Island Garden Resort
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Travel Blogs from Sharm El-Sheikh
The reason I love Sharm el-Sheikh so much is it's a holiday mecca! The place - a gorgeous sea view beach setting - has everything you need for a relaxing holiday. Yes it's nice to see the locals and culture on holidays, but here you don't experience the down sides of this. From clubbing to quading in the desert, diving to fine food, this place has everything for an enjoyable ...
... here are indeed crystal clear. Unfortunately I didn't see many big things aside from a few turtles. It is good diving though, and I'll probably come back here some day. I did 2 dives in the Straits of tiran, which sits between sharm and the island of tiran. The island of tiran is contested territory between egypt and Saudi Arabia. Apparently the island is famous for being the second most land mined piece of land in the world, so we stayed on the boat during our surface ...
Only a 4 1/2 hour flight, arrive earlier than normal so a couple of hours sunlight left. Interesting journey via taxi to the hotel, which included having to get out of it as we got grounded on a sleeping policeman! Hotel is very spread out, nice gardens. First rooms not to good but the girls manage secure new ...
... green garden provides a stark contrast. Above the fortress door are two large wooden boxes where soldiers could lay in wait to pour boiling oil over unwelcome guests.
Just inside, we present our tickets and Kai is handed a sarong to cover his shorts and bare legs. We proceed down narrow passageways to a spot where we see the Burning Bush. It’s a healthy, thriving plant ...
... even if it did exist it closes down every few weeks to defrost. At least we talked to a couple of people that had heard of it... so off we went. This was a good find, Tammy was soooo happy! We found the Ice Bar and it was pretty neat. They give you a long fuzzy coat to wear and your first drink is part of the cover charge. The bar was not very big and when we got there we were the the only people there. We got vodka shots in ice ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
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Historical Traveler Reviews Island Garden Resort Sharm El-Sheikh
The sunrise island resort (maxim garden) is excellent, i cant believe these i got from this hotel. the food was great and the kids loved it.
the swimming pools were so clean there was no dirst anywhere, the rooms are really nice.
i cant belive people dont like this hotel, its deff 4 star standard.
Not a 4 or 5 star !!
My wife and I visted Aug 2005. Weather 40c everyday, not a cloud int he sky, ever ! This resort has been rebranded from Maxim gardens to Sunrise Gardens, and the beach hotel from White Knight to Sunrise Island. I stayed at Sunrise Island which is meant to be 4 star, while the gardens is 3 star. We also visited the gardens which is worse than our hotel, mush worse.
First off, the place is mostly clean, but kitchen and food areas are a little dirty. The chef had blood on his finger whilst cutting a bread roll for my hot dog. The food is awful. Butlins seems much better !!!!!!! (not that I like that).
The staff have money written all over the face when they serve you.
The pools and grounds are fantastic.
I would not go back to this resort, ever ! Shop around, you will find better hotels.
You have been warned. !!
To start with, this hotel is NOT what we expected.
FOOD: Same day in day out, very bland
STAFF: Have a severe attitude problem, want tipping constantly and trying to get problems sorted out was a huge issue as unless you REALLY complain and shout at them.
ENTERTAINMENT: Tried hard, but again, same day in day out. The entertainment was next to the Lebanese restaurant, so you had to listen to agadoo every night whilst eating your dinner.
LOCATION: Next to the runway of SHARM airport
All in All, a less then 3 * hotel
An honest review
First warning when booking this hotel is there are 2: Sunrise Gardens and its sister, Sunrise Island View.
Sunrise Island View is actually the 5 star and has 5 lovely pools and the beach. The apartments looked very plush and very spread out with water features and gardens everywhere. It also has the gym and disco etc.
Sunrise Gardens however is more like an above average 3 star. Its clean, the rooms have air con (though a little basic), the pool is lovely (with waterslides) and there's a bar and 2 a la carte restaurants (arabic & italian). The buffet restaurant takes a couple of visits to get used to. I had a shock as I was expecting 5 star and it isn't so be prepared.
