Sonesta Pharaoh Beach Resort Hurghada
15 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Bad value for money!
Only Russian speaking unfriendly staff. 3/4 of Russian guests - families with children mainly. Russian music playing on the beach. Low quality food. You will get beef every day - always hard and chewy. Upset stomach most likely. Not much dishes to choose from. Slow and overworked staff in the buffet. Same in the bars. Just a few of them know basic English, but prefer not to use it. Not very helpful staff in the reception (unless you speak Russian, of course). Can-not-be-bothered attitiude. Only the animation team can deal with guests properly.
I would give maximum 3 stars to this hotel. Fair enough - it is clean, but everything else will disappoint you, trust me! There is not much to do. Mini golf or other activities do not actually happen. You will have some belly dancing, yoga classes or volleyball on the beach. That's more or less what hotel can offer you.
The Red Sea is a totally different story - coral reef is amazing! Snorkelling is great. The beach itself does not look good.
Hurghada is still in progress of building. Hundreds of resorts, desert and quite a poor landscape.
Generally - I would not recommend this hotel to any other than Russian nationality!
- Travel date: Wed 9th of December 2009
dont go in busy season
"went to htl for 10 days, bad start, put in annex at the sde of main htl complex , rung reception told it would cost us 160euros to upgrade into htl complex, complained to rep next morning and he got us a room on ground floor overlooking the pool, you have to get top floor room in complex to see the sea as its quite far from htl.
food inthe karnak restraunt is plentiful but limited choice we found ,the italian rest upstairs you can have one free meal per week if all inclusive, we went but found it more egyptian than italian,you can have a free meal in the fish rest on the beach, but only used it for buffet lunch whilst sunbathing,their were plenty of sunbeds at the pool and beach, but if you go high season get up early, cleanleness is top class throughout,make sure there is complementry tea/coffee making set in your room,we had to phone recption for ours.
you will be pestered to death by the massage team (around the pool and on the beach) which is inside the indoor pool complex
we had two sessions costing Â£105.00 first was Â£70.00 for the 2 of us then talked into another session for Â£35.00 and one free, beware?
we went on the shuttle bus to hurgarda town one evening 17.00 to 1930 cost 2euros each and was shocked how third world it was we stayed on the road where we were dropped off then went to see the marina and when we got down the back street it was distgusting rats running allover,
we got back to the pickup point fast, plenty of hassle from the shopkeepers but just say no firmly they will leave you alone,
didnt go on any trips but if you want to explore use htl guides they are cheaper and are the same companys the tour opperator use we went on the htl DIVE IN boat which is on the beach had a good day out with meal provided start at 8.00am back at 16.45 had 2 dive sites over coral and stop on giftin iles for 1hr.
overall we found it to be a well run htl but the guest are mainly 90% russian then uckraine italian french and a couple of brits.
- Travel date: Sat 14th of March 2009
would definately return !!!!
"I have just returned from a one week stay in Hurgharda and had a great time, one week wasn't long enough !!
Be prepared to see lots of building work throughout Hurghada as this area is still developing. (No work going on at this hotel)
The staff at this hotel were extremley friendly and willing to help at all times.
My partner became ill whilst we were there and one particular member of staff couldnt do enough for him. He would send him herbal teas and special ointments to make him feel better!! ( i have no reason to believe he was ill from the food at the hotel )
The food was always fresh, hot and plenty of it -there was a good varirty for all tastes. We ate so much whilst we were there and could not fault the food or staff in the restaurants. (we were half board)
The hotel grounds were very well kept, the rooms were very clean but could do with slight improvements.
We were upgraded after our first night from the main hotel (which was offered to us at no extra cost )to a bungalow which they have througout the grounds. This was a pleasent surprise!
The hotel entertainment isnt the best quite old fashioned but they try thier best -ok for the kids!
I would definately suggest you go on the jeep safari trip you spend the day at this safari camp, first visiting the Bedouin people , then camel riding , quading , horse riding , go karting , a BBQ meal and evening entertainment show . This is a fantastic day out a well worth the Â£35 charge per person. We couldnt believe how much there was to do, prepare to get very dusty !!!!!
I found all the Egpytian people very friendly even the shop sellers, a firm no thank you and they will leave you alone.
Dont worry about choosing this hotel you will be fine !"
