensure that you have a great holiday. We also really liked the little added extras, like receiving a bag of Egyptian tea on our last day as a departing gift. I would 100% recommend Lamaya if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing week with incredible marine life. I cannot think of any faults at all, other than the fact that a tea spoon was not provided in our room with the kettle etc but that was a very minor issue!
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- Also Known As:
- Iberotel Lamaya Hotel Marsa Alam
- Iberotel Lamaya Marsa Alam