Desert Rose Resort
19 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Great potential but something missing
"I agree with Andrew below (don't know him though - honest)
I stayed six nights in early August - me wife and 3 kids 18, 16, 11.
In theory this hotel with its amazing facilities e.g 3 massive / beautiful clean pools and "ideal for the kids" lagoon should be bursting with customers - but it is often deserted - is this how it got its name??
Yes - the only time you realised there were many other people was at meal time. The "canteen" gets packed and it can be hard to find a place to sit. Most Brits appeared to opt for the outside tables which were pleasant enough. To be fair the general standard of food was good, plenty of choice. And no tummy bugs to report from my party of 5.
So my advice would be to make the most of the pool and other facilities without having to worry about being in crowded outside conditions. No rush to get your towels down here!!
The receptionist on my arrival was a miserable looking guy who should be moved to other duties. He allocated us "the best rooms availabe" which were ground floor balcony-less rooms with a view of .... nothing really. My wife went mad "how could you book us here, didn't you research this hotel?" After a short while we went back to the reception and complained, a guest relations guy called David was very helpful and got us moved to 2nd floor rooms with a view of the pool .... 100% better .... it would have been awful otherwise. Wife eventually admitted the hotel was "OK" (and later "good"). PHEW!!.
We were there 6 days, we found plenty to do. Snorkelling trip, a bit pricey but generally good value. Massage - not that I've had many - very relaxing in fact I slept as well that night as for a long time. Windsurfing - helpful and friendly instructors. Wife and daughter got beuty treatments (wife said manicure was poor).
Bars good - sunset bar in particular overlooking both beach and lagoon - very relaxing. OK pricey beer Â£25LE - but worth it given the surroundings and view.
ANIMATION TEAM give these guys 20 out of 10 for effort for trying to get people playing volleyball, water polo, aerobics, belly dancing, darts, ..... and then rounding up people for the 10 o'clock pm show in the impressive amphitheatre. Entertainmentwise these guys and girls would all be paid off at most working mens clubs. Bring back Ted Bovis and Sue Pollard. And then to the Disco where the main punters were .... the Animation team ... they really do earn their corn!! Disco comes with gary glitterball and non-stop strobe included.
The hotel has a shop which sells reasonably priced souvenirs etc. Outside the hotel is a row of shops .. nothing special though. Try Siggala for bars and gift shops about 15 minute drive up the road 30 - 35 LE in a minibus.
OH - the hotel had a power cut one night at peak dinnertime - no emegency backup. Not impressed in this respect. Having said that many people seemed to find it easy to feed themselves (OK it was the Russians - but come on they're not that bad!!).
Overall though I enjoyed the space and lack of crowded pools, bars and seating. Didn't see one chav or football strip all week!!
Think like this and you should enjoy your stay, especially if you make sure you get a room with a half decent view - see David if you have any problems."
- Travel date: Tue 8th of August 2006
Objective review of Desert Rose Resort
"The Desert Rose complex layout in it's own right is superb. Three swimming pools to choose from plus the lagoon leading into the Red Sea itself with a superb bar opening out onto the ocean.
The selection of food at the buffet was excellent and the Russians provided much entertainment with their dining antics i.e. piling their plates of food to the rafters. I even witnessed one Russian arrive at his table with a full melon. I jest ye not !!!
This complex had the potential to be one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at HOWEVER a few issues conspired to ruin it:
1. We had our water confiscated at the entrance gate because you are not allowed to buy water outside and bring it in. Normal prices for water outside are 75 piastras but inside the complex you are charged 8.2 Egypt Â£'s including tax I don't mind hotels charging something extra but not to this extent.
