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Travel Blogs from Hurghada
... it is in the middle of the desert. The people are friendly, and have a small zoo with snakes and other small animals. Their are camels everywhere. I had a 15 minute ride on a camel. It really gives you the opportunity to see how other people around the world live. I mean, these people definitely do not have fridges, cars, built brick houses or supermarkets.
... dinner at the down down or Abu Tig Marina. There are a wide varieties of restaurants or trendy bars for you to choose. We really love everything in this little town ((food, service, friendly staff, night life, variety from buffet, facilities, clientele and the range of bars) and no pressure to buy anything. Hope their tourism industry would get better soon due the political issues happening in Egypt.
... so I left and went back to the room to tell Bill all about my big adventure.
No sooner did I get there than the phone rang. It was our representative, Mohamed, who asked if we could come down to the lobby because he had a birthday present for me! Turns out he'd gone to that Cotton Store he'd recommended and picked up a big beach towel decorated with a colorful image of Cleopatra. He told us we could hang it on one of our walls back home. We thanked him ...
... along a Highway in Cairo. The lines on the road don't have any meaning you overtake on the left, right,and through the middle. Well we arrived all in one piece at the Pyramids, were there was tea coffe cakes, rows of chairs and more brass that I have seen since I was stationd in Police Headquaters. Luckly we did not have to listen to any speeches but just had our fotostaken underthe TDA banner in front of the Pyramids. For foto seen TDA home page I presume. Fotos come ...
... be. Maybe turning 40 won’t be so bad?
We have a fun packed day. We get picked up from the hotel at 11.30am and taken a short drive to the safari centre where we will be spending the day in the desert. First we have to buy some headscarves as they are not supplied, we then head off to visit a traditional Bedouin village a 20 minute ride in a jeep into the desert. It is an extremely bumpy ride, poor little Ellie was bouncing all over the place, I don’t ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Mercure Hurghada
Good hotel and a nice diving center
I spent a week in the Sofitel Hurghada. Though you should not expect the level of a regular Sofitel, it's a very good value for money if you take the All-In package. In the end, you don't pay the price of a regular Sofitel either!
Staff was nice, rooms OK but could be refreshed. But the outside of the hotel (where you spend most of your time) is very nice and not too packed, as are a lot of hotels in Hurghada, with huge buildings and tons of tourists around the pool and on the beach. The hotel is composed of a series of small buildings, which is very nice and gives an impression of space. Pool is good, beach is quite large for a medium-sized hotel like that. Food is OK but not great. You should take the all-in package, otherwise expect a big bill at the end of your stay. Other amenities are good (squash, tennis, etc.)
For divers, this is excellent. The hotel has a diving center (Sub Aqua Diving Center) and its small private marina. The diving center is very professional, and prices are not too high. So if you want to learn diving it's perfect, they are good and 200m away from your breakfast table!
All in all, I had a very good time, it was good value for money, the hotel was not too big but very spacious (we were not packed!) and the diving center was good and convenient.
Ok for a week away from it all!
Just arrived home from a week at the Sofitel Hurghada. If you want to go for a week away from it all then this is the place for you as there's very little to do and you are a long way from the town.
Plus points - Pool and beach are lovely, pool bar serving good selection of snacks. Nice towels! Hotel not full so plenty of choice for sunbeds by pool although beach not available unless you get out there before 9-9.30. Some beds usually free again by early afternoon though.
Enjoyed a game of pool each night £2.80 per hour (entertainment was not particularly tailored to the english).
Hotel generally quiet and peaceful.
No so good points - Rooms, clean but very tired. Need some updating.
Restaurant (buffet), again decor needs some attention. Food reasonable. Breakfasts great if you have a sweet tooth as loads of pastries, we dont and therefore were rather bored by the end of the week! Evening meal, reasonable selection, lovely salads, nice bbq 3 nights, always a pasta choice and roast meat. Gets very busy at times with some pushing and shoving by impatient guests! Avoid peak times (8-9am 7.30-8.30pm) - must be a nightmare when hotel is full!
