10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Value for money
"We stayed at the Grand Hotel at the beginning of January 2006 for 7 nights travelling from the UK.
Room: Standard room. Average quality. Bed was comfortable enough. Bathroom small. TV reception very poor and was never repaired despite requests to staff.
Staff/Service: Pleasant staff. Room cleaniness was good.
Meals: Nice buffet meals with a variety of restaurant settings to choose from. One restaurant in the hotel had a nice area to sit outside in the sun and enjoy breakfast.
Hotel areas/gardens: NIcely maintained green gardens, lobby areas nice. Found the restaurants a bit dark in the evenings - needed more lighting! This hotel has a private beach front to it. The water a tad bit cold in January, and the beach itself looked like yellow building sand, but ok to sit and relax on the sunlounges.
Tours/Activities: We decided to shop around for our tours. There are plenty of places that offer deals. Just be cautious with who you decide to go with. We decided to go on the 10 hour coach trip up to Cairo and this was an experience. THe coach trip itself was long, cramped and tiring however, seeing the pyramids, sphynx, egyptian museum etc made up for it. Just seeing Cairo was a bit of an experience! We also had a day of snorkelling which was great. We went out to Mahmeya Island on this snorkel trip as well. Again, shop around for prices and tour operators.
General Hurghada: Lots of construction works going on in Sekalla (the main shopping area). Dont expect a clean cut resort, holiday image for the town itself. Cheap buys can be found by bartering, with the general kitsch toursity fair, plus plenty of egyptian cotton - but shop around as quality varies!
General Hotel: This hotel is a 10 - 15 minute taxi ride out of Sekalla. Taxi's and buses are fairly easy to come by and you can barter a price. However, the ride in can be a little hair-raising at times!!"
- Travel date: Sat 22nd of April 2006
great to have sun in march
"Stayed for one week 10th march 06. The hotel is extremely well organised and efficent with outstanding service.Set in lovely manicured gardens with a private immaculate beach, between two Marina's.
The room was small, & the shower was even smaller but it was clean & had a tv & fridge.A beach bag & towels were provided and could be changed each day if required and the beach sun beds & pads/umberalla's were good quality and free.There were plenty of waiters only to willing to fetch food/drinks and the hotel preferred a cashless / sign for system and pay at the end of your holiday.Be aware that they expect you to buy everything from the hotel and if you are seen with water /food bought from the local shops it will be removed from you by security.Use the beach bag to take the water in...The boat trip was very good and the coral reef snorkelling was excellent. There are four retaurants to choose from, we preferred the Swan as it seemed classier with a better ambiance. The Chinese (a Â£5 extra charge )was well worth it with 5 courses and excellent service.
Now for the downside;outside of the hotel was hassle city and we (me, my wife & daughter)gave up trying to shop and stayed in the hotel, which was a pity.
The Airport was a nightmare, disorganised, hectic and everyone appeared to be trying to get money out of the tourists. Even the security guys at the entrance to the Airport, the toilet attendants, who wanted money for toilet roll, so take your own.Have some small Egyptian notes or English coins ready to pay the army of porters/hangers on."
- Travel date: Tue 21st of March 2006
"Travelled to the Grand hotel with Direct holidays June last year on Half Board Basis. Hotel is spacious, nice gardens and has its own private beach where you are provided with towels daily. The food is Ok but be warned if your off to hurghada you will get a dose of the runs which we did, but this could have been from any restuarant, were not blaming the food in the Grand Hotel. My friends, colleagues who have travelled to the red sea, be it on a cruise or a diffrent hotel have all came down with the runs. You can also eat at the Grand resort(5* sister hotel) directly across the road, there are 2 massive swimming pools that you can use at the grand resort which we done daily. The Hard Rock cafe is 2 mins down the road if you fancy a change. I would recommend the Jeep safari ( but stay clear of the food as we seen the plates and cutlery being washed afterwards in some brown water in the middle of the desert Yuk!) but worth the trip to see the sunset. Also trips to cairo are offered via Direct holidays from the hotel who will supply you with Pillows and lunchboxes free of charge for your 10 hour bus journey! but well worth it.
Fantastic hotel, Food ok, Rooms Very Clean, Nice Gym and sauna, Airport only 5 mins from hotel(first stop)Lovely clean beach, Good service, no bugs, but if your off to cairo on the bus make sure you go at the start of your trip before your belly starts to rumble."
- Travel date: Wed 8th of March 2006
Excellent Hotel, Pity about the room
"Just got back from Hurghada....We had an excellent time. The flight was not too great, as I have never been on a charter I did not realise we had to pay for EVERYTHING. Even the headphones which were 2.50 pounds.
