Flight was fine, we upgraded to extra leg room, arrival at Marsa Alam Airport was chaos, mainly due to the queuing for the Visa, you have to have one to enter the country even if you are just going to lie on a sun lounger for the entire holiday(which we did), short drive to the resort 10 mins.
Hotel is very nice, marble lobby, welcome drink, cool towel, and a quick tour. The pool area is also lovely, there are two very large pools that get very crowded with children, we spent our time around the small pool at the bottom of the resort right by the beach, it was pretty quiet apart from when the adults couldn't be bothered to supervise their children and just left them in the pool while they went for a walk on the beach. As far as the food and entertainment goes well, I have to say that this is the worst hotel we have ever stayed in, the food is absolutely awful, I know it's a buffet but come on!... I had to read the little place cards by each dish as I couldn't work out what was in the tureens... mainly meat in some kind of sauce, veg, fish, the carvery each evening was pretty disappointing, and what was on display was not what you were given. I saw lamb one evening, and thought I would give it a try, the chef opened the tureen and out bounced a lump of fat, I told him not to bother, some evenings the only thing to have was pasta. I have to say that in 8 visits to Egypt this is the worst food I have ever seen and I have been on quite a few all inclusive holidays.
The staff were very polite except for one member of staff, he served me with two beers, he filled one glass half way, when I asked him where the other half was he said 'whats your problem its free', I was very upset, my partner had to stop me complaining. The entertainment in the evening is the same as everyone else has said, one man who is singing along to a backing track, he gets members of the audience up to sing along too, karaoke is not my thing at all, and after 4 days of this I was really ready to come home, usually I am counting the days of my holidays and very sad to return, this one I was ready to leave on Monday and returned on Thursday, if you like awful food, lacklustre entertainment then this place is for you.
We will never return to this hotel, preferring instead to holiday at the Grand Makadi in Hurghada, this hotel knows how to treat and entertain people to the highest standard... you have been warned From the other half....... I do not usually write comments good or bad on these sites, but I must make a short exception to this regarding this holiday & hotel. Firstly, I have to hold Thomsons responsible for the blatant B/S they have printed in their brochure about this hotel....FIVE STAR (TTTTT) Although very nice, very very clean and all the rest of the usual niceties all being there, THE FOOD my god what was that supposed to be. I can't go into this chapter and verse, but I have been to Egypt 8 times and it is the first time I have suffered with the pharaohs revenge. I mean suffered and I mean for two days there and back home as well. Our room was directly above the clinic (doctor.) The queue for the clinic was long and unhappy, I am not exaggerating by any means here, I was one of the unfortunates who had to spend three days in eyesight of the nearest toilet, real fun on a six hour flight. No wonder they have lost platinum status, but why are Thomsons still selling it with this status? Kerching maybe?
A really good winter break for a week. We had to obtain an entry visa, even if you do not leave resort -
Travel operator: thomson
We had requested a top floor room in a quiet part of the hotel and that is what we got. The room was very spacious with an enormous double bed, two single beds in another room, a large balcony and a big bathroom with walk-in shower. It was kept spotlessly clean by our room boy, who made towel sculptures everyday we were there.
The three swimming pools were very clean although by the afternoon the water was quite warm. We never had trouble getting a sun bed. You can change your pool towel as many times as you want to during the course of the day. The reception/lobby area of the hotel is beautiful with lots of alcoves with comfy settees and armchairs. The bar staff there were great. The animation team were completely mad and worked very hard at all times.
The shows in the evening are never going to be up to those in the carribean, but who cares! Mickey, Jacky and Emore were excellent.
The buffet restaurant was very good, with a great selection of food at all meal times. Although, by the end of the second week it was getting a little bit monotonous. There is one other restaurant down near the beach but they only have three set menus which you have to pay 30, 35 or 40 euros for. If there were a couple of other places to eat in the evenings it would be perfect. The access to the sea is a little tricky, either off the jetty or a walk round the bay to where the beach is not roped off.
We went on the Super Safar trip, which took us into the desert and included quad biking, camel rides, a meal, watching the sun set, entertainment by the bedouins and then the maddest drive back to the hotel you can imagine. Well worth the
Travel operator: Thomsons
The rooms were lovely and spacious. We had a superior family room which meant that we had more than enough space to spread out. There's lots of wardrobe and drawer space, a safe, a telephone and a fridge. The TV is limited on English speaking channels but we didn't find that a problem. The rooms were cleaned every day, with clean sheets and towels, and the room boy left us different towel art every day. One tip ... if you don't want to be woken up too early by the room boy knocking on the door to clean the room just put the "Do not disturb" sign on the door and you'll be left in peace.
