We have just returned from a week stay at the tulip resort marsa alam. This is one of the best holidays i have had in a while! The weather was perfect blue sky hot but with a nice sea breeze. The snorkeling from the end of the jetty at the hotel is better then that in the Maldives. We also done the dolphin house snorkelling trip this was well worth it! we got about 1m away from wild dolphins got some excellent photos with my under warter camera.
The staff at the hotel are very friendly and polite and cannot do enough for you! The food was ok with plenty of salads and cheeses. All in all i would recommend this hotel to anybody i went to sharm in may and hated it but if you like to just relax whilst on holiday then marsa alam is perfect. we are returning to the tulip in march.
We spent one week in Tulip Resort, with the following impressions:
- large rooms (a little bit dirty)
- "cheap" kitchen
- nice pools
- questionable beach
- not sufficient organised activities
- poor overall impression
I have just returned from Tulip Resort and thought I ought to update and clarify a few points about use of currencies. Before I went I found out that the hotel worked in Euros and gave a poor rate of exchange for sterling and Egyptian pounds. I therefore took travellers cheques in Euros. I found that I was unable to change them either through the rep or through the hotel and ended up returning home with them. The hotel now has an ATM machine, but this dispenses Egyptian currency in 100 pound notes that no-one ever seems to be able to change, plus you get a lousy exchange rate against the prices in Euros. Apart from that I found the hotel to be very good although some of the information on their own website is a bit out of date.
loved it so much we are going back again!
We stayed at the Tulip resort in Nov 06. It was one of the best holidays ever, and we decided to book again this year. We never go back to the same place twice but wanted a guarantee of a great holiday. The staff were first class, nothing was too much trouble. The beach was amazing, not crowded, and the hotel and facilities were super. We had a wonderful reception from the italian reps which was nice, as we were on holiday to get away from the UK! The food was ok, but not terrible. Value for money definately, we are hoping the staff will be the same when we het there. Kahled made our holiday always smiling. Cant wait to be there again, only 3 days to go!
Not one of the best holidays we've had!!
We have recently returned from the Tulip Resort after a weeks holiday. All I can say is that we were hugely disappointed by the whole experience.
On arrival we were pretty much left to our own devices, with no guidance from the staff on where our room was, how the restaurant worked etc. The bellman brought your suitcase to your room, and as we were having dinner our suitcase was just left outside our room! Our safe was locked and we couldn't get it open, it took 3 phone calls to reception and a couple of hours for someone to come and open the safe - which is not we needed after a 5 hour flight.
The whole place is very pro Italian and Russian and any other nationality seems to be forgotten. We felt guilty to ask for a drink at the bar as the impression we got from the bar staff was 'you want a drink!'. We are not heavy drinkers but we do like a glass a wine and vodka and oj in the evening - as it was we drank mostly soft drinks and water for the whole holiday as the wine was like vinegar and the vodka tasted like meths! I was definitely put off the wine when I noticed that it was being poured from a coke bottle into the glass!
The 'all inclusive' lasts from 10am until 11pm, outside of these times you have to buy your own drinks. There are a lot of 'extras' which you can pay for e.g. drinks in your room fridge. The fish restaurant - which is certainly not worth 25 euros each. The beach party at 15 euros each - in other all inclusive hotels these are included.
The service in the buffett restaurant has a lot to be desired. We would often sit at a table for 5-10 minutes before a waiter would ask if we would like a drink - then waited another 5-10 minutes for the drink to arrive. The food is nothing special, pretty much the same each evening and was never hot - it was only ever luke warm. Breakfast - we only had toast most mornings! The choice was quite limited.
The entertainment staff spoke mostly in Italian and Russian and everything was geared more to the Italians - their main arrival date is Saturday - so the big welcome from the entertainment staff is on the Saturday evening - they talked for about 20 minutes in Italian, 10-15 minutes in Russian and then 5 minutes in English!
It is in the middle of no where so you are restricted on where to go unless you go on trips. The beach was nice, however we didn't do any snokelling as most of the time there was a red flag which meant that the water was too rough for snokelling. Some people do snorkel and said it was good.
