Sonesta Beach Resort Taba
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Travel Blogs from Taba
... the show and trying to flog a longer trip. An hour and a half is sufficient in a clapped out jeep thank you very much. An "18 year old" (so he says) drives us through the clapped out village of Rum. Not much to yo ho ho and a bottle of to cheer about though.
Short drive to Lawrence's Spring. The boy tells us we can climb up the rocks to it. Doesn't look far as there is no sense of scale until two specks of human are seen halfway, clambering up. That looks hard work in this ...
... long everyone. With late days and scarce internet connections, it has been a challenge writing this. Tomorrow (Feb. 24th) it's off to Morocco to see if it has changed since my visit with Transit tours in 1976. The only thing I remember about that trip is the hole the native men had drilled into the women's washroom in the campground so that they could spy on women in the shower...! We'll see what changes 37 years has wrought - if any...
... and I went to check out the shopping. I bought an orange print Bedouin scarf and some postcards and stamps. Catherine came back to the hotel to sit by the pool and I went to look for the Red Sea. I walked down our hotel street but couldn't get access to the shore...hotels and walls. Then I looked at the map again and saw that the yacht club and beach were at the end of the main street so I went into the yacht yard and checked it out. I saw one ...
... to proceed past this point. I went through customs and stepped out of the building to locate the ferry dock where our tickets would be waiting. Except there was no ferry dock. This was quickly confirmed by a police officer and the border patrol agent that had just stamped my passport to leave Egypt. This was the way to Israel on foot,not the ferry to Jordan. We scrambled, called our tour agent and she spoke with the border patrol. We had our departure ...
... I will tell them to come to Aqaba and swim with the fishies. Oh! And bring a camera.
All of this couldn't have happened without this dive centre, International Arabs Divers Village - http://aqaba-divevillage.com/
How has this hotel rated in the past?
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Historical Traveler Reviews Sonesta Beach Resort Taba
Worst hotel i have ever stayed in
my partner and i stayed here for 1 week on all inclusive. It was the worst holiday we have ever been on. Problems arose from the moment we arrived, guaranteed a free sea view upgrade, we were then told we would have to pay. guaranteed a double room it took 2 days to sort this out(the hotel only had 50 or so guests so availability not a problem). The management & staff were totally rude to us in all areas. The all inclusive deal was not at all even semi inclusive! Drinks were local spirits, choice of brandy, whiskey or vodka. These ran out by 9pm each night & would not be restocked until the next day!!! no such thing as cocktails. Soft drinks were usually flat, served fromthe plastic 1.5 litre bottles you get in the supermarket. Water was obtained through begging, but only served to you in a glass. All drinks came in plastic glasses (evening / restaurant as well). Food was awful. Chicken, rice & pasta every lunch & dinner, on 4 occasions i had to tell the manager the chicken was raw with blood.it was still left out for the other guests. Food only available in 1 restaurant. Nothing for the kids to do. No entertainment. My partner had her mobile stolen from the room safe. Manager refused to fill out an incident report & said it was in our luggage!!! Egyptian staff hassle you non stop (sexually), knocking on your door at 3am(can only summise they found out our room number because we had to sign for every drink we had. Every single guest we met complained to the management & rep but to no avail. This hotel i would rate as 3 star. The staff have absolutely no idea how to run a hotel. Definately Fawlty Towers. Not recommended at all.
no warnings on the beach for the amount of coral that shredded you to pieces as soon as you set foot in it. definately not safe for swimming, esp kids.
Very very quiet resort and surrounding area
From what we had read we were expecting the sonesta to be quiet but nowhere near as quiet as it was. Very little entertainment and what there is doesn't start until 10.30 in the night. Stated there was a kids club but only opened the last 2 days we were there. Although it was supposed to be an all inclusive resort not everything is all inclusive. Ice creams and chips had to be paid for, drinks after 11pm were also payable and not all the restaurants are included in the all inclusive.
Excursions were very pricey and the hotel is in the middle of nowhere so very difficult to go exploring on your own.
If you are a couple looking for an extremely quiet pool based holiday this is ideal but if you like a bit of activity or have children I wouldn't recommend it.
We have just returned from a holiday in Taba staying at the Sonesta Hotel. The hotel was excellent, beautiful in apparence, clean, the staff were friendly, polite and extremely helpful. The position of the hotel is right on top of the beach and the view from the hotel rooms was perfect looking on to the Taba mountains and the red sea. The beach was clean and swimming absolutely wonderful. Food in my view was not of five star quality but staying this, it was good with a good variety of dishes.
My only complaint is Taba itself, there is no infrastructure so getting around means either thumbing a lift on the road, or paying extremely high prices at a tourist company desk situated in the hotel foyer for traxis etc. This will no doubt change as Taba gets more developed.
