I’ve just returned from a fortnight’s holiday at the Hilton Nubian and had a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable holiday on our first visit to Egypt.
There are lots of plus points about this hotel.
The rooms are great and have many of the things that I want or need in a decent hotel room such as a comfortable bed, good bathroom, large easy to use safe, good size fridge, and an iron and ironing board. I was particularly impressed to find a set of scales in the room, a 3 pin plug socket so I needn’t have taken a travel adaptor with me, and a mosquito plug in with a supply of RAID tablets.
The beach is lovely. I don’t understand the grumbles about having to walk to the beach from the hotel, it’s hardly as if it’s a slog. I enjoyed the walk from our block, 18, to the beach every day. To be honest that and snorkelling was the only exercise I got for 2 weeks. We even termed the train the lazy train for lazy people, naughty but true if you are capable of walking any distance in normal life. The umbrellas and windbreaks were a lovely place to relax under for most days. The snorkelling on the house reef was something I loved but the coral is already badly damaged closer to shore and I do worry for the health of that reef for reasons that I shall come onto.
The food was fantastic. Plenty of choice at every meal, which is a credit to Chef Mohamed and his team, particularly as it must be hard to please the variety of nationalities holidaying there. We ate in the main marsa restaurant for all but two meals, when we went to the Breezes bar. I’m already really missing fresh dates, eggs fried into smiley faces and the backlava.
The staff are probably the one thing that really make this resort. 99% of the staff we came across were helpful, friendly, polite and willing to help in any way that they could. I loved that the waiters in the Marsa restaurant made a big fuss of people on their birthdays and sang and played a drum for them and their interaction with the children in the resort was genuinely touching.
I would just like to highlight certain members of staff who really did make our holiday for us. Ahmed Shebi our room attendant in block 18 was just brilliant and a thoroughly lovely person. Whatever we asked for or needed he provided whether it was extra water, towels, milk, arranging for our laundry to be done. He even gave me a lovely necklace as part of one of the towel art arrangements he made for us. In the Marsa restaurant, Ahmed Eltanway? taught me little bits of Arabic, I’m sorry I was such a poor student Ahmed and also Mohammed Saad, what a fantastic waiter. Those two are brilliant at their jobs. Barbara and the front desk team couldn’t do enough for us – they even found my husband’s missing hat, great work guys.
Finally, I loved the the gardens. I know they aren’t fully established yet but the effort that is going into maintaining them is almost Herculean and I’d love to come back in a few years time to see them as they’ve matured. I appreciated looking at them everyday.
The pharmacy was invaluable to us - my husband picked up a tummy bug, outside the hotel I might add, and the pharmacist dealt with it very quickly. I also had to invest in some decent bite from from there too after become an all inclusive buffet restaurant for the local mosquito population. Word of advice though take mosquito repellant, bite cream and any other toiletries you might need because they are not cheap as you are a captive market miles away from anywhere. The pharmacy wanted £16 for a can of shaving gel from my husband, which is completely exorbitant however you look at it. The pharmacist is a nice man and we had a very interesting conversation about the differences between UK and Egyptian pharmacy practices.
I know that feedback is appreciated by the management so I do have some things to say about things that I think need improving or changing.
For me personally, the way that people are seated and the drinks service during meals doesn’t work smoothly enough. You can be halfway through a meal before a drink is offered. Water and soft drinks would benefit from being entirely self-service and placed in a more prominent position. It took us nearly a week to work out that help yourself tea and coffee was tucked around a corner in the marsa restaurant for example. You can also be half way through a meal and come back to your table to find everything cleared away and your table offered to someone else. If a waiter service is the preferred option: waiters need to cater to a much smaller number of tables so they can keep a closer eye on drinks and who has finished their meals and left. Guests shouldn’t be seated at tables until there is at least a bottle of water and two glasses on the table, which wasn’t always the case.
Spa, beauty shop staff. If I want a pedicure or a massage I know where to find it thanks very much you don’t have to try and harangue me several times a day into buying your services. The staff from both of these places began to really irritate me and Hilton just simply shouldn’t allow them to tout for business like this.
Whilst I wanted a totally relaxing holiday I did start to get bored in the evenings. There needs to be a better programme of evening entertainment. I enjoyed the dancing and other shows in the lobby area but they were always really short.
Finally, my own personal bug bear: people walking on the coral, people touching the coral, and something which caused me more annoyance than anything else, people touching the turtles. I’m sorry to say this but I actually had to shout at 2 separate parties of Russian guests on different days for touching surfacing turtles. On the first occasion a father grabbed hold of the turtle as it surfaced for air by its front flippers and then passed it to his young daughter. When I made a big scene about this he merely shrugged his shoulders. I could have cried when I saw that, it really was disgusting. There will be nothing left of this reef and the wildlife that inhabits it will disappear if guests aren’t better educated. I know this is a really tough one to deal with but I think as a hotel you need to find clearer more imaginative ways of putting the message across about the importance of protecting the reef and the wildlife there. I don’t know if guests are briefed about the basic beach/reef rules in their arrival briefings by tour operators but they should be if they aren’t already, printing basic beach rules onto room key cards also strikes me as an obvious way forward to communicate this message more widely.
So other than a few small issues, it was a wonderful and relaxing holiday in a hotel that I would wholeheartedly recommend to someone looking for a quiet paradise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel has been opened in July 2011. Offers a unique Nubian Themed experience. Located on the Abu Dabab Bay with 4 swimming pools (2 heated in winter).The Hotel bedrooms are in individual blocks of 12 to 24 rooms on 2 floors. All bedroom blocks are located in large landscaped gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Hotel Marsa Alam