First impressions of the hotel were great, but as soon as we got to our standard twin room, I was not impressed, I felt I was back at home in Butlins (no offence). I did enquire about about upgrading but there was no availabilty and had to pay.
My husband pointed out that we were only going to be sleeping there and if we were staying longer than 1 week paying the extra would be fine. Also if you are english expect to be put on the ground floor, we were told for some reason they do not give english people rooms with balconies
The beach was clean, crystal clear water, does not get too crowded there were plenty of sun loungers, grounds were amazing, was really worthy of a 5 star hotel. Food was good if a little repetitive, only got sick on my last day...
But I did feel that the hotel was more geared towards the germans & italians. The TV only had 1 english channel and that was BBC World News.
To sum up would definately go back, BUT would pay in advance for a superior room."
- Travel date: Sat 4th of March 2006
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE IN EGYPT
"Stayed at the Grand Hotel, Hurghada, for one week at end of May 2005, with Direct Holidays. Flight on the way out had no in-flight entertainment. On arriving late into the night with two children, we were eventually taken to our 'superior family room', which only had a double and a single bed for myself, husband and two children. I immediately complained and eventually another single bed was squeazed into the room. The room was rather tatty and was not worthy of 4 stars. I note that Direct Holidays have now downgraded it to 3 stars in this years brochure. The foyer and dinning areas were beautifully kept and the grounds were very nice. Don't take any towels with you as these are provided at the poolside free of charge and of course in your room. This year, I will be buying more Egyptian cotton towels to take home (Â£4 for a bath sheet or less if you barter!).
The food was of a good standard with a choice of restaurants to eat in. However, we did all come down with diarrhoea (go to local chemist for antibiotics which will kill bacteria quickly). Immodium will not help.
Plenty of sunbeds around both pools, you have to get up early for a sunbed on the beach. The boys enjoyed the giant slide on the beach. Pedalos and doughnut rides for a small fee. Beach a short walk through beautiful hotel gardens.
The most fantastic part of the holiday was the trip on the submarine - short boat trip out to a floating island then all aboard the submarine which dives to around 70 feet. Divers come down and feed the fish, my five year old and 10 year old were awestruck (it was a special trip for my 10 year olds birthday - cost Â£100 for family of 4).
Entertainment was good every evening and we also enjoyed the open air opera across the road next to the Grand Resort. Warm every night. Brilliant holiday. We loved Egypt and hopeto go to Sharm this year.
Hotel mini bar very cheap - the boys could eat and drink what they wanted. Tip the waiters a few pence/pounds and they will look after you."
- Travel date: Sun 12th of February 2006
Not so grand, Grand!
"We booked our family holiday through direct holidays for whit week, our children 10&14 had a great time although the slides on the beach were never running. we only found 1 other english speaking family in the resort everybody seemed to be german. 10/10 for the diving & snorkelling boat staff were fantastic they really were good with the kids we even bought the video of the boat trips.. we would definately return! although it would be to grand resort across the road. The grand hotel is ready for a refit, rooms were shabby & bathrooms poor standard, fridge in one of our rooms broke - filling the room with ammonia. There again what you lost in the condition of your room - you gained in the quality of the facilities & beach, after all how much time do you spend in your room anyway??? unless yur on honeymoon! highly recommend trip to luxor, valley of the kings 'the best' but be prepared its a long hot day. food great with no health problems."
- Travel date: Mon 28th of November 2005
nice but not rushing back
"Myself & my partner have just returnd from 2 weeks staying at the Grand Hotel, on arrival at the hotel it was very impressive, lovely reception area and lobby bar. We checked into the room (a superior after reading earlier reports). The room was large with king size bed, fridge-mini bar, tv and a much needed air conditioning unit. The down side to the room was there was no tea/coffee making facilities and it did need a new bath as the enamel had worn off but the room was very clean.
With regards to the food we were not impressed in any of the restaurants in the hotel, however with the Grand Resort across the road we headed there a lot as the food was lovely and very well priced. If you go into Sekalla the main part of Hurghada there are restuarants and a few bars though the food was limited. We found that there was very little to do in the area but the building work going on shows that in a few years that will have changed. We took a couple of excursions (very cheap) and we would definatly reccommend going on safari and seeing the sunset over the mountains if you want to see the pyrmaids and sphinx you need a take a 10hr coach ride, though we wanted to do this the journey put us off.
Also be aware of tipping! The reps will say little and often but once you start they will harass you for them actually asking for money every day and if you are asked if you want to go for a drink after work even the nicest man will end up taking you to his brothers bazaar for 'special price'.
