I travelled to the Jasmine with my Wife and 2 teenage daughters (12 & 16) for 10 days including the UK October Half Term.
Having read some shocking reviews before travelling we were quite nervous about what to expect. We need not have worried, the Jasmine exceeded every expectation and we had a fabulous holiday.
The Jasmine was clean and tidy in all the public places with people cleaning floors and tidying gardens all day. All of the public toilets were spotless and the reception and lobby area is impressive in marble and shiny at all times.
We booked two rooms and requested that they be next to each other, we actually were allocated a two room suite with a huge bathroom and balcony. We had a huge bed in our side and two doubles for the girls. The Bathroon had a huge walk in shower that was a big hit with all of us. We also had a fridge and a safe and seperate controlled aircon in each side. The room was cleaned and the towels and bedding replaced every day - the fridge was topped up to five 1.5 litre bottles of water.
The main source of the complaints we read was the food, again we were amazed at the variety of the food and the quality was certainly OK.
The main restaurant is half inside & half on the veranda and has a different country theme each night (admittedly we couldn't tell what country it was without looking at the board) - there was a variety of main courses with rice, potatoes and a couple of meat & fish dishes - there are also a few stations where food is cooked to order - Chicken, pasta and meat, pizza pies& pancakes (a big hit with the family) - my daughter did cause herself tummy problems by collecting the meat & spaghetti that was there part cooked ready to be completed on the hotplate - and ate it as it was - maybe the source of some of the other cold food complaints?
The other restaurants included in the all inclusive deal are the Oriental (which serves Egyptian style food not Chinese as we expected) was excellent but needed to be booked at reception during the day - again some rice and meat dishes and some (admittededly tasteless) soup and a BBQ where they grill fish, chicken and kofta's
My eldest daughter preferred the pool restaurant which served mainly pasta and italian style dishes.
In addition to the free restaurants, the Tropicana in the hotel lobby has waiter service and Steaks etc for a moderate addition to the cost - the drinks are still free though. The steaks were very good.
The other non-inclusive restaurant is the fish restaurant at the beach - we didn't eat there though so I can't comment.
You also get access to the restaurants in the Aladin & Ali Baba hotels which looked good - but we never had the need to try them.
Food at lunchtime is easy - fresh cooked pizza, pasta and hotdogs at the pool, hotdogs & burgers at the beach and a variety at the main restaurant - chips everywhere - kids happy.
Breakfast in the main restaurant has cereals and loads of pastries and bread, also hotdogs, potatoes and yummy freshly cooked omlettes, pancakes, fried or boiled eggs.
Tea and coffee are available everywhere all the time - in the lobby up to midnight - if I had one complaint it would be no coffee making facility in the room .. but if that's the worst I can find ..
The Coke & Sprite from the machines was never a problem - and my daughter tested it to its limits! - diet drinks were a non-starter with the coke light and coke zero taps dispensing mainly soda water (low calorie I guess!) - I never had a problem getting a beer - needed a lot as it was quite weak and in tiny cups .. but not terrible - the Red wine wasn't too bad after a couple either.
Fresh Fruit juice is a chargeable extra (we tried a couple and they are lovely) at a euro or so - the signs are up .. but the first day when they bring them round at breakfast they don't neccessarily make it too obvious that it will cost you. - There is squash everywhere if you want it.
The pool is great, a little cool but feels good in the heat - loads of sunbeds and bar and restaurant - 5 minutes walk from there is the private beach - also loads of sunbeds and a bar & restaurant. The sand is soft & hot and the sea is warm & clear - there is a small coral reef a 100M or so from the beach to the right of the two stone jetties. We snorkelled every day and there are loads of fish - the coral will soon be dead with the guys showing off walking on it and pulling themselves down with it.
As mentioned there is a small zoo in the middle - a little surreal really - Monkeys, Rabbits and two dogs which seems a bit sad. The guy gets a monkey out for photos for a few pounds. They all look like they are looked after - but seems odd & a bit sad I thought.
There is a beduin area primarily for sheesha smoking above the Oriental restaurant(you'll find that everywhere) and the Pergola where they have the entertainment.
