Ok, I'm going to start with saying that we would definitely stay here again but, and its a big but, if you are not prepared to stay in mediocre rooms and eat average food that is Germanic in orientation and put up with small glasses of beer and no tonic for your gin then this is not the place for you.
However, if you want somewhere that is clean, with a fabulous pool, very nice gardens and in what is probably the best location in Naama Bay then I would highly recommend staying here!!
We stayed here in a group of two families both with two adults and two children. our relatives had younger children and payed extra for adjoining rooms. The travel agent sent a request for us to have the same (without paying extra) and we also had adjoining rooms at no extra cost so if you've got teenage kids I'd take the risk as it seemed every room has this option! The rooms were basic but had phenomenal air conditioning and were cleaned twice a day with fresh towels whenever we needed them - and there was plenty of hot water and free 2 ltr bottled water provided every two days (and more on request if you needed it). You also get beach towels provided and they will be changed every day if you leave them outside your room.There is intermittent wifi in the hotel lounge area but not in the rooms.
We stayed during October half term and the weather was fabulous although the sun does start to go down early (after 4 pm its getting beyond sunbathing). I mention this as the there is a lot of shadow in the gardens around the pool at this time of year and you are probably best trying to get a bed on the artificial beach if you want to stay in the hotel all day and sunbathe.
The pool itself is a meandering shape that doesn't lend itself particularly well to swimming but is great for the kids and is set in very nice, very clean and very well manicured surroundings. In the evening when it is lit up it is quite stunning.
The food in the buffet (breakfast, lunch and snacks) is ok but that is about it. In general, if you are after cruise quality food, you wont find it here. That said, you will always find something to eat and there are recognisable cereals and fresh milk at breakfast but lunch and dinner is very European and certainly aimed at the German tourist market.
The hotel does have three themed restaurants Italian, Mexican and South American. You have to book these a day in advance but it is worth it (the Italian and Mexican will give you as much as you want if you ask for more). However, there are a couple of things to note: the reps will tell you that you have to book between 0900 and 1000. We tried this the first morning (for the day after) and all the restaurants were fully booked by the time I got there. So, I went and queued every morning at 0800 to ensure we got a table - admittedly we needed a table for 8 but even so, I'd go early, it is worth it (and if you're still hungry you can go to the buffet after). The South American restaurant is by far the best but you will have to pay a supplement for the best dishes.
The beach is about a 7-8 minute walk away across a main road and through the sister hotel (Ghazala Beach). There is a dedicated crossing patrol between the hotels who will ensure you get across the road safely, so no problems there and the beach area is private to the two hotels and seemed very safe. Sun beds are provided free of charge but hotel staff on the beach will want to show you to a vacant bed and expect a tip. We tipped a couple of US Dollars a day and we always got 8 loungers together, being remembered every morning. There's an all inclusive bar on the beach, but as mentioned earlier, don't expect full glasses!! The beach though is great, with the reef only 20 meters from the shore and you will definitely find Nemo and his friends there with just a pair of swimming goggles and snorkel required - if you want to try diving to see the fish don't bother, you won't see anything more...
You will get hassled on the beach to go to the spa or try water sports but a polite 'no thanks' is all it takes for the reps to move on.
You can have snacks at lunchtime which comprises chips, pizza, hot dogs etc in the sister hotel by the beach. If you want more variety you'll have to go back to the main hotel.
Just in relation to tipping, we had been advised to take lots of Dollar bills to tip but actually we never really needed them apart from the beach. We tipped the hotel bar staff the first few times but they were indifferent to the gesture. The only other exception was in the hotel themed restaurant where it was very gratefully received (and remembered).
The local area:
The main shopping and drinking/eating areas of Naama Bay are only a 5 minute walk away from the front of the hotel (turn right and you'll soon see them). Most of the bars were doing offers when we visited, possibly due to the lack of tourists (as a consequence of the trouble in Cairo?) so it was cheap to drink out but there seems to be no draught beer at all in Sharm and not much alcohol in the cocktails, so I'd stick to bottled drinks!! In respect of the unrest, we saw no sign of it and only minor evidence of additional security (apart from a visit to Soho Sq where there were lots of armed police guarding the entry and exit points but who didn't bother tourists).
The shopping here is heaven if you're after fake handbags and watches etc though you will get hassled to come into shops, but, as on the beach, they are quite happy with a 'no thanks' and in general, the locals are incredibly friendly.
All in all, we had a great holiday and will go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just a five minute stroll from the centre of Naama Bay and five minutes to the beach it shares with The Ghazala Beach Hotel, the Ghazala Gardens offers a perfect balance of scale and facilities. The delightful gardens teem with exotic plants and a lagoon pool that give it a truly tropical feel. You can even swim right from your terrace with our poolside rooms! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Ghazala Gardens Hotel Sharm El Sheikh
- Ghazala Gardens Sharm El Sheikh
- Ghazala Gardens Egypt
- Ghazala Gardens Hotel Egypt