2. A second bone of contention was the general prices of drinks. Why are we paying the same UK prices for a bottle of beer in Egypt ? We all know the staff are paid peanuts, the land is cheap compared to Europe and buidling materials cost a lot less. Anyone who accepts the excuse "we have to import it" is barking stupid because most countries import alcohol but they don't resort to such premium pricing. The upshot of this is that I was put in a negative buying mode whereas when I went to Bulgaria two years ago everything was so damned cheap that I bought drinks for others wherever I went, dined very well and more important gave huge tips because my money was going so far. The Egyptian tourist board repsonsible for setting these prices have screwed up big time. Whereas I will normally consume 5 bottles of wine on holiday I didn't buy a single one in Egypt because, on principal, I'm not prepared to pay Â£14.00 per bottle !!
3. Be careful when you go to this resort because at 22.00am the entire complex and it's bars would be virtually deserted. Many nights I was the only one up watching the Arab MTV style pop videos without a single person in sight ! The managers hadn't the gumption to put on some blackbuster films e.g. "Gladiator" that would have encouraged the Russians to stay up later. On talking to some Russians they informed me they all went to bed so early becasue they couldn't afford the drinks.
Other good points, it really is true the average Russian woman is beautiful and they all walk like models ! I had the top end swimming pool virtually to myself. Even though there were only 600 guests (capacity 1600) I met the 7 Brits in residence and actually had a good time with the Russians and Poles. There are absolutely no disgusting lager laddette types here.
- Travel date: Sat 5th of August 2006
Thumbs Up For the Desert Rose!!
"Just returned from a fantastic holiday in Egypt. First a busy week on a nile cruise and then a lovely relaxing week at the Desert Rose in Hurghada. What can I say about this hotel? Well first impressions were good. You know what it's like when you're on the coach stopping at the hotels dropping people off, wondering, is my hotel going to be as good/ rubbish like this one? Well we weren't disappointed. Beautifully laid out, spacious and clean.
I had carefully studied this site before leaving and checked all the reviews, so wasn't surprised to find that yes, we were indeed in the minority. Meaning that majority were Russian and there were quite a few Japanese thrown in. Having said this I don't think the hotel was even half full. Plenty of sun beds and spaces at dinner. Another bonus of the World Cup no doubt. (Probably very busy there now!!)
Our room felt very big after the cruise. Especially the bathroom....it's massive. Rooms were always kept clean and tidy. Again very impressed.
The man-made beach and lagoon was lovely athough quite far from the main buildings and our rooms. (be perpared to walk quite a way to everything!) Was great to swim without the worry of nasty things in the water though.
The hotel pools (think there were 3 or 4 of them) seemed fine, but hard to comment as we were mainly at the beach. I did go into one on the first day we were there and thought that it was quite slippy, so just be aware and careful otherwise you could slip into the deep end.
A little grumble was that the activities/beauty/health centre staff at the hotel were quite keen on asking you every 5 minutes if you wanted a massage or to play volleyball or to do water gym! As I said, alittle annoying but after a few days of politely saying "no I'm a lazy cow", they seemed to get the idea and stopped asking.
Food was good although it seemed to lean towards catering more for the Russians and as long as you resisted your very British urge to Queue and pushed in here there and every where you were fine. Loved the desserts especially!!
It was noted that you couldn't take food out of the restaurant but the other natonalities seemed to think this didn't apply to them and I saw many a bag filled with rolls and fruit at breakfast. The food at lunchtime at the Grill and Sunset bar was cheap and good. You could get a Pizza (large) for about Â£2.50, so we felt no need to smuggle food out at breakfast!
Another plus and something I would recommend as far as the staff are concerned would be to be overly friendly and smiley with them and it will pay dividends. Don't think that the other nationalities were particularly polite to the staff but if you made a big effort to say Hello to your waiter and thankyou etc, your table got cleared quicker and drinks got served almost straight away. They really seemed appreciate the effort.
There's a nice little shopping centre within the complex if you don't want to go across the road to the other shops and you also get less hassle there. I got a bit tired of being mistaken for a German, Italian and Russian before it dawned on them that I was actually English. Oh and before I forget the jewellery shop in the hotel gives a very good discount if you're good at haggling or batting your eyelashes (not recommended for the men though!!)