In our opinion the hotel could be really good if they could solve the attitude problems of some of the staff, had a little more to do, included some of the 'extras' into the all inclusive and get some decent drinks.
I spoke with the Thomas Cook tour rep and when I completed the 'Your Comments' questionnaire I added an A4 sheet of paper which I listed all our concerns on both sides of the paper.
Overall I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, but if you do want to go - only go for a week.
Windy week at the Tulip
1. The holiday
2. Arrival & Departure
3. Hotel, Food & All-Inclusive
4. Beach and Swimming Pools
1. The Holiday
We went on a Thomas Cook package in the last week of October (given we found only Wednesday departures available). There were three in our party, we got a reasonable deal on the single room (some supplement); we noted singles weren’t available for all weeks we originally considered.
We flew with Astraeus; the journey time to Marsa Alam airport was 6 hours both ways. Legroom wasn’t bad (I’m 6’ 2”), food was average, and the service was very good. We didn’t get our vegetarian meals, the airline blamed Thomas Cook.
We took some Egyptian pounds and American dollars with us. We didn’t really use any of the Egyptian, dollars are always useful in Egypt and the hotel (and diving centre) are geared up for Euros.
2. Arrival & Departure
As you go towards the passport control there is a hatch on the right where you can buy your visa for $15 (cheaper than paying in pounds). We were annoyed as the guy wouldn’t sell them to us because they had spotted we were with Thomas Cook who had a rep distributing them but charging $18 on the coach. To be fair this would be a worthwhile service if the airport was busy (it wasn’t) and their system can’t cope if some people buy direct as they simply assume everyone on the coach will have to pay the Thomas Cook rate.
Departure was very straightforward; they encourage you to move through security as soon as you’re checked in (when, of course, you lose all your drinks). There is a small café and a reasonable duty free in the departure area; again dollars seemed to be the best option for the latter.
3. Hotel, Food & All-Inclusive
We liked the hotel; it is well laid out with the usual pleasant gardens. The rooms were bigger than we have had on similar holidays, we could see the sea although we didn’t have a sea-view room (given the time it gets dark in October, it hardly seemed worth it).
We enjoyed the food, the choice was decent and the quality was good. We didn’t bother with the special Monday night fish dinner, there was plenty of fish most nights anyway and sitting at tables on the beach was going to be draughty at least! The restaurant did get busy at times (mainly when dinner started at 7.00 p.m.) but it was no hardship to wait a bit in the pool bar and they were generally very good at keeping all the options topped up as long as you don’t leave it too late.
There was the usual “animations”, apparently so beloved by the Italians and Russians, during the day. They were a bit noisy round the pool but it was possible to be far enough away not to be too irritated if this isn’t your thing. There was “entertainment” each evening which reminded us (being older ) of Butlins. We were initially amused and finally a bit irritated but again, it isn’t so loud it prevents conversation.
We’d never been on an all-inclusive holiday before and we enjoyed it. It was operated in a very relaxed way, no petty restrictions and most of the staff only too pleased to offer more drinks without being asked. We found both the red and white wine acceptable, some of the local spirits are better than others and the beer is OK. We did take some duty free with us and it was no problem obtaining cups of coke or juices and even tins of tonic (one of the few things they gave out in its container rather than a cup) to mix with this.
There was no problem extending the room on the last day, the hotel charged 26 euros for this. When we came to pay they converted this to 260 Egyptian pounds, which is more like 26 GBP. In the end I paid in dollars which was a fair exchange rate.
4. Beach & Pools
The pools are both in the same area, one large one and one small one. They were slightly cooler than the sea, but not cold. The pool area is pleasant and we liked sitting on the stools in the pool at the pool bar!
There was plenty of room on the beach (with comfortable sun beds and windbreaks) which may have been down to a fairly strong wind. It did stop us getting too hot but was a bit stronger than we would have liked. Entrance to the sea is along a jetty (pier) that keeps you off the coral. It is in the region of 1km long, a 10 minute walk to the sea. This did become a bit tedious but the worst thing was that the lifeguard was not allowing bathing in the morning due to the strength of the wind. It was only after around 2.00 p.m. when the wind started to drop that he was happy to allow people to bathe. Once you do get in, the reef is spectacular for snorkelling, lots of different types of fish and plenty of different corals to observe.
