My wife and I stayed here for a week starting 5th February 2014.
The Good: almost everything.
Firstly, it is adults only, so no kids and therefore largely quiet.
The pleasing architecture and well designed rooms appeal to a more mature clientele, as do the well stocked, beautifully maintained and tranquil gardens.
It is set on a hill overlooking a lovely bay with easy access to two good snorkeling reefs.
All staff bend over backwards to serve and please. The all inclusive package consists of the usual food, snacks and drinks (local alcohol only), plus a few extras like free laundry service, free access to an excellent spa and some meals at la carte restaurants. A welcome touch was provided by the Management staff turning up to the introductory meeting where they said they were available at any time if guests required. The top manager eats in the guests’ restaurant and is very approachable.
The main buffet style restaurant is well set out with lots of choice and speciality cooking stations for pizzas, pasta and the like. Mr Badawy (my spelling), the Sous Chef, is always on hand and proves very helpful indeed if you have special dietary requirements. We are vegans and, once we got the concept across, Mr Badawy could not have been more helpful in guiding us in choosing from the impressive array of vegan options. We also saw him providing the same help for others with their requirements. The Arabic for vegetarian/vegan, by the way, is ‘nabati’.
An evening’s entertainment by a Bedouin dance troupe was truly amazing, including a gifted belly dancer and a wonderful ‘Whirling Dervish’ style act which seemed at times to defy the laws of physics.
If you need to escape the Animation Team’s racket (see below), the Dar el Hawa shisha cafe is the place to go. Run by the idiosyncratic Sameh, you can lounge around drinking ‘ahwa saada (thick, delicate black coffee) to the strains of Egyptian love songs. Thank you, Sameh.
Marsa Alam airport is small, clean, easy-going and a very short drive from the hotel.
The Bad: the Animation Team.
Everything at this hotel is designed to appeal to mature, comfortably-off adults. Our assessment was that the guests pretty much fell into that demographic. The Animation Team, however, is a group of hyperactive twenty-somethings. We heard that they were new to the hotel, this might explain why they were constantly in the guests’ faces, aggressively marketing themselves and their activities. Their entertainment repertoire extends all the way from irritating loud pop music to even more irritating louder pop music. On several occasions we could not escape the 9pm regular event, even in our room with door and windows closed. We complained to Samy, the Thomson rep, who seemed sympathetic and said he’d look into it. Maybe this will improve.
Why couldn’t we have more age-appropriate entertainment? Live traditional instrument playing (eg the oud), perhaps. Genuine Egyptian cultural shows, maybe (the ’Nubian’ dancers on offer were as Nubian as my elbow and, as usual, overlaid with deafening pop music; a far cry from Ali Hassan Kuban). Or, dare I say it, nothing; just the Moon, the stars and the sound of the Red Sea. Who actually wants or needs an animation team? As adults, we are capable of deciding for ourselves whether and how to be animated.
The Ugly: local environmental damage.
Sadly, although the hotel strives to be environmentally responsible and seems to make a good job of it, the local desert is strewn with building rubble, plastic and other rubbish. We walked along and away from the Red Sea. The coast is best for walking but if you try to strike inland you’ll have to go through a minefield of rubbish tips and ugly desecration. Amanda, the hotel rep, warned us not to venture out as she had heard there were stray dogs but we met none and came to no harm.
Did we have a good holiday? Yes.
Would we go again? Yes.
Would we recommend this hotel? Yes.
What were the best things? Hot sun every day, good gentle but varied snorkeling, good food, friendly and helpful staff, overall - a relaxing week in winter sun.
Tips: take warm clothing for late evening in the winter months, take some smart casual clothes (long trousers and long sleeved shirts for men for evening meals), learn a few words of Arabic. Get your visa at the airport bank on arrival (it’s cheaper). English £s can be changed to Egyptian £s at the hotel but not back again and you cannot change money in the airport departure lounge.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberotel Coraya Beach Hotel Marsa Alam
- Hotel Iberotel Coraya Beach
- Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort