The Grand Resort Hurghada

Red Sea / Corniche Road, Hurghada Egypt
5 star hotel
 

32 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Without doubt the best hotel I've ever s...

5
Brilliant
by

"Without doubt the best hotel I've ever stayed in. Ignore any poor comments posted. If you want a luxurious and clean hotel with very friendly and helpful staff then stay here. The cost is well worth it, as is an upgrade to a suite. The food was excelent value for money and hurghada provides many restaurants and bars.
We're going back again this year for another excelent holiday."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 29th of January 2008

Brilliant place and brilliant hotel. Eve...

5
Brilliant
by

"Brilliant place and brilliant hotel. Everyone was really friendly, the room was clean and the minibar was filled daily. We didn't really eat in the hotel on the night as it was so cheap to eat out. Thai garden was fantastic really good food, really nice place and people. Hard rock is the safe option as its pretty much the same all over the world, it is quiet in there though until late at night. The Hed Kandi Beach bar is a must, sitting on the beach with a shisha under the stars in fantastic!

Overall I would say its one of the nicest places I have been, Hurghada is clean and friendly and the Egyptians love the English. Remember to tip though as they only earn about £30 a month and a pound to us is a lot to them! Also be careful with the taxi drivers it should only cost £3 to get to Hurghada so agree a price before they will try it on. Also the numbers on some cash machines are upside down!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 17th of January 2008

This hotel caters for over 80% German, R...

1
Awful
by

"This hotel caters for over 80% German, Russian, Swedish, Danish etc and only at times 20% English even the staff at the crèche are solely German speaking.

Things to take to this hotel :- Travel two pin adaptor plug, travel kettle and tea bags, coffee, travel iron, slippers, travel dressing gown, plenty of suntan lotion (its very expensive out there), don't rely on the hotels shower gel etc they are very stingy with putting it in the rooms. Don't worry about hairdryer they have that but it had a mind of its own and is not very powerful.

Take plenty of money as lunches and drinks in the hotel are expensive.

THE TRIPS are expensive too through the rep, but we would not recommend using anyone else as you have to go through the desert in a convoy with other coaches and police cars throughout the convoy with an armed guard on your coach, we nicknamed ours 'pistol pete' all he did was sleep, they are only there for your safety!

Prices for this year (this may change)
Luxor over day by bus £59per adult and £30 per child.
Luxor over day by flight £194per adult and £150per child
Luxor over night £105per adult and £58per child

Cairo
Which was highly recommended to go to by other guests that went by bus (better than Luxor)
Over day by bus £65 adult and £35 child.
Over day by flight £175 adult and £150 child
Over night by bus £135 adult and £82 child
Over night by flight £289 adult and £250 child

Gefton Island £28per adult and £14per child

There are plenty of other trips to go on we went to Gefton Island it was great my husband and other guests were snorkeling and spotted a shark on the reef, the sand on the island was so soft not gritty like the beach at the hotel. The island is not ideal for anyone who is disabled as there is no jetty you just have to jump off the boat at the beach.

We were advised by someone who worked at reception that My Travel's contract with the hotel stipulates that we are only allowed to stay on the ground and first floor rooms due to the height of the railings, we only found this out when we arrived at the hotel!

When you are on the coach your rep gives you forms to fill in to hand to the front desk and he informs us then that the hotel take your passports which he said was very normal! (we did query this, as at every other hotel whether its 5* or not we have never had this happen before) we promptly told him that we would not be handing over our passports, they will remain with us (you cant be too careful).

THE HOTEL

Upon arriving at the Grand Resort my actual words were wow! (this did not last).

The arrival meeting was at one o'clock the following day.

First impressions were that it was very clean and tidy some of the furniture was a bit tatty not as elegant as it once was, the same with the rest of the hotel, clean but a bit tatty.

We eventually got to the front desk and handed over the forms (they did not ask for the passports) and he started to check us in, we were given a map of the hotel our bags were taken by the bellboy/man and we were shown to our room.

The bellboy stood in the room and put his hand out for his tip! They want tipping for every thing and even tell you how much they earn, but don't forget that their wages are topped up by people that tip them.

When you are in your room lock and chain the door as they only knock twice then let themselves in.

Our first room the balcony was broken and not attached at one end, the bathroom was very untidy decorating wise, it needs a huge overhaul, we moved due to the balcony and in our second room a leak developed into a waterfall from the upstairs bathroom into our bathroom above the door, this took them two days to stop the leak and again the bathroom needed overhauling the grout on the floor was coming out and it was very sharp.

