Some of the staff remembered us, whilst a lot in the restaurant were new. I thought the food was plentiful and always a very good choice. In the restaurant the manager will need to address an issue that really wound us up, this never happened before. We were seated and several times throughout our stay as a table of three people were not asked until our meal was finished if we would like a drink ! Yes we could have asked obviously, but on principal didn't because this is their job and the staff should look after you without asking for drinks. Another thing i did not like was the waiter who wears black rimmed glasses approached us because the table was full of cutlery and crumbs in the evening, i asked if he would mind clearing away and setting the table for us. He basically chucked the cutlery on the table and said, clean table now in a tone i did not like. I did report this to one of the Animation team Danielle who in turn was going to pass it on to Susie who is a great asset to the hotel. I know the hotel was say 70% English but more and more Russians are coming, one Russian snatched a soup spoon from my hand, i snatched it back as it was the last one. I ended up pushing her back, i was very angry, to be fair the waiter and manager saw what happened and told the Russian off. I feel that (hence my title review) that the staff have to rush around these rude people, i do not normally have a problem with anyone, but i did notice that staff seemed scared of them and pamper to their whims. This is not acceptable, attention should be divided between all the guests. Plenty of sun beds no problems, drinks were weak especially the beer, but paying around Â£27 a night all inclusive what do people expect. Watch the spirits though, they have no idea on measures, filling a beaker right to the top virtually with a top up of coke, yuck ! the amount of times i stated it would be wasted, even the Tequila, thats supposed to be a shot, not filled neat to the top of a glass, please give customers what they ask for.
House keepers are fantastic, we had Mohammed, we gave him Â£2 a day tip and at the end of our holiday gave him Â£15, he was amazing, left us a big and i mean big plastic barrel of sealed water, loads of tea & coffee, stella beer and Fanta in the fridge, loads of shampoos, gels etc and even bought us some milk. Every day we had a laugh at the towel art, it was amazing and every time at lunch we came back to the room he was waiting laughing his head of as their was a towel and pillow made into a man reading my book, with a can of stella in his hand with the remote and TV on, hilarious !
Now onto the Wifi, it was hit and miss as there was trouble all over Sharm with connections, we got it all the time in our room, and up by the top pool, yes slow, but it was ok. We emailed a company called SINAI SAFARI ADVENTURES, we paid Â£35 in the UK to the english company, and Â£50 deposit which we got back for 16 nights.
Lots of mosquitos around, please know that if you watch the entertainment near the pools on the roof at night you may well be bitten - a lot. You can use the spray called OFF from the shops, but it is hit and miss if it works. The mossies live in the wicker furniture and cushions, so please be aware of that.
Trips, as we came independent, we booked with Sinai Safari adventure on the total experience, please google their web site, amazing time, and one i shall be reviewing shortly.Our friend with us went on a trip to Petra with Sharm United, nice guys, but a lot happened on this trip and again i will review this later, the shop is left out of the hotel front, go as far as you can through the arch, it is on the left. Be careful a lot of Russians go on these long trips and the guide left my friend in a terrible state.
We visited the Doctor whilst there, my friend got infected mosquito bites and the swelling and redness caused Cellulitis she had to walk around with slippers on for a few days. In the end visited the doctor, was put on a drip of antibiotics for half an hour, several creams and tablets later and a bill for Â£200. The excess was Â£50, so the doctor wrote the bill for Â£250, so my friend did not lose any money. The doctor will ring your insurers up but if you choose this, you will have to pay the excess, the other way you don't. Excellent english speaking Doctor and assistant. The doctor is situated by the pool near the spa.
Did not go this time to the beach that is all inclusive with the hotel, it is man made and not the sea, its a big lake and very very dirty. However if you want a cheap massage for Â£20, have one done by Tito, he used to work at this hotel and now works on the turquoise beach, hotel costs are Â£70-140, they are excellent massages. We never got any hassle from the spa staff, told them no and that was that.
Great animation team, especially the two new Scottish girls, only been in sharm a couple of weeks, gave up their jobs and stayed after having a holiday. Miss you Dannielle, lovely kids club girl, always stopped for a chat to see how guests are getting on.
Out the back of the hotel where you get the bus to the beach has a big drive, go to the end of it, turn right and there is an english pub called the Half crown run by a British couple, we visited once for a drink but found it expensive, but a lot of people do go and have karaoke, football on TV, nice dinners. Please use the hotel cabs, we always did, you do not pay until they pick you back up later, numerous times we went to Naama Bay, even to the Marriott beach and sea, you pay Â£10 to go onto their beach, but can use all their facilities, some are cheaper, but this beach you can walk in the sea, not off a pontoon. Please visit Hollywood, its a great night of shopping, restaurants, shows etc, really good fun, also the new shopping mall, GENENA Mall, only 30% full, but absolutely stunning near Naama Bay.