Altogether a great hotel despite a few niggles but then no-where is perfect! A good relaxing end to a great holiday!"
- Travel date: Mon 10th of July 2006
"We have just returned from a wonderful but hectic tour of Egypt finishing with 4 days at Hurghada.
The hotel is modern, spotlessly, clean with spacious rooms. The swimming pools and man made beach are gorgeous, very clean with plenty of sunbeds and towels. The food is a bit repetitive and the main restuarant is more like a canteen catering mainly for the Russian tourists. If possible try to eat later when the Russians have gone (they tend to be very rude, arrogant and terrified that the food will run out). We had a couple of bar snacks by the pool and the food was much nicer.
The hotel shops aren't up to much but there is a good range of shops across the road where bottled water etc is much cheaper. Make sure you drink plenty of bottled water to avoid dehydration or heat stroke Taxis into town are cheap, agree a prize in advance but don't ask them to wait for you. If you use the communal taxi it will only cost about LÂ£2 (approx 20 p each instead of Â£2 each for sole occupancy)."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of July 2006
The Desert Rose Rocks!
"Just got back from a week at the Desert Rose. We had a wonderful time. The resort is spotlessly clean, and the staff very attentive (not after baksheesh every 2 seconds either). The rooms spacious and well presented. The food included in the half board deal leaned toward continental catering for the Russian and German Tourists who are the majority patrons, This is no bad thing! The thought of a full english when its 39 degrees is not what i consider holidays to be about!
For the price of the deals available to this resort I cannot understand after reading some of the reviews how people can fault this place. It is by far the nicest resort along the strip rivalled only by the Hilton Plaza and Marriot where some friends of ours were staying. The resort occupies a huge area and as we were there at the end of the std season was only about 20% full. For chlling out by the pool there is no better place.
As well as this there is a fantastic on site windsurfing school. As a windsurf instructor here in the UK I was concerned about where to hire kit, not a problem at all with the latest JP, F2 boards and Neilpryde rigs in various sizes for going blasting either in the lagoon or off the beach. NB: Remember to wear footwear as the coral reefs just offshore can be pretty nasty as I found out when i was foolish enough to go barefoot! Atif and Jamaica who run the school are the friendliest Egyptians we met whilst on holiday and would recommend them to anyone wanting to try this sport.
The restaurants on the resort are good but to sample the culture properly i would recommend getting into Hurghada on an evening. Falfella is a must which is situated not far out of Segalla (Around 20 Egyptian pounds each way from Desert Rose)
I would just recommend only drinking bottled water as the mineral content of the tap water is way different to the UK, A good tip is to get bottled water from the shops over the road from the desert rose at Â£2 Egyptian rather than the Â£10 Egyptian botles on site.
A 60 Minute Pharoic massage for Â£15 before you leave in the health club is also a must and a cracking way to end a fantastic trip!
Thankyou Desert Rose! I'll certainly be going back in the future and would highly recommend this resort. Please bear in mind the hotel is just out of season whilst we have been there, It may look very different high season full of bodies but the overall size and no of very hard working staff i am sure will make your stay pleasant
The man-made beach is quite and plenty of free beds for guests. The pools are very well kept and clean . the entertainment was on the whole great, although a few nights were a little poor."
- Travel date: Wed 21st of June 2006
mostly good but some thoughts
"Myself and GF just stayed at Desert Rose. Our first time in Egypt so some of the customs take a bit of getting used to, like tipping little and often, haggling and avoiding the hustlers when browsing in shops. Overall the Desert Rose resort was really nice and clean, but popular with Russians, so take care if you're thinking of taking a young(ish) family. A) because the young women can be very scantily clad to say the least and b) because the men can look mean and intimidating.
