Just got back from 2 weeks at the Dreams Beach, from end of May to beginning of June. There's a pretty detailed review below but I hope it might help with a few things...
We arrived at the airport to be greeted by the staff in white coats and masks!
There was a large congrigation of us all at the outer door waiting to get in and have our temperature taken - due to the risk of Swine Flu as we'd arrived from England - so it looked like it'd take forever to get through. It didn't however, they were pretty well organised, and the time from leaving the plane door, to getting on the coach was around 45 mins, including getting our suitcases. We arrived on Thursday too, traditionally the maddest day for arrivals in Sharm.
The arrival hall is where you can buy your visa - we got one as I'd heard you needed one to do ANY trips - this isn't true! Pretty much the only ones you need a visa for is to go to Cairo or Luxor. Quads, speedboats, waterparks etc, it is not needed, so don't buy unless you have to!
There's an immigration card to fill in as well, try do this in the queue to passport control so you go through quicker. Hand it in with your passport and get the stamp and go on through to get your bags.
Reps met us as soon as we got our bags, and were very good with directions to the coach. Locals will ask you to carry your bags for you, or get you a trolley, but will want paying for the privilege! A quick 'no thanks mate' was all they needed though.
We were given a pack of flyers for various things, including trip details, nightclub flyers etc, as well as details of the welcome meeting the following morning.
The transfer took around 25 minutes, including a stop at another hotel along the way - not bad at all.
As soon as we got off the coach, I sent the missus in to get started whilst I got the bags - by the time I'd got them, she'd got our room sorted. Just a quick form to fill in, then they issue you with the room card and you're away. They'll give you a couple of tags for your cases with your room no. on and once they're attached, just leave the cases out front near the coach and the room boys will bring them for you - nice touch. We dumped the bags in the room and went straight down to the restaurant and bar - priorities and all that!
We got what I think was a pretty decent location, room-wise. We overlooked the sea, in cluster 33 (there's 8 rooms in a cluster, 4 upstairs and 4 downstairs). I had emailed the hotel the day before we departed England to request adjoining rooms (we travelled with another couple) with a seaview and an upper floor, with double beds. I don't know if this is why we got this location, but maybe it was...
Rooms are spacious, with plenty of wardrobe space, shelving, drawers etc. May be an idea to take some additonal hangers if you can fit them in though, but everywhere's like that... There's an electronic safe in one wardrobe, a TV, aircon and a fridge. Never turned our TV on, but apparently there weren't any British channels, but I can't vouch for that!
There's a balcony, with sliding doors - DON'T SHUT THE DOORS BEHIND YOU to keep mozzies out of the room if you go out onto the balcony, just pull the curtain across or something. We learnt this to our peril - there's no way back in, the door locks behind you!! We had to shout down to a group on the floor below and they rang reception for us, who sent a man to open the door - first night embarrasment or what!!
Beds were twin beds, but were already pushed together to form a double. Comfortable and pretty large, there's extra pillows and a duvet cover in the wardrobe too, if needed.
Bathroom was OK - facilities were: shower over the bath, toilet, bidet and sink. There's a hairdryer so you don't need to take one. Could do with a bit of a lick of paint, but it was clean enough, certainly not a holiday spoiler as some people seem to report...
Minibar was stocked up daily with water, coke and sprite. They don't put booze in your fridge. You can buy this from the shop though if required.
Lovely reception area with a massive water feature in the middle, this is where the main bar is located. Plenty of seating for drinks here, which is what a lot of people did in the evening. Similar at Dreams Vacation (the sister hotel next door), although not as much seating there, and I thought the reception looked a bit nicer at Dreams Beach.
There's a little van/bus thing that runs between the hotels that's got seating for 8-10 people. This runs all day until sunset and you just jump on and get a lift to the other hotel. It's only about a 5 minute walk anyway, but in the heat, it's nice if you can catch it! You can't miss this bus, it's red and yellow with a red slanted roof thing on it...
A lot of people have put the hotel down I think. I agree it's not a 5-star (although it is by Egyptian ratings), more a 3.5 star British rating, but that said, we couldn't really fault anything. The staff were courteous and polite, they always said hello when passing, this also went for the gardeners, maintenance staff etc. We were originally booked to a Mexico 5-star and I think the standard there would've been higher, but no-one can help what happened there, so we were really happy with what we got.
