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Reviewed March 13, 2012

Sorry, it's another long review, but hopefully very useful so I hope you carry on reading!

Agree with lots of points made by Bavaria and Julian028. I'm usually a firm believer that a holiday is what you make of it, however when you're all-inclusive and in a remote location, many things are out of your control.

We stayed at Stella Makadi (Beach) the last week in February and the weather was hotter than expected (around 30 degrees), although very windy on some days and very cool at nights - I took cardis but wish I'd taken a proper coat. Beware of booking trips if it's too windy as the boats don't go out and we had our quad biking cancelled (although Thomas Cook failed to let us know and we sat outside for 40 minutes waiting for the coach).

First impressions weren't great, we had a brief wait to check in, didn't receive a welcome drink as other couples did and then the receptionist spent the entire time he checked us in on his mobile!

There were two reasons I chose Stella Makadi, one was the choice of food which didn't disappoint. We ate at the Italian buffet, Lebanese and Indian all of which were great quality and have much better atmosphere than the buffet restaurants. Be aware that you need to book a la carte restaurants between 9am-1pm the day before you want to eat there. This means that if you arrive at the hotel late in the day you won't be able to eat at them until your third night! Would suggest you get in the booking queue before 9am as by half past they are often fully booked.

The buffet restaurant is definitely an experience. The unorganised layout combined with rude guests made it rowdy and chaotic. We avoided it as much as possible and at breakfast took our food out onto the terrace - just a shame that they were refurbishing the outdoor stage so were drilling and welding everyday! As others have said the Blue Pharoah buffet at the Gardens is much better. Most days we ate lunch (and yummy afternoon pizza) at the beach bar which usually had a couple of choices and a nice fresh salad bar.

Unfortunately I got acute gastroenteritis whilst I was there and had to call the doctor out from the on-site clinic. He put me on a drip in my room along with loads of pills. I would definitely recommend doing this as I felt much better the day after and didn't want to risk being too ill to travel home. The cost was around £300 (so check your insurance, my excess was only £50 and other people said diarrhea tablets alone are over £30). There were very few English guests but the ones we did speak to all had varying degrees of stomach upsets.

My second reason for booking was the TripAdvisor 'Travellers Choice 2012 Winner - Relaxation & Spa'. We found the whole resort far from relaxing, the entertainment by the pool in the day was repetitive, loud and annoying as are the sales reps that are constantly wandering around. I don't like being rude but in the end we just ignored them or pretended to be asleep as even a simple 'no thank you' would engage you in a 'Ahhh English!!!' conversation. At night there's no getting away from the entertainment, most of which is in foreign languages. From 7.30-9pm it's kiddy time, so prepare for lots of party songs in German. After that the only decent acts were the traditional Egyptian ones such as the whirling dirvish and belly dancing. The animation team weren't great and everything finishes at 11pm, when they want you to go down to Bubbles nightclub - there was no way I would pay 10 euros plus drinks to get into a dodgy club when I'm already paying all-inc, you have to pay in advance and can't even see in the place! Hence, we had some very early nights!

Our room was a good size and when we reported the TV wasn't working somebody was sent to repair it straight away. We were in a really bad location, at the end of block 2000 at the back of the main restaurant etc, the noise was awful through the night with cages being dragged along, staff shouting, the service road at the side and also the steps up to other floors, with a rubbish view, I really wish we'd asked to move!

Housekeeping was great, we had a few towel art displays but on my birthday they really went to town and did our beds up like Blackpool illuminations with a lovely display of decorations, flowers and my cards, as we returned to this lovely surprise room service also turned up with a huge birthday cake - very nice touches!

I loved walking along the pier but we didn't go snorkelling due to the huge amount of big, purple jellyfish out there. They close the end bit off at sunset so make sure you go just before, it's the only peaceful place in the resort and beautiful watching the sun setting behind the mountains. Such a shame that they don't pay as much attention to cleaning the beach as the rest of the hotel, plastic cups strewn along the shoreline and the land next door is full of litter - it brings the whole area down.

The beach at the hotel isn't nice at all, 'builders grit' most people refer to it as. We walked right round the bay and it's much more sheltered round there, the sand is great, the sea crystal clear and you can walk straight in at hotels such as Fort Arabesque and Sunrise - wish we'd taken the snorkels with us!