Waited on hand and foot at the Sonesta!
Excellent service and made very welcome at the Sonesta hotel. Look out for the amazing 'towel oregami' from room cleaners - good food and very relaxing.
Loved snorkelling in the amazing Red Sea and the Pyramids were good but journey is too long to do in a day.
Be prepared for very resort based holiday and you'll have a wonderful time.
A Journey to the Middle of Nowhere
Having enjured a 7 hour journey, just to cross from Aqaba in Jordan to Nuweiba, the hotel was an Oasis. However due to it's location, it was more of a "That's all Folks"! It is situated about 40 minutes from the port, in the middle of nowhere! Surrounded by half completed shells of other hotels. it had few residents save our group of 41. The hotels beach was clean, however if you set foot out of it the whole area turned into a rubbish dump!
The staff were obviously new to the Hotel Trade, the Bartender had to read the Coctail list in order to find out what went in each drink. (Problem solved the following night when the Catering Manager gave us our own trolly of drinks and said "make your own coctails"! Fun, but not what was expected from the standard of hotel we were in!
The food was reasonable, however most people tried different places to eat and found "lower than average" levels of food standards. In fact it seemed that the "stock" levels were low as you would find items available one night then not the next!
Because of the hastle getting there and the "problems" at the hotel, most of our group were of the same opinion that they would not return to that part of Egypt.
If anyone had told us how remote the hotel was before we went we wouldn't have gone, a week was enough otherwise I think we would have gone stir crazy. For the majority of the week we were 2 of only 12 guests!! - and had a whole wing of the hotel to ourselves - bliss.
The setting is perfect between the Sinai mountains and the Red Sea.
Arrived early hours of the morning as the flight was delayed and was pleasantlysurprised to find they had left us a lovely meal in our roon with bread and fresh fruit. Upgraded room to beach/pool view £30 and the room was perfect - large, spotlessly clean and very nicely decorated. Linen and towles changed daily (maid was into 'towel oragami')All public areas were very clean including the fresh water pool. Waiters and reception a little over attentive - but all very poite.
We got very spoilt as we dined in the al a carte, fatoush, and seafood restaurant without extra charge. They even kept on the pianist for us and one night 6 of us were in the disco!!!!!. Through Gary and Mary (previous review) met Victor at the other hotel who arranged for us to visit Nuiweba City - ideal for gifts and to sample local cuisine. The Gym is free and massages very cheap. Late check out till 6pm was £15. You must take a look around the two desserted hotels that are within walking distance along the beach - spooky. And have a mint tea with Hanni who runs the beach huts (turn left on the beach and keep walking ).
The drinks are expensive but we aren't big drinkers so we had duty free in the room and just a couple in the bar in the evening.
We found Taba airport quite a scary place - lots of armed security and bag checks - and no one spoke English - also limited facilities.
Overall we had a fantastically relaxing week, were waited on hand and foot, the weather was glorious and we meet some really nice people, I don't know if would have been the same if the hotel had been full.
Just too quiet
just arrived back from a 2 week holiday at the sonesta taba, the hotel is a typical 4-5* resort with very tastefully decorated and spacious rooms.the palmira buffet restaurant has a good selection of different foods for everyones tastes but unfortunatly unless you eat at 7pm it can be luke warm by the time you sit down. The waiters are very nice but a little bit over attentive at times,this could be down to the fact the hotel only had a max of 30-50 people in our first week and only 5 couples in the second week. We were treated to dining in the 3 restaurants ( no extra charge) because of the small numbers, our favourite was the blue fish seafood retaurant.
Be prepared to feel quite isolated, the nearest hotel is a 20 minute walk to the right up the beach, this is the holiday inn, which as a small complex of shops, please visit victor in the papyrus shop and rommy in the leather shop for some great bargains, much better prices than the organised shopping trips by libra and longwood, tell them mary and gary sent you these are 2 of the nicest and funniest guys you will meet, and made our holiday a success.
The shops in the sonesta are also good for prices see george and sam for the jewellary and papyrus .
Be prepared for expensive bar prices so take plenty of duty free with you,
nuweiba is a 15k taxi ride away to the nearest shops and costs £15 .
If you want a relaxing away from it all holiday this could be the place for you.
Nice hotel but....
