12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"After reading some of the reviews before I left , I was a little concerned. However, I shouldn't have been. The hotel is very well looked after both inside and out. Cleaners , groundsmen and pool/sea attendants work continuously to keep the presentation of the hotel in good order.
The staff were very friendly and helpful ( nearly all were men).
The rooms were clean and were attended to daily.
The hotel is perfect for families with children. The girls swam/ snorkelled in the pool nearly all day. The sea was sometimes a little cold but the windbreaks around the loungers on the beach made sun bathing fun. A camel visited every afternoon to give rides.
We had an all inclusive package which was very helpful having children. The meals were buffet style and varied although towards the end of the week we felt the choice was rather similar. However, a snack bar by the pool provided pizzas etc .
The hotel has an assortment of shops which are leased to traders. All were friendly and not too pushy.
The only problem was with the man working in the hotel bank who obviously didn't approve of women without men. He was a little difficult.
The hotel provided us with a breakfast box when we went to Luxor on the coach, leaving at 5.30. That was a wonderful trip not least because we could see life in the countryside-away from the tourist resorts.
The only thing we didn't know when we booked from the brochure was that the rooms are housed in apartment blocks away from the main reception rooms of the hotel. I was concerned with having young children and going out in the winter evening( it is dark by 6pm).
However, all was fine. The hotel employs lots of security staff who patrol the grounds. The garden paths are well lit and look very pretty with lights reflecting up into the sky.
Although it is their winter, it wasn't too cold. It was necessary to wear a fleece in the evening but it wasn't as cold as I'd been led to expect. In fact the guide said it has been the coldest winter for 10 years. It was still hot and sunny evey day.
The hotel provides entertainment in the evening, but we tended not to go as the children were exhausted fro a days snorkelling.
I would happily return for another holiday at the Sofitel even though there were very few English people( mostly Russian and French) It was fortunate that the girls had one another for company."
- Travel date: Fri 22nd of February 2008
Value for money, away from the mega resorts
"Excellent value for money. We spent a week during christmas at the Sofitel and we really enjoyed almost every minute of it. Food and beverage choices are great with a quite good quality of food. Rooms are decorated in a typical Arabian-Sofitel style and are clean and spacious. Service is great from all the staff especially if they realize you're not russian. The beach facilities are very good and so spacious that you it never gets crowded. Overall, for the price paid, it was an excellent choice, avoiding all the packed Hurghada mega resorts. Cannot comment on animation-entertainment as we did not really use it but the cristmas eve gala dinner with the show was ok.
Many thanks to all the helpful staff."
- Travel date: Thu 17th of January 2008
Fantastic resort secluded and private beach
"My husband and I have stayed at this resort on two separate occasions, (march and June), and on both having exceptional welcome from staff and local people. On both occasions had an exceptional stay. We traveled direct from Gatwick Uk with excell airways, good airline comfortable leather seats around 5hr journey
1. The rooms are layed out in traditional arabic style, very clean with satalite tv, idd telephone, balcony with sea, pool or garden views.Fantastic bathroom, writing desk and traditional window seat with shutters above. Nice arabic style lighting also. Rooms are set on different floors so if you have a disability and unable to climb steps ask for ground floor as there are no lifts.
Tip:ask to see map on arrival and choose a room accordin to where you wish to stay, also if you are not married they sometimes will give you twin beds so make sure you ask for a double bed on arrival, if thats what you want.
2. The restaurant and service is fantastic, the food is exceptional and mainly buffet style. The waiters will remember your name and go out of their way to accomodate you with all your needs. Each night at the restaurant there were different themes ie: arabic night, italian etc from around the world. Caters for all different diets ie vegetarian, Halal, own separate childrens area,
3. Entertainment: There are shows on everynight which translates in all different languages, Mostly performed in the small ampitheatre on site great for children and to keep them entertained. However if you don't like entertainment and just like a quiet night I suggest having a room away from the main reception area as you can hear it some nights. You can escape the entertainment by staying in the main night reception area and around the pool. There is also a great beach bar on the beach which has a great progector screen so you can lounge on the beach with clear night skys full of stars and satalites while watching prem.footie, or other satalite channels! The waiters here are fantastic and will make sure you are well catered for with drinks and snacks.
4. The reception area again is arabic style with a grand entrance! They have safe facilities at the reception which are free of charge and worth using to store passports, travel cheques and cash! Here you can arrange tours or keep on top of bills (everything is cheap there so no worries on that department as we went half board on both occasions and could have managed quite easily on bed and breakfast) There is taxi facilities on main reception and security on site.