So to recap, fantastic holiday, waiters issues (some of them) need addressing regarding drinks.
Don't push out the English and feel threatened by the Russians, and please watch the Russian intake as UK customers will not visit if it is swarming.
Thanks to the staff and Susie who is a gem for a memorable holiday.
Travel operator: Hotel direct
Hotel tip: Room 1210, spacious and quiet over looking the swimming pool. Onions is a good restaurant to try, but being on the all inclusive, we did not try, but a lot of guests did.
Ok, firstly we flew with Monarch from Birmingham with Fleetway holidays, paid £1100 with the upgrade to the Deluxe room (room 1210 in the main hotel) for 10 nights. Everything with the flight went well, no problems and on time.
There were 3 of us in our party, my husband and i in the main hotel and our friend Monika in the blocks outside of the hotel (whats called the promo room or standard. The superior rooms and only two deluxe rooms were all in the main hotel, please remember that when booking, especially if you cannot walk very far or have difficulties. Not to worry though as they do take you to the rooms outside the main building on a golf buggy. If the staff are not outside, go to reception and order. From your room ring zero free of charge and order one back to reception.
This hotel is situated in Um el Sid, about a 10 minutes drive from Naama Bay centre, use the hotel taxis, the guys are worth the wait in gold, it costs Â£3 sterling, when the guys drop you off at NB, you do not pay them until they return at your dedicated time you asked for. A word of advice, please take the number of your cab as they are black Toyotas, but to be honest you will recognise your driver after a while. We emailed the hotel a week before flying out to have a hotel cab to pick us up, costs Â£10 or 100 Egyptian. The same going back, that is per cab not per person.
From the outside the hotel looks and is very grand, it is quite big and spacious and plenty of room. There are stairs and lifts in the reception which lead to the roof top pools and the basement where the food is served.
Remember there are only TWO deluxe rooms and they are quite big with a queen size bed that is a proper bed and not two put together ! Very airy and a proper balcony that gets the sun all the time, this over looks one of the many pools. In the room has many lights, bath/shower/fridge, also a free safe and plenty of storage space. All tastefully decorated to a good standard. We had no problems with our room. If you have family in the hotel with you, you can use the telephone to ring their room number, this is free.
People have mentioned about the showers, i will add my comments on this. It is true it does come out in spurts, what we did was put the shower on a couple of minutes and it will settle, it does not go freezing, it is warm then a little warmer if you set it right. First off yes it is boiling, just be patient and move the dial, we never had a problem. Having been to Sharm 11 times, believe me we have had much much worse. Our water never came out brown and we did not make an issue of it basically because we are in Egypt and except that.
The room we were in was very quiet, never heard our neighbours once, except a few doors banging, but wearing ear plugs, never heard anything. What is good though is we had blackout blinds and nets. The aircon was fine, no problems.
Some guests have written that you do not get kettles/coffee/tea etc in your room. This is quiet incorrect, we had a new one in our room and if you need refills they will fill up. If you do not get one, ask the staff when they bring you back the suitcases. My friend had one in the promo room as well and when she had a migraine attack they gave her a dressing gown as well.
The lifts work like this
(B) - basement for spa, indoor pool, table tennis, lounge area to sit, and where the main restaurant is and toilets and the cash machine.
(1) - Main reception, this is where you can lounge around, see the entertainment at night, get taxis and excursions, free wifi, bar for all inclusive drinks, toilets, and walk to the promenade shops. Out of the back door where the buggy carts are, this is where you can catch the bus to the two beaches free transport. The Reef beach (never had time to go to) is NOT all inclusive, it is basically coral great for snorkelling, the Turquoise beach, is NOT a proper beach at all, is is like grit and it is NOT sea, it is like an oasis pool with boats and water sports. This is free for food and drinks. There are toilets but the guys really hassle you every second, not a pleasant experience and having been 11 times you would think we would get used to it, but it is constant. The hotel bus comes every hour, just check when they return. It takes 10 minutes to walk it.
(2) Is the roof top pools, one each end.
All i say say is it is exceptional for all inclusive, good meat not the usual cheap cuts, fresh salads, soups are lovely. People have mentioned what food there is so not going to bore you reading the same stuff, but if you like porridge is so creamy. All the hot food is really hot and that was every day we ate. The waiters were lovely hard working men, i cannot remember them all but Romany was mainly our man, all were observant and it was the same whether you gave them a tip or not. Remember these guys are on very very low wages, every tip helps for good service.