For half board guests the restaurants are El Mahara, Marrakech and Maxim.

Maxim, don't bother going, all the guests we spoke to said the food could have easily have come out of a tin, unless you paid for the meals in red.

Marrakech we ate here for the rest of the holiday, it is much much smaller and more friendly and they take more pride in this restaurant, as in all the restaurants at dinner no drink is free not even tea and coffee, for a bottle of water it costs £1.50 sterling, down the road outside the hotel the same bottle of water cost 40p.

The large El Mahara restaurant is located opposite from the reception desk, the food is not of a five star hotel, we were expecting as the brochure quotes "There is a fine selection of culinary delights from around the world to sample". Yes there is if you pay to go to one of the other a la carte restaurants on site like El Nigma that costs an extra £17 for two people then you get Egyptian food and it was the best thing we ate there.

The food is hot but like the beef strogonof I had some of the beef on my plate was still raw in the middle, not good food. As a result from this we were ill for the two weeks stay and don't forget to take your own pills as the pharmacy sells them in strips not the box and for two strips of tablets (which they say you must take, one for the bacteria and the other to stop the trots) costs £7 sterling, we went through two lots of each strip.

Forget English breakfast!!, eggs yes, pork bacon no, just beef bacon (and they can get and cook bacon as we had it in the hard rock cafe just down the road), veal sausages, cakes and salad for breakfast oh if you are really early then you might be able to get some cereal, no fresh orange juice just squash if you want fresh orange its £2 sterling a glass, bread, tea and coffee. You are not allowed to take anything from the restaurant as it will be taken off of you when you leave.

The drinks prices went up in the second week, it might have been as it was Christmas week but a bottle of beer went up an extra 50p instead of £2.50 it was £3 and again down the road it was roughly £1 for the same bottle.

The animation team are on the hotel complex just out of the reception area and to the right. The only time we went to watch the show was on Christmas Eve, we had been to dinner with another English couple and after dinner went to go and watch the show, the same as every where else you go including dinner they hassle you about having a drink, we declined as we had just had dinner, the manager came over and we were told that unless we bought a drink each, then we would have to leave as it was not fair on the other guests, I politely explained that we were staying in the hotel and that we had paid to stay there thus had already paid to watch the show but again we were asked to leave, I explained that I would be complaining and I was told as you wish!

On the hotel complex there are toilets just along from the animation team area, you have to pay one Egyptian pound to use these, even producing your hotel room key they still insist on paying otherwise they get angry with you.

The rep at your welcome meeting tells you about the taxi service the cars are orange and blue, the one and only time that we used them I was assaulted by the driver with my husband in the car, this was on the second day, we spent the rest of the week in the tourist police station, having gone to look at photos of taxi drivers and none matched we were subjected to drivers being brought into the station and stood in front of us and we had to say which one it was, knowing that if he was there that he would go to prison for the rest of his life, he was not there.

Before you get in the taxi Please look on the rear door there is an identification number remember this number. I am not saying they are all bad but be careful as the drivers come from all over Egypt to drive the cars.

On the beach they hassle you every two seconds to buy a drink, the only time they leave you for a while is if you buy one and they know if you have bought from them as they bring it out in a bucket of ice, even if you have got a bottle of water on your table that you have brought with you they still hassle you.

And last but not least the area and shops.

In the brochure it states that the hotel is "Located in a busy area, surrounded by other hotels and shops on a main thoroughfare" AND "transport around the resort is mainly by taxi". This is because there is nothing to do there, the other hotel in close proximity (just across the road) is owned by the same people that owns the grand resort, there is a Hard Rock Cafe and the food there is very good, it is clean and friendly (no hassle involved) they have their own security guard outside and the prices are good but it is mainly shops that sell exactly the same stuff as one another, this is where the conflicts come into it, you walk down the street and they all come out at you (if you walk near the shops, we walked next to the road in the end) and try and drag you into the shop saying all sorts of stuff like you are my friend or some one has just had a baby and they need good luck! Don't listen unless you actually want to have a look in the shop, they then either lock you in or give you something for free and then get really upset with you if you don't buy anything from them.

All the men going I know this will be hard for you (it was for my husband) let your wives/girlfriends walk the shop side and let them tell them no as they don't like this and go away, if you do it they get very aggressive and one actually gave my husband a shove, one lesson learnt very quickly by us.

