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“Another great holiday”

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Sofitel Taba Heights
Ranked #6 of 22 Hotels in Taba
Reviewed November 1, 2013

We were at the Sofitel for the first 2 weeks in October and this was the 2nd time we had stayed at there. We were not disappointed, even though we almost never go back to the same place again. Staff were wonderful, couldn't have been more helpful and made to feel very welcome. We had a wonderful room in Block 1 overlooking the sea.
Food as before, excellent, plenty to choose from and excellent quality, loved Egyptian night. Try the Egyptian desert um Ali , very sweet but delicious. Adults only restaurant was a bonus once the hotel became busier.
Didn't see much of the evening entertainment as up early for the fantastic snorkelling on the reef. But did see the whirling dervish and they were very good. The gin seems to have improved since last time as was very drinkable, as was the wine and beer.
Did the trips to Petra and Jerusalem, we'll worth it . Very early starts, but lots of comfort breaks and sights that you will just never forget
I believe Thompson are no longer going to Taba, what a pity! But worth the transfer from Sharm El Shake when possible.
The staff worked really hard to make sure our stay was a memorable one and we will certainly be returning as it's a great place to recharge your batteries.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank nolostbaggage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 31, 2013

We went to the Sofitel for the second time in June 2013.

We were allocated an excellent room on arrival as the block we requested was not yet open due to lack of guests.

Huge amount of sunbeds and most days had a whole section of beach to ourselves! :-)

Overall the hotel was good, but it still lacked something (which made us return) from our first visit that we could not quite put our finger on.

Some of the staff were excellent, but a large number didn't seem to care one way or another. The emphasis was on serving the large number of locals that descended upon the hotel who, by the way, were very rude and extremely arrogant. They also had a blatant disregard for the hotels dress code in the restaurant which was ignored by the hotel staff for locals but fiercely imposed on everyone else!

The food the first week was awful, cold and repetitive and, to be honest, we just wanted to go home. Second week it picked up and it became apparent that the main chef had returned.

I contracted gastroenteritis when I was there, in the first week, and had to call the doctor out and was prescribed tablets. I was told by him that it was nothing to do with the hotel as he had not see many reported cases. That may have been the case but people were dropping like flies and going direct to the pharmacy rather than call out the doctor!

I have to say our holiday was saved by some of the people we met at the hotel, a handful of staff and a brilliant trip to Jerusalem. A must do activity.

I do not think that we are likely to return, not good enough to warrant the trip down to Gatwick, they had already stopped flights from Manchester, or potentially flying into Sharm and bussing it down to Taba.

Great shame as this was once a great hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Herfie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

