38 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
watch out for pharohs revenge!!
"just returned from a weeks cruise on the nile on ms magic 1, followed by a week in the sofitel karnak luxor. well where do i start used cosmos travel agents very helpful but is that not normal when they are taking your hard earned money,arrived in gatwick to find i was being charged Â£72 for cases being too heavy yet the day before we flew from inverness to gatwick with same luggage allowance my husband asked the lady checking us in when were the scales last calobraited all she did was switch them on and off anyway we didn"t argue and just paid it stressful enough travelling without arguing over that.boarded monarch plane to find seats very very cramped especially when eating or drinking,arrived in eygpt at night which was an experience in its self had to que for visas dont que go to little glass cubicle on left and pay in dollars we had read forums telling us to do that and only cost $10 instead of Â£15 then we qued for an hour through customs then we got our luggage,went to find our cosmos rep michelle a lovely english girl and very helpful .it was an experience going to the toilet in the airport i thought the little lady in the toilets was winding me up trying to hand me toilet paper and wanting money!! i soon realised why when i used the toilet "no toilet paper"i hasen to add i had tissues in my hand bag and when leaving toilet there she was hand out looking for her tip again.on leaving airport there was nothing but dirty men looking in windows and as you went outside they make a bee line for you trying to grab your luggage off you,dont be scared to be firm and say NO! they only do that to get money just put cases in back of bus yourselves.once settled on the bus we met our guide for the week eygptologist moses from cairo who had very good english and banter.we arrived at our boat 15 mins later what a lovely surprise that was ms magic 1 it lovely we had rm 311 on 3rd floor middle of boat expected it to be noisy and smell of deisel fumes never heard engines yet or smelt fumes as i had read on previous forums so dont be put off by what u read.then we set sail down the nile i kept having to pinch myself couldnt believe it and the fun started.we had 6 excursions out of 7days some early risers the fellucca was beautiful so was valley of the kings.entertainment on magic was fantastic something on every night,rooms were clean towels changed x2 daily waiters good and we did have some laughs,never once did we not have access to sun beds like we experienced on royal carribean previous holidays all in all a magical wonderful week we were quite sad leaving the boat after our week was up however our 2nd week was just pure relaxation and even better as we were away with another couple(brother and sister in law)the sofitel karnak was set in beautiful grounds very peaceful pool was lovely as well food was okay definately not a 5 ***** as advertised maybe 3*** we did take the free shuttle boat once and felt it took far too long( we were all falling asleep)into luxor and a taxi another day that was also an experience it was an old peugot 30 years old approx how it still went we"ll never know.luxor it"s self was filthy men shouting and following u everywhere but as i said before be firm with them and they soon take the hint!it"s about then the thursday into our second week that i started to feel un well nausea and followed by tummy cramps and severe diarrhoea that was just the start i have never experienced any thing like it in my life i did take plenty immodium with us but it didnt even touch the surface ifound a chemist and the rep had told us just to mention medicine for tummy the two ladies didnt have a clue what i was on about next thing there was about 5 different pkts of tablets on counter and i had to read what they were for eventually,my husband picked up a pkt and we bought them surprisingly the didnt work .i was getting really worried as i was going up to 10 times a day and the day i was going home my husband walked to a chemist and bought more medicine called antinal spoke to rep and he told us name of them so dont beleive every thing u read it didht work for me so u can imagine the fear of travelling home i had the worst plane journey in my life i even had to change seats on the plane to be close to the toilet i would rather have gone through child birth!!i did read forums warning tourists of the pharohs revenge and out of our party i was the one paranoid of germs hand washing and never done using cleansing hand gels ,it lasted nearly three weeks and you will be glad to know all better now but although i had a great holiday it will be a long time before i go to eygpt again so be warned especially if u have young children its hard enough coping with your self never mind anybody else.
- Travel date: Sun 5th of December 2010
Avoid bgooking with Longwood Holidays at all cost
"Booked a family room for 4 and ended up being squashed in a 2 bed room with one extra bed made up in a window seat. Had to pay an upgrade and Longwood refused to re-imburse dispite having double-checked twice before booking and leaving home we would get a proper family room . Longwood staff were useless, promising to make contact for 3 days and nopt doing so. Their local Egyption reps conned us on excursions making us pay for a child of 5 which we later found were free. They said the ablloomn excursion had no child age limits and then when we turned up it did so they told us to lie about our youngests age!
