Soma Bay is about 40 minutes south of Hurghada airport on a peninsular with 3 hotels on it, the Kempinski being one of them. We were looking for a week of doing nothing and as soon as you arrive at the hotel you start to relax as every single member of staff without exception was welcoming.
The hotel is designed on a Moorish style set around a large central pool area. Entrance to the hotel is via a splendid reception lobby with plenty of seating. To one side is the main restaurant area and the other the bar. The rooms were in low rise buildings set around the pool. We had been upgraded to a sea view room, but it looked to us that all rooms had a sea view !
Our room was a very good size with a balcony, a large bathroom with separate WC a decent size bath and a walk in shower and the largest bed we have ever seen (it must have been 2 doubles pushed together) with lovely Egyptian cotton sheets and pillows – very nice! The room staff kept it very clean and tidy and every evening would bring bottled water and a summery letter of the next day’s activities / weather etc. The mini bar was soft drinks only but it was “free”. Wifi was also free and available thought-out most of the hotel including the beach (just!)
The pool area had plenty of beds with shade but none were on top of each so you can have privacy. The beach area also had plenty of beds with shade and a wind break. The beach was really clean and was swept every morning. The pool and beach staff would take you to your bed with clean towels and a bottle of water. There was a small bar on the beach as well.
Food in the main restaurant is buffet style and all of good quality and variety. It had seating both inside and out but being winter we tended to eat in as it was warmer. We were there in the first week of February, but there were a quite a few families from other countries with small kids and the restaurant could be a bit noisy so we ate a bit later when it was more relaxed. The Egyptian wine was also surprisingly good.
We highly recommend the Bamboo shoot restaurant (Asian) the quality of food and service was fantastic. You have to book as its only small so in peak times that may mean you miss out. At this point we must apologise to the head waiter, he looked after us very well and we wanted to tip him on our last day but could not find him (sorry!) which was a real shame because this is the first hotel where we have genuinely been pleased to tip a large number of staff because they were all so helpful. The general manger also came round a number of times during the week to talk to guests and make sure they were happy.
The hotel has a small gym but what we found far nicer was to wait for the sun to go down and then jog along the sea front past the adjoining hotels and back.
Being on the Red Sea we had intended to dive. The dive centre is in the adjoining hotel (Robinsons) but they insisted that we have a Dr Certificate either from the UK or obtained locally at 50 euro’s. We have never had this anywhere else we have dived it’s usually a self cert. The cost per dive with kit (looked very good quality) was also fairly high so as we only wanted to do a few dives this made overall cost unacceptable and we gave it a miss.
So in summery – Egypt is not getting good press at the moment but this should not stop you, we had a great week away and with so few tourists they appreciate every one that goes. The Kempinski is a nice hotel, the room comfortable and a good size, food was good especially in the Bamboo Shoot and the staff were great and it all added up to a very pleasant week away – more than happy to recommend.
One final point – when you get to the airport you will need to buy a Visa. As you may have read elsewhere you will be approached by reps offering to organise this, but to do it yourself as its cheaper. We heeded this advice, side stepping the man who pounced on us as we entered passport control but he turned out to be our tour guide! Another party did allow him to get theirs and as far as we know we all paid the same so how true it is I don’t know.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Where the Red Sea mountain range blends majestically with aquamarine waters and pristine sandy beaches: this is Soma Bay. Overlooking one of the finest beaches you find the Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, the first Kempinski luxury hotel in Egypt. Come and enjoy. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kempinski Soma Bay