Service was great, but buffet dinner gets a bit tiresome and is not always as hot as it should be. We found that having to rush to be first in the restaurant, bang on 7 o'clock, was too much for us so we waited until 8 when a few outside tables had come free and sat down then. Much nicer outside than the kind of school canteen atmosphere inside.
Most of the waiters and bar staff were very friendly, especialy if you tip them frequently.... which seems to be the only way to get normal service. However some let the side down.
The White wine in the resort is virtually undrinkable, but some people said the Red wine was OK. The only wine is called Oblisk and comes in 3 flavours, Red, Rose and White.... Don't bother trying to work out what grape is used.... Local beer is called Sakara Gold and is a drinkable but gassy Lager. You won't find anything closely resembling a bitter. Spirits measures are so small as to be almost tasteless after you've added a tonic or 7 up or whatever. As for cocktails, well they're nice colours but done exptect to get drunk...
Resort was clean, tidy and the staff work really hard and very long hours. The entertainment people try really hard. Lots of Yoga, Gymnastica, aquarobics, volleyball etc but don't bother using the gym as most of its broken and down right dangerous to use.
The resort shop was non existant so we had to go across the road to fetch drinking water each day, which was OK early in the day becuase you don't get hassled, but dont try in the evenings.. The inevtiable bout of tummy upset meant a quick triup to the chemist as the Immodium didnt work. He was great, very helpful and the medication worked instantly (its their bacteria that need addressing...not the symptoms..)
The beach is nice and clean, the reef is great for snorkelling and fish watching, which you can also do easily from the shore. The swimming pools are great, especailly the competition pool, where you can really stretch out and have a good workout. They can be quite cold when you first get in and some friends of ours had a one year old child and he felt the cold in the pools, so be warned. The pool with bar stools in the water was nice and relaxing in the late afternoon. Nothing better than chilling out with a cocktail whilst sat in the pool....Mmmmm.
For amusing entertainment watch the Russians fill up their shopping bags with food from the buffet breakfast, so they dont have to buy lunch. It got so bad on our trip that the head chef even came out and stopped one lady and made her put the food back.. ho hum..
Overall the holiday was very pleasant, resort was nice, must of only been one third full, so there was no fighting for space, quiet, peaceful and relaxing, service was good, met some nice people. Should be good for families in high season but beware it is so easy to get sunburned, factor 8 was not enough protection so factor 15 at least will be needed in high season. Attention to detail required at all times, a slight missed patch and you will really know it.
The desert rose is quite a way from town centre, but that probably is no bad thing, when you hear the amount of noise in Hurghada itself from car horns and such like. Hurghada is sprawling, its a 20 minute flat out taxi ride from the resort to town centre (Egyptian taxis only seem to have two speeds: dead stopped or flat out), which by my calcuations made it about 15 miles. Taxis are so cheap though, 20 Egyptian pounds (about two quid and that is if you ask for exclusive use) that the cost of getting in and out of town is less than a pint of beer at the Hotel. Don't be tempted to get into a shared taxi though, it's common practice for taxis to stop and pick up people along the way unless you make it clear at the outset the fare is for you and you only. And pay before you get in and make a note of his taxi number if you can! just in case...
And on a final note, beer in town is Â£1.20 a pint and beer at the hotel is Â£2.80 so if you're counting pennies and want somewhere dirt cheap be prepared to go into town because you willl save the taxi fare on the price of the first pint."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of May 2006
Not good enough
"Well, I stayed at the Desert Rose between 21st to 30th April 06 and had a terrible time.
I fell ill on the 1st Sunday and again on the following Thursday. My GF also fell ill.
We both were diagnosed with gastroenteritis and had to keep visiting the on-site doctor for medication and injections.
Several others who we met had a similar problem but not as serious.
I do know I was partly to blame for not having enough fluids while being out in the sun BUT the problems with gastroenteritis was not caused by this.
The natives are mostly friendly but some are arrogant and aren't as approachable as others. Tipping is a big thing there but a small amount given often makes all the difference.