Main buffet Restaurants:
The main restaurant is off the reception area. People have put in their reviews in the past that it's like a cattle-market in there, but it seemed fine to me. It's a huge room with loads of seats. There's an inside bit where most of the food's served which is air-conditioned, and a section in a conservatory where there's a omlette/egg (in the morning) and pasta/chicken (lunch/evening) 'fresh-cook' station. You can smoke in this conservatory section.
The food's pretty good overall. Yes, it can get a bit samey if you're going for 2 weeks, but it's nice enough. There's no pork, as it's a muslim country, but they have what's called 'beef-bacon' which is basically thinly sliced beef - it doesn't taste like a bacon buttie, so don't be disappointed!!
There's plenty of beef/chicken/lamb/fish though, all cooked nicely. The pasta station will make up what you want too. There's loads of salad and loads of cakes/sweets/fruit.
Grillhouse - down on the beach area, this one cooks chicken skewers/fish skewers/beef skewers and Calamari to order. You can go as many times as you like here as part of the all-inc, but you have to book. Was very nice food down here, overlooking the sea. You go get your own salad etc then they bring the meat to you when it's cooked.
Pergola (by the Dreams Beach main pool) - This operates a set menu - different daily. Again, you can go as many times as you want as part of the all-inc, but you have to book. The first course is self-service soup and salad/pasta. Then there's a 2nd course of a pasta dish - we went twice and it was lasagne first time, then pasta with spicy sauce the other time. Then the main gets brought to you - we had Lamb first time and steak (beautifully cooked medium rare) 2nd time. Then a sweet to finish off with. Food really good here, we'd have gone more often if we'd discovered it earlier. The waiters really nice here too - showing you little tricks and things between eating - I can now spin a full glass of beer upside down without spilling a drop!
Mexican - this is one of the ones you have to pay for. This is seated outdoors at the Dreams Vacation area of the hotels. It's about £14 British pounds for a
4 course meal and it's really good. There's nachos to start, then a salad, then fajitas (or whatever you pick from the menu, it differs daily) then a huge chunk of chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream to finish. Beer, house wine and other drinks are included, and they have additional cocktails to the normal ones available here, again included in the price.
Asia House (Chinese and Indian) - again, this is one you have to pay for. It's situated at the Dreams Vacation as well, inside in a lovely setting.
There's a minimum spend of 100 Egyptian pounds per person, which when we were there, would've been around £11-£12. You pick what you want from the menu, and
can mix and match Chinese/Indian starters/mains if you want to. You can add a bottle of wine from a menu, but these are quite expensive and the house wine is included as part of the package, so unless you really are a conneseiur, don't bother buying one. Beer and other drinks are all included too...
The meal here was really, really good. Between us we had a mixture of the Indian and Chinese menu and I can't fault any of it. They'll cook it to your desired spice level too, on the Indian. I didn't fancy going the whole hog with the Vindaloo, but did have a 'highly spiced' tikka massala.
Total bill came to just less than 390 Egyptian pounds for the lot for 4 people - bargain. If you eat at the Mexican or the Indian, they give you a voucher for 20% off at the other restaurants, next time you go. That's how we managed to get it below the 400 EGP minimum if you were wondering!!
There's 5 pools at the Dreams Beach, and 5 at the Dreams Vacation. Each has a 'main' pool. This is where the slides are located at both of the hotels. These main pools are where the music is playing and any games arranged by the Animation team are played. There's a swim up bar at the Dreams Beach main pool.
The best pool we found was just in front of the Asia House restaurant at the Dreams Vacation. It's a lot quieter here and you're pretty much guaranteed to get a sunbed. A lovely guy called Karam will more than likely make up your sunbed with the towel too if he sees you coming, and doesn't expect a tip, he's just a nice guy! This pool is located near to the Mexican bar if you want a drink. There's tiled sunbeds in the shallow area of the pool too.
The only annoyance is the guys selling stuff whilst you're trying to sunbathe... it's pretty much constant for the first few days, at least till you get brown or they start to recognise you. Then it drops off and they just say hello and move on. They'll be flogging the restaurants, trips, tattoos, massages and sand pictures. It does get on your threepennies after a while, there's no denying it. We did book a couple of massages and the restaurants and a speedboat trip and the quads though, so maybe we got left alone more than those that said no to everything. We didn't feel forced into these, it was stuff we wanted to do anyway...
