10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Don't stay here
"We stayed at the Sara for 3 nights and I wish like some of the other reviewers we too had moved to somewhere else.
The location is too far from Aswan and the bus only runs hourly with a break from 12-3 and doesn't start until 9am. We arrived at 1pm after taking the train from Luxor and had to wait almost 2 hours for the shuttle to start again. We only found this out on arrival. It made it very inconvenient to get around.
They tried to sell us a tour to Abu Simbel almost on arrival and at $25 per person- this is expensive for Aswan and you can pick up one for half this in Aswan town and they will pick you up at the hotel for this price. If you do this, make sure you request a breakfast lunch box as this leaves at 0330.
Breakfast buffet is very average and nothing special as was dinner in the hotel.
On a noise level, on the first night we were there there was loud music from 9pm until after midnight and it was so loud in our room. Luckily we weren't going to Abu Simbel the following day as we would have been very tired for the trip.
The one positive is the general manager who is very helpful. However the rest of the staff were not, especially one of the female receptionists who is very rude. We asked to use the internet and she made out it was free/goodwill gesture only on us leaving the hotel she charged us 10EGP for 1/2 hour (expensive for Egypt) and spat out "it's not free". She was very unhelpful whenever we had to deal with her.
I would not recommend this to anyone."
- Travel date: Tue 8th of January 2008
I would stay at the Isis instead
"We didn't really like this hotel. We arrived in the early afternoon to the Sara Hotel. After the taxi ride, we realized that it was really too far from town to walk anywhere. I had expected this, so it wasn't too much of a problem, especially because the hotel has a shuttle. The shuttle runs every hour, except between 12 and 3. We arrived around 12, so we had to wait until the evening to go into town. The hotel is not very attractive. There is something odd about the decor. The colors do not complement each other at all and seem reminiscent of the 70s. The staff was okay, but about five minutes after checking in, they wanted to arrange tours for us, which was a bit annoying. We then went up to our room, which was okay...again, ugly decor. There was a bathtub which was nice, but it's about half the size of an American tub. The door was difficult to manage. I have no idea if it was ever locked when we left the room. We tried the restaurant and we were very disappointed. The staff were friendly, but very very slow and the food wasn't good at all. There is no menu, but there is supposed to be a buffet. We never saw a buffet...you have a choice between chicken, kofta, or meat. My mother had the chicken and I had the kofta...it was probably the worst meal we had in Egypt. We wanted to change money at the hotel and they would only do it at a very bad rate, so we had to wait until we went into town. The price of using the Internet at the hotel is quite expensive, even for Aswan, and the computers didn't work very well. I don't know how to explain it, but there was just something odd about the hotel. We almost never saw any other guests. We took the shuttle into town and almost immediately found another hotel to stay in. We met someone else who was staying at the Sara, and they were doing the same thing. We all ended up changing to the Isis. The next day, when we checked out, we saw another family doing the same thing. We all agreed there was just something strange and uncomfortable about the place. I feel bad because the manager does seem to be a very nice man and probably would have tried to accommodate us, but there really wasn't any way for him to change all the things we disliked about the hotel. The disappointing thing was that while it isn't expensive, it was the most expensive hotel we stayed at while in Egypt (our treat for staying at cheaper hotels the rest of the trip) and we felt less comfortable there than at any of our other hotels. Maybe others would like it, but my mother and I both felt uncomfortable at this hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of January 2008
Not much in the way of choice in Aswan
"My friend and I made reservations with the Sara Hotel directly through email after reading some favorable reviews. I was not satisfied with our experience though, and especially for the price. The staff was decently helpful enough, but the lodging experience was problematic. First impression: simple, somewhat shabby room, but serviceable. If you're used to hostels, this will be an upgrade; a Hilton or wester chain hotel this is not though. I have no problem with simple, as long as it is clean-- which is why I had somewhat of a problem with the place:
There was trash of some sort in our bathtub, hairs on the toilet and toilet seat, and crust on the towels provided in the bathroom. I used the other towel, and threw both on the floor after our first night, assuming they would be changed out for new towels, as is I thought normal practice in any hotel. The next night, I checked the 'new' towels hanging on the rack and they were the same ones (identified by the same peice of crusty thing embedded in the one).
The bed appeared clean. However, after midnight on our first night, and 8 or 9pm on our second night (when we were trying to go to sleep in preparation for waking up at 3:30am for a trip to Abu Simbel), super loud music started pouring in from outside--I think it was the hotel's bar or restaurant. It was so loud it couldn't be helped even with earplugs. Kept us awake for ages both night.
Location-wise, its a hike up on a mountain in a really undeveloped, dirt road area. It does have a nice view of the river and a pretty pool, but I would have avoided it based on location alone had I known then what I do now. Shuttles into the city are once and hour, and they gave us a hassle about arranging taxis at any other time. I would most definitely recommend staying on the main strip-- we stopped for dinner at the Isis hotel (the pickup point for the Sara's shuttle), and I don't know what the prices are like, but it looked a heck of a lot better (At least more affordable than the Old Cataract hotel, which looked AMAZING). Anyway, based on the incessant noise, lack of cleanliness, and inconvenient location, I would advise: Skip the Sara."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of December 2007
quiet and great value
"I agree that when you drive up to the hotel it seems really odd being in a low income neighborhood. But we found the hotel really peaceful, the nile view was amazing and the manger and staff were great, they even packed a breakfast for us for our morning excursion to Abu Simbel. We saw no bugs, felt very safe, taxis back from the city center only cost 10 LE and the free shuttle was very helpful. Yes, the decor of the hotel was not amazing, but you don't come to Egypt to study paint colors and we would stay here again."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of November 2007
how did this hotel get to be #2?