The best part was the places for snorkeling and the excursion for quad biking. If you are interested in either of them or just pure rest then it's ok but don't expect any entertainment at night and just be sensible on what you should eat."
- Travel date: Mon 1st of May 2006
"We have just come back from nine days at the Desert Rose Hotel, one of numerous "resort hotels" strung out along this stretch of Red Sea coast. Having holidayed on the Red Sea before, we were not antlcipating true five-star luxury, but on the basis of the other reviews here had hoped for something a little better.
The spacious rooms with well-appointed en-suite bathrooms are the one strong point of this place, and probably the closest it comes to achieving its self-appointed five-star status. Everything else, however, was something of a disappointment. It occupies a huge area of land, much of which is just drab open space, giving a barren soul-less feel to the place. There are areas of grass and shrubs, but none of the extensive and eye-catching flowerbeds which are to be found in many other Egyptian hotels, and which would give the place some much neededspashes of colour. For some reason, there are three huge swimming pools, admittedly clean and well-kept, which were all largely unoccupied most of the time (despite full occupancy of the hotel), again exuding a strangely deserted ambiance. The hotel has its own private beach centred around a small shallow man-made bay, with a gently sloping sand which is safe for children. Unfortunately, bathers have to share this confined area of water with a windsurfing school catering mainly for unskilled beginners. Safe for the windsurfers maybe, but less so for the bathers! There are no be corals within the bay itself, but for more adventurous snorkellers there are one or two small reefs a few hundred yards out to sea which can be reached from adjacent rocky areas of beach. A good number of well-spaced sunbed/sunshade stations are provided on the hotel beach, but you will have to get there early to avoid having to saerch for an empty one. It became clear that the beach-staff were placing towels on empty sunbeds fist thing in the morning, to make them appear occupied, so that they could then obtain tips from late arrivals for "finding" them an unoccupied sunbed.
If I recall correctly, the hotel is described as having six or seven restaurants, as might be expected from a five-star establishment. For those on full or half board, however, there is only one restaurant where prepaid meals are taken. This takes the form of a large self-service buffet hall where food is laid out, with four large dining areas adjacent, each crammed with tables. An further open-air dining space is also provided in the evening, but fills up quickly. On first sight, a seemingly huge number of hot and cold dishes are on offer, although it quickly becomes evident that most of the food is terribly "samey" and rather dull. Expect to queue for up to ten minutes for the more appetising dishes, such as freshly-made omelettes or freshly-tossed pasta and be prepared for a fair amount of jostling from your fellow diners. Artificially sweetened processed fruit juice and truly dire coffee and tea are available from large urns. Pure orange juice, mineral water, wine and beer are available only at significant extra cost. The whole restaurant set up is reminiscent of a factory canteen rather than a "five-star" hotel, and the food seems primarily targetted at th the tastes of the hotel's 90%-plus Russian clientelle. The staff are not particularly well trained or helpful, and have a predeliction for running off with your half-eaten plate of food should you inadvertantly stop eating for more than a few seconds. There is also a separate Italian restaurant (which rarely seemd to be open) with food at standard restaurant prices, a "Piano Bar" serving a few snacks, a small open air fish restaurant at the far end of the beach, and an open air pizza/burger joint in the centre of the complex. All of these other restaurants were poorly patronised, and looked rather unexciting.
There is very little to do other than bathe or lie about on the beach. A row of tatty tourist shops lines the side of the road just outside the hotel grounds where merchants will harass you endlessly in Russian to buy their trinkets, and although taxis to nearby Hurghada are readily available there is precious little to attract the visitor to this ugly, dirty, noisy little town.
All-in-all, this hotel constitutes is a pretty disappointing experience, and this was the opinion of the few other British couples staying there too. Somehow, the whole constitutes much less than the sum of the parts. We are at a loss to know why there appear to be so many strongly positive reviews for this place. It has some good points, and if you just want a relaxing break then perhaps you will be satisfied."