Drinks - £1.80 large beer, £1.00 large bottle of water, £3.50 shot of gin/vodka!!! What we expected really so no complaints - just had a very occasional short!!
Had lunch at the seafood restaurant one day - very disappointing. Went upstairs expecting to be sat in a restaurant - sat on benches in a sand pit! Poor service, overpriced, overcooked and not much of it. Much better seafood alternative available at pool bar more reasonably priced and of superior quality. Chairs more comfy too!
We were certainly in the minority as english guests, mainly russian and french. Due to this we were a target for the local staff to "learn english for free" as we were often told. You do need to be polite but firm to prevent being hounded and get some peace! By day 3 they had left us alone!
Overall, great time of year to go to this region. Weather perfect, hot days but cool evenings. Hotel of dubious quality - more 3 than 4 star. But did what it said on the tin for a week to chill out!
Would return to Egypt but not this hotel.
Christmas day on Paradise Island
The first Sofitel hotel was opened in Strasbourg, France in 1964. Now Sofitel, part of the hotel brand of Accor, has 180 hotels in 53 countries around the world. They employ approximately 12,500 people in different countries around the world. The one that I am going to review is the one in Hurghada, Egypt and it is built on forty hectares in the Arabian desert and has the luxury of its own private beach by the very clear and lively Red Sea. It is 450 kms south of Cairo and 280 kms north of Luxor. It has 312 rooms and four villas and we stayed there for two glorious weeks over the Christmas period of 2004 and we loved it, the staff at the hotel were extremely friendly and helpful. We booked to go six months in advance and arranged everything with Portland Direct, who are part of the Thomson holiday giants, and payed for it through their website at portland-direct. The price was around four hundred and sixty pounds each, flying out from Gatwick on a very crisp and cold early Tuesday morning, and this was for bed and breakfast, and it was not much cheaper for our daughter who was eleven at the time, although fair enough it did cover Christmas and this was a bit special.
The hotel has:
A conference room holding 130 people
A children's club (6 - 12 years old)
An open-air amphitheatre
Shops include: jewellery, rugs, internet cafe, gift shop,
Beauty salon, perfumery, sports and photo processing.
Sauna and Turkish bath
One large swimming pool with a small kiddie pool
4 Clay tennis courts, volleyball and Squash courts
A fitness centre and a jogging course
Archery and a Mini golf course
Football, table tennis
Billiards and snooker
Horse riding (with lessons if needed)
Scuba diving and snorkelling club
Wind and water surfing, water skiing
Sailing facilities, glass bottom boat
Deep sea fishing, sea fishing
18 hole golf course near to the hotel.
Our flight was on time, with some superb views of the desert and very deep blue Red Sea, and we landed four and a half hours later at Hurghada airport, the door of the Britannia 737 opened and we stepped out to find that it was hot. Well when I say hot I mean approximately seventy five degrees F and the time was 6:30pm so that to us was just brilliant. Onto the transfer bus for a very short trip to the passport control area where we had to queue for a short time at the visa kiosk. They cost us £10 each and the stamps were stuck in our passports and then stamped by one of the officers at passport control, you can get your visa well in advance from the Egyptian Consulate in London website :---- but the cost will be £15 each, we then made our way to the luggage reclaim carousel this took about 15 minutes until our cases arrived. As I have mentioned in another review be careful here because there are a number of so called porters hanging around the carousel ready to grab your cases and bags before you have the chance to pick them up yourself, you must insist that you can sort out your own luggage but they will still hold out their hand for a baksheesh, (a tip).
Transfer times are between ten minutes and forty minutes depending on how many others need to be dropped off at other hotel in Hurghada. The part of the town that we saw was not that built up, in fact it looked quite baron to me, with only a handful of shops, bars and restaurants that we later found out got quite lively later on. We turned off the main Safaga road, through some gates and then along a winding road to the front of the very white and Moorish looking Sofitel hotel. Here we waited only a few minutes while our luggage was off loaded and put down in front of us, and were then told to report to check-in. We were given forms to fill in with all our details and passport numbers and then given our room numbers, we then had to wait a while so that the rep could give us a brief talk about the up and coming rep's welcome meeting planned for the next day in a small secluded part of the very impressive reception area. The desk at reception was quite long and well polished, there were three well dressed men behind the desk dealing with all us new arrivals, each one of them with a name badge that gave their name and language spoken and between the three of them they could speak English, French, German, Italian and of course Arabic.
