Like A Fairy Tale
Really clean, beautiful Egyption hotel, absolutly fantastic!All bedrooms have air-con and heating! And you dont need to take any towls as the beach towls are also provided because you have to use the hotel ones for the beaches!
MUST MAKE SURE YOU GO TO THE TRAVEL REP MEETING. You are given very useful information which you must know about!
I suggest an all inclusive package is ideal beacuse there are no tea or coffee making facilities in the rooms, so you have to buy all of your drinks which can mount up to quite a lot if you are half board which is what we were!
Because the Hotel is part of the Red Sea Hotels, you can sign for almost anything and pay later, even on the beach you are waited on and you can just sign it to your room! BUT.... do pay your bill off every other day because it does mount up quite quickly!
Men clean your rooms to perfection, its quite bazzaire! But you can trust them 100%! They do however want to come to your room 3 times a day which can be annoying, and they do get offeneded if you tell them to go away! So just let them do their job, their very friendly and just want to make sure your looked after properly!
Sometimes they want you to pay for meals if they have a special night on, but check with your travel rep first because sometimes it is included in your half board price! I do suggest you pay to have a proper Egyption meal at some point in the hotel which includes entertainment and a water pipe, because its such a laugh and definatly worth while! The food had so much variety with four different eating areas your could eat in, and you can use the sister hotel over the road as well, so theirs plenty to choose from which is all included in the half board price!
The two pools are gorgeous one of which is heated, and plenty of deck chairs! You get waiter service to you whilst you sunbath so your treated exeptionally well!
The beach is through the sister hotel and through some beautiful gardens. The beach is lovely and clean and again you are waited on! theres plenty of entertainment on the beach for children and adults!
You are treated with upmost respect, and dont be put off by all the men that work there because they are great characters!
Fantastic evening entertainmnet every night, and a nightclub! everything you need in one place!
Sofitel Hotel Hurghada Egypt
"Flying out to Hurghada from Gatwick"
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.co.uk. 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.
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 :-http://www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk/visas.html 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.
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.
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.
Has anyone been on a "Portland" Nile cruise, that can tell us what to expect, especially regarding the food, is there anything else we should know before we go in early Sept 2005.We are cruising for a week, and then going to Hurghada for a weeks rest.
We will be staying at the Sofitel, which has very little written about it ( a bit scary) after we have spent all that money.
Can anyone put our minds at rest, that it isn't likely to turn out to be the "holiday from hell", especially interested in the food, as neither of us want to get ill!!!!!!.
RE: Sofitel, Hurghada
Oh dear yet another query re the food and 'not becoming ill'.
The Sofitel is an excellent hotel, like all hotels the world over people get sick sometimes. It is very little to do with the food, but be aware that the very high temperatures, drinking very cold drinks, cranking up the air-con can all cause sickness.
I don't mean to be rude, but come, enjoy, relax! If you do happen to get an upset stomach, the local pharmacy sells very good pills under 10 LE, less than £1 called Streptoquine. They work far better than anything you can bring from the UK.
As an ex pat living and working in Hurghada, come and enjoy our beautiful country and the fantastic Red Sea.