The Animation team are wandering about a lot, involving you in games if you want. No real pressure from them, just a lively bunch trying to get people together for activities. We took part in a quiz night, some pool games and a table-tennis competition. They had organised trips into Naama Bay for Pacha too, if you fancy a club night.
There are 3 jettys leading out into the sea at the Dreams resort, you have to go in using these as the coral comes right into the shore and you can't walk on it. The snorkelling's amazing though, fish all over the place (don't know any species I'm afraid!) so you are always guaranteed to see something.
Upper 30s every single day, not a cloud in the sky. Reached early 40s for a couple of days towards the end. It's bearable though, as it's a dry desert heat, not the humid one found in, say, the Caribbean etc.
Other areas to explore:
Naama Bay of course, Sharm's main resort. Really nice down here, we went in using the hotel's free bus service several times. You have to book this on a sheet as early as possible the same day, but there were usually plenty of spaces. Loads of Shisha bars and restaurants in Naama, we ate at the Thai restaurant one night for a change and it was gorgeous. There aren't many 'music bars' really, they tend to be Shisha bars where you just go to drink and try the pipes, and then there's Pacha if you want the music later. The exceptions to this are the Tavern Bar (the only 'English' pub), TGI Fridays, Camel Bar and Hard Rock Cafe.
Great place though, highly recommended for a visit. We didn't see much hassle either, there's obviously people trying to get you in their bar, but a quick 'no thanks' and move on is all they need. Loads of shops too if you want any souveniers.
Quad bike tour - we did this twice it was that good. A 2 hour tour into the desert, visiting a couple of Bedouin tents along the way. Good way to see the Sinai desert and have fun along the way. You'll need a scarf type thing to cover your face though, cos of the sand. Take one if you've got one, or they sell them there for 25 EGP.
"Gypi tummy" as they call it! You'd be very lucky not to get it to some degree or another I think. It's symptoms are diarrhoea and stomach cramps. We all got it, one of us worse than the rest. They're well equipped at the pharmacy to deal with it though and will give you some tablets to sort it out. Be aware though part of the course of tablets are antibiotics, and you can't drink alcohol whilst you're taking them, or for 24 hours after finishing the course, which lasts about 2-3 days.
Oh, we didn't know this at the time, but you can even barter in the pharmacy!
Just pack up and leave your suitcases outside your room, then go check out and tell them your bags are there and they'll send someone for them - another nice touch.
At the airport as soon as you get off the coach, the locals were offering to get trolleys or carry bags again. We just carried on walking though and they were fine with that.
Pretty big queue for our flight, but after a couple of minutes they opened 2 more desks in addition to the two we already had, so getting rid of bags took around 10 minutes. NOTE - if you've bought a Shisha pipe as a souvenier or present, it can't be taken as hand luggage, I learnt this after I'd checked my suitcase in, so had to come back to check in later and put it in as additional hold luggage! So get it in your case if at all possible.
They give you a departure card to fill at the check in desk - again, try fill it in whilst in the queue for passport control, as it will speed up the process.
We could see through to Arrivals from the departure lounge and it looked like the temperature checking had stopped, so we're obviously off the high risk list now!
Departure lounge not too bad - there's a duty free shop and around 3 or 4 cafes. No 'sit-in' bars or anything, but you can get a drink and food and take it to the seats or the few tables that are scattered around. Price for a can of beer in there is 25 Egyptian pounds for a 500ml Stella or Sakara, and about 28 for a Heineken. However - you can take cans through check in, in your hand luggage, which I did. The Stella is only 13 Egyptian Pounds in Dreams Beach shop, so it's worth it if you need a bit of 'pre-flight medication' like I do!! Oh, there's a smoking area in the departure lounge too, so no need to down about 7 outside before checking in!
Would definitely recommend the Dreams Beach. Yes, it's not really a 5-star, but the people, facilities and above all the amazing weather make this seem insignificant. Enjoy...
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- Also Known As:
- Dreams Beach Hotel Sharm El Sheikh
- Hotel Dreams Beach
- Dreams Beach Resort Egypt
- Dreams Beach Resort Sharm El Sheikh
- Dreams Beach Egypt
- Beach Dream El Resort Sharm Sheikh