I noticed a door at the end of the desk that led to the room housing the safety deposit boxes which we later signed up for at no additional cost to us. I must add that there was a safe in our room but we felt that the extra security of a safety deposit box would not hurt. Off to find the room now and it was not long before we found it, on the ground floor in a very nice looking white block of around fifteen rooms on three levels but with no lifts, and the cases just arriving at the same time as us, this was the start of our 14 day stay at the Red Sea Riviera. The room was medium sized and looked well decorated to a good standard with two single beds and a zed bed for my daughter. Double doors leading to the terrace that had two chairs and a table and a recess next to these doors that was used as a cushioned seating area. A standard looking table with lamp and stool below a very elegant looking well sized mirror and a mini bar with a satellite colour television on top of it. It had a very efficient air conditioning unit above the fitted wardrobe that housed the safe, then there was the shower room and toilet that had a fitted hair dryer. Room service was daily from 12:00-24:00
We unpacked immediately, showered, changed and made a bee line for the first bar we came across this was called Bar Azur this was a very large bar and cocktail lounge that was central to other bars and restaurants within the complex. It had a big black grand piano in the centre where all the kids, and adults, used to go past it and tinkle on the keys, Chopsticks and Eastenders being the more popular tunes that people new. One section was for the three pool tables that always seemed to have someone on there playing. Another section had a reading corner next to the very large terrace overlooking the sea. Live music and concerts every night playing in two or three different languages as there were people from England, France, Russia, Germany and Italy. All the main and popular spirits could be bought at the bar as well as cocktails and bottles of Stella and Sakara and other lagers on the pump, all the normal cans of soft drinks were on offer and also bar snacks could be ordered. The bar staff were always smiling and very friendly and would always take a shine to the younger members of families and were always trying to make them laugh. They spoke very good English and were always polite and pleasant.
Sharky's Disco, which is open from eleven at night till two in the morning, is situated well away from the main blocks of rooms so we never heard any noises or music. It was situated next to the open air Amphitheatre where they put on two shows for us in the two weeks whilst we were there. This was because it was their winter time and that they were already rehearsing for the Christmas concert. One show they did put on was the Michael Jackson Experience and it was brilliant. We went from the bar for something to eat and found the Marina Fish bar, this was up some steps just above the diving centre, and of course as the name suggests the main dishes on the menu was to do with the sea. Not a very big place but it made it feel more cosy, the food was spot on and cost us about £28 and this included a bottle of wine and other drinks. We then made our way back to our room going past the well lit and rather large pool. One thing I need to point out is that there are a lot of steps all over the resort and may not be suitable for the less mobile. Temperatures at night can get a bit cold at about 10 degrees C so you should remember to take the odd woolly jumper, daytime temperatures are around the 77 degree F mark and you do get tanned.
The next morning we were awakened by a welcome bright ray of sunshine breaking its way through the gap between the curtains, time for breakfast. At the Dar Andalous restaurant we were asked our room number and were shown to our table by a very polite waiter and were then made a fuss of by several other waiters walking briskly back and forth with pots of tea and coffee. The American style breakfast, in fact all the meals, was buffet style which is what we prefer and there was plenty of choice and it was top quality too. Two chefs were busily tossing their small black omelette pans for whoever wanted either fried eggs or omelettes with a multitude of fillings. Fresh bread and rolls, from numerous different cuisines, were baked at the hotel daily and made all the meals complete especially accompanied with the sachets of Flora and Lurpak. Evening meals celebrate the cuisines of a different country every evening and the themed dinners include buffets with musicians and the room is decorated every night, the work and effort that is put in everyday makes a real difference. All meals could also be taken on the terrace in the open air and make a pleasant change whilst supping our coffee looking over the pool towards the beach with all the sun canopies lined up in regimental rows flapping gently in the breeze coming in from the gorgeous looking and inviting Red Sea.