The Sofitel Hotel was super, we could not fault it, our room was clean and spacious and kept very clean throughout our stay. The staff could not do enough for us and there was many decent meals to choose and different themes every night. snorkeling was perfect and this is how we spent our time, not much more to do except sit back and chill out till your next meal. Sadly Taba is a dying resort and did not keep up with its sister resort 'El Gouna' built by the same people. We spend our holiday in El Gouna every year but decided for a change we would try the sister resort Taba this year, but this place is dead. Egypt has been rocking for the last 3 years but the recent months have seen most of the EU pull out of Taba and now the Brits have pretty much left it and as spoken of already, Thomson no longer use the resort. We flew out for their last week on an empty plane which was a first and and empty 747 came out to collect us and all remaining British reps filling every seat for the return flight. Hearing the resort reps talk on the return flight they say Taba will not be there given another year. Taba was a part of Egypt I did not feel safe in, my husband could not leave my side, and I kept my eyes to the ground for most of my stay. I have visited most parts of Egypt and have found the nationals easy going and most of the time polite, something changed? Staying here I found most of the hotel occupants were nationals, and for the first time saw them as rude, arrogant and pretty scary. Getting a coffee or a drink I soon found I was pushed aside by the male family members so they could bark their order at a waiter, and once or twice while reaching to lift a food dome in the food hall, I found a hand coming from no where and shoulder pushing me aside. Twice we left the hotel to go to a deserted uptown, a shopping area which should be buzzing. Again I found this somewhat scary and every few shops some one would run out and try to make conversation to get you to go in. We usually leave Egypt with some good buys and gifts, but we were robbed in every shop. We have a rough guess now as to what a good price is and even the little Mario market seemed to till up what price they wanted to, no clear price listed. We left with very few essential items and paying a lot more than we would have in the UK but I guess they were making the most due to having perhaps only a handful of tourists a day and I noticed most of the shops were closed, day and night. I should of known once landing in Taba and being escorted to the hotel with flashing blue lights and armed guards this was going to be an 'on edge vacation', but being searched under the transport with mirrors and lights for bombs at every stop was a little too much for me. Last but not least Taba airport killed the holiday, leaving the hotel around 6.30pm to take off at 10pm. Only one x-ray was working as you enter the main doors, we found ourselves at the back waiting outside to get in for almost an hour, once you get through this we slowly wind our way around the tapes for over another hour while 2 members check everyone in. Now hungry and dying of thirst we go up to the cafe and were charged over 80EGP for 2 small coffees!! (Robbed again) While sitting out filling out our exit cards I saw a few order, some like us huffed and excepted, one gent told them to keep it, another lady questioned it when he demanded more money. She demanded a menu stating the price, after a quibble he went out back got one and tossed it to her. She pointed out price stated and he gave her much change back sucking his teeth at her. I could not wait to leave the place. We then went through a one man passport control and found ourselves packed in a very small hall with 1 small duty free shop (if your lucky its open) Same small cafe that upstairs staff come down to help fleece you once everyone has gone through to the hall. Over priced souvenir tat stall and then you sit clock watching on metal chairs waiting for your call. You no sooner get on the plane and Taba airport lights go out. No, I will stick with El Gouna and hope politics settle in this country very soon. I feel sorry for such a lovely hotel and really hope the area can turn itself around before it is too late.

Room Tip: Sea view would be a must
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Lisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

This was our first trip to Egypt, and we were hoping for a good quality, upmarket experience after looking at the impressive photos of this hotel online and the fact it is a "Thomson Platinum 5 star" hotel. I have to say we were both disappointed. I'll come to why in a moment, but first of all I will cover the positives. The food was excellent and in my view couldn't be faulted, although perhaps at the end of two weeks it did become a little repetitive. Most of the staff are friendly and helpful (though certainly not all of them.) There are lots of pools in the grounds, including a saltwater pool and a "quiet pool", mostly pleasant enough to sit around. The shisha tent on the beachfront is a really relaxing place to sit at night. And the spa facilities in the hotel are great, although you have to pay British prices for any treatments (the sauna is free, though.)

It's a big hotel and superficially grand, which is why it looks good in the pictures. The trouble is, it really does not have an upmarket or classy feel. Quite the opposite, in fact. Whether this was affected by the large scale cancellations meaning that it only had 25% occupancy for most of our stay, with all the troubles in Egypt, I don't know. It definitely felt downmarket to me. We looked around the Hyatt and the Intercontinental, other nearby hotels, and both seemed to me to have a much classier atmosphere. I realise the Sofitel has a band of devoted followers, because we talked to someone there who had stayed umpteen times and some of the reviews on here say the same, but it really wasn't my kind of place and I felt quite uncomfortable. It's a difficult thing, commenting on the "feel" of a hotel, and to some extent I accept it is a subjective judgement. However I did feel that I did not get what I was expecting for the money paid - £1900 for the pair of us for 2 weeks - and that annoyed me. I certainly will not fall for the package holiday marketing again - they tell you all the facilities and facts about the place, but you never know what the atmosphere's going to be like, and I haven't yet been to an all-inclusive place with a classy atmosphere.

You arrive at Taba Airport which is a weird place - it's at the top of a mountain range, so you go on this long twisty, windy road to reach Taba Heights, escorted by police outriders. It's a little unnerving; you half expect armed bandits to jump out and hijack you at any moment! Then you arrive at the resort, which is a gated enclave. It seemed safe enough but again, it was unnerving to have the underside of the vehicles constantly being checked with a mirror - to see if there was a bomb attached.

