Frankly, although perhaps not absolutely "perfect" in every sense (what is?) it would be kind of mean of me to give my holiday at the Hilton,Taba, any less than 5 out of 5, because truly, the staff make this place wonderful and well deserving of an "excellent" rating.
My one week all-inclusive, holiday at the Hilton Taba resort in March 2013, was a VERY happy one. As I told the management team (who invited some of us Brits to the equivalent of the cruise-liner “drinks with the Captain”)-the staff MAKE the hotel (the wonderful place that it is-so look after them!)
Virtually every member of staff I encountered was kind, thoughtful and professional. (Always wishing me a good day, saying good morning). They reminded me of Disney Land (Los Angeles) staff, on my visit there a few years ago. But anyone who has had experience in the entertainment industry will understand why those folks are genuinely happy at work. Hilton Taba staff probably don’t have those kinds of perks-yet, I experienced them to be-on the whole, overwhelmingly wonderful. (There are one or two, who perhaps, over-do it. I am a very good people reader, so I can spot the oleaginous a thousand miles away. Still, I would rather have oleaginous, than rude any day. And who can blame them for trying so hard? These reviews make a big difference to them.)
So, we landed in Taba on 16 March and there was a police strike. Hence when we finally rolled up to check in (super swift and easy) it was three hours late, and after midnight (I had been up since 2am that same day). And I think to make up for the hassles on arrival-some of us were upgraded to a room, or perhaps more accurate to say a suite in Nelson’s Village. I am profoundly grateful for this. I think this was about creating a good first impression-following a not so good one at the airport. (Upgrade if you can! Nelson’s Village is really lovely-it made the holiday). There were thoughtful plates of food waiting for me in my room/suite (which I was too exhausted to eat). Instead, I collapsed into bed and woke up so refreshed; I had no clear memory of falling asleep or dreaming. (So-the beds are pretty comfy! But the pillows are not. Down pillows would be a nice touch-but perhaps not so hygienic. Seemed a minor point to be honest). How could I moan about anything-I was utterly smitten with my room! Spacious, beautiful-doors leading to the private outdoor seating and beach. Huge TV-loads of channels. AND BEST OF ALL - quiet! Bliss. I especially adored my bathroom!! I wanted to take that dreamy, power shower-home! I was singing Emeli Sande’s “Heaven” every morning!
A few members of staff deserve special mention and my sincere, heartfelt thanks-Tamer, (hope that is the right spelling) the (‘newly crowned’!) Manager. Thank you for just being very cool. Chris Sherman, lovely, down to earth, General Manager. Essam and Mohammed at the Palm Court resturant. Marwa for being a very good receptionist. The house-keeping staff-I’m a softie I guess-they were just doing their jobs, but I SO appreciated how wonderfully they cleaned and refreshed my room each day. And left me flowers from around the grounds. “The reward is just to see you smile.” Said my favourite house-keeping angel. I am so sorry not to remember his name (I made a lot of new friends that week). And I got awesome towel art as well. (I will try and post pictures) In fact, it became an interactive thing, where I would change the towel designs and develop them a bit! I even made requests- and had them granted!
Truly, I was treated like a Princess almost the whole time. I often felt very spoiled. (I think ultimately, you do get what you give).
Hilton Taba, reminded me of serviced apartments/gated community, I stayed in a few years back in LA-they were so awesome that many people came for a few weeks and ended up NEVER going home! (lol-seriously) Wealthy ex-actresses, usually. (Even I stayed there two months longer than planned). So-Nelson’s Village, within Hilton Taba felt to me more like a gated community, rather than a hotel. This was of course, in part- luck of the draw as well, as I connected with a few really lovely Brits-and we looked out for each other.
As a female solo traveller, I had just the right balance of my much prized solitude, quiet and privacy, balanced with companionship. I also enjoyed hanging out with Al-Ed-in (‘Alladin’-forgive, my spelling) and Mohammed from the Spa. (Keep doing the yoga I taught you!!). Speaking of which, the spa is, in some respects-basic, but the treatments are on the whole-fab. However, as a yoga teacher and massage therapist myself-there are a few things I would change. For example; the steam room needs to be renovated, made more inviting-(diffused essential oils, work well), spotlessly clean and above all, HOT. Therapists need to maintain short finger nails. They should never break contact with clients for one moment, once treatments begin-or open the door/have conversations, mid-treatment. The main issue with the spa is a lack of experienced staff to marshal the troops! They are a talented bunch-(just a bit young). Several of my fellow holiday makers also had wonderful treatments, but we all agreed that they were not terribly well co-ordinated. (e.g.-I arrived freshly showered and changed, and was ordered straight into the Jacuzzi-sauna-steam; when I had come only for a massage.But it was free and I didn't want to be a pain, if that is spa policy. But clients should be told it's a prerequisite, in that case). However, these are management issues - the spa staff was wonderful. They cannot be expected to know, what they don’t know. It also seemed a pity not to be able to choose the therapist treating you. The therapists meet and greet you on the beach-offer a package, but you might not have the person you spoke with. But I realised it is also a cultural thing-men massage men, women massage women. No big deal-they are all very good.