- Travel date: Sun 22nd of April 2007
very good place indeed
"It is a lovely hotel, a good place to relax and explore the area. the outdoor pool is freezing but a heated indoor pool with jacuzzi makes up for it. service is excellent, people are relly nice and helpful. the beach is ok, with diving centre and one has to walk on the pier for 70 metres before swimming in crystal clear (but cold)water. The rooms could be slighlty more uptodate but they are good overall. shows at night aren't great with the exception of a brilliant professional dancing session incl. bellly dancer and egyptian costumes. I cant really fault this place and i m a fussy traveller! I went with my dad (in 2 separate rooms) and we both enjoyed it greatly. Strongly suggest visiting LUXOR, and Mahmya island as they are both stunning.
Please note: russian are conquring the world.
Definitely one of the best resorts in hurghada."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of March 2007
Visit 19 - 26 jan 2007
"We booked the deal through lastminute and based it loosely around the reviews placed here without carrying out too much homework other than that. As a Place Hurgarda itself is undergoing a huge amount of development and basically consists of a typical Egyptian style town with low level flats surrounding it then built out along the coast a myriad of hotels and new developments, I expect that in several years time this will be one extremely big resort complex.
The hotel is largely dominated by Germans and Russians with only a few brits at any one time, this its self present no problems save for some people failing to have a basic understanding of good manners.
Service in the bars and restaurant was always fine if at times a little on the slow side. The food presentation appeared to be excellent with a big and varied buffet selection, however we both suffered food poisoning to various degrees and in both cases we feel the reason for this was the fact that they were cooking fresh chicken on a hotplate, what we had not realised was the guy preparing the cooked chicken was doing so in such a fashion that raw chicken and the implements used with it were mixed with the cooked chicken being served directly too guests. I personally spent and extremely unpleasant few days and ended up with a saline drip to try and replace lost fluids. The hotels doctors diagnosis was that its cause was changes in temperature and going swimming then sitting in the sun. He also claimed that no other guests were suffering, I suspect this to be untrue as later in the week there seemed to be a marked change in the way the chefs were handling the food and the work surfaces.
We managed one day diving with DiveIn which was quite a pleasurable couple of dives unfortunately we never got chance to go out again for obvious reasons.
This event obviously overshadowed the holiday for us in what could have been a very easy going resort where the only real thing to do is to take it easy."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of January 2007
We were pleasantly suprised!
"After checking out reviews of hotels in Hughada, the Melia Pharaoh sounded promising and was a 4 star in our opinion. We went with 2 children 7 + 9 yrs half board from 12th to 19th Jan. We booked a sea view thinking we would be on the front but we were back at the main complex (nearer to everything apart from the beach), with a front view to the sea form afar! When we arrived I was upset about this but it would have cost a lot extra to stay in the bungalows. I'd check this out when booking to secure what you want. The whole complex was v. clean everything changed every day etc. We didnt get a stomach upset the whole week and enjoyed the food and the exellent service from the waiters. So friendly and polite. The pastries and fresh fruit are to die for and now im on a diet. The beach was v. well looked after loads of sun beds and clean towels every day. The outdoor pools looked lovely but were too cold for us. The indoor pool was hot and shallow enough for the kids with bubbles at one end for the grown ups and stayed open until 9pm when it was quieter. The poolside bar served good food and coffees etc. There was a v. good park (wooden) on the way to the beach through the beautiful gardens and a small lake which I really enjoyed walking past every day. Bliss! The weather was hot out of the wind which was cool and it was dark by 5.30 and much cooler. The staff were wonderful and spoke a bit of english - though my husband said the reception staff didnt understand him always. There is a shuttle bus into Hughada every day which we took advantage of for 2 euros (everythings priced in euros at the hotel!) We bought 2 litre bottles of water for 30p each there compared to the hotels 60p for 1/2 littre. We didnt venture to the entertainment at night as we were too tired but we did join in the odd thing on the beach (belly dancing in the sun for me and mini football for the boys). The entertainment staff were just as good - very charming people. There was only a few british mostly russian and german people which was not a problem for us. The sea was cold but i did venture in twice to snorkel and the coral reef was fab all those fish swimming around you.