As I say the hotel was nice but we won't be rushing back maybe we'll head to Sharm next year!"
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of October 2005
Beatiful mature gardens
"Booked a week at the Grand hotel through direct holidays departing 17th June from Glasgow.
Arrived at the hotel and were initially dissapointed with the room, standard rooms are very small with the worlds hardest beds. Were upgraded FOC by the hotel to a long stay room with 6ft Superking bed, full size fridge, TV and bathroom with bath, had to forego balcony (but hey!) for all this who cares as I had only paid Â£244 Half Board for one week.
The public areas are stunning considering they are 15 years old and the gardens are the best I have seen in an Egyptian hotel and I have been to Egypt 10 times to some good 5 star hotels.
The 3 buffet restaurants (Royal Palm, Swan and Arabesque) are all good but as a lover of middle eastern food we ate almost entirely in the arabesque which had a fantastic range of food every night. Service was excellent all the time. The Swan is good for breakfast as it doesn't get as busy in the morning.
Do try the chinese restaurant (extra charge) only Â£5 per head as the food is fantastic and it is rarely busy.
Overall this is one of the best value holidays in Egypt I have had and would recommend it especially for the food, gardens and service and the fact it is on the beach.
Give Hurghada a try as it is a lot more Egyptian than Sharm and everything is within easy travelling distance. Don't do the tours through your tour operator find an independent instead and pay 25% of the price."
- Travel date: Fri 1st of July 2005
"Have just spent 2 weeks at Grand Hotel, Hurghada and loved it! Have never done anything like this before so didn't know what to expect. Had standard room - although some people weren't too happy, we had no complaints, especially as we spent most of our time outside. Air conditioning excellent - better than 5 star hotels in Luxor and Cairo on 2 day excursions!!
Staff wonderful - when we were allocated our rooms, they noticed I had mobility problems and immediately changed ours to a ground floor one. We were also lent a wheelchair which we were allowed to take on the excursions with us. Housekeeping brilliant - checked daily that everything was alright and even identified a problem before we knew of it. Hotel and grrounds very clean and tidy - the poor gardeners were fighting a losing battle against the blossom at times, but still kept the paths clean!
The beach was lovely - well laid out with plenty of sunbeds and shade, waiters regularly checking whether you wanted drinks, food, etc. Sea nice and clean and warm (compared to Barmouth!!) with quite a few fish, especially up by the jetty end. There were lots of jelly fish which scared me at first, but they weren't dagerous and it was actually quite nice to swim amongst them and touch them. I think there were so many because it was "mating season".
Restaurants and food very good - we were half board and, to be honest, I don't think I could have managed full board! In fact, I rarely got up in time for breakfast! Variety of hot and cold food available, and lots of desserts and fruit. 3 restaurants available - we couldn't decide between The Royal Palm and The Swan as our favourite, so alternated!
Entertainments good - something different each night of the week, and slight variations each week. Pianist upstairs was very good.
Were linked to the Grand resort over the road but only went there on our last day to the cafe. Events looked quite good - animations of shows like Phantom of the Opera, Rocky Horror Picture Show, etc., but didn't go - will try those next time!
This was a fantastic holiday at a very nice hotel and we will DEFINITELY be returning - I didn't want to leave but they wouldn't let us have squatters rights after 2 weeks!!"
- Travel date: Mon 9th of May 2005
"Stayed a week in March - nice gardens with own private beach - all staff including cleaners and gardeners were very helpful. Four restaurants. Swan is probably the best with Arabesque close. Do not use restaurant behind reception- dirty plates and cutlery and least helpful staff. Room was supposed to be Superior but had no sea view faced North and never got the sun on the balcony. Furnishings very jaded(lightshades looked as though they had done a round with Mike Tyson followed by a couple of England scrums.) Bathroom fittings all showing signs of wear (scratched bath and very messy tile repairs using "grip and fix" adhesive instead of grout. Doorframe to bathroom rotted out at bottom and open gulley in floor which was conveniently covered with a bin to stop the smell of sewage coming into room) Mini bar did not chill and TV tuning very iffy. All complained about nicely but despite eager to please staff there was no change in the week. Two days we were without handtowels and the room was uncleaned on one day with no bed makeup. Outside the hotel is a dual carriageway lined end to end with tourist tat shops and you had to be very thick skinned to be able to take an evening stroll without getting dragged into every establishment to "just have a look". Trips organised by the hotel were a total rip off. Trip to Luxor was Â£65 per head yet we manged to get the same trip via an Egyptian tour company for only 25 euros (approxÂ£18)"
- Travel date: Wed 30th of March 2005