All in all people will have their own opinions but all we can say is we must have been really spoilt with other place we have stayed (Thailand, Dominican Republic, Cyprus, Greece all between three and five star) all we were expecting was the same standard as any other hotel we have stayed in but we have learnt a large lesson and will never return to Egypt again."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 4th of January 2008

We have just returned after 2 wonderful...

5
Brilliant
by

"We have just returned after 2 wonderful weeks at The Grand Resort Hotel. We arrived at night and had travelled with My Travel. The transfer to the hotel went smoothly too.

Our room was only a standard one, but was spotless. We had a very large balcony with a lovely view of one of the pools. All the staff (which were all men) couldn't do enough for us. In our room was a beach bag and inside it was 2 fluffy beach towels. These were changed daily by the man who arrived each evening to turn our beds down. We thought this was a great idea.

The food was very good and there was a lot of choice.

We went on the day coach trip to Cairo which was very good but a bit tiring! The hotel opened a dining room at 1am so we could have breakfast before we left. They also gave us an empty breakfast box so we could take whatever we wanted, for the journey. When we returned they had left a restaurant open for us, so we could eat before going to bed. We thought this was extremely good of the hotel.

All in all a wonderful holiday, which we would recommend to anyone."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 14th of August 2007

I returned back this weekend from an ama...

5
Brilliant
by

"I returned back this weekend from an amazing holiday based at the Grand Resort Hotel in Hurghada! I cannot understand how anyone could have complaints about this fantastic hotel.

We were treated like royalty the whole time we were there! The staff are really friendly, nothing is too much trouble, so you don't mind giving everyone a little tip, (as advised by other travellers before going!).

The most fantastic experience we had was on the 'Two Worlds' trip with My Travel/ Panorama, with a brilliant guide (Wasim!), anything you needed he sorted it out. This involved an overnight stay at Marsa Alam in Straw huts! With a visit to a Bedouin camp for coffee in the desert and dinner in a Bedouin tent and a camel ride- lots of fun and then on the second day you get to go snorkelling at the dolphin house- again amazing!

We also tried scuba diving for the first time while we were there and that was again a really worthwhile experience, as you see the fish and coral from a totally different aspect and its generally just an amazing feeling to be down there, it’s a little scary to begin with, but once you start to relax it was really enjoyable!

Although we didn't seem to spend much time there, the hotel was really unbelievable, like a palace! We booked a junior suite, which was enormous, but we visited another couples' room while we were there and the standard rooms are really spacious too! They are kept immaculately clean by the housekeeping staff that come and provide fresh pool towels everyday and then turn-down your bed on an evening!

The pool is enormous though freezing cold! And I think there must only be a problem with sunbeds during high season because there was always plenty whilst we were there! If you can, get a sunbed on the side of the pool closest to the hotel entrance, because this side gets the sun all day long!

The food is not out of this world but it is good quality and fresh and you have the chance to go to the cooking stations where you can pick you own ingredients and watch the chef cook it in front of you. Apparently Maxim the A La Carte restaurant is well worth a visit and if you fancy something a bit different the Hard Rock Cafe is a bargain by British standards!

If you want to avoid hassle by the local traders, walk on the opposite side of the road, and be firm if you don't want to go into somewhere, they will tell you all the English are rude, but this is in fact just because they know we are a soft touch in comparison to the Germans and Russians!

Our one let down was our rep, who although he did recommend some trips which we really enjoyed, he did forget to give out some important information before we went on them!

Such as on the Luxor trip you leave at 4.45am and you need to order breakfast to take with you from reception, we were the only couple from our hotel on this trip and we would have gone hungry if the other couples hadn't taken pity on us and shared theirs', as the rep failed to inform us to order ours.

Also he forgot to mention that the overnight stay was on a boat, as someone with severe motion sickness I found this totally unacceptable, luckily our Egyptology guide for the trip, Emad, was amazing and sorted us out! And passports, he also forgot to tell us that we needed to take passports on an overnight trip to secure the room, as a result my boyfriend had to do the minute mile at 4.30am to go back to the room and collect them.

A really fantastic hotel and resort and lots to see and do if you are willing to take a few coach rides around the country! I think a holiday is what you make it and we were really willing to give everything a try and as a result had a fabulous time.

This hotel is really worth a visit though, we will definitely be back!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 11th of October 2007

I have just returned from our second tri...