A word of warning - we found the airport an experience...you have to buy visas before queing for passport control we didnt know and paid over the odds at Â£60 for the four of us so we didnt have to start another hours queue. The taxi driver tried to overcharge us although we agreed a price before getting in the car-he changed it once we were on the move. Not a good start. Next time we will book a taxi with the hotel before travelling. Saying that we would go back in a shot as we loved every minute at this lovely hotel which was exellent value for money."
- Travel date: Sun 21st of January 2007
Great hotel with a coral reef!
"I've just returned from my one-week holiday in Melia Pharaoh. Hotel was extremely clean, with a huge and beautiful garden. Hotel's beach was nice too, but the most important thing that there is a coral reef! Excellent place for snorkelling! Around the corals there were a lot of colorful fishes, it was amazing swimming among them!
Food was nice, the only problem was that waiters were a bit slow, in many cases we got our ordered drinks when we already have finished lunch/dinner.
All the staff personnel were very nice and kind.
80% of the guests were Russian."
- Travel date: Sat 25th of November 2006
Will go again, perfect!
"We have just returned from a 14 night stay, Half Board, at this beautiful hotel. I would recommend getting a taxi to the hotel, only 10 minutes and only a couple of pounds GBP. Although Hurghada is still being heavily developed, the finished properties are built to the highest standard. On the way to the hotel you pass several other hotels, The Albatross, Alladin, Ali Baba, Lily Land Beach, Sofitel and a long parade of souvenier shops.
The hotel lobby is impressive and the staff are as helpful as they can be even though their English is a little weak, (They cater more for German, Dutch etc) Many of the other staff, waiters, entertainment etc speak excellent english and are very friendly as are all the Egyptians we met.
The drinks were very resonable, 1.5 litre bottle of water was only 90LE, local Stella beer was 150LE. (We found this was half the prices of our previous holidays in Taba Marriot)
Buffet style meals at the Karnak restaurant was excellent and catered to all tastes. We never had a bad meal.
There is also the Alexandra A La Carte Restaurant which is perfect for a special night. Again the menu was to a high standard and very cheap!!!
We had lunch every day at the pool bar.(my favourite was the Pharaoh salad, chicken and mushroom with warm balsamic vinegar).
Every sungay is a special Egyptian evening with a massive outdoor barby!!!
The pool was perfect and peaceful. They have gym and aqua gym but are not pushed to join in. The only pushy people were the paella beach restaurant but just say La Shokran (No Thankyou) and they push off. The beach beach is sandy but we spent our days by the pool because we found it so relaxing. The hotel is surrounde by green grass and beautiful trees and flowers, the short walk to the beach is like walking through a garden. They have constant club cars going to and fro if you dont want to walk anywhere.
The entertainment is set every evening in an arena at 10pm, There is a small shopping arcade but the prices are cheaper downtown with a bit of haggleing. We went to the new and the old town and we were not harassed by anyone. we went by taxi and he waited two and a half hours while we shopped and took us back for only 80LE (8 GBP)
It was windy everday but we found this a bonus because it helped you getting toooooooo hot!!!!!!
Overall I would recomend this hotel to anyone. Children were very well looked after with entertainment and disco every day.
We WILL return.
PS. .....If anyone out there can get the music for the Tannoura Dance(spinning man) I will be very pleased!!!!!!
BUT ALL INCLUSIVE .... they were given poor treatment, had to pay many extras, given small bottles of water or had to pay for a larger one, seperate menus, and seemed to have to wait longer for service ...be warned."
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of September 2006
Perfect place to unwind!
"I booked a week at Melia Pharaoh in the middle of August for me and my partner (both mid 30s). It was a last minute deal on the internet and I had the usual concerns that it wouldn't be as good as I wanted. I was wrong. The hotel is huge but even at that time of year it felt half empty. There were always free loungers around the lovely pools and the private beach was beautifully clean and safe. Our room was ideal with a nice balcony and large bathroom. There are several bars, games room, indoor pool etc and although I usually hate all that 'on-site' stuff, it didn't feel tacky. The complex is so big that you don't get caught up in the crowds and it felt like there were mainly adults there (very few English which was actually quite nice)
The staff were friendly but respectful and the food was great with vast buffet choices which changed on a daily basis. We went half board which was ample as it was too hot to be bothered with lunch anyway - we just ate large, late breakfasts!