- Travel date: Mon 1st of May 2006
"Everything was good , staying at desert rose- the place is fascinating, food was OK , the service was also OK, we had a great time (me and my gf) - I'm going to upload pictures anyway, I'm "blank" right now and don't know what to add but if you would like specific answeres, feel free to ask : [email protected]
- Travel date: Fri 28th of April 2006
Fantastic-can't fault it
"Just got back from a week at the Desert Rose. We had a wonderful time. The resort is spotlessly clean, and the service first class. The rooms spacious and well presented. The food good, but more 4* than 5*. The man-made beach quite and plenty of free beds for guests. The pools are gorgeous and plenty of clean towels. the entertainment was on the whole great, although a few nights were a little poor.We'll be going back in September, would highly recommend this resort."
- Travel date: Sun 26th of March 2006
"The room is old. The hotel corresponds to the ratio of price and quality. The hotel grounds are very beautiful, lots of greenery. There is a water Park. Eating a lot, to suit different tastes, but every day almost the same , but diversity is almost there. The room Fund is not new, but cleaned every day. Animation conducts classes both on the beach and the sea. Really liked morning exercises with Alexandra (lovely girl). Was carried out many activities: morning gymnastics, Aqua-aerobics, step-aerobics, belly dance, power aerobics, yoga. Every evening definitely a show.
In principle, the rest failed)))"
- Travel date: Sun 25th of October 2015
Worst holiday in my life
"This is one of my worst holidays I've ever been to. We can start at the beginning how long we had to wait for rooms. We came to the hotel at 2 am, we got the papers to sign, we got the bracelets, but there were no rooms. The people did not want to tell us the actual problem just that there were no rooms. We got them at around 5 am. Then they took out luggage to our rooms and my fellow mates told me, that they had to wait a long time for them.
The things wrong with this hotel.
- they are under construction ( the pool in the middle isn't done yet)
- the beds in the rooms are poor and destroyed
- the showers have no place for the water to do
- the wardrobe doors just fall off
- the mini bar has only one bottle of water
- the lagoon was very filthy through the day (there were dead jellyfish inside it)
- the FOOD is TERRIBLE (if you want to spend days inside the room i suggest this hotel)
the variety is awful. there is rice, cold pommes frites, chicken, fried fish everyday!!! nothing else except pasta with the SAME souses EVERY DAY.
fruit - only 4 kinds - cut apples, grapefruit, lemons, oranges and date mussels! The watermelon you have to PAY. 2 $ for a QUARTER!!!!
Breakfast - everything is the same everyday but they cut the salami and cheese for you, meaning you only get 3 small pieces of each.
The ice cream is not for free for anyone! There can be one day of the week where the ice cream is free for kids under the age of 12. If you are 16 and hot you can get it too.
- The key cards are really bad, they stop working very quickly, we had to change it 3 times a day. They get demagnetized just in a breath second if in contact with the camera or phone. if you have a room in the 6000 building, the trip to the reception will take you about 10 minutes one way.
- They have a camel that walks around the lagoon every day, so where does the poop go?? It goes in the trash BY the lagoon bar. Meaning while you fill up your own cup you can smell the beautiful poop.
- There snacks are to die for - not in a good way!! You get old bread with 2 kinds of salami (their kind) and cold, uncooked fries.
TWO GOOD THINGS - They offer MOTO safari. you pay 35 euros for one person and its a 5 hour excursion. You get to ride the camels, horses, carriages and donkeys. They also teach how to drive the quad bikes and the spiders. You stop at a Beduin Village, where you get dinner (the food is good). You get to try the shisha. There is a one hour show of their national dances and fakir show. You can get a ride home in the jeep if your tour guide likes you :D
You can go snorkling place by the lagoon in the hotel (which means its free). But you must bring your own SHOES and underwater glasses. ect. I recommend good water shoes for the lagoon too, because of spikey shells (i stepped on one!)
- Travel date: Mon 9th of July 2012