5
Brilliant
by

"I have just returned from our second trip to this outstanding hotel. I have never found a hotel with the service that these give for the price.

The children had free yes free meals at lunchtime and free ice creams in the children's pool (11 one day) this is not advertised and we only found out by accident!

Lunchtime for adults came out at around 5£ although we did go out a lot and they seemed to be cheaper by at least a half?

The local beer can be found out on the mall for half the price but hey at £2.2 for half a litre in the hotel its not to bad anyhow is it, its only £1 on the mall and both are ice cold.

The water is also more expensive in the hotel but ain't that so in all hotels? I actually found it for 20 pence a bottle (2 litre) outside and did bring it in on many occasions without any trouble
(they don't like it though).

I was only asked about the bags I had once on coming in and I just told the guy that you don't sell these brands here and he could not answer so I walked in.

I have no doubt that if you wanted a good cheap holiday you would not be disappointed with this hotel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 27th of August 2007

Anyone who is wary of travelling to Egyp...

5
Brilliant
by

"Anyone who is wary of travelling to Egypt, this is defiantly a place I would recommend. The staff at The Grand Hotel are very kind and never pester you or demand to be tipped. It is very safe in and around the resort, and on the day trips we felt very at ease.

The Grand Resort hotel is a spectacular sight. As soon as we arrived at the hotel a cool oasis greeted us as we walked into the reception area. The room is well designed, comfortable and spacious and cleaned everyday. We had a lovely view of the pool with wonderful gardens surrounding.

In the main restaurant there is so much choice, and on the first night we got confused as to whether we could only eat certain things (there are chefs cooking things outside). But everything is included. The food was always fresh and with so much choice it will cater for everyone. I would say if food is a worry it is always best to go to a 5* hotel as we met some people staying at other hotels, labelled a 4* and the food was tasteless, bland with very little choice.

There is a separate restaurant that we visited on the 3rd night by the children’s pool where you can have a basic meal (included in your half board package), or pay extra and get a luxurious meal. We had to say we preferred the food in the main restaurant, but it’s worth a try for one night as they have live music playing (we had a great saxophone player).

We went to Cairo to see the Pyramids and I would say this trip is defiantly worth the visit! We saw all three great pyramids, the sphinx, the Egyptian museum, and curio itself. There are two trips; you can either do it by bus, or plane (we flew!) The plane is 1hr to get there, but bus takes 8hrs there and 9-10hrs back due to the amount of traffic so unless you are energetic the bus is not an option here!

There is entertainment each evening and you can also visit its sister hotel across the road. I would recommend this as the sister hotel The Grand is branded a 4* and you can see the major difference as I would say it is a 3*! But you walk through here to get to the beach.

The only bad thing!? maybe the fact that the rep was always busy so we couldn't ask him things, but the reception staff all speak English so they helped us no end:)

BUT OVERALL I GIVE IT A 10 AS IT WAS THE MOST RELAXING HOTEL AND HOLIDAY I HAD IN A VERY LONG TIME!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 22nd of August 2007

All I can say is absolutely fantastic!!!...

5
Brilliant
by

"All I can say is absolutely fantastic!!!

I would defiantly recommend this holiday to anyone, the hotel is huge and could easily get lost in your first few days. The staff are amazing and love the Brits, and if you tip a few of them they will make your holiday about 10x better as they will look after you.

Me and my girl friend went on 2 trips, we went on the glass bottom boat, looking at the Red Sea coral reef and amazing fishes, and we also went to Cairo to see the world famous Pyramids, this was a long day as we went by coach (you can fly) and took 7hours to get there, but it was worth it!
First we went to the Museum, then had lunch on the Nile before going to see the pyramids, after that we went to a Papyrus paper museum before heading home.

I agree with the lady below about buying food and drink in the Grand Mall, and to be honest I never even hid my food and drink and was allowed it back in the hotel.

Just be wary about the sun loungers, the Germans and Russians must wake up about 3am to get a bed, so just tip one of the guys a couple of time a week and he will keep you a lounger in your very own spot!

Very enjoyable, would defiantly go back!
"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 16th of July 2007

My partner and I have just returned (29/...

3
Average
by

"My partner and I have just returned (29/08/07) from a two week twin centre holiday to Egypt. The first week was spent on a river Nile cruise, which surpassed all my expectations, followed by a week in the Grand Resort Hotel, Hurgarda.