Most of the staff are great and were aware of the rudeness of 'other' guests when they tried to push in front of others, the staff handle it well and don't give in to them. I have never stayed alongside Russian guests before and had read the comments on here, but really wasn't prepared for the way they behave. They walk to front of queues for food and drinks, tried (and failed) to barge us out of the way to get to the pool bar, never return a smile, hold a door open or let you passed, awful behaviour that really took the edge off our hol.

Note that any extras are quoted in euros and dollars to cater for the majority of guests. I had taken some £1 coins to tip if I didn't have any small Egyptian notes, but didn't feel it was appropriate to use them. There's an ATM and an exchange machine in the foyer, it probably doesn't give the best rate but was a great way of getting a mix of Egyptian notes when changing an UK £10 note.

You won't need to take towels, they are provided from sations at the pools and on the beach. The bathrooms have shampoo & conditioner, shower gel, body lotion.

Stella Gardens - would have much preferred to have stayed there, just a 5 minute walk away - quicker than the shuttle bus. Obviously it's brand new so feels a lot more clean and modern, but they also have a lot more attention to detail; waiter service around the loungers at the heated pool and in the buffet restaurant. Love the cocktail bar up there, much more relaxed and chilled out and the drinks look and taste better. The 'entertainment' is also done in a separate function room so isn't as intrusive as Stella Beach. There's a variety of pools, one with slides and the wave pool is fun and refreshing! Prepare to get sandy feet as all the pool areas with loungers are on sand.

I know how negative this review sounds, but I can definitely see the appeal of the resort - it's a good size, well-kept, well-staffed and has good choice/quality of food, but it wasn't the relaxing holiday we'd hoped for. Had we had a better room location, been surrounded by like-minded travellers and not been ill I'm sure we would have had a much better experience.

Take a look at my pics for some examples of the food etc. Happy travels!! xx

Room Tip: Avoid block 2000 like the plague! Pay extra for a room with a view.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Sooty123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2012

We are just back from hotel stella makadi gardens.It is a fantastic resort,brand new,very clean and the food is lovely,and there is to much to pick from.The rooms are beautifull en quite big,the bathroom is very big,and has a sepperate bath en shower.They clean the rooms every day perfectly,there are loots of swimming pools,2 of them are heated,the staff is very friendly and help full.
We booked a excursion to go with a glazen bottom boat.We booked the excursion on the beach by hotel stella makadi beach,this was the worse excursion we have ever done in our life...a very big mistake,we paid 40 euros to go on a very old boat with a little glass bottom.It was me and my wife and a russian girl who where on that boat trip.The owner of the boat seems to like the russian girl...he dropped his boat in a lagune,left us there for two and a half hours on that boat,and went to swim with that girl....and i can tell you it was not only swimming if you no what i mean!!!When he came back he gave me some fish to eat.After eaten that little piece of fish i was sick for 3 days and had to go to the hospital to get a drip and antibiotics...thx for that???
The animation on the resort is not good.The shows are boring and not exiting.One of the boys from the animation team bought a new ipad.I bought mine also.I bought my keyboard for my ipad with me.The bloke loved my keyboard and asked if he could buy it from me.I said oke its yours for 40 euros.On the last day he gave me 20 euros and the rest he said he bring later on that day.i trusted him and gave the keyboard already to him.I havent seen him again with the other 20 euros.Dont get me wrong,it has nothing to do with the 20 euros but i trusted him,we knew him for 8 days,he was friendly,eveybody liked him,he always wore an headband and white glasses with baggy trausers and very loud.He was fun BUT he ripped us off.........so dont trust that bloke.He seems to be friendly,he is from the animation team at the stella makidi gardens but at the end he didnt do what he prommised!!!So let this be a warning for you...If he does this with us,maybee you are the next one!!!!!So be carefull

Room Tip: we had room number 4065,poolvieuw,no sun on your balcony
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dolly805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2012

