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Reviewed August 9, 2012

We just got back from Sol Y Mar and had an amazing time! The flight was pretty long and boring (especially with a child) as there is no on board entertainment with Thomson :( However, when we first starting flying over Tunisia and Egypt, it was beautiful!! Sand as far as you could see. When we landed at Marsa Alam airport (very small airport), we were the only planeful there. The que for passport control was pretty long and slow (just one person sorting through the passports). Outside we were greeted by our rep, Hany. There was a short (10 minute) drive to our hotel. We were greeted with a nice glass of melon juice and were shown to our rooms which were extremely clean, cool and comfortable. The majority of the people are German and Italian (by far!). I think there were only one other English family there whilst we were there but it probably made the holiday better as we were even more away from everything. The food there was nice, a wide variety and they had a child's corner. Drinks were very good (be aware of hibiscus juice, very nice juice but later found out it is one of the main causes for upset tummys!) The beach couldn't have been better! The first time I tried out a snorkel (in shallow water) I was amazed at how many different fish were all around us. Beautiful colours and they certainly didn't shy away. We went on an amazing excursion which was hands down one of the best days I've ever experienced. We went on a 4x4 into the desert to a Bedouin village, we had a camel ride and then a quad bike (about 40 mins) over the rugged, sandy dunes of the desert. (Camel ride and quad biking were not compulsary on this excursion). We then climbed a mountain to watch the sunset and in the dark we watched Bedouin dancing and had food/drinks under the amazing starry skies. They even lit up a part of the mountain with tea lights. PERFECT DAY and needs to be done!
The staff at the hotel were very friendly and wanted to please everyone. The room cleaner was very hard working and left clean towels in all sorts of shapes; flowers, elephants, snails, hearts. I have only just got back and have already recommended this hotel to a few people. It was amazing!!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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9  Thank Verity M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2012

Returned a week ago with my family from El Madina and would go back today if we could. We read all the reviews on here and we're delighted to say it lived up to our expectations. No flight delays quick transfers,Brilliant Thomson Rep, Hany
It's a small but very friendly hotel,never stayed anywhere where our rooms have been kept so clean, fresh towels and bedding everyday, and a different towel animal or flower everyday,Thank you Ahmed.
Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, the air Con didn't work properly in one of our rooms but once brought to the receptions attention it was fixed within the hour.
The Hotel has more German and Italian guests which can be a little off putting if your not willing to try and mix, most of them were fine but of course you'll always get the odd few that are just plain rude, always a good look on their faces when they realise you understand what they are saying!!
The food was lovely something for everyone, even our fussy 13 year old couldn't moan about it!!
Had a kids food corner and for those watching the waist line a diet corner for breakfast.
It was our daughters birthday whilst there and after a little word with Emed the Restaurant Manager a table was reserved with decorations and a cake was brought out, a lovely touch Thank you.

The Bar Manager Waleed is Brilliant, see's you walking to the bar and by the time you get there your drinks are ready and waiting for you, the all inclusive bar finished at midnight but there was no problem having a couple lined up. The Cocktails and Mocktails were fab. The Beach bar had a slightly better selection of food for lunch than the pool bar,with sandwich of the day, pizza's,pasta and salad.
The pool area was very clean and well maintained, lovely big soft beach towels provided by a card system so no need to take your own(more room for clothes in the suitcase ladies)