Arriving at the hotel in the afternoon after the 4.5 hour transfer from Luxor by coach, our first impressions were quite favorable. After a swift check in from friendly staff we were shown to our room which was on the first floor by the porter who expects a tip as do all members of staff. The room was clean and spacious but not up to the 5* standard as advertised.

After a short rest we went to see the rep, who continually mixed us up with another couple in a different room. The welcome meeting was brief and lacked information, although I think this was more to do with the lack of interesting things to do in Hurgarda rather then the rep.

British guests are only put on the ground and first floors, we asked the rep why and he told us that the balcony railings are 5 cm to low and lack of emergency exits, you can lower yourself out of first balconys without causing to much injury to yourself apparently!

The hotel is huge, over 800 rooms and 1600 guests!

We stayed on a half board basis and although there are several resturants in the hotel we were only allowed to use three of them, one you had to book 24 hours in advance which we never bothered going to. Arriving at the main restaurant we noticed it was very busy and made our way to a clean table with some friends only to be told that we could not sit there and then to be shown to a dirty table. The only reason for this i can think of is that somebody else tips the waiter to keep the table for them. Food is buffet style and there is a reasonable selction. The other restaurant was much quieter with a better atmosphere, we ate there for the rest of the week. By the end of the week 3 of the 4 of us had been ill at some point.

The pools are lovely, only problem is you cannot get a sun bed that has some shade unless your there before 9.30. The beach is a 5 minute walk away through the sister hotel and passed its pool which always has sun beds available. The beach is large and clean and the water is also quite clean although don't expect good snorkling, the local reef is all but dead.

The entertainment in the hotel is rubbish and caters for Germans who were by far the largest percentage of guests.

Drinks ( Water £1.20 in hotel 20 pence outside) and food ( £4.50 for a chesse toastie) are expensive in the hotel and can be bought just outside the hotel for half the price. There are signs all over the place saying not to take food and drink from outside into the hotel which we just ignored and nothing was said. There are a couple of bars just outside the hotel which we spent most of our evenings at.

Excursions are expensive and boring unless you like sitting in a car being driven around the the desert. Needless to say we didn't do any of these.

And finally the electricity kept on cutting out throughout the whole week.

Hurgarda itself is disappointing having previously been to Sharm. It appears there has been no overall plan for the resort with hotel after hotel along the coast. Our hotel was about 5 miles from the town center which dirty, overcrowded with shops selling the same over priced tourist tack.

One afternoon we went on a boat trip to go snorkling. Arriving at the reef we were just told to jump in and go for it. There was no talk on safety and about protecting the reef. Consequently I saw people standing on coral, breaking it off with their fins, people getting cut from touching the coral. If nothing is done the reef we visted will probably be dead within five years.

Overall the Grand Resort was a disapointing end to what started as a great holiday and given the choice I prefer Sharm. I would not go back to Hurgarda. The hotel is nice but there is a lack of things to do. "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 1st of September 2007

Useful Tips to maximise your holiday exp...

5
Brilliant
by

"Useful Tips to maximise your holiday experience;

-Take English pounds (exchange rate better than here!) and it’s the most sought after currency in Egypt.

-Tip cleaners, bar staff and pool boys asap they will look after you for the duration of your holiday (also in pounds sterling)

-Although the hotel doesn't permit taking your own food or drinks into the grounds, in the grand resort shopping mall on the front of the resort is a supermarket to the right which sells 1ltr bottles of water @ 2 Egyptian pounds (around 20p) and in the hotel this will cost you 12 Egyptian pounds (around £1-20) this also goes for soft drinks, snacks and ice-creams. The beach bags in the rooms become very useful!!!

Just take a towel to cover your shopping from the guards. You will not be surprised to see a large queue of the hotel guests in this shop daily.

-Take very high factor sun cream as the weather is guaranteed to be blistering every day. It hasn't rained in Hurghada since January (10 years ago!!!)

- For you drinkers the beer in the mini-bar in the rooms is cheaper than the bars themselves.

-Don’t book your holiday through going places/Airtours/MyTravel, as the flights really let us down. (leg room, seat width, food, cabin temperature and flight entertainment very poor will never fly with them again.

Last tip- DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMCORDERS. We have always taken ours on previous holidays and carried it around and not used it much. This time we left it at home.(BIG MISTAKE) This country, all its history and culture, deserts and breath taking scenery need to be captured as real as poss, pictures don’t do it justice.