BUT.... on a positive note there's a kitchen where you can get fab omlettes at breakfast, lunch there's fresh pasta. We ordered from the fish menu (which is extra) and had fantastic prawns, lobster and crab. And it was good value! The buffet - be adventerous and try it all. There's suprisingly something there you will enjoy and try local cuisine. The desserts are fab.
The inclusive : non label spirits, beer and egyptian wine, limited cocktails, water by the glass.
Bottled beer, bottles of water and labels are extra.
Also there's a disco at the main hotel which the entry is free but the drinks are not. And they are not cheap.
Entertainment - um I hate being negative but most nights it was rather pants. They tried hard and you can enjoy a sheesha pipe (not inclusive) while cringing a little (apple is the best)!!
Top tip from this site is you don't have pay for the visa at the airport if you don't plan to go out of Sharm. Write on the immigration form "Sinai Only"
Don't worry about the bombings. The security is high and there are police everywhere so you feel quite safe.
Get down to Naarma Bay - very vibrant town, lots of great restaurants and shopping. Haggle for your life!!
Money : take US dollars and Egyptian pounds. They like both but prefer $$
Diving - a must. Go to Naarma Bay or shop around as there are loads of diving clubs all wanting your business. You can get some great offers.
Costs: water at hotel 60p comparred to 30p at the local shop.
Taxi to Naarma £5-6 (50 egyptian)
I've rated this above average as I ejoyed the holiday, the staff are great and a bed is a bed at the end of the day BUT its not 5 star.
I have just got back from the Sunrise Island Sea Veiw suites which was formerly known as the Maxim Plaza. I went with my husband and two girls 6 and 4 we had a really nice holiday. I would agree with other reviews that the place is more like a 4* than 5* but the plus points were its cleanliness, the staff were very helpful ( even without the 2$ tips) the complex is great and well kept. The food is plentiful and there is loads of variety although most people we met as well as 3 out of four of us had tummy upsets, this was most likely due to change in water (which we didn't drink but assume that everything is washed in) or the heat which was extream...but i'm not complaining! The local pharmacy was very helpful... !
The fish were amazing as well! Kids loved snorkeling.
There wasn't any really bad points but the rooms were a bit small for a family of four and to achieve 5* status I think they could supply gowns and toiletries and stock the mini bar more than once in a week and with more than water. Also the only snacks available throughout the day were pastries so maybe crisps or similiar would have been preferable.
The entertainment was the same every night but bearable and the massages were fantastic.
All in all a nice holiday would recomend to families who like it HOT.
Wonderfully kept gardens
My husband and 2 daughters aged 10 and 17 stayed at the Sunrise island view formerly Maxim plaza for 1 week on the 14 july. certainly not 5 star more a 3/4. We had a junior suite which was smaller than we expected. No separate bedroom but kept immaculately clean by the cleaner who worked really hard as all the staff did and are grateful for a couple of dollars tip as they dont earn much. The gardens were landscaped to perfection with lots of bridges and pretty waterfalls. We opted for the pool nearer the beach as the largest one with the slides was always full. We found there werent many english but, lots of rude italians, russians and germans. We were all inclusive and breakfast was the best meal, lots of bread and cakes and an omelette station which was delicious. found the rest of the meals a bit repetitive. I was rather nervous about eating because of all the stories of tummy bugs to which my husband succumbed to for a couple of days, tablets from the pharmacy across the road helped. The fish in the sea were amazing. My husband really enjoyed the snorkelling. Not much of a beach- manmade with umbrellas and sunbeds. The attention my daughter got constantly from the egyptians got a bit tedious in the end dont think they see many blondes! We took the shuttle bus to naama bay, cost us 11 dollars. very busy there bit like blackpool with kfc and mc donalds lots of hassle from overeager shopkeepers. All in all weather was fantastic, hotel complex was adequate, but, overated, not much to do outside the complex so we got a bit bored at night. The entertainment in the hotel was poor. Just a supermarket outside our hotel so didnt have any shops to visit. I didnt find this holiday to be the most relaxing I've ever had, think I was paranoid about the tummy bugs, which as we found out on the plane on way home, were rife in all the hotels, lots of people had to call doctors and even go to the hospital, glad we came back when we did as it was 20 hrs after we got home that the bombs went off!
