10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Does what it says on the tin
"We stayed at the Arena Inn for 11 nights in October. We were disappointed to find that our room had no balcony so it was a bit cell-like, but it was clean and reasonably spacious. I would definitely recommend getting a pool-side balcony room.
The Arena Inn is definitely a 3 star hotel (not 4 star as reported on some website, including its own). It is basic, but friendly. i would not recommend going all-inclusive here, the food looked sloppy. We stayed B&B which was great because the breakfasts were good (loved the pancakes) and there are loads of nice and reasonable restaurants in the marina area, which is the nicest part and only a 50p p/p tuk-tuk ride away.
The hotel beach is OK but not as nice as Mangroovy, but the sunbeds are free on Zeytouna (hotel beach) so it seems silly to pay when you have free ones.
I would recommend Arena Inn for a cheap and cheerful getaway, El Gouna is great, especially for Kiteboarding, but next time we will stay somewhere a little nicer."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of November 2007
Beautiful and Perfect
"We stayed at Arena inn for 14 nights in July on a B&B basis.
Everything was perfect.
On arrival we were given drinks and hot tolwels and a bell boy toke are luggage to our rooms.
The room was clean and had fabulous views of the pool, lagoon and beach.
I can only comment on the breakfast, the food was great pancakes, omlettes, fresh fruit, toast, rolls and bread. Always different types of juices to choose from as well.
There is a good sized pool which is refreshing after laying in the sun. Lots of people used the lagoon as there are surf boards which you can use for free.
There are plenty of sun beds around the pool and on the beach area. The pool staff are great they bring you over towels and matresses for the beds, very comfy.
All of the staff are very friendly and helpful, only had a problem with the bar staff as they never had any change as most of the guests are AI. We ended up charging the drinks to are account, much easier.
El Gouna is an amazing place, there are lots of bars and resturants Downtown. The best resturants are at the Marina, 5* food and spectatular views. This is only 5 mins away on a tok tok. Tok tok's are 3 wheeled vehicles that will take you any where for 50p each, a lot of fun and very handy as it is too hot to walk.
A must see is the island of Mahmya, amazing, quite expensive bout Â£35 gbp each but so worth it. They take you to an island were there are coral reefs just off shore. Then they take you to a big reef by boat, lots of fish here as there is less people. On the way back they take you to see the dolphins, they swim around the boat. Amazing.
There is always something going on in El Gouna. there is little entertainment in the hotel. However all of the hotels in the resort come together and there are entertainment nights at the marina and downtown area most nights. Belly dancers, singers, bands, fire breathing, you have to see the spinning men (they spin for 15mins without stopping).
Best of all is that no one hassle's you, the owner of El Gouna insisits that tourists should not be hassled. This is great as you can look at menu's outside resturants and not get dragged in.
Perfect resort to stay in, best ever.
Overall best holiday resort we have been to.
If you've got any questions post a reply as i know how hard it is to find information about Arena inn and El Gouna.
Enjoy if your going its amazing.
Hannah & Ashley"
- Travel date: Mon 16th of July 2007
"this is a fairly good sized hotel situated well with most of el gounas shops and activities etc...i went to Arena Inn with my husband, two children, and my mother, it was a great place to stay the staff were all very polite and helpful in everyway possible.
we stayed bed and breakfast which was lovely we had a great breakfast every morning, which the pancakes and omlettes were made in front off you. there was a great variety of food. We wish we stayed all inclusive.
the hotel is very clean, the rooms are cleaned everyday and the cleaner leaves you swans made with the towels which is lovely to come back too.
the weather was great always, so nice to have a swim in the morning as the pool was quite quiet when we went and it was really nice the staff organise events and games through out the day. And there is some entertainment on the evenings.
There is also a shop on site where silverneers can be bought it is run by Sammi,Micheal,and Peter they are all very friendly people and will always give you a very honest and good price...
There is also a little shop called Garos Snack Stop just round the corner from Arena Inn which is great to have dinner or tea at. The prices are very reasonable and they are very friendly too."
- Travel date: Fri 15th of June 2007
"just arrived back from one weeks all inclusive stay at the arena inn el gouna egypt.the hotel was average poor variety of food same every day chicken or chicken the local wine was not drinkable rooms were run down .there was a smell of sewage .no entertainment.el gouna was lacking in atmosphere it was very plastic.overhall it was a waste of hard earned money and would not return."
- Travel date: Sat 5th of May 2007
Arena Inn - Excellent location
"We have just returned (20/4) from a weeks B & B at the Arena Inn and had a really good relaxing holiday.
It is a small hotel located very close (5mins walking) to all the restaurants and bars in Downtown so if you are AI hard luck.
Turn right out of the reception and within a couple of minutes there's a supermarket, a little Lebanese snack shop and a little Bakery where we had lunch a couple of times.
You can book diving with the events lady who sits in the reception area or if you are going with Thomas Cook they have a discount with the local dive centre. There are lots of choices VERY close to the hotel.
The room was a little cell like, but what the hell your only sleeping in it.
The lighting in the room wasn't brilliant in the evening.