Very nice hotel, no complaints. Large resort with plenty of space for everyone of all nationalities. Great pools, always clean and pool bars close to all areas. Loads of sunbeds and towel stations nearby. Standard room was nicely decorated and clean with comfy bed, nice shower room and free safe. The choice of restaurants is very good, you can get something to eat at all times of the day. Main restaurant nice and tried all three a la carte restaurants which were very nice, particularly the Lebanese. No upset stomachs in the whole 2 weeks and ate most things. The drinks are ok, definately sufficient for the price you pay at this hotel. All fairly weak but with drinks available all day imagine what would happen if they were strong! Beer nice, wine - red, white and rosé all drinkable, gin nice and soft drinks on tap to help yourselves. Beach ok, Hurghada is generally quite windy but plenty of wind breaks. Not sure about the coral as we only went snokelling for a few minutes due to the time of year, but there is a long jetty so good access. The great thing about this hotel is there are two hotels that you can use within the 'all inclusive'. The new sister hotel 'Stella Gardens' is within the grounds but further from the beach, we used the 'gardens' pools on windy days to get a bit of shelter, there are some heated pools at both hotels. The only thing that we have experienced better in other hotels in egypt is the evening entertainment. They do try hard but its quite amateur, maybe it is better during the summer months? We found all the staff to be friendly and helpful and looked as if they enjoyed their work. We took a trip to Hurghada town and marina but it wasn't really worth the effort of the half hour taxi ride. There is nothing outside the gates apart from desert so you can't walk anywhere. We would go back to this hotel if we wanted a relaxing sunny break. If you want to take spending/tip money it is probably best to get egyptian pounds as they don't seem to have exchange rates for £uk and treat them the same as euros.

Room Tip: Sea view probably not worth paying extra for. Most balconies face away from the sun as it would be too hot in summer months.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank MogwaiUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2012

We have been to Egypt nine times staying at different locations and as we wanted some winter sun and it was my wife’s birthday it was a no brainer to go again and this one looked OK.

Before we went we contacted the hotel direct by email and requested a room with a view on the first floor, what we got (room 2109) was a nice room, bigger than expected and very clean, but the view was only looking into other rooms and as it was next to the bar / entertainment area it was very noisy, an upgrade to a pool / sea view was going to be €5.00 per person per day, so another €70.00 for the week, as it was for my wife, we paid up!!
Our new room (room 3142) was at the bottom of the complex next to the beach, again a good size room but this time a view. The guy who cleaned our room was fastidious about how clean it was and there was never a speck of dust to be seen.

The pool complex consisting of three pools was very impressive and well used each day, and here is a bit of a warning, the pools were busy yet the hotel was only about 50% full, so with 607 room on this site OH yes not mentioned is the Stella Makadi Gardens resort, the sister hotel next door that has over 700 rooms and they can use all the facilities on site as well, OH yes also not mentioned is the fact that there is a very large private estate next door I guess well over 200 apartments and yes they can use all the facilities as well, this place must get packed when there are more people staying as there is a potential for well over 2500 people on this site.

Dinning is an experience here, if you go early it’s a crush, if you go later to miss it there is not the full selection available, but you can go and eat at the sister hotel, it’s simple you just walk in and eat. TIP We found the restaurant at the Stella Gardens much better, less queuing, better selection of food, more room to sit and table service as well. You can use the ala carte restaurants free if you are all inclusive which we did, and it was very good, BUT you have to remember to book the day before.

There was a health issue when we were there; lots of people were suffering with vomiting and diarrhoea, of the British group we arrived with 50% went down with it in the first 3 days, my wife had it twice in the 7 days we were there, so watch out. There is a chemist on site who will sell you the local tablets (£6.00 for 30 tablets) to sort it out. We booked a snorkelling trip with the dive school on site, but as my wife was ill I had to cancel, I did eventually get my money back, but watch out as there are no prices displayed and I think they look at what you can afford to pay before charging you!!

The makeup of the people there was about 50% Russian, with all the problems they bring, I’ll say no more on that, 15% German, 15% Italian and the rest being from the UK, Netherlands and a few other nationalities.

So if you go, don’t go if you are expecting a 5* Hotel and service as it is clearly not, but it is a good 4*, the facilities are good but the onsite restaurant lets it down with mainly bland food and big queue’s.

Thanks for reading.

Room Tip: Best not be to close to the Bar area if you like a good nights sleep, see photo of site plan.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank bavaria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2012

Food not brill location isolated very windy staff very kind

  • Stayed: February 2012
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Thank Mason001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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