More about Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort
Sun, Sand and the No You Can’t Hotel
The newest hotel opening in Aqaba is the Radisson SAS resort in Tala Bay, opened in May, 2008 and given a 5 star rating. Granted the hotel has a great beach front location, but it really does stop at that.
The Rezidor Group of which the Radisson SAS (sorry Blu as its now called) chain is part of has a core service philosophy of “Yes I Can”, they say its more then a slogan “its a way of life for all employees” in its hotel, but when it comes to the Tala Bay resort its more a case of “No We Can’t”
If you ever wanted to go off a hotel chain then I really do suggest you stay at the Radisson Tala Bay, its an experience I grant you, but not of the relaxing kind. Never I have come across a hotel who’s attitude is “your only a guest and know thy place”. It stems from the GM down, who quaintly smiled as me, my friends and other guests went to complain upon checking out.
The hotel was recommended by some friends who live next door in the luxury Tala Bay gated community development. This weekend was a big one, everyone taking a long weekend in Jordan to celebrate Labour Day and the fact there was a dance party happening next door on the beach, bringing with it the hip, 30 something’s from Amman and the great and good of Jordan with cash to burn, which would make you think that a hotel that was open for a year would be equipped to handle the onslaught of Jordan’s “cool crowd” Think again it was if the management just hit the off button on the staff and said “there’s no service at the Inn this weekend”
If you wanted ice you had to book it 24 hours in advance as it took that long to get it, after calling and expecting Yes I Can, it was No You Can’t I am busy, we then resorted to going to reception and only after several very long minutes of explanation it did arrive three hours after ordering it!!!
We paid for Deluxe Rooms and were given Standard Rooms, which had been cleared of all the “high-quality amenities and coffee and tea-making facilities” (the website blurb), my room was the only one with these and I have to admit it came with really nice beach flip flops, big fluffy towels, a cappuccino machine and soft drinks in the mini bar, the rest of the rooms had nothing and I mean nothing. My friends rooms looked like then had been looted of anything of value. When quizzed the staff told us “we used to offer it but the management told us to take them out of the rooms to save money”
But that’s only one issue with the rooms at the resort one of my friends was given a room with a significant sewage problem, it stank of a road side convenience and other had a deposit left in its bathroom and crumbs in the bed. Did we manage to attract the attention of anyone from the hotel? yes, wow the service philosophy is working only after calling the One Touch service and hanging on the line of thirty minutes to no avail (they must of had a rush on ice bookings), we then called the emergency number on the phone again no one picked up, they must have been helping the One Touch people get ice. Finally after hunting down a manager from reception, firstly to be told there are no managers in the hotel and after much debate we did find one to help solve the problem and did they? yes they did, by spraying cans of air fresher in the room.
So after a long drive I longed for a decent meal, three of us headed to one of the three eateries in the resort, only to find the only one open was the buffet, the rest were closed for private events, so it’s back to “No You Can’t.” We choose the Ala Carte menu and I don’t know where the chef was trained, but I can assure you not in any 5 star hotel, I have every stayed in, more like 5 skull and cross bones and his culinary ability only stretched to things with tinned pineapple in it. Which was the main content along with about 10 diced green and red peppers in my chicken salad, my friends went for a mixed grill, the meat looked like it had be wrestled from the jaws of a rabid dog and chicken and cold chips was just as bad.
We did call over the waiter who had all the charm of Dr Crippen and just stared blankly at me like he had been given a large does of Valium to help him get though the day of dealing with us “guests” Eventually the head waiter came over and I told him, I had sent the food back and was not going to pay for it and that the next day I would like to speak to Mr. Costa the F & B manager (who never materialized), one would assume he was fending off the other 300 guest’s complaints. So we headed off to the reception bar for a drink to find they only thing we could have was a beer, as the bar didn’t have anything to mix a vodka with, not even a juice. Yes I Can, No You Can’t.
The next day the pool it took the chief lifeguard, the towel guy and 45 minutes to find someone who would serve me a bottle of water, which wasn’t water when it arrived it was a soft drink, by then I had lost the will to live and we all decided to eat out in town at one of the many great restaurants as none of us could face another night of the chefs culinary misadventures. A must try is the Yacht Club or the Steak House Grill at the Intercontinental.