The whole resort is spotlessly clean and the lush gardens are tended and manicured every day. Its hard to believe that the resort is in the middle of the desert. Everyone smiles and they are constantly asking if there are any problems and if you are enjoying yourself.
The 4 pools are very welcoming and there were plenty of sunbeds and shade so that there was no need to "save" beds at the crack of dawn. Towels are in full and plentiful supply and can be changed throughout the day. We didn't use the beach so I can't comment but there seemed to be plenty of beds and shade available.
The animation team worked hard to involve everyone in daytime activities but were fighting a losing battle as everyone just wanted to enjoy the sunshine and chill. The activities included volleyball, boules, water polo, aerobics, water gymnastics, archery, belly dancing and salsa lessons. There was a kid's club but this was for the German clientele, although we did enjoy the daily rendition of the "Baadingoo" theme song at 3.00 p.m. and by the end of the 2 weeks we knew all the moves !!
The animation team do a nightly show - the Fakir show is best - in the amphitheatre. What it lacks in talent it makes up for in enthusiasm !!
The food was really good. Breakfast 6.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m., lunch 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and dinner 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Lots of choice at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try an omelette or fried eggs at breakfast or the fresh pasta at lunch or dinner ........... excellent ....... and there was always a barbecued choice at dinner. Apart from the main restaurant (which had a choice of indoor or outside seating) there was the smaller beach restaurant which served late breakfasts and snacks from 12.00 noon until 5.00 p.m. and the pool bar served coffee and cakes mid afternoon.
Some people were complaining of stomach upsets, but nothing major. My husband was one of them but a trip to the pharmacy just outside the hotel and the tablets sorted him out in a couple of hours. We think it was not down to the food, but to the heat and change in water and milk.
The beach is man-made and is quite coarse so make sure you have suitable footwear. It's not possible to enter the sea directly in front of the hotel because of the coral. A short walk to the left brings you to a safe area and the sea is really shallow (knee deep) for a good way out. For snorkellers there is a jetty (also used by the divers)to enter the water via metal steps which are quite slippy below the water so care is needed. Unfortunately once in the water the visibility was not good (but the sea had been quite rough while we were there)although there were plenty of fish to see. The view from the jetty looking into the water was fantastic........ so many different kinds of coral and fish to see. We found the best time was just as the tide was turning to come back in. We saw octopus, rays, parrot fish, lion fish, groupers, puffer fish, a sea snake and many, many more.
There are 2 bars. One is by the pool and is open from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and the other is inside and is open from 6.00 p.m. to Midnight. Both serve a good selection of spirits and cocktails as well as some very palatable red wine and beer.
There are a few shops on site selling the usual souvenirs and there is an ATM machine in reception which can do currency exchange as well as dispensing money. A short walk from the resort and across the main road there is another row of shops including a pharmacy, a supermarket and more souvenir shops.
The location of the hotel is about a 5 - 10 minute transfer from the airport but there was no aircraft disturbance and it really is in the middle of nowhere. But this wasn't a problem as we wanted a relaxing time and that's exactly what we got.
On our last night there we were invited to a cocktail party where again the heads of department were there to ensure that we had enjoyed our stay and to listen to any problems we may have had.
We tipped the room boys, the waiters and the bar staff while we were there (50LE) and they all thoroughly deserved it.
We would have no hesitation in recommending this hotel to anyone who is looking for a relaxing break at a very clean, efficiently run and above all friendly place. We give it 11/10 and will definitely be going back soon.
Travel operator: Portland Direct
The food was good and there was pleanty to choise from. Sweet was my fav and there was loads to have. Drinks are the same local stuff, so you will not get hung over.
The location of the hotel was right near the air port no noise thou. A little out of the way, not much to see localy and quite away from the hussle and bussle of big towns, just what we wanted.
Entertaintment was not west end, but I did not pay west end prices. It was in some ways better people were trying to have fun and we shore did.
My wife and I would love to go back to see how things have moved on in the next couple of years. Lets hope the staff and us who visit dont ruin it like we tend to do else where.
Travel operator: thompson
The airport at Marsa Alam is currently small and organised in a strange way....you have to queue up by tour operator to get your visa stamps!
Having cleared the airport in about 45 min, the bus down to the hotel took less than 10 mins, so loads of aircraft noise then....??...um....NO, it was sometimes hard to decide if it was a plane landing, or a porter taking a trolley of cases to a room!!
Anyway on to check-in.....you don't go to the desk as every other hotel, you sit down, have a drink and they come to you to check in.....different but very civilised.
