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All reviews minute walk to the beach beach bar fish animation team aqua park egyptian restaurant coraya bay plenty of sunbeds manta ray melon rooms overlooking shop keepers kept spotlessly clean pasta sim card coraya divers great holiday
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Reviewed November 5, 2012

We have just got back from a week in a very sunny Marsa Alam. Never been to Egypt before but we'll definitely be returning!!! we went with three other families, all the husbands dive so they joined the dive school & had an amazing time, the mum's enjoyed the pool, beach & cocktails whilst the kids loved the snorkelling & water park. Something for everyone here.
Staff at the hotel couldn't do enough for you & Hany the Thomson rep was a gem. The food was of a very high standard & varied throughout our week. The choice was endless & the children were catered for too. Not many Brits at this resort so really felt like we were away from it all. We caught a taxi into Port Ghalib one nite which was well worth it, great handbags!!! We also went on a trip to Abu Dabab (organised by the dive school) & saw turtles swimming in an amazing reef. Loved our week, 5 out of 5 on every level.

Room Tip: Small hotel with only 140 rooms on 3 floors, some face the pool so if u fancy that then ask when booking. Quieter rooms will be away from the pool area & if you have toddlers avoid ground floor pool rooms as as they could walk straight off your balcony & into the pool as no railings. This hotel is not right on the beach but's its only 5 minute walk away
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank James M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

We're just back form a week at Sol Y Mar and had a really fabulous time. The hotel yes is fairly small so that means less options at mealtimes but what is there is presented beautifully and is fresh and tasty made with what seemed to be very good quality ingredients. They try hard to accommodate your needs and have a varied option on every night. Breakfast got a little boring as it never changed from day to day and I would say that just having one chef only doing all the egg products wasn't enough as by the time you got back to your table the rest of the family had finished theirs or were back in the queue for their crepe/omelette or whatever. Crepes are going to go so would make sense if they cooked batches constantly not one at a time.
There was plenty of choice of sunbeds and outside tables for meals, something a guest from one of the bigger hotels we met said was an issue at theirs where the restaurant closed for half an hour at 8 to restock!

Most of the staff, not all were terribly friendly and would go out of the way to make you feel special, they learnt childrens names and what you liked to drink so they could get it for you. A couple of the staff made you feel like you were a complete nuisance which was a shame. The pool area, bedrooms, public areas etc were exceptionally clean and comfortable. My only gripes about the room was that the air con was v noisy and the shower was extremely disappointing!
We didn't engage much with the animation team but what we did see of them i was very impressed by and our children (girls aged 7 & 4) loved all the team, especially the mini disco!
The beach area was exceptional! Gorgeous bay with v warm shallow clear water and beautiful fish to look at even if not snorkelling. Our girls mastered this on day one due to the lovely water and loved every minute. The beach facilities were also excellent, good beach bar and i loved having a massage in the outdoor 'tent' with the sound and smell of the beach breezing through the muslin curtains, bliss.
Our rep Hany was brilliant, great sense of humour, always a smile and went out of his way to do something for us which was beyond his duty. Sadly he was moving off to another resort after we left but we were lucky enough to meet Sarah who just joined as we left and was on our desert safari trip for familiarisation training and she was a joy to spend the day with, even in her 'civvies' was fantastic with our girls and will no doubt be an asset to the resort.
We took two trips - one on the seascape submarine which we all really enjoyed and were lucky enough to see sea cows as well as hundreds of other stunning fish. Good value and well executed.
And we went on the desert safari trip. In hindsight it was very good if a little 'set up' and throughly enjoyed the whole experience, quad biking, camel riding, seeing the 'raw' desert and the moon rising etc. Lots of things to see and do, good food and bedouin entertainment. It was very pricey though (over £300 for family of 4) but a good experience to try though i wouldn't do it again, its a one off trip.
All in all loved Marsa Alam and this hotel, will definitely go back in another october, 33 degrees, sunshine everyday and 31 degree sea temperature, its a perfect half term destination.

Room Tip: lots of people recommend getting a pool view but frankly you could see that all day! We were on the top floor in 706 which looked over the desert and was beautiful! You also got the sunset view every night which was magic. The rooms on the top floor (well this one anyway) had extraordinarily high arched ceilings which were really lovely and added to the Egyptian architecture feel. A/C is noisy!
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Catsize
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

Just had a week at Dar El Madina at Marsa Alam. Went to do some snorkelling in the Red Sea, something I've always wanted to do. We were advised by our tour rep (Hany, of First Choice) to start around 6am - excellent advice, the water was clearest and the fish most numerous at that time of day. After that, just took it easy by the hotel pool or on the beach. Incidentally, Hany is about the best tour rep we've ever had.

The hotel staff were briliant. All were polite, friendly - you really felt cared for. Everywhere was immaculate, food and drinks were plentiful and in great variety. Egyptians are such charming people, perhaps we in Britain should think about sending some of our tourism/hospitality people out there for a few lessons!

My only gripe was the sound level of the music around the pool, which I think was organised by the animation team. Fine while the activities (water polo, aqua excercise etc) are going on, but either silence or the music at a much lower volume would have been nice the rest of the time. We went to the beach, about 250 metres away, for peace and quiet.

We were the only Brits at this hotel. That suited us - felt more 'abroad' than if surrounded by fellow countrymen.

Overall, a great holiday. Lovely people, beautiful fish, warm sunshine and delicious food.

Room Tip: Our room looked over the souk area, where the mini disco was held each evening. It was brilliant entertainment. Watching the toddlers trying to dance and keep up with their older siblings was hilarious and endearing. All quiet by about 9.30pm.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank 120Stella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We so enjoyed our 12 day vacation at Sol Y Mar Dar El Madina.
The staff knows who you are after just a couple of passes thru the lobby or pool are, so there's no need to wear some bracelet (although they do give them out upon check-in).

We came to dive, and even though there are at least 3 hotels closer to the dive center, our choice was Sol Y Mar based on reviews. Plus the hotel is located about 10 minutes from the airport, we avoided the shuttle service & took a private taxi (€30,00 round-trip) arriving before the lunch buffet closed. Sure it was a walk back and forth to the dive center for lunch, but we soon learned & booked an all day dive, with lunch served on board.

Everyone on the staff was super friendly, from our favorite waiter Ahmed, the cooks or the grill master, housekeeping & the gardeners (especially the day before the review survey was handed out from management). We know that the staff is living in housing outside of the hotel, so this hotel must be treating it's employees well, that they are coming to work happy.

We were not being interested in being entertain (games, aerobics or skits), when we told the animation team they left us in peace....but did check to make sure we were enjoying ourselves.

The food does repeat itself after the first week, but if you have a favorite dish the staff will do their best of have it on the buffet. And there is more then enough diversity on the buffet to make interesting combinations.

For the price what we paid, we feel we got superior service. When planning another dive vacation we will be sure to book a room back at Sol Y Mar.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Whoobiesmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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