This is in the main reception, plenty of seats and tables, it is quite loud as echoes off the marble, and what we had seen was very good, Anyone that has seen Zaki near the Ghazala Beach will remember him, he is working at the Mercato at the moment, extremely good English songs. There was a fire show outside the front reception, belly dancers, disco and male singer. Cannot fault them.
There are four pool, two on the roof, heated, one on the middle floor and one in the basement,
You are given towel cards at reception on arrival, plenty of chairs and seating areas near and around the bar area. If you like sport then any football etc can be watched up here in the evening, they are open until 12 am. In reception if you want drinks after 12am, you have to pay.
Except the inside pool in the basement, all the others are open air, some heated in winter to 27C.
You cannot get bottled water inside the hotel, buy a bottle from outside and use the refil stations in reception and around the pools. DO NOT brush your teeth in the hotels water, or boil it and drink it, this can make you very poorly. From the supermarkets for a sensible sized water it will be about 40p.
We loved these guys and all work hard. The spa treatments are realistically priced, whilst there my family had hair braiding, massages, chest waxed, eye brows for men and women free, my legs were threaded and waxed, hand and feet manicure and gel, and foot pedicure, and wet shave. Special mention to our friends TITO the Egyptian Joey Essex (ask him to do a Scouse accent !), Taicon, our good friend who has left to start in a new hotel Mohamed (Adam) and not forgetting the girl and lad in the spa who do all the beauty treatments, and our friend Donny Osmond (our nick name).
Recreation staff ...
All worked hard and came over to chat, they kept the aerobics, darts and sports going all throughout the day.
Food on the roof top....
If you do not want to eat in the restaurant, you can get lunch neat the pools, but on a smaller scale.
Beer is not strong, good for shandies though. My husband enjoyed the white and red wine, and cocktails very nice.
I must stress for the no hassle shopping, go down the front reception steps and turn left, do not cross the road. There are small supermarkets for water and general use items, walk about 5 mins and you will come across the Stella bar where we watched football etc at night. These guys make you feel very welcome. Try the Sakara, we have had this beer for years, the stella is not the same as the UK. Shisha pipe very good and free refils. There are a few restaurants & shops dotted about and three cash machines and a proper bank.
If you go behind the stella bar and straight over the road, you can buy cigarettes, ask for the proper ones and not the china ones. Regal, L&M, Lambert & Butler all with the exception of L&B are Â£20 sterling for 200 cigs, L&B were Â£2.50 for 20 cigs. Or Â£2 for regal etc 20 cigs. Where this shop is situated is where you will get hassle but the shop was fine, no problems.
It is up to the individual how you decide what is your priority with reguards of trips. Over the past 11 times we have done both.
If you buy trips over the road or any booths, they are not registered and shortly will be going under with the new governments structure coming very soon. Please be aware that if you have an accident and they are not fully insured, your insurance in the UK will not cover you, i cannot stress this enough. Over the past few weeks guests have been in hospital and had to pay hundreds from their own pockets because the agencies are not insured. But as i said it is up to the individual.
Excursions as we went through Fleetway were strangely enough through Thomas Cook, called blue sky or blue travel. We went on quads and the star gazing which was fantastic. We paid exactly the same as what they were offering across the road, all safety procedures enforced and everything was above board. I would recommend them.
Old Market town ...
You can walk it but Adam took us with Vin Diesal his driver and bartered for everything, better than Naama Bay and very good fake bags, we came back with loads. Adopt an Egyptian friend, takes the strain out of it and you and sit and have a shisha and drink while they argue out your price, fabulous.
Our Susie ....
Great infectious lady, so funny and if you are going in the next few weeks, it is her birthday. Lovely lady who has been at the hotel a number of years, anything you need, or concerned about seek susie. Miss you already girlfriend xx
Birthday or anything special....
It was my husbands special 50th birthday, we received two cakes, had happy birthday sang in egyptian and our room boy was great getting all the room decorated with badges, banners, birthday cakes made out of towels and love hearts. It was a very special day thank you.
Ranged from 27c to 31 c. We went from January 25th - 4 February 2014. Very warm, and slight breeze on roof top.
Staff at the Mercato......
Everyone always mentions about the staff and how friendly they are, and it is true.
Golf buggys drivers
Absolutely everyone spoke and meant it, truly amazing hotel. We have been to Sonesta beach resort 9 times and Ghazala gardens, now at the Mercato, this is our new home. If you want a hotel that is 80% English then this is a great hotel.
Thank you from Michelle, Sam and no one will forget our Monika for a delightful holiday, your hotel staff are a credit and i do hope the Managers recollect this and give you all a pat on the back, love you all xxx
Travel operator: Fleetway Holidays
Hotel tip: Deluxe & Superior rooms in the main hotel.
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