Less than 10 mins after de-camping from the bus and you are in your hotel room.
The rooms.....We had asked (and e.mailed the hotel) for two rooms to be ground floor, quiet and adjoining so we got two rooms on ground floor, quiet and adjoining. We were parents plus a 12, 11 and 8 year old, and had had to book two rooms which actually cost less than a big room last year in Sharm. The rooms were clean and I mean CLEAN and big....we had a 6' wide double bed with two singles beyond a curtain and a more than adequate shower room(no bath), the children had the same, and it was a job to decide who slept in the vast expanse of the big bed.....I lost the wife a couple of nights!!!
The rooms were cleaned by the room boys and all the usual towel features etc, but the rooms and corridors were kept CLEAN (not to labour the point....but they were clean)
Pool area.....CLEAN, plenty of beds and shade. You could get up at 10am if you wanted and still get beds and shade.
Three pools, two heated.....too warm for me, but the children thought it was great.....the cool pool was ok for me anyway....the pool bar was fine....hardly ever a queue, and the coke machine pointed outwards to the children could help themselves rather than having to rely on a barman to ignore them and serve adults first.
Food....I am a fussy eater, no salad no fish and very picky on vegs, I always had a choice every night but one. Good quality always hot and kept fresh by keen kitchen staff. There is a pasta man who cooks pasta with various ingredients to your choice, and a salad man who does the same, although I never visited his stall! Breakfast had an ommette man......don't do eggs, although wife loved it.
Lunch at the beach bar.....fine, pizza, burger, hot dog etc......bit of a limited choice, but quality was good.
Beach was coarse sand, but thats down to the coral, lots of beds and windbreaks.....volleyball court (2 x 1hr per day.....only exercise) has much softer sand thank goodness.
Animation team (Momo's the main man!!) was all you would expect.....boules, volleyball on the beach, various exercise in and around the pool, and water polo........not as "in your face" as some hotels we have been to, so that is good. Join in if you want, and duck out if you don't. Evening entertainment is as expected, the animation crew doing their best, and it was ok, but better to go to bed at a decent hour and sunbathe next morning.
The staff.........they have all been to a training school.....they must have been. All the staff were most eager to check and make sure that everything was ok....the room boys, the reception, the waiters, the kitchen staff, the gardeners.....absolutely everybody had the interests of the guests as their priority......a bit different to the attitude of some hotel staff that we have encountered in other hotels.
Our shower went dicky, so phoned reception....10 mins there is a man with a spanner.
I can not understand how this hotel does not get 5*....it is as good as other 5* hotels that we have been to, if not better......sure its not Hilton London 5*, but for holiday 5* its up there with the others. There are a couple of things that could be improved but not many.
To summarise, we never go back to the same hotel....its never the same second time round, but I would go back to this one.....yes its out of the way, you can see that when you land, there a few hotel "conclaves" and a lot of sand, but the diving/snorkeling is good and the weather is warm/hot in April, but for a holiday with the family to "chill out " in 28*C after a long winter of work, then its perfect.
Nothing more to be said!
Travel operator: Portland Direct
The only drawback to the hotel is you cannot access the sea directly from the beach because of the coral but that is a small problem.
The staff cannot do enough for you and the food is well cooked and is hot! a first for abroad.
We will definitley be looking at a repeat trip.
Travel operator: Thompsons
We did have to go and visit the doctor on site, and he prices were so huge, everyone we spoke to was also upset with the price he was charging.
The rep. was not helpful, we had a small fire in our room, which we did report and they sent someone to our room twice, in the brochue, we were not told that you could not enter into the sea from our hotel, if we were informed we would not have booked this hotel.
We have been to luxor twice and sharm and we loved it. But Marsa was so quiet, it really does need to have a bit more for the evenings.
The airport tried to charge us for drinking our own drink while we were waiting to go into the departure lounge, so watch out for this, if you take your own drink consume it elsewhere.
The hotel was so lovely, shame about the food, the staff was helpful. And don't forget to take some tummy pills as you will need to have a second mortgage to see the doctor.
Travel operator: portland
We were,however booked to stay at the Samaya the Lamaya's
sister hotel,but were changed by thompson on arrival
at Marsa Alam (bit cheeky)reason being that the Samaya
was under-occupied.We were given a room upgrade with a sea veiw by way of an appology.
Anyway,upon arrival at the Lamaya we were all given a Welcome drink,absolutly no problems booking in,our cases were brought to our rooms,which were extremely clean ,comfortable and very spacious.