And so to the morning, why is getting a cup of hot water a problem to put a tea bag in? At the Radisson Tala Bay it’s a huge problem, it was like asking some of the local staff if they wouldn’t mind assisting me in robbing a bank. To my rescue came one of the Asian staff who were nothing but charming and efficient, not only did she bring me the hot water in fact she even made my tea…hooray “Yes I Can” in full swing. When our friends arrived at reception they told us the room service team, just knocked and entered the room and asked “when are you leaving”. Now there are subtle hints to get guests out of their rooms, but never anything as blatant as this, maybe the room service team hadn’t been given their daily dose of Valium!
It was time to have a late lunch with our friends in Tala Bay and head home, we all went to check out, after speaking to the GM and his assistant, we just simply said “No I Can’t” and won’t pay this bill as the hotel doesn’t warrant 5 stars, nor was the service 5 stars, so we agreed that we would only pay 50% of the bill, I personally didn’t want to pay a dime, but much to my amusement, I watched as guest after guest arrived to complain about the service, what did the GM do? He just stood there and smiled, he even acknowledged they had a sewage problem, but for the Radisson Tala Bay, profit comes, before guests, they would rather guests endure the stench of human excrement or rooms that haven’t been cleaned, no beds made, then actually give the” guests” what they pay for.
The final slap in the face came, when one of our friends left a toothbrush and bag back in the room, after 20 minutes of debate with the reception team, maybe the “guests” of Radisson Tala Bay should consider the wider debate Yes I Can (chaired by Kurt Ritter) V No You Can’t (the former guests of Radisson Tala Bay)
He walked back into the same room and low and behold the room fully restored to its former glory with you guessed it all the luxury amenities as promised in the marketing blurb. Which leads us to the conclusion the Radisson has a policy that when ever there is an event in Aqaba it will empty the rooms, quicker then a looter in the LA riots to save us “guests” from enjoying what we paid for and if this is the case, who the [--] does the Radisson SAS think it is?. Tala Bay is a luxury development and the resort (which technically it is, but even that’s debatable) it needs the local uber cool and rich to support it, not treat them like something it stood in on the beach. The sad thing is that, this hotel will survive providing two star, three at max service, due to the number of tourists that head there and at the end of the day Peter the hotel GM never has to see their faces again.
Here is my little suggestion, when you stay in a hotel; you enter into a contract with them to provide room and service to the agreed standard. If you don’t get that, then you are within your rights to refuse to pay. So you know what you need to do, should you be misfortunate to stay in the resort , just call Peter the GM only pay for what you received…go on “Yes You Can” and I am sure as eggs are eggs he will smile quaintly and say “No You Can’t”
unfortunately very very disappointing - not worth 5*
We booked for 2 nights and I had high hopes for this (only 2 year old) Radisson hotel... my hopes were shattered by check-in...
Check-in: no friendly smiles or warm welcome, reception staff seemed stressed out and made us go to our rooms ourselves; we were shown on a plan where our room was situated. We got lost on the way as it's confusing at first because there is no elevator between 1st and 2nd floor, a friendly staff member showed us the right way.
Room: the door of our room could not be fully opened; it got stuck halfway.
We were happy to find a brand new Nespresso machine on the desk and wanted to unwind with a cuppa on our terrace. I could not find the socket so finally called reception, who sent someone up.
Apparently we had to move the big flatscreen TV, put the Nespresso behind it and then stretch the electric cord till it could reach the socket which is about 50 cm from the table... hm, I wonder if any tired traveller would have found out himself.
Finally we took our cup out on the terrace and found a bikini from a former occupant hanging in the lattice work over our head. Quite sloppy for a 5* hotel.
Bathroom was clean and roomy: nice big shower. Amenities, slippers and bathrobe provided.
Bed: looked unmade but was because the linnen was not ironed in the proper way (I think) and the sheet had been mended (but not very well) - a 5* property should use nice clean sheets without holes !
The beach and pool area are quite nice actually, the poolbar serves good lunches at reasonable prices. They have 5 pools with many lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Breakfast: fresh fruit juices, many different kinds of yoghurt and cheeses, breads and pastries, eggs as you wish - a very nice buffet.
It would have been a relaxing breakfast time if the staff did not run around so much and let things fall out of their hands, almost every 5 min. cutlery fell on the ground...
We went to Aqaba for dinners so can't tell anything about the outlets.
The elevator wasn't cleaned for several days, the dustbin in the hallway to our room wasn't emptied for days... What a pity because this hotel could be a very nice resort.
Let the photos speak for themselves.