5. Shopping: As you walk through the reception you enter a courtyard which has many shops ie: perfume (be warned this is very expensive oils so try and keep out as you will end up buying something to get out of there) The perfume oils are much cheaper in Hurghada town. There is a carpet shop (Fab silk and camel hair rugs!!), a barber, a jewellry shop (Fantastic white and yellow 18carat gold with beautiful decor worth a look and a barter), A bank is also on site which operates during office hours. (Remember their weekend is thursday and Friday ) If the bank is closed there is an ATM machiene on site
6. The pool area is fantastic plenty of loungers set centrally, plenty of shade, waiters to attend to your drinks and snacks. You can even join in with aqua aerobics, yoga etc on certain days for fittness! Just down from the pool area there is a laid to lawn soccor/footie pitch where you can join in any games, and a volleyball net on the beach.
7. The Beach area is secluded as the hotel is on a secure compound one of the only ones in Hurghada so you are totally safe there as there is a constant man on the gate and the hotel covers numerous acres. The beach has lots of loungers which are private with lots of shade. Great for snorkleing along the house reef area and yes you will find Nemo (Ha Ha ) Downside: You will get hassled some days from entertainment staff to hire a boat trip, fishing, island hopping etc just be firm if you don't want any trips and they wont bother you again. One tip however is that batering is part of their custom therefore if you do want a trip take 25% at least off the price they are asking you for as often they go buy which country you are from and work out the economy crafty but true!
8. The hotel grounds are spotless, with gardeners and cleaners attending to needs 24hours a day. Its quite suprising to find such green areas when your right on the edge of the desert.
9.The hotel has its own desalnation plant but one suggestion is to clean your teeth with bottled water, and same when boiling the kettle. Neither of us however on two occassions became sick however we did stay clear of the salad which did look very inviting just incase it had been washed in dirty water.
10. Taxi's into the town centre is a must,(too far to walk) Its lively both day and night and everyone wants you to get into their shops and will do anything to get you in there Beware once you get into a shop its hard to get out!! If you find people harrassing you on the street tell them 'La,' meaning no in arabic. The town is amazing and is a must to see! Taxis are cheap and everywhere, but the driving is crazy so wear a seat belt and travel insurance is a must!! You can arrange for your driver from the hotel to pick you up at a certain time also.
11. Tours: Plenty to do if you want to explore, you can even take a round trip through the desert to cairo to see the pyramids, it will take you all day and night but well worth it from this hotel as they will give you a minibus to yourself unlike other hotels where you are on a large 52 seater. All buses leave by convoy for travellers safety with police, and engineers incase of breakdown. If you don't like the sound of this option you can always take a flight (1hour) from the airport however will cost alot more!
Another activity worth doing is driving a quad bike through the desert and dunes, eating with the locals (Beduins) that live there and really getting into the egyption spirit.
Diving: Great spots the hotel has a PADI centre where you can hire equiptment and arrange tours.
Musts: Suntan lotion factor 15 and above!!, Snorkle mask and fins!, Cover up clothing ie trousers, long shirts with long sleves for women when leaving the hotel to respect local custom. Not so ruley with men (sorry ladies). Barter at your hearts content, Buy jewellry as its much cheaper and again comes with great discounts., Take own basic medicines.
Downside: Entertainment could have been better, however we didn't mind this as spent most of the nights on the beach at the beach bar
Dont's: Sunbathe topless (against their religion), Leave a glass of pepsi or sugary items in your room when you venture out as you will get ants on return
Any questions feel free to email me here
Regards and enjoy the fab holiday x"
- Travel date: Thu 30th of August 2007
Me to, disappointed
1.Delay in check in.
2.Cleanliness; ground floor rooms really smelt of urine as mentioned in areview on "Tripadvisor" or "Virtual Tourist".
They were full of big ants and would tend to crawl on u during night. The hotel staff fought them by spraying chemicals-which is far more dangerous than the ants themselves.
The sheets were not changed on a daily basis, even after asking (tip the house keeping person, 10 EGP will do it-approx 1.2 euro).
Some of our friends did not have tap water in the upper floors.
3.Theft around the pool:we lost 2 T shirts and a handy battery.
4.Inversatile, medium quality food.
5.Some bartenders being very rude, even swearing and usig foul laguage when they belive that the guest doesn,t speak arabic( I do, fluently).
style of the buildings,lobby and reception interior decor (not that of the rooms), location, some of the staff, animation team."
- Travel date: Sat 28th of July 2007
Windy, but worth it
"Ok - i read all of the reviews for this hotel before we set off and i was very nervous - I ended up pleasantly surprises. We decided on a last minute break to Egypt in January and grabbed what we could.