Now for the hotel review itself.

We departed the uk 8/6/07 and arrived late that night at the Grand Resort the first drop by the coach from the airport. The hotel and its staff are Truly amazing no-one can help you enough. The rooms are lovely, well set out, very clean and furnished with high quality furniture. We stayed in room 3207 very nice view from the 2nd floor overlooking one of the 3 pools.

Weather was amazing 40.c + we didn’t see one cloud till we hit the storms of the uk at home. Food was ok and took a bit of getting used to.

The only thing that let the place down was that the main buffet restaurant didn't cater enough tables for the amount of guests (hotel was fully booked) and if you went for breakfast between 8:30-10am you found yourself walking round and round waiting for people to leave, and the Germans and Russians are not the first people to let you join them even though they sat as 2 people at a six seater table!

The bigger of the 3 pools is more relaxed through the day and also by night has a lovely seating area with white patio furniture looking over the pool. This is the ultimate place to have a good drink, chill out and forget about all your troubles and be completely stress free.

This holiday was one of the best we have had considering we only booked it 3 days before we went after reading up on these reviews. We would definitely recommend it to anyone and will definitely come back for two weeks next time although we won’t be flying with MyTravel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 17th of June 2007

We stayed at the Grand Resort for 1 week...

5
Brilliant
by

"We stayed at the Grand Resort for 1 week in May 07.

I don’t usually leave reviews but after reading the last one thought I’d leave my opinion.

The hotel was absolutely fantastic; food was great, pools amazing. Rooms again were fantastic and we only had a standard one. Staff were friendly and helpful and we found they liked the English much more than the Germans.

Weather was beautiful; we did the boat trip to Paradise Island - absolutely gorgeous, sea was clear and not a jellyfish in sight!

We flew into Luxor for some strange reason, stayed in a hotel overnight and then had to be transported via police convoy through the desert for 4 hours the next day, it was tiring after being up early but well worth it for the experience.

How anyone can say anything negative about this hotel I don’t know, had a brilliant week and would recommend it to anyone."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 17th of May 2007

I booked 15 rooms for 30 people for a di...

2
Poor
by

"I booked 15 rooms for 30 people for a dive trip through My Trave. Operators being, Direct Holidays and Going Places (Airtours).

I book trips for large groups on a regular basis and have been to Egypt probably 30 times by now. Date of arrival 4th May 07.

Tickets all arrived in good time, I confirmed with the hotel what person was with who and in what type of room as some had paid extra for a suite. Hotel informed me it was all sorted.

Flight out of Gatwick was delayed about 3 hours, the Excel flight was on one of their older aircraft which was very cramped. To get a bit more space you were offered the chance to get a reasonable bit of space, at £35 each way.

20kg baggage allowance unless you’re a diver, and then remember to show your qualification card to get the extra 10kg or you will be charged. Headsets £2 so take your own.

In Hurghada airport you will be asked to join a long queue to get your visa stamp (looks like a postage stamp), as of May 07 this is £10 and they want sterling so save some from the flight.

The stamp/visa could be bought from any desk or person in the arrivals area and at the same price but they like seem to keep the sales to their own company, and consequently the queues get very long. Just say you are ‘flight only’ and get a stamp from any other desk.

Once you get your stamp you have to queue for immigration to frank the stamp and take the entry card (so remember a pen)...

In baggage reclaim they will rent you a trolley for £1 or 2 Euros. They ask for £2 and try it on but just say that’s all you have. Coins are ok.

Several more checks and your outside and you find out what coach you’re on. Don’t let any of the trolley people push your trolley unless you want them to, as they will ask for a tip.

The journey to the Grand Resort Hotel lasts about 10 minutes and there are people on the desk who speak English. You will be issued with 2 room cards, check in is quick.

The GRH looks nothing like the quaint romantic pictures, it is a huge hotel that sprawls out in all directions often making it difficult to find your way about, imagine a squared number 8, with a swimming pool in each of the loops.

In the middle is the reception area which doubles up as a seating area for a bar, off of this is a disco and the buffet restaurant…it gets crowded.

Rooms are well appointed, very clean and are about 4 stars, my group had 12 de-luxe (standard) rooms and 3 junior suites. To be honest the suites are not worth the extra as the only difference is a couple of feet in size which isn’t noticeable and a bidet in the bathroom. Otherwise they are the same. There is a free coded safe and a mini bar which was never re stocked.