We spent the rest of the morning exploring and ended up lounging around the pool soaking up the sun with plenty of waiters asking what we wanted next. You could always find somewhere to sit as there are plenty of tables and chairs for all. The pool bar was very well equipped, open from 10:00am up until 6:00pm, this is where must people ate at lunchtime with the choice of snacks, main meals, soups, ice creams, cocktails, fruit juices and all the usual drinks for the adult or child. Pool activities were put on daily and gave you the choice of belly dancing, water polo, pool aerobics and various other popular water sports. Early each morning a section of the pool was sectioned off for those who are wanting to learn how to dive, there were always a half a dozen or more bubbling just below the surface. About ten metres from the pool you were on the beach, you could get free towels and snorkel gear for a voucher that was given to us at reception, it was very clean and easy to walk on and the loungers were well spaced out each one having its own wind break which also helped with your privacy. There were plenty of things for everyone to do in and out of the sea. You could clearly see the fish darting about just below the surface really sub tropics here.
You could ride on a camel or a horse up and down the beach, the water sports were always a popular choice and there were always someone somewhere bobbing about in the very crystal clear water. The live coral reef was sectioned off to stop it being damaged, wearing footwear of some kind would be advised in certain areas as it is very sharp under foot in the water. A beach bar was central to all and served up snacks and cold drinks without us having to trail back to the pool bar. Another hut on the beach was for you to hire pedelo's, snorkel gear, boat trips and arrange and pay for fishing trips. We payed up to go on a boat trip to Paradise Island on Christmas day and it turned out to be a dream day out that we all thoroughly enjoyed. From where we were on the beach we could see the whole of the complex and at one end we could see dozens of workmen very busy erecting a massive marquee that was to house all the Christmas festivities. Christmas was celebrated more on the twenty forth and we were invited to the pool area for cocktails before entering the brilliantly lit giant tent, we mingled, like you do with the Russians, French and others from all over Europe. Then after about three quarters of an hour we all filed in to what can only be described as a banquet set out for the Royals.
The tables were lavishly set out with our names on them, which we had booked previously in the week as we did for the wine and champagne, the tables were all set out for eight. Prices worked out to be £36 each excluding the drink. Both the longer sides of the marquee were lined with tables covered with hot, steaming and exotic looking food this had to be the biggest buffet that I had ever seen. They must of drafted in a whole regiment of waiters, all done up to the nines in their gleaming starched suites, because everywhere you looked one would pop into your line of sight and ask if they could help in some way. At the far end was the stage that they put on a nativity show and pop show and it went very well it was magnificent in fact the whole evening was the best we have ever had anywhere. We made lots of friends during our stay at the Sofitel and would definitely recommend a holiday to this hotel, especially over the Christmas period. There are plenty of excursions and trips to go on which can either be arranged by your tour operator or the hotel.
My partner and I just got back from a week at the Hurghada Sofitel (Jan 2006) and we're disappointed to say the very least. We have both stayed at Sofitel's around the globe and this one does not match their other hotels. Although the grounds are beautiful, the pool and beach and clean with comfortable lounge chairs there are a few faults that will deter us from staying at this resort again. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis - this was a decent meal with eggs, sausages and all the breakfast pastries you could eat. A few times we paid the exorbitant price for lunch and dinner at the resort and it was nearly inedible - and we are not a picky eaters! Alcoholic drinks were extremely expensive (for Egypt): beer $3-4 USD, sprits $7 USD not to mention the non alcoholic ones: bottle of water $2 USD, pop $2 USD. Getting to town takes about 10 minutes and a haggle with the taxi driver - we finally figured out to walk to the front gate to hail our own as Sofitel rips you off. Their shuttle is not free and twice and much as a couple should pay. In town, there are some half decent restaurants to eat in and a number of places to drink at reasonable prices - beer/drink: $1-2 USD. Town is where you'll find your first convenience and grocery store; however, be warned, do not dare bring any food/drink items back to the hotel (without hiding them!) It's Sofitel's policy that no outside food or drink are allowed. The rooms are tired but decent; although, I would barley rate their rooms at a 3 star let alone a 4 and absolute cleanliness is in question. Overall, we continually felt ripped off and constrained by the hotel. We were sold by the Sofitel name but were delivered something else mediocre.
