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“Excellent all-inclusive hotel”

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Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas
Ranked #15 of 30 Hotels in Makadi Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Excellent all-inclusive hotel”
Reviewed May 13, 2010

I have been going to the Fort Arabesque now for the past 4 years on a regular basis, and I learned that most of the guests are comebacks.
The best thing about this hotel is its1 km stripe of sand beach. No other hotel has this wide space for beach activities. The hotel is also widely spread around a nice botanic garden with plenty of nice trees and flowers and swiming pools, so if you are looking for nice scenery you have it all at the Fort Arabesque (even the elevators have panoramic views of the sea).

The rooms are very, very large and well decorated. An upgrade to a higher category room or suite is also a good idea, as the rooms are amazing and worth the difference in price.

Food is good, a lot of variety is offered through a buffet service. If you prefer a seated dinner, you can always use the beach bar "a la carte" restaurant. Service is quick, housekeeping friendly and the beach boys are very helpful.

Finally, If you come to compare the hotel to other hotels in Makadi bay or in the Hurghada region, I rate the Fort Arabesque as better and of higher quality. I also took a glimpse at the wonderful SPA and topnotch gym (opening soon), which shows the management's commitment to excell in improving the hotel facilties and its determination to be ahead of the competition.

I would strongly recommend this hotel. With special thanks to "Pouppy" who made sure we had a wonderful time.

P.S. The management is very open to suggestions, always available, and takes the guest comment cards very seriously.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank travelallthetime46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Blackburn Lancashire UK
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2010

We stayed at the Arabesque last year with friends and despite a couple of us having a case of 'Egyptian Belly' really enjoyed it. The weather was excellent, the beach is lovely, and unusually for Egypt you can walk straight in to the water and swim without the use of a jetty. The service from the waiters and reception staff was excellent, never having to wait long for a drink and being helped to find a table at lunch or dinner.
We really liked being able to help ourselves to a can of beer or coke etc from the fridge at beach bar - a really nice touch. The room was a bit tatty and could have done with a makeover - the reason why when we have been looking to go again in November this year we decided to upgrade the room to a suite. The upgrade available from Thomas Cook is just the next grade of room and not a suite so before finalising the booking we have emailed the hotel just to be sure the upgrade is available on the dates we need. Despite sending six emails to a couple of addresses we have not had a reply. Last year, our friends emailed with a request and had a reply within about six hours so goodness knows what has happened to the service. Needless to say, we can only assume the service while staying at the hotel has gone downhill too so we have now looked elsewhere and booked something else - a shame really.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank GuyTray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2010

We went for 2 weeks as a special holiday to celebrate my birthday, though this was extended to 3 weeks due to Iceland!

Hurghada Airport! If you have never been before, we are writing this so you are not as shocked as we were! It is complete chaos from the moment you step foot inside! Make sure you spot your Travel Rep (they hold signs and shout) and get in the queue for the Visa (they direct you) as we heard some stories of people being 'duped' out of their cash (one couple handed over money to an 'unofficial', not at a desk, and he then sharply disappeared!!). If you have kids, hold on to them - could easily be lost in the crowd. Once you have your visa, head for Immigration, another chaotic 'queue'. Though, once through, it gets better !! your on your way to the start of your hols !

The beach was fantastic, and definately the best along the Makadi Bay resort. Open, spacious with fantastic snorkelling and a huge variety of sea life. You can buy snorkles/fins from the hotel shop, but not great quality. We took ours with us.

Rooms were large, with very comfortable beds and clean bathrooms. The balcony is also of a good size, a topped up daily mini bar is also great, though only soft drinks !!
Watch out for the fumigation of the ventilation system though !! We had to change rooms, after they had performed their act as it was like staying in a petrol station !! You have to be forceful and insistent with the hotel staff.