The ‘Shopping Mall’ area; outlets independent of the Hilton family, are a bit of a law unto themselves. Being a single woman, I was hassled a little bit..”Hey lady, come into my shop!” (type thing-again to be expected really). The odd perve. But I can take care of myself. Though I avoided shopping for this reason-it happens-it became a bit of a joke really. If I stayed longer, I would soon have stopped even noticing. It’s just a culture difference. Imagine going into Waitrose to chorus’ of “Hey Lady! For you-Linda McCartney sausage-half price!” (lol) A friend had a slightly more worrying experience. But again, nothing that the sunshine didn’t immediately make one forget all about! (Side note-the water is cold in March, but clarity pretty good-lots of colourful fishies :) even in shallow water. Fabulous arrid, hot, weather! Perfect).
The only thing that wasn’t super awesome, was the food. I mean, it was okay-perfectly fresh, an abundance of choice and quantity-(I think I gained a few pounds at least!) But if the staff on the whole are 6 star quality-the food was definitely about a 2-3 star by comparison. However, it’s worth noting that I am a veggie. Plenty of choice; just not very adventurous or memorable. Apart from the restaurant ‘Marhaba’. There was a birthday girl in the house on the night I went. Everyone sang happy birthday. And the waiter did a super cute dance for her. Many got up to join in! He balanced her cake on his head then, expertly, got up and danced some more on a chair! It was great fun! And the food-veggie and all, was very yummy. But I’m not a foodie, neither do I drink-so the “3 star food” didn't bother me in the least. I just know it’s important to some folks. For information-I heard a similar story from others staying within resorts at Taba Heights. ("Great service"-though not even close to ours at Hilton-"not so great food").
Loads of day-trips are possible from Hilton Taba-in fact it makes a fantastic base to explore the whole region. And it’s such a wonderful place to “come home” to, after a day travelling by bus. I decided against captive dolphins in Eilat. (a couple on the way home, said I did well-it wasn't worth the money). Cairo not available. So I went to Dahab. Meh. Excellent for diving, nice beach (apparently)-I was on the side with all the shops and restaurants where you just jump into the sea from your table! Fun! (missed the "storm" at Taba) Very young, Brit crowd, too hip and cool for me (I’m 36). So happy I didn’t stay there-as a friend suggested. But I imagine it's a good place for those who like to party and hang out with the cool kids. (and who love cats and dogs-it's overrun with strays! Lucky I adore animals, so I was happy to have a cat curl up on my lap while I was eating outdoors!) I was very happy to “come home” at the end of the long day.
Final verdict- I would be very happy, honoured even, to return to Hilton Taba as soon as I can-I would highly recommend it. In fact, many members of staff said they would be waiting for me (Aw!). I know, you might say: “yeah, yeah-they say that to everyone”. And maybe they do-but it’s not that easy to fool me. And if it’s all a kind of ‘North Korean trick of the tourist’ thing - then, they got me good. I loved it there. It did feel like a home from home. The Russians did not bother me. (Though the amount of smokers on the beach, at times did-but, I am sensitive). My advice to Brits about the Ruskies? Be genuinely kind. regardless of what you’ve heard. Try not to be prejudiced by all the Brits moaning about how "rude" they are. Be polite and you will 9/10 receive the same in return. Yes, sometimes they don’t say “thanks” when you hold the door, or spoon some rice onto their plate before yours-big deal. Theirs is a very different culture to the uber polite British one. We can get over it. Just enjoy the great privilege of being on a glorious holiday! Big thanks to all-I hope to return soon!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience world-class service at Taba Hotel & Nelson Village This property is 4 minutes walk from the beach. Taba Hotel & Nelson Village features panoramic Gulf of Aqaba views and a private beach area with sun loungers. The bright, spacious rooms have cable TV and plush beds. All rooms at Taba Hotel & Nelson Village are fitted with air conditioning and have a minibar. Some rooms have a balcony with views of the garden and the Red Sea. Guests can organise diving trips at the on-site diving center or relax with a massage therapy. For younger guests, Taba Hotel & Nelson Village offers a Kids’ club. Italian cuisine can be enjoyed at the Taba Hotel & Nelson Village's Casa Taba. Oriental specialties are served at Marhaba. Guests can unwind with a drink on the terrace at the Nelson Pub. Taba Hotel & Nelson Village is 20 minutes’ drive from Eilat Airport. Underwater Observatory Marine Park is just a 3-minute drive away. Free private parking is available at the hotel. We speak your language! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Taba Resort & Nelson Village Hotel Taba
- Hilton Taba Resort And Nelson Village
- Hilton International Taba
- Hilton Taba Hotel Nelson Village