There is nothing else here so it is all based on the hotel. As mentioned above it was windy all week and we wondered whether this is a symptom of this east facing coast (as opposed to Sharm).
The local reefs, while better than Naama Bay itself, are not as good as Sharm’s Shark’s Bay area for either diving or snorkelling. In addition, with the long pier and the need to use a longish ladder into a less than calm sea, Marsa bathing was more difficult, which we felt was a significant drawback.
I was not overly impressed with the hotel dive centre. I found them a bit disorganised and, given they had a large Italian group booked in, they struggled to accommodate the number of divers at the time.
The other diver in my party rented kit off them, but then his box didn’t turn up at a dive and it seemed most likely it had been reallocated to someone else (they did cobble together kit for him to dive that day).
Our first dive was a bit of a shambles, there was a mix of experience and, given no buoyancy checks, people were going everywhere at the start of the dive. I felt the briefings were inadequate, on a shore dive with some surf we were given no details as how to best exit and divers exited with various cuts from the coral on either side of the access channel.
The main thing in favour of the dive centre is that they do a two dive morning (shore or boat) returning to the hotel around 1.00 p.m. (in time for lunch!). This was perfect for me given my partner is not a diver, as I wasn’t disappearing all day. I would compliment the centre for their help when my buddy suffered a mask squeeze; they arranged and drove him to a nearby doctor with diving knowledge and got him sorted out.
We did dive Elphinstone, this entailed a 4.45 a.m. start, primarily because the dive centre boat was out of action so they had to book something else. The trip out to the reef was very much “hold on tight”. The dive was impressive and I’m glad I went, but sadly no sharks. This is not a dive for the inexperienced, the guide (understandably) expected you to be able to follow the dive plan and, with your buddy, largely sort yourself out. I would recommend having an SMB for this dive.
If the time you return from dives is not an issue for you, I would suggest using Emperor, who are based at the port you are taken to anyway and pick up from the Tulip. Virtually no dive activity happened from the Tulip itself, the only thing I saw was leaderless diving on the house reef, if you have adequate experience.
We didn’t do many so can’t really comment. Abu Dahab is worth a go for both the diving and the snorkelling. We went snorkelling with the dive centre trip (there are other options) which was great for us as on that day they could not provide a guide (yippee!). The reef there is great and away from the reef we saw two turtles (not the dugong however).
We toyed with the Dolphin House trip but it is quite expensive and we didn’t hear of anyone seeing dolphins while we were there; the consensus seems to be that it is over-visited.
Given the windy weather, the fact that the diving wasn’t as good as Sharm and the isolated location we probably won’t return to Marsa Alam. However the hotel was excellent and perhaps a bit cheaper than the equivalents Sharm and therefore a very good alternative, especially if one prefers a very quiet holiday.
Brilliant holiday. For a competely chilled out holiday we couldn't fault the hotel or it's location. The food was better than some foreign hotels we've been to. The staff were very friendly and most nights we spent with them down at the pool bar. The hotel was spotless. We prefered Marsa Alam to Sharm el Sheikh because it is totally unspoilt. We recommend going on the snorkling trip we were lucky to see the very rare Dougong (Sea Cow) and the Desert Safari was excellent where we rode camels, saw the Milky Way and Jupiter through an enormous telescope and had a brilliant BBQ (and none of us were ill). Will definitely be going back next year.
pretty good tulip
We stayed a fortnight at this hotel, having stayed at another one just down the coast called the Calimera Habibi at the same period in 2006.
The Tulip is noticeably downmarket from the Calimera, and is largely constructed around a central pool area, whereas the Calimera is more decentralised. Both have beaches on the spot with an array of wind shields and sunbeds both round the pool and along the beach.
Both are located in the desert and guests are pretty well marooned in the complex unless they are prepared to hire taxis and go quite a long distance. There are no historical attractions near either site.