We are seasoned travellers and read the reviews on this site prior to making our choice. Given what had been written we thought we were on a sure bet.In fact,the Hotel promises a lot but most definitely leaves you very disappointed.
The good points are: The gardens are beautifully kept,
the beach is clean and it has it's own man made reef where snokelling is as good as anywhere.
Now for the bad points: The check in service was abysmal, took forever! Location wise if you want to experience life outside the hotel, it is impossible to walk anywhere. It has been rated as a 4 star but in Egypt, hotels are rated on what they offer ie heated swimming pool would make it 5 star etc etc, not on the service or quality of the rooms. The food is canteen style and of canteen quality , it is plentiful but you soon tire of it's blandness.Furthermore, the prices are extortionate for beers, spirits and water. How they can justify charging £1.80 for a local beer when in the local bars it costs just 50p! Water in the hotel £1 a bottle in the shops, 15p - However NO local shop nearby so you are at their mercy. The rooms have definitely seen better days as have the bathrooms (If you stay on the top floor, the hot water cuts out if someone else is using it below!).But it was clean.
The place is overrun with Russians - 95% occupancy- and because of this, the hotel leans heavily in their favour. If you do decide to book here, ensure that you pay as little as possible. We would most definitely not recommend this hotel.
Best Animation Hotel
I just got back from a week at the sofitel. It has exceeded my expectations in every way! There were numerous activities free of charge throughout the day, the dinner buffet had a different theme every night and the daily shows in the open-air theatre from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm were not only free but extremely entertaining. The dive center in the hotel was professionally run and reasonably priced. Would stay there again for sure.
I would stay here again.
Stayed here for 1 week with my husband and kids. Rooms are OK, nothing special. The food, presentation, environment and staff are above average. for Egypt it is excellent. The staff is very friendly and well trained. Be aware, the drink prices are very high.....and the egyptian wine is undrinkable. A good bottle of wine will cost $50.00. The beach is large compared to the other hotels....pool could be bigger. The hotel offers activites throuout the day including water aerobics, archery, belly dancing, and kids activities. We spent 2 nights at the Hilton Resort when we came back from a nile cruise and I could not believe the difference. Although Hilton resort had nicer rooms, the food, staff , environment was similar to Holiday Inn. I enjoyed my stay at the SOFITEL and would go again.
Have just returned from a week at the Sofitel in Hurghada with my husband. What a wonderful place. This is their low season so the hotel was not anywhere near full, so it was quiet but that just added to the pleasure. The softest pool towels I have ever experienced!!!! The cleanliness was to an extremely high standard and all the staff went out of their way to help without being intrusive. The Sofitel has wonderful grounds and is set on a beautiful clean beach. Food was superb, with plenty of choice. Taxis into Hurghada from the hotel were very reasonable, and they come back and collect you when you are ready - round trip max £6!! Just go, you will love it.
Great place to stay!!
We have just returned from two weeks in Hurghada, staying at the Sofitel hotel Hurghada which was a really great place. The rooms were bright and spotless, with the added bonus of room service which offered a good range of food if you didn't want to go anywhere! Food generally was really good and all the staff were friendly and obliging. Beach was good with plenty of sports activities and sunbeds, and the snorkelling was excellent. Shows every evening were entertaining. Taxis to downtown hurghada were cheap and readily available. Exursions arranged through our portland rep were fantastic and very well organised. Would certainly reccomend staying at the sofitel as it has pretty much everything you are likely to need all in one complex.
Great Quality with French food quality
I went last year to sofitel hurghada ( June 04) and it was a really good deal for my wife and myself. We made snorkeling from the beach and have seen a lot of fishes. The food was great and the shows also very nice. the bar is nice also, and disco also. The swimming pool is nice. Really nice with nice rooms and good service. I would go again.