The bathroom is normal size but didn't have a bath, however the shower is walkin and about twice the size of a single shower cubicle and the shower was excellent, again would have benefitted from more lighting.
The hotel is clean the room was clean, the bathroom was clean, towels changed every day etc.
The young lads who clean the rooms are very helpfull, pleasant and always smiling.
if there's anything wrong in the room tell them and they will fix it.
The restaurant is fine, one or two flies but it is difficult to keep them out with window open.
The selection of food for breakfast was good, any sort of egg, small sausages, french toast, english toast, jams, fruit, bread, cereals, yogurts, cheeses etc.
The pool is smallish but doesn't get crowded, you can always go to Zeytouna Beach 10 mins by bus, towels etc provided by Arena on the beach.
Be carefull of the Mozzies, dont keep your balcony doors open too long in the evening. We did and I got eaten alive one night, make sure you take repelant AND use it.
The evening entertainment provided by the hotel is not worth it, much better in Downtown. Just check through the El Gouna magazine in your room and it tells you when things are on.
Don't try and compare this Hotel to the 4* & 5* hotels in the area as you will be disapointed because its NOT 4*.
Overall though we had an excellent holiday for the money we paid and would use the hotel again for an economical holiday."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of May 2007
It was OK
"This hotel is pretty well operated, but does not have too many
entertaining features. You must take a bus to get to its beach property, but you can take your lunches there.
Our room was fairly well cleaned, but it was curious to notice only one room cleaner working on our floor. He was surely overtaxed
as an employee but went about his business professionally and with a smile. Some of the other staff were very friendly and were quite helpful. But, at times, the front desk failed to understand our queries and, for example, did not reserve us a taxi to get to the airport. We had to call for a taxi at the last minute & luckily got to the flight in time. So, sometimes, you have to confirm that your request was understood and responded to.
I don't recommend going to El Gouna before the middle of March. At the end of Feb, the sun was hot but the air, not quite as warmly inviting. The flies poolside were quite annoying and were awfully persistent. The mosquitoes at nite were also memorable, doing their best to dive-bomb us at all hours after bedtime.
Our travel service, Gulet, sold us various side trips that were available, such as a day-tour from el Gouna to Luxor. The bus travel was very slow and the el Gouna passengers had to spend extra time going to Hurghada hotels before the trip could get on the road to Luxor. Once you were there, some 4.5 hours after leaving the Red Sea area, the tour was fine and very interesting.
We left at 4:30 am & returned around 11 pm the same day. A good trip but totally exhausting. Certainly not for the faint of heart!"
- Travel date: Thu 8th of March 2007
Arena Inn We Miss You!
"This was my mate and I first trip to Egypt and I have to say after travelling quite a bit how refreshing to discover somewhere so beautiful. The architecture was just beautiful. It was almost like being within a film set. Little Venice!
We had a couple of very small problems in the hotel but who doesn't? I would say don't stay on the ground floor as all the staff cupboards are there and when its windy (which unfortunately was every day for us:( ) the doors have a mind of their own and do bang quite a bit.
Very clean room and the cleaners always made artistic little cteatures from towels very clever!
The staff were absolutely lovely people and to start with we thought they were a little intrusive and over excited by two English girlys single however you get used to it and well its just their way really (If I have to be honest at least they were gentleman quite a new experience for us!) lol! (no were aren't stupid and we understood what it was all about) Anyway we made some good friends in that hotel and I would definately go back. I would reccomend it to anyone.
The food was very nice however got a little samey after 5 nights would go b&b if I went again. Again waiters and chefs were lovely people,
They made a real effort for Xmas I was a little overwhelmed but in general they could not do enough for you. Pete if you ever see this (the man in the shop) in the hotel No I won't marry you for the 100th time! The only other thing was no entertainment at night so could get a little boring.
Not a lot else to say really but we are going straight back but to Sharm in March as we loved it so much.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of January 2007
"This hotel was excellent value for money and an excellent base. The rooms have plenty of space for all your bits and bobs... wardrobe smallish but there was also a worktop with wallcupboards above,some rooms had a sink too, so everything you needed could be stored out of sight!
We stayed on a b and b basis, and there were very few THomas Cook guest here, the majority being Dutch, German and Egyptian. The breakfast was adequate and served in a dining area on the lagoon which was very pleasant. We didnt eat here in the evenings so cant comment on dinner.
The location really coulnt be better - walking distance from downtown areas, bank and bus station. A lovely air condition bus runs hourly to the beach which is a short distance away.
The staff really did go out of their way to make your stay pleasant... the only complaint we had was the bar. As this predominantly is an all inclusive hotel the bar staff seemed very reluctant to serve us, as this incurred them having to make out a slip, someone on the end of the bar acted as cashier, never seemed to have change, and tried to get us to 'sign' for everything which we didnt want to do, as you always end up with an unpleasant surprise when settling your bill at the end of the holiday! I think if the Arena installed a till in this area things would run a lot smoothly.
There is a pool table in the bar area which was free to use, as were all pool tables in the resort.
The pool... well this was a refreshing change - there always seem to be beds available, no matter what time of day you arrived, and fresh towels were also provided. Nobody getting up at 7 to reserve beds!