Food is pretty good in both establishments, with the Calimera scoring better with more variety whilst the Tulip had no Egyptian food other than the ubiquitous cakes. Both had staff willing and eager to help.
The Tulip had a lot of ex-soviet state guests, some of whom got quite rowdy some evenings and whose manners and treatment of staff was horribly arrogant and contemptuous. There seemed to be a surprising number of tough-looking guys in their thirties with what appeared to be girls in their early teens draped round them.
The Calimera provided snacks near the pool all day long, but the Tulip provided free hamburgers and chips from 4-5pm at the bar by the pool. On some days the scrum for this stuff got very unpleasant, and on one occasion the chef shut up shop and left after being threatened for not cooking fast enough. You can take this either way – a fun spectator sport or an unpleasantness.
The entertainment staff at the Calimera were excellent, did not pester you to join in their activities and made little impact on the guests who did not want to get involved. The Tulip ones played very loud (mostly German) pop music 10am-5pm at the pool and kept pestering guests to join in their dancing and games. One of the games was a competition to see who could spit an ice cube the furthest. Nuff said.
Accommodation was fine at both places. I f you want to sit in your room or on your balcony and enjoy German pop music all day see if you can get a room overlooking the pool!
So in summary you get what you pay for – the Calimera is decidedly more expensive than the Tulip and is a classier experience.
Diving at the Tulip is available but the Thompsons rep tried to put us off it and recommended using the Emperor dive facilities at a nearby hotel, which we did. We learnt from other guests that in fact the in-house team at the Tulip were fine and were more friendly and ran smaller groups than the big expensive impersonal Emperor setup.
my wife and i booked this hotel for christmas and new year expecting to relax and enjoy some egptian hospitality. however this is not what we got! as we like a certain standard we booked the tulip on the understanding that it was a 4 star resort and relaxing.well this is no 4 star hotel,far from it. dont let the other reviews fool you. it can only be described as a mediocre 3 star resort geared for italians and other eastern european guests. if you want to be put to one side and delt with after everone else and enjoy boring repetive,badly cooked food,please book this hotel.if you wish to contract food poisoning,please eat all the food you can get. my wife spent six days in bed with food poisoning from the slops that they call food! the staff are very willing but the managers are egotistical hitlers! the all inclusive starts at 10am (after breakfast) including water!we are still looking for the illusive 3rd restaurant that the brochure says the hotel has! and the fish restaurant never opened! the pools are badly kept,i.e.all the tiles are falling off! you fight for sunloungers at pool and beach and also afternoon snacks. when my wife was well enough we asked for a flight home,but to no avail. we were offred a move to the calimera habiba 20 mins down the road. well if your hellbent on going to marsa alam,book this hotel as you truly get the 4 star experience at this resort. the tulip pales in comparison to this place. how can there be so much difference in quality between 2 supposed 4 star hotels?in summary do not be fooled into booking this hotel as it will leave you wanting in every department. seven other people moved during our time there, so take the hint,dont book this hotel no matter what deal you can get. the thomas cook rep had to have a meeting with the chefs to try and sort it out,to no avail yet again.
Hell on Earth
ok people, your thinking about spending your hard earned money, you have scrimpted and saved all year. what you want to arrive to, is heaven.... well first things first, what I'm going to tell you hopefully will stop you from choicing this hotel. the biggest point i'm going to make, is that this was my 17th trip to egypt, albeit my first to Marsa Alam. I have never been unwell/ill in egypt. However, after my partner and I spent nearly 4 days in bed including christmas day and boxing day with food poisioning clearly we are a little bit upset!!! I have never seen and talked to as many people as I did who were also suffering from the same problems.
I spoke with the management, who well lets say, did'nt really care as he had an email from our tour agents giving them there Winter week 5 gold star!!!!! yer right. its funny, when you go and see the hotel doctor, as if remote controlled he states, " i dont no what the problem is, i eat the same food as you, and I'm ok" Well I never saw him eating there. all the management are defencive about any complaints.
I think I could go on and on, but if you dont understand what type of hotel this is by now, you deserve to go, so enjoy, but take loads of medication with you!!!!