I satyed in the Maxim Plaza for two weeks with my mum and her partner, and have to say it is one of the nicest hotels i have ever been to. The hotel was kept spotless, and the staff could not do enough for you. Perhaps not quite a 5* but definitely 4*. How anyone could complain about the food is beyond me- the options to choose from are amazing...soooo much choice!! All the waiters were extremely friendly, and never let you have an empty glass. The only thing i would say that bothered me is how greedy some of the russian guests were- i was amazed at how much they piled onto their plate- as if it were going to run out. It is not true the hotel does not serve diet coke- because they certainly had enough for me whilst i was staying there. Although some aspects of it not all being all-inclusiive is right to a certain degree- down on the beach bar you do have to pay for alcoholic drinks - but the staff say that is for a saftey precaution because they have had past guests hurting themselves on the coral where they have had too much to drink- so thats kind of undertandable. The vodka is not fantastic over there, and i dont think they had martini- but im not 100% on that.
The coral is amazing- you should definitely have a go at snorkelling down there. If you fancy a break away from the hote one night you should go into naama bay- theres plenty of nightlife and there are soooo many retaurants to choose from at unbelievably cheap prizes- we went to a steak and fish reaturant near mc donalds which was very good.
The only thing i would say is young women be prepared to be treated like the next Jennifer Lopez- the men are very charming- but just take it with a pinch of salt.
and i do have to say- the staff definitely prefer the British to the russians- as we actually have manners- unlike some of them- and they do show their appreciation when you use them.
Well to anyone going- i'm sure you will enjoy it- as it is a very nice hotel- im not sure whether the other reviewrs had stayed in the gardenresort, as where i stayed seemed a palace compared to their description.
have a great time
Lia Vinielle Ciantar
A great holiday
Having just spent 2 weeks at this hotel i would say the rating should be 3.5 star to 4 star. the level of cleanliness was superb, the staff amongst some of the most friendly i have met on all of my travels. the hotel is a very nice complex of bungalows, with a superb swimming pool. , the lager is very nice and the wine is excellent local spirits except for rum and brandy are not nice at all although everyones pallet is different..The down side is that wine which is very nice red and white is only served with meals ( bummer)The food i would say was nice if you like chicken, and salad the deserts are really superb. They did have a variety of egyptian foods but without any guide to what the meal was supposed to be you would have to ask one of the hard working waiters. The snorkelling is absolutely mind blowing crystal clear water and wow the fish unbeleivable, to sum up i woudl highly recommend this holiday to anyone even families as the pool area has slides and a kiddies pool, try the quad safari brilliant would visit naama bay worth a vist very little hassle a polite no is all you need and they accept that no problem we would definitely return there again. do not change your money in england wait until you get to the airport we changed some of our cash here and got 9.87 egyptian pound for £1 at sharm airport you will get 11.4 egytian pounds also take us$ and they are a good exchange rate. tipping is never asked for but greatly accepted as there wage is £30 - £50 a month a a tip goes a long way in ensuring your service is better than normal. We would definitely return to sharm
Certainly not all inclusive in any way shape or form
Grounds - Lovely
Facilities - Pools are good
Entertainment - same day in day out at same times, same music etc etc
Russian women available (so we were repeatedly informed) although this wasnt made explicit in the Odyssey worldwide brochure!!!
