This was my 8th visit to Egypt and 4th to Marsa Alam so I kind of knew what to expect and my sole purpose was to dive the amazing red sea with Emperor Divers (see separate review)...
I wanted a last minute deal to my favorite diving destination and came across the Marina Lodge, I had never stayed here personally but knew of the hotel through reading the reviews and from talking to other guests on previous trips who were staying at the hotel so my expectations where somewhat low...
So I turned up at the hotel alone and was handed a cool refreshing drink with a warm welcome from the reception staff... Check in was smooth and the front of house manager even made an appearance to welcome me and wish me a pleasant stay (A nice touch).
Luggage was taken to the room swiftly with me in tow and as requested in my booking I was shown to a room on a higher level over looking the marina... It was perfect, I wonderful view, a good size room (it was very big for just me) with a balcony and stuffed with Egyptian charm...
I loved the little quirks in the room as they really set it apart from other places I had stayed at in Marsa Alam which just all seemed like just another large hotel chain... Don't get me wrong this hotel was not a perfect 5 star Inter Continental type of hotel, it wasn't polished on the outside, but to be honest that's what added to the charm of this little hotel... Its the first hotel built in Port Ghalib and it yes it looked a little tired in places but the service from the staff made all that seem superficial!
The rooms had a safe but be warned, get the code wrong more than twice and it locks down, but a quick call to reception and all is sorted... (I locked it 3 times and had to have it opened by the hotel staff!).
My only gripe with the rooms was with the shower, a fixed shower head which at times would decide to stop working due to probably peak time showering... Again fed back to management and all seemed to be sorted very quickly.
The food in the hotel was interesting, pretty much the normal buffet style in the evenings and the usual breakfast spread with a dedicated egg chef at hand. The best thing at breakfast was the coffee machine, a really nice latte served up every time!
Something that really set this place apart from other hotels was the restaurant staff, everyone from the management, head chef to the other chefs, everyone would take a moment to speak with you and gain feedback on the food served.
On my first night one of the chefs asked me what kind of food I liked to eat, so I replied with "I would really like to eat Egyptian food". Before I knew it the restaurant manager brought out a plate of food specially cooked for me, consisting of a range of Egyptian food...!
...and this didn't stop throughout my stay at the Marina Lodge, every evening a delightful array of specially cooked food items would be served up to me, including the best falafels I have ever eaten, to the most scrumptious sea bass perfectly cooked, followed by Egyptian kofta's... In all my visits to Egypt the one thing I have never looked forward to was dinner time as rubberised beef and dodgy stews just never floated my boat but this all changed at the Marina Lodge, I really really enjoyed the food at this hotel... They even cooked us chips on the last day with burgers!!!
A fellow diver staying at the hotel told me one thing which will probably stay with me for a life time... 'If you want something specific then ask, they can only say no' (Cheers John!)
The bar was pleasant and Fatima the bar maid serving was very efficient, drinks were a little expensive but then I was on HB so stuck to soft drinks (Fanta at 20LE).
As I mentioned at the start, my sole purpose on this trip was to dive and to dive with Emperor so this hotel was perfectly placed for me as I could have breakfast and simply walk a few steps to the boat and be on my way for a days diving.... I am not entirely sure if I would bring my family with me to stay at the Marina Lodge as to be honest there did not seem like there would be much to do if you were stuck in the hotel all day... Saying that the manager did assure me that guests from the Marina Lodge could take the (free) water taxi to the Inter Continental hotel and use their facilities, i.e. kids club.
This hotel for me was one of the best I have stayed in to date in this area of Egypt but this was all down to the management and staff of the hotel, they made the holiday and my stay a memorable one and if I return to dive I know for sure that I will be booking the Marina Lodge again!!!!!!!
Final bits of info for anyone looking to dive in this area in December...
Take a couple of hoodies for the boat as the wind is cold as is the water!
Water Temp started off at 26C on the 12th and dropped to 24C by the 19th Dec... For me that's cold!
Take some long combats for the evening as again it can get a little cold...
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- Also Known As:
- Marina Lodge At Port Ghalib Hotel Marsa Alam
- Marina Hotel Marsa Alam
- Marina Hotel At Port Ghalib