Both my daughter and myself had twin beds with a curtain division for the childrens single beds,my brother and sister-in-law had a similar room next door but with double bed and double door partition for the childrens beds,just as spacious.Room cleaned every day and towels changed also.
Food I personally thought did cater more for the Italian and German visitors,of which there were quite a few,but was tasty and varied.(no upset tummy)Did invest in bottled water for drinking.
Staff here spoke good english very polite and happy to please,this I thought was the way people are there in general,always with a smile.
The resort itself is quiet and very much a beach and pool holiday but excellent for diving and snorkling which is what Marsa Alam is famous for.The bay is a horseshoe shape and because the hotels are trying to protect the reefs can only be entered at the central part or by the pier,well worth it once your in.
As for things to do,there are excursions,yes,a bit costly but again,worth doing.Myself and my daughter did two of the excursions.
1st: visit to Luxor and the Vally of the Kings,have to set off at 4am which is the down part,but we did take a pillow each(essential)and had a sleep for the first part of the 6 hour journey to Luxor.Had 2 stops along the way.Stayed in a very nice hotel for the night,with a room looking right over the River Nile,after visiting museum and Carnac Temple.Away again at 8am for the Valley of the Kings,across the Nile to another Hotel for dinner ready for our return to Marsa.The Guide with us the whole trip couldn't be faulted,very friendly and fun,made you feel comfortable all the way and very informative.There is a day only excursion to Luxor,but from my point of view not advisable,as I would imagine it wouldn't be a very relaxing or enjoyable experience.
2nd:excursion to Dolphin House,Excellent,a trip not to be missed,an opportunity to see and swim with the Dolphins in their natural envirment,plus the snorkeling,all good, with decent food for lunch. The other plus point is that the Dolphins are protected here by a trust,so don't be too dissapointed if the Dolphins don't come out to play.Again both the crew and guide for the day excellent fun,safty consious,and very friendly.
This was our first visit to Egypt,and if its a relaxing and fairly quiet part of Egypt you want,then
Marsa Alam is the resort to go.
I do hope though,that it doesn't get too built up,as I feel this might spoil the excellent views of the surrounding area.
Hope to go back next year.
Travel operator: thompson
Transfer time on coach only about 10 minutes, the hotel is very new and clean, on arrival we were dealt with very quickly and efficiently, no queues for reception. Our room was very clean and quite spacious, with adjoining rooms so our daughter (15)had some privacy. No kettle or tea making equipment in rooms, so take your own. There was a fridge, but nothing was included with it. We had our own bottled water which we used for drinking and cleaning teeth, but I think you could buy it from the hotel. We did not suffer any tummy bugs or other ailments.
Plenty of towels are provided both in the room and outside by the pool, so you do not need to take towels. There was one main restaurant only, which was the all-inclusive one and a small beach restaurant which served hotdogs, burgers and pizza. The food in the main restaurant was quite good but nothing to rave about. There was a lot of Germans at the hotel so maybe it catered more for their tastes, but the cakes and puddings were nice. Lots of Italians there too, but the staff all seemed to speak quite good English and entertainment was explained in all languages.
The hotel was not full when we were there, so no problem with sunbeds, etc but I could imagine having to reserve them in busier times. The weather was rather like an English summer, but rather windy. I found the pool (although heated) too cold and my husband went in the sea, but he had a good wetsuit. The house reef was very good for snorkelling and if it had been warmer we would have spent hours there. The hotel dive centre was not very good and would recommend the local off-site Dive Centre called Emperor.
There is no infra-structure at all in Marsa Alam, just a few hotels and you really are hotel bound, so I think two weeks would have been too long, especially as the weather was not very hot in December for swimming, etc. The only people who braved the cold pool were young boys and some Dads who got in to play water polo. It was hot enough to sunbathe if you get out of the wind. Of course this would not be a problem at a different time of year!
However the pool area was lovely and there was a nice Health Centre with a very big jacuzzi which was lovely!!
The hotel staff were very friendly, no female employees though. They were very taken with our daughter but not in a nasty way, she felt very complimented!! There was an animation team who tried very hard to involve everyone and they put on evening shows which lasted for half an hour to one hour which were quite funny but rather amaturish and some of the humour was not very British but you just have to go along with it and enjoy what you can. There was not much for teenagers, the evening disco was a bit of a non-event but that was probably just because there were very few teenagers there that week, mainly children of about 12 and under. There was a heated children's small pool. The beach does not give access to the sea, which was only from a pier and the sand was very sharp. The sea was quite choppy but the reef underneath was enchanting.
Travel operator: Portland Direct
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