"I have used TripAdvisor for many trips and I have found it invaluable. Nothing could have prepared me after reading the positive reviews for what the Sara Hotel was like. I knew it was not in the town, and their shuttle service works fine. However, the first night the drive up to the Sara was somewhat disconcerting, as the area looked somewhat dilapidated and "dodgy", and the hotel itself was right next to a vacant lot strewn with refuse. The hotel is in a state of disrepair, in need of painting, outdoor furniture was stained, ripped, the pool was being drained because it was an ominous green color. The worst was seeing two cockroaches outside our room (fortunately dead!) which was appalling. I tried to see something positive and I will say that the staff was extremely pleasant and helpful. We had a corner room and the view of the NIle was lovely (as long as you didn't look to the vacant lot). But there is just no way I could recommend this hotel."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of November 2007
Home from Home
"We arrived hot, exhausted, and filthy, after several days bush camping in the Sudanese desert and a dreadful night on the Lake Nasser ferry. We were stressed out because we had to leave our car in the port for three days to await documentation. Our first 5 hours in Egypt had been miserable, but the welcome we received at Sara Hotel completely revived our spirits. Ismail El-Shall, the General Manager, who is absolutely charming, welcomed us and lent us the money to pay the taxi as we had no Egyptian cash. The rooms were clean and comfortable, the showers were hot, the views of the Nile were great, and an enormous pile of dirty washing was returned clean within 6 hours. Over two days the hotel's minibus driver kindly steered us through the bureaucratic nightmare of obtaining the necessary documentation for the cars. Without him we would still be standing in the Traffic Police office now! All the staff were friendly and helpful, and Ismail made a hotel booking for our next stop in Luxor. Although the hotel is out of town, there is a free hourly minibus to the centre. The Sara was a real home from home, and we highly recommend it."
- Travel date: Mon 30th of April 2007
"After searching for a reasonably priced hotel for quite a while, we decided to stay at the Sara Hotel based on the reviews on TripAdvisor. We could not have been happier with our decision. The rooms were confortable, the views were fantastic, but the best part of all was the service! The hotel manager is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and the entire staff is extremely accomodating. There is also a free shuttle that leaves every 15 mins to take you from the hotel to the city center and back.
All in all, we loved the Sara hotel where we truly received a warm welcome. We will definetely stay there again!"
- Travel date: Thu 19th of April 2007
Very good value & service
"We decided to try the Sara after reading the good comments about it. The other hotels in Aswan were expensive and the reviews were very unfavorable.
It turned out to be a very good choice. We emailed the hotel, got the quote & confirmation, and didn't have to pay anything upfront like the internet hotel booking sites.
When my wife & I arrived at the Sara, the general manager (Mr. Shall) personally came out to welcome us, served us tea, took us around the hotel, and asked if we needed any transportation or tour arrangement. The hotel was not very crowded and Mr. Shall gave us a suite facing the Nile. The room was very large, clean, and quiet with a sitting area. The staff were very friendly & we didn't face the constant request for baksheesh like we did in Luxor & Cairo.
Our plan was to fly to Abu Simbel, stay overnight at the Seti (expensive but very nice & well worth the money), fly back to Aswan in the morning, tour around Aswan & do some shopping (best souk in Egypt), then fly onto Cairo. The Sara was nice enough to store our luggage so we only needed an overnight bag for Abu Simbel. When we went back to the Sara to retrieve our luggage at night, Mr. Shall was there again, served us tea, and gave us one of the room (without charge) to rest, take a shower, etc. for a few hours until our midnight flight to Cairo. That was a pleasant surprise.
The Sara hotel is about 3 miles south of Aswan--about half way between Aswan & the dam. They have a complimentary shuttle once per hour that goes into town, stopping in front of the Egypt Air Office & hotel Osiris. So the fact it was not in town was not a problem to get around Aswan.
BTW if you ever want to have a Boeing 737 all to yourself, take the 11:59pm Egypt Air flight from Aswan to Cairo. It was quite an interesting experience."
- Travel date: Thu 15th of February 2007
Very Confortable very quite and very kind
"This hotel is really nice. I never seen such a nice hotel at that price (I paid $24 per single per night).
Every hotel staffs were very nice and kinds.
Room is very clean and nice !"
- Travel date: Mon 1st of January 2007
Very Nice Hotel - Quite and with good views of the Nile and the desert
"The Sara Hotel is relatively new in Aswan. Set amidts a quite neighbourhood this hotel is reachable if you take the road that goes past the Basma Hotel and towards the Nubian house restaurant.
The Sara is a fairly large hotel with most rooms overlooking the Nile and the great desert on the west bank. The only drawback is the distance from Aswan downtown (also a blessing in disguise) which the Hotel manages through hourly free shutle that drops off (and picks up) guests at the Egypt Air office or the Isis Hotel on the Corniche.
The hotel has a great swimming pool that overlooks the Nile and a very nice poolside cafe and another restaurant at a lower level closer to the Nile.
The staff are very helpful and nice and the manage a very jolly old chap. Food is generally okay and plentiful (breakfast comes with a huge number of bread rolls and cheese filled croissants).
All in all a very nice hotel for a very relaxed stay."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of July 2006