Food - Average. We had hoped for more local dishes, and with the strong Italian influence, we expected good Mediterranean style food, though sadly this wasn't the case. Though the salads were very good, and they do enjoy their desserts !! with particular emphasis on chocolate sauce (which I have to say was particularly good - especially with crepe and fruit at breakfast !! ). Watch out for the sugar - it's in everything, including the bread - which we found strange. Good breakfast boxes when you go on trips !!

Drinks were excellent - cans of pop, which you could help yourself to, cartons of fruit juices, beer, and spirits. I particularly enjoyed the 'Egyptian' sized vodka and orange - very strong !! Hot drinks were also available, and I reccommend the hot chocolate after a lengthy session snorkelling as the sun goes down. Free bottles of water (water dispensers - beach bar) are also available during the day and evening (with it also supplied in your mini bar).


Evening entertainment - I cannot comment too much about this, as we only went to the acrobatic show which was really good. We were boring and had early nights for early mornings. We enjoyed going to the 'Saga' area (new building) for drinks in the evening, very relaxing, and peaceful (with an X Factor wannabe, crooning some evenings).

Sun is up early, and the temperature peaks at about 8am!! Hot !! If you want a sunbed on the beach, close to the sea, you need to be up early, however there are plenty of beds around the beach and pools, you will always find somewhere to settle for the day. Towels are provided, which is great.

The staff from the beauty salon, massage centre and henna do get tiresome. Our advice; do not engage in lengthy conversations as they will keep coming back!!

Kayaks, wind-surfing, bikes and the Cat are all available free of charge, with I-Dive also being situated within the hotel grounds. We rented a digital camera for underwater for 20euros (after our own camera leaked !!) this was well worth it, they put all photos on a disc and included some of their own pictures. There is also bowles, table tennis and some animation activities (though they were more interested in 'posing', than actually doing much work!!). Kids can have their hair braided and henna tattoos.

Trips - Luxor - 2 day trip. This was fantastic - very hot, but well worth it - we would reccommend this trip to anyone.
if you are planning on going on any snorkelling boat trips visit i-Dive diving centre first, as they are much cheaper than the tour operator.

Extra advice - straight from our Egyptian Guide: "Nothing in Egypt is for free". That includes; being helped from a boat by a child, having your picture taken with your camera by a child/policeman, or taking a picture of the locals, etc, etc. All will want a 'tip' afterwards.

Overall; mostly friendly staff, relaxing holiday, great weather, brilliant snorkelling, lots of pools (though not always very clean - mostly due to the leaves blowing into the pools- though they were cleaned every morning), plenty of places to sit and relax and enjoy a beer.

Tip: As well as Egyptian Pounds, the Euro is widely accepted and some shops will happily take Sterling.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank CBPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Sussex
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2010

We were transferred to this hotel for six days because of the volcanic ash problems. The hotel, facilities and staff are of a very high standard although not quite as good as the Dana Beach Resort where we were transferred from. We can't complain though as we had six days paid for courtesey of the airline (no names mentioned but you can guess which airlines we didn't fly with!). Sorry for anybody stranded at an airport with no assistance!

We had a family room with two double beds which was very clean and well maintained.
The food was of a good standard and plenty of choice. It was a little strange that beer was served in wine glasses in the restaurant but we can live with that! Waiters were very helpful in the restaurants but there did not appear to be much of a system, so service was sometimes quite slow. All staff extremely friendly.

There was a lack of sunbeds at the pools but this was more than made up for by the fantastic private beach. If you want the best beds on the beach (or at the pools) you need to get up very early but it is well worth it. The snorkelling off the beach is terrific and as good as we have experienced anywhere in the Red Sea. Beach gently shelved so excellent for young children.

This is a very good hotel and we would certainly recommend it. Makadi Bay is beautiful and definitely a place we would visit again.