There is a parade of shops selling tat & t shirts etc atached to the side of the hotel - most important of these is the pharmacy where they have pre-prepared packs of a multi pill fix for tummy problems - and I found useful the bite relief cream - the flies bit me to death but nobody else in the family got more than one or two ..I must taste good.
The animation team is quite active and it's worth grabbing a timetable of events from reception as they don't put one in the room. They do kids club, beach activities like volleyball and water polo (my wife & daughter loved the belly dancing lessons with Tata) - there is a kids disco followed by a show in the pergola every night - all free apart from Friday night's snow party that is a disco until silly o'clock that costs 11 dollars (note the different currencies used all over the place) - the shows are of variable quality - some done by the team some by external companies - worth a look. Escape quickly before they start the people train round the room after the show!
There is also a singer each night at the centre - several different girls singing popular tunes - the only thing they had in common was their inability to sing - it was actually funny to listen to in the same way as the X-factor bad auditions.
We didn't try it - but the Titanic waterpark is opposite and tickets from reception were $35 for the day.
We booked 2 excursions from the desks in the lobby where the guys were very helpful - especially Mohammet on the Aquascope desk.
We did a quad bike safari to a beduin village, rode camels, drove back had dinner & a show - the village was two huts, the dinner was tasty but minute, the show was appalling - so quad bikes were the good bit (my daughter on the back hated that as well)
The other excursion was the aquascope submarine - firstly it doesn't submerge - so it's a boat! - the floating platform that they drop you at and which you can use to snorkel from - was hideously crowded and uncomfortable - the 'submarine' was quite claustrophobic but the views were OK.
Not sure if the excursions booked elsewhere are any different?
We also travelled to the town by taxi booked in the reception which was about £12 for the return journey where the taxi waited for us - unfortunately he dropped us at the door of (presumably) his mate's shop where we were hassled before we got out of the car.
The Egyptians were very taken with my daughters - some funny and flirty - some would be put on the sexual offenders register in the UK - my daughters found the town very uncomfortable and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel - on the plus side I really enjoyed the haggling and some of the people there have a great sense of fun - when they hear you are English they have a string of things to say - mainly Lovely Jubbly, cheaper than ASDA and for some reason Welcome to Alaska - I had to seriously think about the offer of 300 camels for my daughter .. couldn't think how to get them home though.
We also went to the New Marina using the free bus that you can book in reception - was much safer and less hassle - all new restaurants. bars & shops and expensive boats - the HedKandi nightclub is there. Food was quite a bit more expensive but was very good.
We found when we got there that the Black Shark dive centre is attached to the Aladin hotel - but I had already booked with Divers Lodge based at the intercontinental hotel who were very good and collect & drop off by taxi - they even got my hydrophobic daughter in the water for a try dive. Diving was quite nice but nothing spectacular.
Tips & Service
Contary to most of the reviews, we had excellent service everywhere (maybe influenced by all male waiters and 2 teenage daughters?) - we found the staff to be friendly & receptive at all times - especially once they had identified you as non-russian (about 60% of the customers). We only really tipped where it was appropriate - certainly didn't need to tip the room staff to get good service but rewarded them for it at the end. Bar staff we didn't tip at all and had excellent service the whole time - the staff generally had a pride in what they were doing. Tips need to be in the local currency as they otherwise try to change pounds or euros with other tourists.
The area around the hotel is a cross between a building site and a dump site - they are building more hotels than are currently there and in years to come I'm guessing there will be too many people there.
The road into town (and between the dive centre, excursions etc) is a weird dual carriageway that has speedbumps, pothols and weird switchback where they seem to travel in the wrong direction and then switch to another lane and go back the other way - I wouldn't like to drive there.
Certainly you wouldn't want to walk too far either!
The exchange rate is better for changing cash in Egypt - we took some currency with us (not to forget the cash for the entry visa - the price of which seems to vary depending who you get it from - £10 to £15) - and found that the credit card was barely accepted anywhere (even at the new marina 'the machine isn't working') - so we ended up getting quite a bit of cash out from the ATM in reception (at a cost obviously) - the strangest thing is that things are quoted in different currencies and then there is frantic calculator action to come to a price in the currency you have - obviously at a rate favourable to them.
Hope that isuseful and we would definitely go back.
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- Also Known As:
- Jasmine Village Hurghada
- Hotel Jasmine Village