I would recommend this hotel only if you are looking for a real beach/ pool holiday and on a strict budget. Definitely not for honeymooners (spend a little more and go to Intercontinental or the new Kempinski)
For the fysically challenged: too many stairs !
it was nice
the hotel was nice with a lovely staff, but not those working on the receiption,,,i enjoyed my stay fo 5 days, the funniest thing was doing snorkling and jetski..it was lovely but expensive one,,the food was good but they werent careful for the flies, during breakfast which was disgusting..but the dinner was awesome
A TripAdvisor Member
We went there for one night starting on friday around noon and leaving the hotel at 3pm Saturday. We all enjoyed staying there. The swiming pools were great. Rooms are very comfortable to be in and look highly luxurious.
The beach is a bit rocky. We stayed on the beach for only 40 minutes and then did some water activities. Late at night there were still people swiming and sitting down on the terrases enjoying a shisha (arabic water pipe) and talking.
The overall stay was very enjoyable and would for sure come back again. I am planning my next trip to the same hotel in september or october.
Enjoy the luxury, pools, sun and just relax. No need to leave the hotel and go aqaba all is there at the resort.
Nice resort, very unfriendly staff
Resort looks great, nice pool area. We stayed during a local holiday however and there were many 'hip' Jordanians at the pool side area, listening their own music blasters. Staff didn't say anything about it. Staff at the reception and shop were very unfriendly. Overall, the resort looks great, but it didn't feel like a place to stay for more than 2 days.
Worst 5-star in Aqaba
I arrived with my partner just to find that nobody was there to help us with our luggage. At the entrance we had to screen our luggage ourselves, the guard saw something in our bag claimed we had 3 bottles of Vodka in it, which was not true. We had one bottle of vodka, and he claimed it was not allowed to bring this inside the hotel.
They made us open our luggage at the entrance to the lobby. There was only one bottle (0,5 l), and we demanded to see the assistant manager (cause the general manager was on a leave) - he came and had this stuck-up attitude, and went into a discussion with us. After a 15-minute discussion he finally let us bring the bottle to our room, and went away - in a disrespectful way. We complained about having to open our luggage infront of other guest, but this fell for deaf ears.
Upon check-in I wanted to use my Diner's Club cc, but the front desk clerk claimed that the hotel didn't accept DC. I contacted the hotel two weeks before arrival, and I was told that they accepted DC, but they had to do a manual transaction, which was fine, I was told. But upon check-in they totally refused DC. Very unprofessional!
The hotel is poorly designed. There are stairs everywhere, and no elevators, so guests have to carry their heavy bags up and down many stairs to get to their rooms. Our room was located in the so-called South Wing - far from the lobby. The room itself was small - and didn't allow much mobility. There was no proper view, as some huge concrete colums blocked the view. The free wifi was not working in our room, so we had to call to get a cabel. The bathroom was just about okey, but had only a walk-in shower, and no tub. There was no bidet either in the bathroom.
The beach was the worst surprise. Yeah, they have a sandy beach, BUT - there is ONLY huge and sharp rocks where the water starts. So it's impossible to swim at the beach. We also saw a Spanish tourist get injuried, when he tried to swim there. This was a huge dissappointment, as we were looking forward to swim in the sea. If this was the case, we would rather stay in any 5-star hotel in Amman, and have a dip in their swimming pool. I won't go all the way to Aqaba just to swim in a pool. Aqaba is for sun and swimming in the sea. Which Radisson can not provide at any means at all, because the government prohibit any tampering of the shore in Tala Bay, because of the rich sea life and the coral reefs.
The pools were okey, but crowded with screaming children and people on package-tours from Sweden and Germany.
It's located in Tala Bay, which is FAR from Aqaba. You need to take the shuttle bus - which runs 5 times a day. It's complimentary, but it's a 15 minute ride from Aqaba. There is NOTHING around the hotel. Just building developments and desert.
The following morning we cancelled two out of three nights, and checked-out. We went to the InterContinental for the two following nights. At least IC provides a great beach and top-notch service and a great city centre location. So spend a few more JDs and spend your time at the IC. Radisson is NOT a 5-star hotel!
Beach littered with trash
This is simply not a 5 star hotel. The beach was littered with trash and during our stay we saw no attempt by the hotel to clean or rake the beach. As a result, it was not enjoyable to sit by the sea or to walk along the waves. In addition, the hours at the pool were limited, opening only at 9 am, so it was not possible to swim in the early morning or evening when the sun is less damaging and there are less people. The hotel was further overrun by undisciplined children. The food was good, albeit a bit expensive, and the room was nice. Internet did not function well and the hotel had no IT person to assist wtih the connection. The hotel also had limited capacity to organize tours or water sports and seemed baffled by questions about such activities. All it all, not a relaxing seaside vacation venue and not worth the money or effort to get here.