Beach - non to speak of
Water - amazing snorkeling is the best bit along with the pools and the lay out of the hotel grounds
Caters for - RUSSIANS in relation to the food, music (staff attitudes - they really have their backs up about the way the Russian holiday makers treat them!)
Food - Awful, same day in day out ( imagine an all inclusive basis at Butlins but worse) one of those were you eat because you need to not that you can derive any enjoyment from it. Be prepared for uncooked chicken, uncooked eggs, lots of, bland cakes and lots of battered fruit!!! room service doesn't cost too much and is just alright. no ice cream or anything that kids would be prepared to eat.
Drinks - beer in plastic cups, one bar by the main pool, local alcoholic beverages (really rough stuff) cannot get beer on the beach and fruit juices you pay for, no diet coke or pepsi. Have to pay for most things really!
All Inclusive Basis - really not worth it - you can eat out really really cheap
Health club - $15 sauna / steam room $10 for jacuzzi, $10 for 1 hour of snooker $6 for use of the internet
Local shops in Namma Bay - advised to barter by holiday rep, but in all but one of the shops we tried it in they werent having any of it!
Airport - Easter break but was awful, dirty, really expensive and like a cattle market
Visa's - don't pay for unless you are doing trips i.e. to the pyramids
This hotel is supposed to be changing soon to Sunrise Plaza or something similar, the staff told us that it will be much improved and cater more for the Germans...
Would we go back? NEVER ... give me a Greek Island any day
Last minute break in the sun!
I booked the holiday on Monday 7th March 2005 with Lastminute.com and flew out 2 days later, albeit it via Paris and Cairo instead of a nice convenient direct flight!
Marsa El Sedid - Behind Airport ,Sharm El Sheikh.
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Hotel website = ---
Maxim Plaza or Maxim Plaza Gardens Resort?
Located at Marsa El Sedid, Sharks bay in front of tiran island in the Sharm el Sheikh zone.
I was in the Maxim Plaza Garden Resort, sister hotel of the much nicer Maxim Plaza White Knight hotel on the beach (the 2 hotels are a 3 minutes walk apart from each other). Book into the Maxim Plaza White Knight if you can (sometime confusingly just called the Maxim Plaza!!) Its bigger, better landscaped, has nicer swimming pools and better daytime/evening entertainment. It's also on the beach whereas the Garden Resort is a 5 minute stroll inland, or 2 minutes in the courtsey open-air mini bus. I also noticed that the Gardens Resort was a lot more blustery whereas the White Knight hotel's pools were nicely sheltered from the elements.
You can not walk straight into the sea. You access the sea by way of a floating pontoon.
All there is in the Garden Resort regards evening entertainment is a small hotel bar. The Maxim Plaza has a better bar, an amphitheatre for evening entertainment and a Euro disco. The gymnasium and health spa also lie in the White Knight's grounds and not the Gardens Resort's grounds.
How close to town?
It took me about 15 minutes to get to Naama Bay in the Hotel bus and was about $5 return. This is where all the nightlife and shops are. These 2 hotels, like many along the coast, are complete standalone hotels that are simply plonked into the desert. The airport was a 10 minute taxi ride away. They'll probably ask you for $10 in the taxi but you should be able to knock this down to about $5.
What were the other residents like?
When I was there in March it was about 95% Russian. I didn't meet a single Brit until the penultimate day - but this was brilliant fun, particularly taking part in all the entertainment not knowing a word anyone was saying.
The staff can all speak English so this isn't a problem.
1. Visa - Apparently if you are going to stay in Sharm el Sheikh and not venture anywhere else you do NOT have to pay the $15 visa - you simply state SINAI ONLY on your visa at passport control. The visas are handed out on the plane.
2. Taxis - knock their prices right down!
3. Take US Dollars - They love US Dollars, Egyptian pounds were useful for tips and local stuff - but all taxi drivers/official tour operator trips and shop owners in town quoted prices in US dollars! Some people do accept UK Pounds as well though.