Taba Heights itself was a curious place. Clearly built to attract upmarket customers, with a big golf course and watersports centre, it was dead most of the time we were there, and walking around "uptown", the main shopping area, felt like being in an episode of "The Prisoner" - a very eerie experience, with hardly a soul in sight. The atmosphere was a bit better at night, but I didn't much like the place and found it highly artificial.

At least when Eid came around, the place filled up and it was quite nice to have a feeling of life in the place. It was a bit like Christmas with all the family getting together and celebrating, and on the whole I didn't mind the cultural differences between the Europeans and the Arabs who were visiting. However, it must be said that queuing was a foreign concept to them and this did annoy me at reception. Basically, the rule is that whoever pushes to the front quickest and shouts the loudest gets served first. It's very impolite from a British point of view. One advantage was that a second restaurant opened up (The Mediterranean) which had a much nicer atmosphere than the main one, which frankly was little more than a glorified canteen.

We were let down badly by the staff when we arrived, which got our holiday off to a bad start. We had requested a room on a high floor but were given one on the ground floor, for no apparent reason. We were then promised a move the next day. However, when we came to make the move, we were quite rudely told by Hussein at reception that it was no longer possible (remember this is in a hotel which is three-quarters empty!) That man was dreadful - he constantly had a pained, supercilious expression on his face and we actively avoided dealing with him when he was there. And this in a supposedly five star hotel! What a joke. I've had better service in dirt cheap budget hotels in England. Quite unlike Mohammed at reception who was extremely professional and polite.

At least the room and bathroom was OK. It was a little battered and I don't think the rooms have been updated since the hotel opened ten years ago, but they aren't too bad. You get free tea and coffee sachets and water every day, as well as basic toiletries, although we were only given two bars of soap throughout the entire stay. Again, not exactly five star service.

The excursions from Taba are really interesting and I would especially recommend the trip to Israel (£109). What an enormous difference you notice as soon as you cross the border. You go along a dirt road with street lights that don't work, then you cross the border and straightaway you are in a First World country with all the associated infrastructure. It's really quite sad - to say Israel has only been around for 65 years, it rather puts Egypt to shame. First you go to the Dead Sea which is an amazing experience - to be able to float in the water is unique and should be experienced by everyone once in your life. Then you go to Jerusalem - what a fascinating place that is, though I couldn't say it felt holy or spiritual at all. Avoid the souvenir shop you are taken to in the Arab quarter where everything is marked in dollars - the prices are ludicrous. (20 dollars for a fridge magnet - I kid you not. Only a stupid American tourist with more money than sense would fall for that one.) Either haggle hard, or walk out and shop at one of the numerous stalls nearby.

Incidentally, despite the horror stories we had heard about crossing the Israeli border, we got through in 30 minutes flat, and our group included British Asians who were admitted without any difficulty. It is true that they are thorough and security conscious, but that's understandable. I was talking to an Egyptian guy at the hotel about going across and he told me it wasn't so much a problem for him getting into Israel; the problem would come afterwards in returning to Egypt, where apparently the secret police would follow you around to find out why you went. Obviously that doesn't apply to British tourists!

The location is one of the most interesting things about Taba Heights as you can also easily cross to Jordan and go to Petra, one of the wonders of the world. In fact, from the hotel beachfront you can easily see four countries - Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. There can't be many places in the world where you could say that.

All in all, this holiday was a disappointment and it does boil down to the "feel" of the place. I thought Egypt seemed to have quite a heavy atmosphere - as soon as we crossed the border, the atmosphere lightened and it was quite a relief. Whether this will change when the current troubles are over, I don't know. But if going to Taba Heights, I would personally recommend a different hotel.