Getting around was so easy, everything was walking distance, or you could get a taxi to the marina for Â£1.50, tok tok's cost 50p per person, no having to haggle prices.
We shall definately return to El GOuna, and would probably stay at the Arena Inn again too."
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of July 2006
"My travelling companion and I (both women) stayed at the Arena Inn in late Feb/early March. We had an immensely enjoyable time there. The hotel is small enough to be friendly and intimate, but large enough to be efficient and organised. The staff were so friendly, helpful and happy; it felt very relaxed and safe; simply wonderful.
Our room was a good size, with a small balcony, efficient air conditioning, a fridge, and good sized bathroom. The whole place was immaculately clean throughout (as is the whole of El Gouna, it seems). Towels and beach towels were in plentiful supply. We were given extra pillows on request. There was a safe in the room. My only slight complaint was a rather soft and lumpy bed, but I am fussy in that regard, and my companion's was fine.
The hotel's heated pool is fairly small but during our stay was not at all crowded - quite often we had it to ourselves. Behind the pool is the lagoon, in which some people chose to swim. The main hotel bar is outdoors by the pool, and there's a volleyball court behind that. There's a plentiful supply of sunbeds and wind breaks. Not a great deal for young people and kids at this hotel, it must be said; but if you're looking for a quiet holiday as we were, then that is a bonus. As far as activities are concerned, there is a daily "water gymnastics" session (very gentle and enjoyable) with the entertaining Hazim, volleyball, bike rides, early morning runs and daily 4pm belly dancing lessons!
There is a little shop near the pool run by a rather engaging character called Michael. There you can haggle for souvenirs, t-shirts, malfunctioning biros, sun tan cream ...
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis at Arena and were glad to have done so. The breakfasts are excellent - a huge variety, but the three dinners we had there were a little like canteen food (although the bar food was super - burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets etc). I believe that there is a "dine around" option for all-inclusive guests whereby they can eat at any one of a group of participating hotels, but this is still restrictive, and there are some wonderful restaurants to explore in the town. We had been told the food was poor and expensive, but we found it excellent for the most part and extremely reasonable. Downtown we liked Kiki's and Le Tabasco (the latter's decor and setting is amazing, but the food not quite as good as Kiki's), and we had two absolutely wonderful meals at La Scala on the Abu Tig marina. A three course meal at these top-ish priced restaurants will cost you less than Â£20 per person, and you can eat elsewhere very well much less (pasta or pizza comes in at around Â£2.50 - Â£3.00). Wine is expensive; you can buy it at the Christian-run supermarket in Tamr Henna - about Â£8 for something that would be about Â£5 in the UK - but the restaurant mark up is about triple that. It therefore isn't easy to find a bottle for less than Â£20 in a restaurant.
The hotel's bar prices were reasonable - about Â£2.40 for a 500ml beer I think; a 1.5L bottle of water 60p (as opposed to about 15-17p in the supermarkets).
The hotel is situated centrally; it is a 2 minute walk from a large supermarket and a 3 minute walk to the Tamr Henna square, with tourist info, bars, restaurants and shops, and about 5 minutes (across the lagoon on a pontoon) to the rather splendid Downtown area with even more of the same. El Gouna is an extremely quiet town - hardly any traffic or loud establishments, so the hotel's central location is ideal (it is sandwiched between the USPGA golf course and the aforementioned lagoon)and we felt its location was much better than that of the Movenpick, which is neither central nor near the beaches (although the hotel with probably the best location of all is the Sultan Bey).
A weekly bus and shuttle boat ticket costs Â£1. We also used tok-toks which are great fun as long as your hairdo isn't important to you - and they are 50p per person for any destination in El Gouna.
Whilst there is a bit of a beach by the lagoon at the hotel, for the Red Sea beaches you need to head off to either Mangroovy Beach at the end of the Abu Tig marina or get the shuttle boat to Zeytouna Beach, which is on its own island, connected by bridges. You can get there by walking to the free Arena Inn shuttle boat service in the downtown area (5 mins walk - maps are provided in your hotel room), and the boats are every 20 minutes and just take a couple of minutes to get to the beach. You can use your Arena Inn card to get beach towels at Zeytouna. If you like snorkelling, windsurfing, etc etc, this is the place to be. Or, if you like to be lazy, beach boys will serve you drinks and food, and there is a rather excellent masseur operating out of a beach hut!
Overall, I thoroughly recommend the Arena Inn on a B&B basis, particularly for couples and middle-aged or older people."
- Travel date: Tue 14th of March 2006
"Stayed at the hotel and I couldnt find fault, The hotel is about a 3 min walk to the shops and about a 5 min bus ride to the marina, (all week tickect works out as Â£1)
The rooms are nice and clean and a nice size, the main restutant is nice and is over looking the lagoon. All the staff were realy nice and Im hopeing to go back as It was wonderful.
Although in the brochure it says that a open air night club is next door you cannot hear a thing!
Id recommend it and out of the other 3-4* i saw I would definatly chosse this one."
- Travel date: Sat 5th of November 2005