The Animation team were very friendly and spoke brilliant English, tried like hell to get everyone to join in at somepoint, they do a 10pm funny show which is all mime, maybe a little bit much for the younger kids but we enjoyed it.
We went to Marsa Alam mainly for the diving and snorkeling, well all i can say is WOW absolutely fantastic, on day 1 we went for a snorkel and saw a turtle within seconds, could it get any better? oh yes it could, After doing the routine check dive with Coraya divers just 3 mins walk from hotel we did a few days diving on the House reef(visability better in morning)and saw some amazing sea life, stingrays,puffer fish,clown fish,crocodile fish, moray eels, Spanish dancers, all sorts, we then went further afield to Abu Dabab to hopefully see the Dugong and larger Turtles, we came across 4 large turtles amazing, guitar fish, a huge dark spotted sting ray but sadly no Dugong.
Our first week there we were just 4 of the 8 English guests there, so a big thank you to John and Christine, Clive and Sue who were great company and helped to make our holiday so special.
All the staff where very taken with the English and seemed to wonder why so few of us go there, maybe because it's very quiet and up coming resort/hotel without lots of or no bars/nightclubs and restaurants, a resort/hotel for those of us that are sun worshipers,divers, those that want to relax and do nothing. Hopefully a few more English will go (just to keep the flag flying of course) But for those that want more nightlife you'd be best of sticking to Sharm or Hurghada.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank ClanHemmins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

We stayed at Dar El Madina after reading the Trip Advisor reviews and needing a cheap holiday (because the house is falling down). You always feel a bit nervous going somewhere new, especially when it is as cheap as this was, but we were relieved and delighted to find that the reviews were dead right. It is a small hotel, kept scrupulously clean by staff who are always eager to please and are genuinely friendly. The food is good, and continuous (if you want it to be) from 7.30a.m to 9.30p.m.

This was our first taste of all-inclusive, so again, not sure what to expect but we were very pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of the food. Sure, the same dishes come round again if you are there for a couple of weeks, but if they are tasty you don't mind that. Another tactic is not to try to stuff yourself with every dish available at every meal: you can always try the ones you missed next time they come up. I would have preferred more Egyptian dishes perhaps but that doesn't detract from the quality of the other food. We tried the a la carte "El Masry" Egyptian restaurant (only open twice a week, and you have to book by mid-day on the previous day), which is not actually a la carte - it is a set meal. The food was delicious (great mezze to start), but the main course was shish kebab and although plentiful and very tasty I would have preferred something more off the beaten track.

As for the drinks, well you can spend the day completely plastered if that is your thing. The snack bars open at 9.30am and the alcohol then flows as freely as you want until at least 11pm.
That is the advertised close of play but on a couple of occasions we went well past that time and no-one was trying to close up on us. And the quality of the drinks? The beer is fine - a 4% lager served good and cold; I'm normally an ale drinker but this was just right on those very warm evenings. The wine - red is fine, rose a little less fine and the white - well it's wine, Jim, but not as we know it. The spirits are local interpretations of the main types and although you might not know that the whisky was whisky unless you were told, it was not at all unpleasant. The ever willing bar staff will also make you up one of a good range of cocktails. And if you are feeling under the weather "Doctor" Walid will fix you a little something to make you feel better, whatever the problem.

The hotel itself is small and quite quiet. Our room was a very good size, efficiently air-conditioned and quiet - I was never woken up by noise from outside. The room boys (mohammed in the first week and Ahmed in the second) kept it very clean and amused us with their skillful towel art which was waiting for us every evening. The management and staff are always anxious to please. I had read a review which said that you should tip to get good service, but we found that just being friendly (I am astonished at how surly and offhand some of the guests are with these delightful people) brought the warmest response from the staff and they couldn't have been more attentive (we did our tipping at the end - we're not complete cheapskates!).

One of the attractions of this holiday was the snorkelling and I thought it was wonderful. The water isn't always crystal-clear but how many different types of brilliantly coloured fish are on that reef? I saw a turtle, an eagle ray with a win-span of at least a meter as well as countless angel-fish, wrasse etc. The water tended to be clearer in the mornings so if you lay in bed until mid-day you won't see the best of it.

We went on two excursions, both of which were good value for money. The first was to an offshore reef to snorkle; you are in about 20 meters of water, a good mile out from the coast so if you don't like to be out of your depth it might not be your thing. It is a couple of hours to the reef in a big motor cruiser with food and all the soft drinks you can use thrown in, so that alone is a lovely experience. The second excursion was the "super safari" out to a Beduin camp in the desert and this was fantastic value. The bumpy high-speed jeep treck 20 k into the desert was exhilarating enough, but then there was a camel ride and a half hour or so quad-bike ride followed by a meal as the sun set over the desert.