Towels are changed daily. There is a selection of cheap soaps, shampoos etc in the bathroom and a hair dryer.

There are 2 pools, one is large with a bridge, more for adults with topless bathing, the other is slightly smaller with a children’s pool. This is where most of the daily sports seem to go on like water polo, aerobics etc.

By the 2nd pool there is a massage tent, where 3 or 4 women give fantastic massages. Cost is 170 Egyptian for back, 200 full body and a bit more for a full body with aroma therapy oils.

They also have a package of buy 3 get 1 free. I have had a bad shoulder for a few months and in 2 sessions the made it feel a lot better.

Sun lounger's seem to be at a premium, as is all seating seems to be in this hotel, due to this the towels were out in force before breakfast reserving chairs.. I’m not sure how you would get a chair in peak season, or if in a group of 4 or more... The holiday makers are mainly German with a few Swedish and British.

Food, the buffet is ok but got very boring after a week, the speciality restaurants can be ok and depended on what you like, however even though you may be half board many of the items are extra and the bill soon mounts up..i.e. for 3 of us it came to 700 Egyptian pounds for one night.

Ice cream is available at the reception bar and is 10 Egypt £ per scoop.

Exchange is in this area as well, and the current rate is just over 11 to the sterling pound so it’s better than the UK bank exchange rate.

All bills are signed for; They will not accept cash…or are very reluctant to do so. Keep your copy and check at the end of the week as mistakes are made.

There is no business facility that we found, apart from a big conference room; internet use is outside the hotel in the plaza.

For a nice meal leave the hotel, turn right and there are places selling pizzas, salads etc, turn left or right out of the hotel and there are bars selling drinks at a lot less than the hotel.

You won’t be allowed to bring drink or food into the hotel bought outside (unless you take a bag and put it under a towel).

Should you wish to keep your room on the last day, passed midday which is the normal check out, there is a 100 E£ charge and lasts up to 6pm..However at 4pm the man who does the room will give you some hassle as he wants to get the room ready for the next guests.

For scuba diving we always use Divers Lodge, they are based at the Intercontinental Hotel just up the road which to be honest is ten times better than the GRH, but obviously costs more.

Cab fare is 10 E£ each way between the hotels but they normally ask for 20. Be aware that not all dive boats carry emergency kits i.e. oxygen so ask before you consider getting on any boat in Egypt.

Getting out of the country is straight forward, easy check in, no departure tax; however we had the same cramped old aircraft.

We had a few situations whilst we were there and I would like to run through them...

The only point I would like to mention is the attitude of a few of the staff and a fiasco at reception.

The bar by one of the pools (outside reception) must have some sort of competition on how long they can take to serve drinks and how wrong the order can be. To get 2 beers an average wait was 15 to 20 minutes, even though we were the only ones there.

On one occasion we asked for 3 filter coffees, a freshly squeezed orange, and 2 bottles of water...25 minutes later 3 espressos and 1 bottle of water appeared.

Not wishing to make a fuss about the coffee we asked for the water, one of the 5 waiters shrugged and asked a colleague who laughed and then said something in Arabic, (my limited understanding meant I could only pick up on the words wait and hell??) they then took another 20 mins to arrive with the 2nd bottle….

When we asked why it took 45 minutes to get the water he said just you come back tomorrow and I will make you British wait 100 minutes…I got the feeling the staff at just that bar had some sort of problem with us…strange the German customers got served straight away and with a smile..

On checking in 2 of the rooms were wrong, the people allocated to a de-luxe room and a junior suite were round the wrong way. Keys were swapped and we were told they reception would change the names.

Obviously this never happened, as at the end of the week the bills were all wrong. Some of the bars had changed the names to what they thought it should be so half matched and half didn’t.

2 hours later it was finally sorted, that was until we got on the coach when a bill we had just paid was produced and they wouldn’t let the coach go till we had paid the massive 25 E£ or about 2 pounds 50p!

After a short explanation on what I thought of their hotel and how regularly we would be returning, I placed the money on the counter, quite heavily, and we left.

Needless to say our stay at this Hotel was only to serve a purpose, in general the food was ok, it was clean, it had good pools, it was close enough to where we wanted to be but it was not up to the expected standard.

I wouldn’t recommend this hotel and would suggest staying at real 5 star hotels like the Inter Continental. A case of you get what you pay for."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 14th of May 2007
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