Room Tip: Try and get a room on a higher floor with a sea view (good luck with that)
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank sfuhere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013 via mobile

Had a fantastic vacation in Sofitel Taba heights, I didn't only enjoy the wonderful weather, luxury room and facilities ( SPA-GYM-kids area-Animation team......), but I mainly enjoyed the excellent hospitality of the staff. They were so friendly with us that we felt as we where at home.
I recommend this hotel strongly for any one who would like to have family vacation or friends vacation.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
Thank ramymragab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2013

We have just returned from our third wonderful holiday at Sofitel Taba this year, and each one was perfect, you only have to read all the previous comments from folk who were there at the same time, this hotel is our second home, and by hook or by crook we will be back in the spring of 2014, we understand that Thomsons must have a good reason for pulling out, but seriously hope that someone else steps into their shoes, come on, there are enough of us in the repeaters "club" to fill a plane, I am sure! It was a shame we encountered Eid, and a lot of very rude, loud, guests who shouted at staff, but all the staff were amazing in handling the situation, we cant praise each and every one of you enough. We will fly into Sharm and take hotel taxi up if needs be, but will definatly see you all in April. Thanks for another wonderful holiday Mr Burt and all your amazing team.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank aumaEastbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2013 via mobile

We spent 1 week here mid October and the Egyptian staff just made our stay perfect from the moment we arrived with Hussein checking us in and giving us an amazing room (1411) to the moment we left with Ali the manager ensuring eveyone was on the coach and happy.
To start, let me reassure those who are worried about travelling to Egypt at the moment that you are as safe as houses here. We never felt in danger and you really are in such a quiet tourist made area that you have nothing to worry about.
Our room had a sea and pool view - gorgeous! Was so nice appreciating the view at sunset. The room was big and the bed very comfortable. Bathroom good also but the cleaning could have been slightly better.
Pool area lovely and quiet (apart from the period when the hotel was inundated by the Jordans for Eid.. I will come to this later). Pool attendants always willing to help you and so pleasant (Mohamed, Halim). The spa was an amazing experience on our last day in the evening - the perfect time to do it and relax in the outside, heated jacuzzi. It was also spotlessly clean and everything done to perfection thanks to Mahmoud who works there. The gym also offered good facilities too and quite new and clean. When it got busy you had to hang about for the machines a bit but all in all a good gym.
Food was good considering we're in an all inclusive in Egypt. You could always find something you wanted. The staff in the Aladdin restaurant were so lovely and always wanted to help. Mohammed who makes the omlettes in a morning, the executive chef Mohammed and our 2 star waiters who served us day and night in the outside part El Araby and Essam. Nothing is ever too much for these people and they are all very professional.
Now, the down side of the holiday was that it was Eid and had we have known, we would have come at another time - always check your diaries!! As mentioned above, the hotel was inundated and went from a clean, peaceful hotel to a dirty, uncivilised riot. Kids were let lose to cause all sorts of problems at the pool bar, not to mention no one queuing. Cups were floating in the pool and the toilets were disgusting. Rubbish was on the floor and the restaurant was like feeding time at the zoo. The problem wasn't the staff in the hotel not doing their jobs, but the hotel and the facilities, and the extra cleaning services put on, could simply not cope with this influx of visitors who seemed to be going against basic acts of politeness and cleanliness. Anyway, that's how it was and check the calendar before booking your holiday!
The beach was nice but the sea stoney. I heard that the snorkelling experience just in front of the hotel is the best in Taba.
The only point which was missing was the choice in alcoholic drinks and the quality. I hardly drank all week because the beer, wine, spirits were simply not nice. For a Sofitel 5* I think an effort can be made on this.
All in all, brilliant holiday and will return!

  • Stayed: October 2013
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2  Thank Cazzabelle83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sofitel Taba Heights

Address: Km 42 Taba Newuiba Road | Taba Heights, Taba 46621, Egypt
Location: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > Taba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Taba
#2 Family Hotel in Taba
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Taba
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Taba
#6 Luxury Hotel in Taba
Price Range: $30 - $90 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Taba Heights 5*
Number of rooms: 442
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A truly magnificent location, at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba between the southern Sinai mountains and the Red Sea, Sofitel Taba Heights is also a uniquely designed hotel, inspired by traditional Oriental architecture. This exceptional resort is an all-inclusive property with easy access to the private beach, 3 exquisite restaurants, 5 swimming pools, a fitness center and 3 meeting rooms. Just 20 km from downtown Taba and 40 km from the airport, it's convenient for business and pleasure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Taba Heights Hotel Taba
Taba Heights
Accor Taba Heights
Taba Sofitel

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