All in all this hotel would come highly recommended and we would definitely visit it again, even if we do have to pay next time!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Humphmeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
essex
2 reviews
Reviewed April 26, 2010

I wish I could write a review on this beautiful hotel, but unfortunately we were two of the unlucky travellers who were affected by the volcanic dust. We were due to fly out on Friday 16th April, but of course all flights were cancelled. We are hopefully going later on in the year because my daughter and her family have recommended this hotel so much and we cant wait to visit it.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank holidysforfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2010

On arrival at Hurgada airport be prepared for long slow queues (airport under renovation).
We took our two children 7 and 10 had a family room which was huge with two double beds and a sofa bed. Mini bar restocked daily with drinks.
The beach was fantastic the children really enjoyed their first snorkeling experience. Probably the best beach in Makadi bay. If you enter the sea by the beach bar it is sandy and they saw loads of fish including parrot fish, clown fish and even an octopus. There were always plenty of sun loungers with sun shades. You can help yourself to cans of drink from fridges in the beach bar. Every day we were each given a clean beach towel.
Took the children on a canoe which we enjoyed. We went on a sunset camel ride (extra cost about £17 each for one hour) it is on the beach past the dive center this was great fun.
Our favourite pool was the sheltered pool it was so warm 33 degrees!
We enjoyed eating at the saga restaurant the service was excellent and they made you feel very welcome. The buffet food was good there was something for everyone and none of us had a funny tummy. Free drinks we had were pepsi max, cartons of juice, bottled water, white wine, sakara beer and hot tea which were all very good.
The hotel souvenir shop had a great selection of gifts but you could buy the same things at the airports numerous shops for half the price.
My daughter had some braids done at the beauty salon which was fun and she still has them in now!
We enjoyed the all inclusive side and would recommend this resort to families. We would love to go back again soon.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank SarahandNick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucestershire, UK
Level 5 Contributor
29 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2010

My husband and I booked this hotel at relatively short notice, based on the reviews on here. We went with Thomas Cook as they seemed to have the best rates and services on offer. Overall, TC were good - but be ready for the cramped flight!! If you are tall (probably 5'10" and above) like we are, it gets a bit uncomfortable by the end of the 5 hour flight, but it does seem as if TC are upgrading their planes and this shouldn't be so much of a problem from 2011 onwards.

Have English cash on you for the Visas (£15 per person) - TC had staff in Hurghada Airport who quickly sorted out the visas for us. We didn't have enough in sterling though, so paid in Egyptian pounds - believe it or not, the visas work out about 40% more expensive in local currency!

Fort Arabesque is 2nd drop-off for the transfer bus, which is also good (they do about 6 hotels in total) - transfer is about 40mins. As most people have said, the hotel has 2 "blocks" - the original block where the main Lobby is, and then the "new wing" predominantly used by Saga guests. We had a room on the ground floor of the old block, backing on to the main swimming pool. Rooms on this side could probably do with a lick of paint, being the oldest rooms, but they were kept clean. We actually decided halfway through our stay that we liked where we were, as from our back door it was only about 30 paces to the pool - very convenient for putting stuff in/out of the room, quick toilet stops etc.!

Weather is consistent all year round, so you know what you're getting! 2 weeks in Mar at 27-33 deg every day was just perfect! The coast does get hotter in the summer months, but there is a good breeze. However, if you want to go off to do day trips in Luxor/Cairo/desert safari etc., these won't be particularly comfortable in June - Sept, as temps can get up to 40-50 deg there.

The buffet restaurants all serve the same food but, like many others, we agree that for some unexplicable reason the general service/atmosphere in the Saga Block restaurant is better! I think the tables are laid out better to start with, which seems to make it easier for the waiters to see free tables/who needs serving etc. The staff in the Sunset Bar next to the restaurant in the New Wing were also very on-the-ball and friendly, and we found it much more relaxing to have a pre-dinner drink and game of cards in there before dinner than in the Lobby bar. The Lobby Bar is probably busier and far more spread out and you definitely have to go to the bar to order drinks if you want them quite quickly!