We went on the overland day trip to Cairo which dispite having to leave at 01:15 in the morning and not returning until 11 at night, was really ok. The coach was air conditioned and we dozed on and off for most of the way. It cost Â£48 each compared to Â£150 to fly there and back.
To get into the town takes about 15mins by taxi and cost us Â£8. The price is set but the driver tried asking for more so the staff at our reception told him off! Oops!
Overall a great week away!"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of September 2006
Would we go back????
"A great hotel/resort, but surrounded by un-finished choas!
Having spent 14-nights, the hotel was an excellent place to unwind, catch some sun, and basically lie around all day doing nothing.
The pool was large and not overcrowded, cooled at night by the welcomed sea breeze (all-day), sun beds & parosols (fixed) good quality wood, not splintering plastic. Ample loungers and towels for everybody.
The Red sea is interesting with its marine activity, but the coral on the beach makes it not a typical 'beach' holiday. but the same beds & parosols are also available on the private beach.
Staff and food are also excellent in fact the reason why I may return, but get to know the al-a-carte dining, pay the little extra its worth it.
HOWEVER the thing that lets this hotel down is the entertainment, put on by the animation team. To call it [----] would be a compliment too far. I've never seen a group of poorly produced nightly shows that seem to be aimed at the mental age of a 4-year old.
The Melia Sol group really need to think long & hard what it is they are trying to achieve with this group of staff. They contributed nothing nor added any value to our holiday. In fact they could be the reason why we do not book to return, and I must again reinforce throught no fault of the hotel staff, facilities or comfort.
The whole of Hugahada however is basically a building site which seems to have been started but nothing finished, therefore we spent two weeks in resort around the pool. One gate, chalk & cheese each side!
But a good 4-star hotel. TrevorH."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of August 2006
Very disappointing. Never again!
"We have spent two weeks at the Melia Pharaoh in Hurghada and, sadly, it has proven a very frustrating experience, especially for a traveller who is expecting five star service.
Overall, very good facilities but a bit outdated. Big outdoor swimming pool with easy access; sauna, indoor pool, etc.
Although clean, our room lacked any refinement with very basic furniture that had seen better days and a mini bar that hardly worked (it was never refilled anyway). I have seen nicer rooms in basic B&B accommodation. Fortunately, the air con worked properly â something you must have in Hurghada.
The private beach was nice enough and the coral reef was wonderful. However, it is not the fine sand, but coarse and it takes quite a walk to reach the sea water. Still, nice enough.
Although they are trying really hard to provide a 5 star service, they have clearly failed, especially with regard to their staff. Although we tipped all members of staff, you could only find two types of staff: the totally distant and snappy or the totally overfriendly who (uninvited) chatted to you for hours and wanted to have your MP3 player, laptop and mobile phone as a present. Not very good if you want to relax in peace.
Reception staff were by far the worst: I donât know if this was because staff had a very basic level of understanding English, but there was a tendency to say âyesâ to any question and subsequently say ânoâ, and this provoked total miscommunication and chaos. For example, the day before our departure, we asked in reception whether we could pay with travellerâs cheques. They said âof course, sirâ. The following day, we were told âno, you canâtâ. Another day we were told that we could have a standard menu at the beach restaurant (there was a massive sign saying that it was free for guest on half board basis) and when we arrived we were told it was only a la carte and of course with an additional cost. In view of the problems we faced in the main restaurant, one evening we decided to have dinner in our room in the hope that we could find some peace and quiet, but it took well over an hour to arrive. Finally, we sent some laundry for cleaning, and upon return, one item was missing. After several phone calls, we discovered that it had been returned unwashed in a plastic bag and put in a corner of the wardrobe because they felt they didnât want to wash that item. Not very professional.
This was probably what made us feel most depressed. Although the quality of the buffet was good, the Karnak restaurant had a distinctive âstaff canteenâ feeling. Just a massive plain room with hundreds of tables with people milling around all the time. The most uninviting experience and often impossible to know what we were eating. Yet again, really rude staff at the Karnak restaurant commanding us to change tables 3 or 4 times with our bowl of cereals in our hands and ignoring us when we begged for a clean cup. I can only assume that this is worsened by the fact that some customers were behaving like real animals: picking up food from the serving trays with their hands, or hiding a large number croissants or bread rolls in their napkins for a late snack. Avoid this restaurant if you are looking for a bit of class and peace. Instead, go the Alexandria a la carte restaurant, which is lovely and the fish selection is outstanding. However, be prepared to pay UK prices, especially alcohol: Â£18 for a bottle of local wine. Please note that drinking alcohol is impossible in airports and other places that are frequented by Egyptians.