As the previous review mentioned most of the guests were Italian and German - no problem there; everyone at the hotel was very well-behaved. There were just four brits in the first week, us and a couple from Essex (John and Christine) who were great fun and knew the ropes better than we did. In the second week another British family joined us (Dean and Co, again very good company) and that was it. I'm not sure why more Brits don't go, and I think the management are wondering as well, especially at these prices.

Don't go if you want wall to wall partying: that's not what Marsa Alam is all about, but do go if you want to have a good relax and be well looked-after. We would definitely go again and if the house is still falling down this time next year we might be back then.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank albertrude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2012

Just returned from this lovely little jewel of a hotel nice and small ,very quite, clean,friendly and comfortable.This hotel predominantly houses Italian and German guests which give it a nice international flavour. Our stay found us only 2 of 4 english guests the first week ( Thanks to the lovely Sue and Clive for your company totally enjoyable and great fun)The rooms are very clean and comfortable including the great towel art from the room boys. The all inclusive package was super value, the food was plentiful well cooked and lovingly prepared yeah OK maybe a bit repetative but so is the food at home but you did get a good variety and the best beef I have had in ages puts our supermarkets to shame, oh and the grill to choose from every evening . Thank you to all the staff and chefs in the restaurant you should all be very proud of yourselves. The bar staff were great and the super star being Waleed a more attentive and lovely person you would have to go a long way to find, also the Shisha Boy also a star thank you for making our stay special. The animation team take a little bit of getting used to being all Italian although our english reserve probably didnt help they were a nice bunch sorry we didnt get to know them a little quicker. The pool area is lovely with plenty of beds no matter what time of day you choose to indulge.The beach is a short walk from the hotel ( a bit uphill to come home but cut through the Lamaya Hotel opposite makes the jouney a little easier) Plenty of beds on the beach , although not the best beach we have seen as it is tidal and not perfect for snorkelling as quite murkey at times but plenty of sea life to see, and beach bar really handy for your drinks lunch and ice creams. Evening entertainment very low key but have a wander around the souk and talk to the owners none are pushy and all more than happy to just have a chat and some great egyptian hospitality. This hotel is geared up for the euro but dont change your money until you arrive as the exchange rate is far better in egypt than the UK but be aware the ATM machine is very hit and miss and the bank is only open a couple of hours a day on stipulated days try and get these times as soon as you arrive. Last but certainly not least PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to the welcome meeting and get to know Hany your Thomson / First Choice Rep what a fantastic guy a font of knowledge and nothing is to much trouble for him a 7* Rep if ever there was one. Hany many many thanks for your company and for looking after John with Hakim the just as super Travco Rep you are both truly lovely human beings and it was our pleasure to spend time with you both. Our final thanks go to Sue Clive Dean Sally Ashley and Connor your company was second to none and put the icing on our holiday until we meet again Inshallah xxx

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank nicoya1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2012

I have just returned from Madina hotel with my family. It is a very quiet hotel, but with lots to do. The hotel is clean and extremely well managed. Nothing is too much trouble for any of the staff. The staff are what make this hotel special. They are so kind and helpful and continuously at your disposal. The food was very good and there is plenty of it. We found the pool bar to be excellent with some good simple chips and pizza for the kids. We couldn't fault the cleansiness of the hotel, there is always someone cleaning and if you did happen to find something that you weren't happy with I know the staff would immediately want to rectify this for you. We went on a wonderful boat trip with Oceans (quite expensive) swimming with turtels and seeing all the wonderful marine life. I had a teenage daughter and an 8 year old who came along They both loved the experience. The whole day was wonderful and worth every penny. Again the staff on the boat were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble. The beach is lovely just a short walk from Madina. The Aqua park does get very busy so we went at 4 o clock where it was very quiet and no ques for the slides. All in all I would recommed this holiday to a family or couple who want to come along to Egypt to enjoy their way of life. A wonderful holiday.

Room Tip: Quiet family room was requested
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank sarahJPatrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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