The drinks themselves are OK. Soft drinks are brilliant, as you get canned branded drinks (7-Up, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi) plus local soft drinks (orangeade, soda water, tonic water) and bottled water included. The beer is OK (we found Sakara the best of the local beers on offer), the spirits are OK (if a bit on the strong side - I ended up asking for a "small" gin and tonic so that it didn't just taste like neat alcohol!), wine is not so good.... the red in particular is awful, the rosé is drinkable (but a bit strong - we nicknamed it rocket fuel!), the white was OK mixed with 7-Up to make a long drink.

Food was a little disappointing, mainly as we were expecting a bit more "local" food - in general, the hotel cater mainly to the Italians, so there's always a pizza and at least 1 pasta dish on. Food was OK, there was plenty of choice, but it was a bit "ordinary" in general. Few exceptions to the rules on that though, and the salads were particularly good (especially at lunchtime). Desserts were disappointing as they were all quite similar and very heavy and stodgy - all were pretty much cake based or individual pastries. They were no "lighter" options like fruit salad, yogurt, ice cream etc. The staff do have a bit of a party piece if someone has a special occasion - it was my birthday, and my husband told them of this, and I got the full bongo drums/singing/birthday cake bought out in the restaurant after dinner! Embarrassing? Yes... But good fun?? Definitely yes...

The Thomas Cook rep explained to us about the food hygiene inspections the hotel has to have regularly, which means TC guarantee the food is all safe, and all salads are washed in bottled water etc. That said, there were various instances of tummy upsets we heard about (including ourselves!) but I'm 99% sure this has nothing to do with the food at all.

The main health hazard is the money - it's made of a porous material that holds onto germs, so it's vital that you take some anti-bacterial hand wash with you and use it before every meal. Even if you haven't been holding money directly, you've probably shaken someone's hand, or picked something up that someone else has just touched etc. etc.

I was ill on the 1st night, but that was a self-inflicted touch of sunstroke from too much snorkelling!!! It's deceptive how much the strength of the sun there has an effect on your body - the lovely sea breezes may make you feel like you're a comfortable temperature but it is vital to drink loads of water. I was miles better for the rest of the holiday once I'd disciplined myself to drink at least 3-4 bottles a day. Too much of the local alcohol tended to upset our stomachs a bit as well - not in a "had too much/got a hangover" way, just I think they use different different chemicals/processes to us, which I don't think always agreed with me! We weren't ill enough to use the hotel pharmacy, but we heard of a couple of people who went there and the staff were really helpful and the pills they recommended did the trick.

The Room Boys are very good and will always be available if you have any queries - small tips and often (we gave about £1 every 3 days, and then a bit more on our last day) help ensure you have everything you need. We got our room boy to exchange the Pepsi in the mini-bar for Diet Pesi and things like that. Tips also ensure you get some strange "towel creations" on your bed during your stay. And be warned - any clothes left out become fair game to being used in the creations, which we thought was really funny, but we heard of others (mainly older guests) who weren't so amused when things like bras were used to create a monkey's ears...

Pools are kept spotless, and you can usually get a seat around the pool somewhere. Yes, the ones right by the pool bar often go quite quickly, but there's another bank of loungers just behind the pool where the barman will bring your drinks over to anyway.

The whole beach area is probably the best in Makadi Bay - we went for a walk to the bank over the other side of the bay (useful if you want some smaller denomination currency, about 20mins walk along the promenade), and a lot of the other hotel's beach areas weren't as private and were a lot more cramped. And, obviously, the snorkelling is amazing!! Loads of different varieties of fish within 20m of the shore - a lot of older people/people with small kids could just walk in up to chest height to the edge of a patch of coral and stand still and the fish will swim around your feet. With a mask on, you don't need to swim very far at all to see amazing fish - and you're never in water more than about 8ft deep!

Entertainment in the bars wasn't great - most of the singers are Egyptian or Italian, but all try to sing English songs!! Which ends up with some very oddly pronounced phrases... and none of them are particularly brilliant singers. But none were really offensive on the ears either.