Good looking but too far out and service only ok. More like a 4* hotel.
This is a beautiful looking hotel, but service and amenities are a bit patchy.
The staff on the front desk and in the shops were unfriendly and unhelpful (for example, particularly uninformed about snorkeling enquiries). The room was clean and stylish, but missed out on all the little things you'd expect of a 5* hotel - no iron, pen/paper, coffee/tea/kettle, etc. The lap pool was out of order for 2 of the 3 days we were here, and the wireless signal in our room was poor (though this was rectified with a cable).
You're a bit stuck here. If you miss the shuttle, a taxi from the hotel to Aqaba town was 15JD! Ridiculous when we paid for an air-conditioned taxi from Wadi Rum to the hotel for 20JD (over 100 kilometres away!).
However, being stuck here, the one redeeming feature was the Sunset Deck bar in the evenings. Reasonably priced mezze and generous snacks, shisha, and drinks. One waiter we had in particular was excellent and very friendly/informative.
Not the perfect holiday spot, but ok for a few days in the sun...
This relatively new resort complex is located on the "south beach" of the tiny slice of red sea coast that is part of Jordan. It is in fact closer to the saudi border than the town of Aqaba, which is a 10-15min drive away on what seems to be a permanently empty dual carriageway.
Stayed with the family for 3 nights in October. Standard room + extra bed + breakfast.
The price that package came at was far from cheap and, as one would expect, cost of non-inclusive services, such as food and drink and mini market was exorbitant.
The aesthetic of the resort, with 3-4 storey buildings located around a central plaza and restaurant is nothing special but at least functional.
We liked the staff being friendly (arab males + lots of asian females), the abundance of swimming pools (though children were not allowed access to all of them), breakfast nothing special but generous, the ok dinner buffet, the quiet location - especially at sunset - , the free shuttle bus to/from downtown and airport.
We disliked the tiny size of the "standard" room which became crammed with the addition of the extra folded bed, the silly voucher-for-beach-towels policy, the beach itself which was not exactly sandy but an (artificial) extension of the nearby dessert dust, lousy wireless + wired internet, junk food of "Heatwave" restaurant. The sea in front of the hotel is also not suitable for children (rocky bottom, sea urchins).
Finally, there is a scuba diving centre next door to the hotel and an in house travel office that can organise day excursions to nearby Petra or Wadi Rum. Expect to pay "resort" prices at both.
In brief, an ok but nothing really special place to enjoy the sun by the pool, at a cost that is far from a bargain.
The 3-star rating goes to the overall value for money. Comparing to what one can find in places such as Sharm-El-Sheikh it might have reached a 4-star rating
Very nice hotel, Room also very nice.
Break fast was great.
Thanks to Hazem at Beach bar he is great cook man.
Housekeeping service more than great.
thanks to all
Aqaba vs Tala Bay
We are thinking about going to Jordan for a week in January. Our choice is between a 4-star hotel in Tala Bay or a 3-star hotel in Aqaba.
We would appreciate the calmness of Tala Bay but is it maybe a bit boring? Can you go out for a cheap fastfood there at all or are there just hotel restaurants?
Maybe it would be better to stay in Aqaba, even though the hotel is not at all close to the beach.
Re: Aqaba vs Tala Bay
Aren't you going to Aqaba for the beach and red sea? By no means, Aqaba is not famous for its nightlife, so the city center wouldn't be anything like Södermalm ;-) Depends which is the hotel you pick but in general I would take the 4-star hotel in Tala Bay where are the better beaches and can take anytime the short trip to the center if needed.
Re: Aqaba vs Tala Bay
It depends. If you love the sea, going to the beach, snorkling and diving go for tala bay/south beach.
If you only want to go swimming/snorkling 1 or 2 days, stay in Aqaba.
The bus cost 1JD oneway, or you can take a taxi for 3JD (baaargain if they don't agree with this, remember you're a tourist in the middle east - there are no such thing as fixed prices). Or sneak in at the radisson sas tala bay and take their free shuttlebuse ;)
Aqaba has lots of GREAT, non-expensive restaurants. Tala-bay on the otherhand is a full-on resort, so prices will be higher accordingly.
I was living and working in South beach, aqaba for 3 months not to long ago, so if you need any advide on anything just ask me. I'll be happy to help :)
Re: Aqaba vs Tala Bay
Thanks for your answers! We decided on Aqaba and we're very happy with that. Actually we didn't swim or dive or anything like that, just walked around and ate lots of cheap falafel. And of course a trip to Petra.