The Alexandria restaurant (and anywhere else apart from our room, thank goodness!) was spoiled by the atrociously loud and tacky entertainment programme run by the hotel and the next door resorts. There was no escapeâ¦ so bad that we ended up going to our room. I must say though that this is a general problem at the Melia resorts (Spanish owned company)â¦ it is an international standard programme with âI am sorry to say- no class whatsoever.
We didnât even bother going to Hurghada as we were told by the other guests that it is worse than Magaluf. Hence, a no-go area if you are looking for relaxation. And finally, if you need anything outside the resort (e.g. a chemist), be prepared for an expedition where you will have to haggle in the heat with the taxi drivers outside the hotel, which is especially annoying if you are not feeling very well."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of August 2006
Best of the bunch
"The standard of hotels in Hurghada tend to be quite poor, the star ratings giving little away. I've had countless horror stories from friends and from my own experience and can safely say that the Melia Pharaoh is definitely one of the better hotels in Hurghada.
Catering to such a broad european clientelle can't be easy and being english, the minority visitor to Hurghada, there isn't a great range of foods from home. This said, every day the food was different, plentiful and tasty. My two children were with me and even with their discerning tastes, were happy every day. Mid week the hotel had a fantastic outdoor buffet with bbq and entertainment. In addition the Alexandra restaurant, which is heavily supplimented on half board, serves excellent food.
Cleanliness is a key component for my girlfriend and she didn't snarl at me once for taking her there so I can only say it was above reproach. The staff were just the right amount of friendly and even the odd grumpy bloke (only the men work) soon cracked after a few days of cheery hello's and thank you's (chokram).
It's a large resort often requiring a club car (golf cart) to get around. Our room, a large two bedroom with bathroom, en-suite and lounge, was next to the beach. This meant we were as far from the pool and hotel as you could get. If you're a beach bum or a pool freak, I'd advise you to ask for a room which is nearby to one or the other for your convenience.
The hotel isn't the most modern of five stars I've been to, but as i've said, it is very clean, spacious and has all you need (and it all works) so it gets two thumbs up.
OUT AND ABOUT
The hotel runs a regular mini bus into Sekkala for shopping/curiousity excursions and it's only a few euros for the return trip. There are small shopping bazarrs all along the main highway which sells all you'll find in and around Hurghada so you needn't travel far if you don't wish. Beware of prices and the whole haggling experience. After purchasing various knick-knacks, and haggling good prices for them, when exciting at the airport there is what i can only call a kind of shopping mall. in fact that is all the departure area is. Shops. And with prices on display I got to see just how rubbish my haggling was. You may wish to wait till departure before buying things for home.
The Titanic Water park is nearby for water slide fun and a great light show at 1001 resort in the evening is a welcome distraction, although the Melia's evenings of entertainment can be hillarious.
We booked day excursions to break the week and were very happy with each and every one. The day snorkelling was fantastic (we saw dolphins). The adventure day of quad biking, camel riding and sand sailing was terrific. And you MUST visit Luxor. Luxor is how you get to see the 'real' Egypt as the resorts are devoid of culture. I wouldn't suggest an overnight stay as it's an unwarranted cost, unless you happen to be an Egyptologist, but the day I had with the children (12 and 16) was more than enough, especially with the heat in July. Early starts to all day trips but the hotel will pack you a breakfast and will often arrange for a late meal if you're back late (all covered by half board).
PRICES OF STUFF
Day snorkelling - Â£25-35 (there are diff. choices)
Day trip to Luxor - Â£45
Quad biking day out - Â£35
Taxi to the hotel - no more than Â£5-7
Carvings - small Â£2+
Papyrus - small Â£4+ - large Â£15+
Perfume - bottles Â£2+ - Oils - Â£8+
We were advised it wasn't essential to tip anyone other than the cleaning staff, who are paid poorly, but tipping for good friendly service always put us in good stead.
Overall a much better holiday in Hurghada than my last with no small thanks to an excellent hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of July 2006