The hotel itself is in quite a good state of repair - the room we stayed in was imaculate (although the faint smell of paint did make me think that it perhaps wasn't as imaculate a few weeks before we turned up) The communal walkways are well looked after, the grass areas look beautifully lush and the shopping areas are well looked after.
The food was pretty much standard fare for an Egyptian 4* hotel with an all inclusive programme running.
Where this hotel surpases itself is with the staff. They are friendly, welcoming and glad to try out their English. Most of the people who stay here seemed to be Russian so it was a relief when we heard the odd English voice around. We were both very impressed with the amount of languages that most members of staff could speak!
The Holiday - we booked with Longwood who we have used before. This time the rep seemed to have the personality of a damp cloth. On our journey to and from the airport he said about 5 words! The welcome meeting was a bit rushed (there were only 2 new couples at this hotel). Other than that we didn't need to see our rep who was only there for 1/2 hour every day anyway!
The entertainments programme was pretty good - execpt it was mainly in Russian and French (for some un known reason).
Overall we went not expecting much but were happily surprised."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of February 2007
Average AI-would not chose this hotel again
"The only thing we wanted was hot weather, sun and relax. We chose a last minute offer and after checking on Sofitel's internet site we decided to spend a week at the Hotel Sofitel in Hurghada. We have been in Hurghada town before so we knew that this was nothing special.
Unfortunately there was all week a very cold wind day and night. So even when the temperature gage was up to 28CÂ° it felt much colder. Apparently this is normal for Hurghada but the travel agent forgot to tell us !?!
Nevertheless, we were disappointed in the hotel in general - all a bit old and tatty. Room quite small. Reception and staff in general not really that interested in you. The hotel is actually catering more for Russian tourists than anyone else so I definitely would avoid it next time. I would rate the hotel as 3-star and not 4.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in form of buffets and the food is OK, not that great nor that bad but many times nearly cold. One evening we reserved a table at Omarâs restaurant, which supposed to be typically oriental food. It was definitely the worst evening we had during the whole week. Food must have been prepared hours before, nothing was really fresh, meat was stone dry and nearly stuck to the plate, not a very nice presentation at all. Very disappointing.
What we really liked was the area of the pool & bar - has a nice sea view. Good sun beds and fresh, big towels every day.
I participated daily at the Aqua gym, which was fun and well done. In general, the Entertainment group at the Sofitel is doing quite a good job - Bravo.
I also had a few massages and a hammam with a peeling. Very good and staff were real nice. I can recommend this.
Concerning the bar at the hotel: staff couldnât care less if you stand there or notâ¦. They just donât see you. The bar area is cold and impersonal and has no atmosphere â not an area where you would like to get together in the evening but unfortunately actually the only place to be as it was too cold outside.
The general shop has prices like a 6-star hotel. Shaving foam and a ânormalâ bottle of sun cream cost us Swiss Francs 70 ! So you better buy these things in the supermarket in town.
So, all in all the holiday was average and we will certainly not chose this hotel again; even it is only for one week."
- Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007
"Having been to Hurghada before, I knew pretty much what to expect. We booked an all inclusive deal direct with the hotel, and it has to be said that the cost was very good. Unfortunately, the hotel having gone all inclusive meant that they seem to have abandoned all sense of service. My wife has been here before, and she observed that this had gone downhill. Everything is now "help yourself" - which is fine to a point, but virtually impossible to get any waiter service as used to be the case. Food and plates cold, although quality not bad (not great either). Rooms fairly small and tatty. T.V didnt have all the advertised channels, safe didnt work etc. There are I am sure better hotels for not much more money. Entertainment was of no interest to us as in French and geared towards them and Russian. Beach is nice, and sun beds aplenty with good wind breaks (needed in November). OK for a relaxing week on the beach at the right price. Take a good look around other options though."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of November 2006
Disappointed - bad service
"I was spending 10 days in Egypt and decided in last minute to go to Hurghada. So I booked the Sofitel just one night before arrival.
The Sofitel Hurghada has a good structure with pool, diving center, beaches, etc, but the service is terrible. According to Accor Hotels website, check-in starts at 12 noon, but that's not true: Recepition told me (and show me) 2pm check-in and I waited until 14h00 to get a room (meanwhile they took care of the russians guests). The room took me back in the 80's: old (and ugly) furniture and small bathroom, without a tub (I was expecting this from a Sofitel). The mini-fridge was empty and nobody comes to fill it up, room service is quite simple (with a very few options of food), and I'm waiting for a towel till today! The hotel offers a shuttle service to the city (LE 20) and a complimentary shuttle to the airport.