The shows in the Arena are pretty good - best one by far is the Kenyan Acrobats (on Sat or Sun night), don't miss that! They have a bar in the Arena as well, and it's quite a nice facility to have in general.

We didn't do much of the daytime activites, but there was an Italian-based animations team on site. They spoke good English and there were a variety of things available (Boules, beach football/volleyball, darts etc.). Most popular seemed to be the water aerobics at 11.30am - don't try and get served at the pool bar then, the pool is swamped with people!

Hotel grounds are quite extensive, with various pathways that take you off to different corners - well worth a stroll round. Take insect spray with you though - there are definitely a fair number of mosquitos around!

There's free wi-fi in the Lobby area, which is easy to get on to, but is a bit slow. Useful if you quickly just want to look something up though. Next to the Lobby is the El Souk, which has 2 good-sized pool tables and a TV in the corner - it's only £2 an hour for the pool tables, and it was always really quiet in there, which we couldn't understand!! A great little gem - we would stick an English-based music channel on the TV and play pool - waiters will deliver you drinks in there as well, so it became our own private little pub on a couple of nights! Was also great fun when England played Egypt at football, and the staff all came into El Souk to watch the game on TV with about 10-15 Englishmen - brilliant atmosphere!

We had a massage at the on-site massage parlour between the swimming pools and the beach. Good massage and good value - you can't add the cost on to your room though, you need to pay with cash or credit card on the day.

We did a few trips with TC - 2 day trip to Luxor (highly recommended, but not in the really hot summer months!), submarine trip, dolphin safari, 4x4 sand buggies. Feel free to contact me if you want any info/advice on these.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
14 Thank Mel 'Evans' Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas

Property: Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas
Address: Safaga Road | Abu Makhadeg Bay, Makadi Bay, Hurghada, Egypt
Location: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > Hurghada > Makadi Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Makadi Bay
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Makadi Bay
#10 Family Hotel in Makadi Bay
#11 Romantic Hotel in Makadi Bay
#14 Luxury Hotel in Makadi Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas 4*
Number of rooms: 458
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa, & Villas promises tranquilityand opulence with its 444 luxurious rooms, suites, privateapartments and 14 newly built villas.Four dining venues, five swimming pools, including a children's pool(three of which are heated), a state-of-the-art gym, world class Thai managed Spa and sports facilities as well as I-Dive, a five-starIDC PADI dive center, guarantee a fun and unforgettable hotel experience.Inspired by the Sardinian roots of its architects, FortArabesque Resort & Spa combines distinctive Italianand Arabic accents in its architecture, from its imposingmedieval fort structure to its interior touches and décor,where the different shades of Egyptian cave stones fromAswan blend with the antique fine wood furnishings oforiental designs.We would like to introduce our new concept as well, which is unique in Egypt.Nestled within the Fort Arabesque resort, The Villas offer its guests luxurious accommodation, space and privacy in addition to a more personal and dedicated service. Each of the 14 Villas (8 units with 1 bedroom + 1 bathroom, 6 units with 2 bedrooms + 2 bathrooms) is tastefully decorated to reflect the mix of Arabic accents and Mediterranean influences of the Fort Arabesque Resort. All units have private garden and terrace with private access to a secluded swimming pool exclusive to The Villas. To ensure a fast and efficient service, the check-in is done through a private reception. The residents also have access to the Pavilion which is a private lounge where the villa guests can enjoy a semi-served upgraded breakfast in the morning. For lunch and dinner time the Pavilion functions as an A’la Carte Restaurant, giving the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining experience. The extra benefits of the Villa Guests include free Wi-Fi, free Gym usage and various discounts in the different outlets of the hotel.Guests at The Villas are free to use all the facilities and enjoy the same ‘all inclusive’ benefits at the resort with quick access to the main restaurant and the beach as well. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Fort Arabesque
Fort Arabesque Makadi Bay
Fort Arabesque Hurghada

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