The Sonesta is a lovely hotel kept spotlessly clean and set on a well kept attractive beach. The staff are all friendly and helpful but the shop owners in the hotel definitly try to rip you off and you have to have your wits about you if you want to buy anything. The hotel was extremley underoccupied with roughly 25/30 people there the first week and only 10 of us the second week. Credit to the staff though who provided our meals in the paying resteraunts for us free of charge. Now the down side. Couldn't believe the price of the drinks.£3 for a glass of local wine and the white was undrinkable. £2 a can of local beer which mysteriously ' ran out ' during the day so that you had to pay £2 for a half pint can of another make. At one point, we found that there was plenty of the 'run out ' beer in another bar. The price of local brandy was the same as the imported, £4.30!. The only alternative was to drink the cocktails which were £2.60, very sweet with not much alcohol in. The food was good quality and well presented but only luke warm and therefore cold before you could finish it. The hotel is very isolated with Nuweiba the nearest 'town' about half hour drive away. I use the word ' town' lightly as there is one, not very clean, cafe, a chemist and half a dozen shops all selling the same stuff. Taxi's are expensive as well. The half hour drive to Nuweiba was £25, not a bad profit when it cost them about £4 for a full tank of petrol! We expected and welcomed the security checks on arrival but found the return trip from Taba airport very intimidating having to show our documents 4 times and being hassled for money by the man who put our luggage on the conveyor belt and the man who followed my husband into the toilet ordering him to wash his hands. So all in all, we wouldn't go back and think that these issues need addressing if Eygpt wants to attract British tourists back.
Don't expect 5*, but not that bad!
Having booked the holiday, I looked for reviews, and found 'Hell on Earth'. With that in mind I could only be impressed! We went end of January 05.
Fair enough, it doesn't feel like a 5* hotel (I'll start with the negatives). The beds are pretty hard! Service is overattentive (I think they want to be tipped all the time). The main restaurant is open every evening, but one of the others is every night too (£5 suppliment pp). The previous guest is right about no alcohol in the beach bar. But they warn you it'll take 15 mins. Although, I have to say, the low point - I ordered a pina colada . . it had mould in. Libra outings ARE expensive. As are other trips with the hotel (you can barter here). Basically it is a hotel in the middle of nowhere! Mountains behind, sea in front, slow developments either side. The closest cash point was 16km away - make sure you take some Egyptian pounds!! Tipping is expected. The staff aren't very sure on things and English can be weak. The shops are poor, but they do have a 'bank' (without a credit card machine) and internet facility (need to pay). Just a fridge for mini bar. No room service menu.
Good points now! There is an area of coral reef right on the hotel beach. With amazing fish. Definately worth taking your snorkelling stuff! We also went snorkelling twice with the onsite diving centre - Sinai Dolphin Divers. Much cheaper than Libra! Our guide was Thomas, very good English and very helpful! Slightly more impressive reefs at Nuweiba and 'Devils Head'.
The food in the restaurant for breakfast and dinner was really very good. You'd have to be careful if you are a vegetarian though!
The gym has one of everything and is free. There are other facilites to pay for (sauna, jacussi, massage, tennis, table tennis, snooker etc). We didn't go in the pool, it is heated, but there were a lot of children. I think it was New Year for the area, so many arabic guests. Only about 10 Brit couples. Rooms are spacious with balconys, the mountain view is actually pretty nice and gets the afternoon sun. It is very clean and nice bathroom. Although temps according to the BBC were highs of only 15/16 for the week, we were warm enough and could sunbathe as the sun is so hot.
Impressive lobby, nice piano bar, nice beach and pool area.
It was a relaxing week :-)
Hell on earth
We went to this so called brand new 5 star hotel, its only new to sonesta, but was the stainburg hotel prior. at one stage during our week there was only 5 rooms occupied, therefore 3 waiter's to every guest. The hotel itself is very nice, but the web site boasts a mini bar in every room ( If only there was ) we could have had a drink. It was just an empty fridge as per any other 4 star hotel. The hotel barman entertains himself playing Jenga, then if you can pull him away you might be luck to get what you order, after him going somewhere else for the splitser ( Just one at a time ) The are shops in the hotel, but onlt one open at a time ( same shopkeeper for them all ) so be patient. All nine resteruants were closed in Nov 04, and we had fish, chicken or beef every night. So lack of food, and drink, you wont be putting on the pounds. There is no other hotel for approx 5 miles, so your trapped, unless you can get passed the hotel security for a taxi to another busy hotel, if not for a drink, but your sanity. Trips with Libra are expensive. The drivers or mad, & the buses unsafe. Crossing the borders are a nightmare, where you leave your hotel a 5am, you will get to petra around 11:15am. You dont need a visa for Taba unless you are leaving the area, If you do get one, like us, and then went on a trip crossing the border, your visa is cancelled, then you need to buy another to get back that night, Its a con. other than that the good points were the M4 was clear all the way, airport check in was stright forward & flight was ok. oh and the weather was better the the canaries for this time of year.