Overall, bad hotel, bad service. If you are russian, pick the Sofitel, as the staff takes care of you very well. If you're not, avoid this hotel."
- Travel date: Wed 25th of October 2006
Loved the Sofitel!!!
"I was a bit anxious after reading some bad reviews about the Sofitel in Hurghada but my fears were quickly silenced. The Sofitel is rated as a 4 star hotel which is not really the case in European standard but the hotel is beautiful, the rooms are very clean and rather spacious. We were even lucky enough to have a room near the beach with quite a nice view.
The food was good (we bought the all inclusive bracelet for 15euros a day, and it was worth it!) The staff was nice and helpful, the beach beautiful, great snorkling and diving! The dive center in the hotel was a great feature and the diving staff was really great.
The hotel does propose activities during the day and every week has a professional come to supervise diverse activities such as archery when we were there. But do not expect new tennis courts or a brand new mini golf. But who cares, it's hard to play tennis when its 40Â° anyway! There is also a children club which takes care of your kids during the day if parents want a bit of free time.
The hotel proposes different day trips: snorkling, boat rides and cultural visits. A couple we met during our stay went to Luxor on a day trip (8h bus trip) and were very disappointed: small bus, very hot, and a not very nice guide. So I would not encourage it.
I recommend this hotel for people who want to rest and dive, this is what we did and it was perfect!"
- Travel date: Thu 31st of August 2006
Stay away. My son and I just travelled t...
"Stay away. My son and I just travelled to Egypt and turkey for three weeks. This hotel was the worst of the bunch. Poor service and room views. You get hounded by the various merchants between the hotel lobby and the pool/sea, bad choice.
Any hotel would be better.
- Travel date: Mon 28th of August 2006
We have just returned from a superb week...
"We have just returned from a superb week at the Sofitel, Hurghada. The rooms were clean, air-con very good. Staff extremely helpful and friendly. Facilities in the hotel were varied and always available, which gave my 3 children (18, 16 and 13) plenty to do. The pool and beach area were great and kept extremely clean by the staff, and we were impressed that we could snorkel straight from the beach and saw a wide variety of fish this way.
The food was extremely good and offered a wide variety which met everyone's satisfaction, breakfast offered fruit, breads etc, cooked (our favourite was the fresh omlettes made to order), cereal, pancakes, and masses of pastries. The evening meal changes every night with a different theme, but it was always of a high quality and plenty of it. Service at the table was fine, although sometimes plates were cleared a little too quickly! Most of the other guests were Russian and French, although there were smatterings of many other nationalities, we enjoyed this aspect of the hotel, and it was interesting to note the differences in cultures.
The dive centre was quite superb, extremely well run and with wide variety of dives available to meet all levels. The windsurfing instruction was good, although this was fairly expensive for what it was.
We had already decided not to venture far from the hotel in late July/early August - and what we saw of Hurghada did not tempt us to go into the town. Also the sights (e.g. Luxor/Pyramids) were a long way for trips, which we knew prior to booking and therefore had decided to leave their exploration for another time. People we met who had gone on these trips said they were very long and hot days, Hurghada is not best placed for a cultural holiday, but for what we wanted, which was the sun, sea life and activities it was an excellent choice of hotel and we would seriously consider returning in the future.
Although it was hot while we were there, the sitting of the hotel allowed for a pleasant breeze round the pool and on the beach.
Things we wished we'd known prior to going:
1) Best currency to take for all payment is euros although some Egyptian pounds are useful for tipping
2) No need to take beach towels as these were provided clean each day and were very adequate in size. These could also be taken out on the snorkeling/diving boats if required.
3) If wishing to play tennis (which we did several times in the early evening) it's worth taking your own rackets/balls as the hotel ones are of slightly dubious quality and we are quite fussy! But the courts (4 altogether) were fine."
- Travel date: Sun 6th of August 2006
Disappointed with the Sofitel
"Spent a week at the Sofitel in March of 2004. Overall, we were pretty disappointed. The hotel itself is a nice compound, but it hadn't been maintained well. Our room was quite rundown and smelled of urine. The food was mediocre at best (not many options in town either). We were amazed that the pool wasn't heated. In March the days are very hot, but the pool was freezing. Not even 65F, I would guess. Also, the vendors who sell scuba, snorkeling, ATV, etc excursions in the bar area were quite pushy! We would return to the Red Sea area again (AMAZING snorkeling) but we would not return to Hurghada or the Sofitel. I would recommend the Four Seasons in Sharm."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of May 2006