On the plus side the hotel has pleasant grounds with good mature trees and plenty of garden space. But even our exec suite was not 5 star. There was no view; other than of other front doors. The hotel managers was very unhelpful when I had the room difficulties. telling me they were full when they were clearly not."
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of April 2010
Very Nice but be prepared
"Just returned from a ten day trip which included a 3 night stay at the Sofitel to finish the holiday.
The hotel was very pleasenet nice pool plenty of spaces if not on sun beds then loads of grass areas to sit on.Most people go site seeing in the morning so the area only really gets busy after 2pm.
The hotel and rooms are all very clean and the staff friendly and could not do enough to help you food was ok avoid the pizza pretty tastless but found the outside pool cafe was nice enough same sort of prices as England.
My wife Daughter( 14 year old blonde ! ) and I went with a friend who had been to Egypt several times before so that helped a great deal. I would avoid arranged tours they are grossly over priced and you can get them at least 50 % cheaper by sorting them yourself.
Now onto the not so pleasent the Egyptian people were wonderful and certainly showed Islam up in a much more positive light than I was expecting and we were constantly approached by schoolchildren , police man , security guards all saying to us welcome to Egypt and looking like they maent it !
The downside is like lots of people have said is everybody wants a tip somebody offers to have a photo with you they want money , toilets they want money and the best one somebody handing out torches to go into tombs which were fully lit ( ingenius ) and then wanting money when you came out.
The way to get over this is keep small change 1 egytian pound(E.P ) is worth about 12p they dont expect much if you give a 5 E.P tip they are delighted and thats only 60 pence but be firm if they hassle you just ignore them and they do eventually give up the only place I found too much was the Pyramids in Cairo which was manic but generaly you can have a laugh with most of them and even though I have never bartered before it can be fun!
Change your English money in Egypt its a much better exchange rate and you pay no commission currently 8.5 Egptyian to 1 English.
We had a taxi driver called Hamdy cab number 2006 he took us everywhere brought us food and water from Egyptian shops because he didnt want us paying tourists rates and was very reasonable tell him Mr.Paul and Mr.Mark sent you and you will get a great deal.
Finally my daughter did get some funny looks even though she dressed reasonable shorts , t- shirt but we never felt threatened it was more curiosity from someone who looked different overall a fantastic place with great people. "
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of February 2010
"The hotel was clean, tidy and staff pleasant. The food being buffet style was in containers which did not appear to be kept hot, so if you were an hour late for your breakfast/evening meal you had to put your food in the microwave to reheat it. I also noticed that hot food from the kitchen was being added to the warm food in the containers. Is it no wonder most people on our tour had a tummy bug that week. Could do with a small pharmacy counter in one of the shops. It is advertised as an adult hotel but when we were there most of the children were French so your advert is wrong in your brochure. Local wine was undrinkable and spirits not a lot better, and I don't drink lager. One night there was a belly dancer and a whirling dervish but only about 20 people attended otherwise there was nothing to do at night. Fellaha tent night was awful. We expected to be entertained but found we were the entertainment as it was all audience participation. I would not go to that hotel again. "
- Travel date: Sat 21st of November 2009
"We have stayed at the sofitel 4 times now and think its an amazing hotel, the breakfasts offered a great variety of things and same again at evening meals , every night being a different theme , always had great food , also the views of the nile and valley of the kings is immense! The pool is gorgeous and always kept clean , all staff are very friendly and very helpful and would go out of there
way to do almost anything for you.The rooms are kept to a really high standard of cleanliness and are cleaned everday with fresh bedding and fresh towelsthe rooms are kept to a really high standard of cleanliness and are cleaned everday with fresh bedding and fresh towels.
They also offer a free shuttle bus that will take you into town everday , on the hour, in the hotel there is a bank and shops which are also run great and the staff are very friendly , so you dont have to go far if you dont want too , there is a few activities to do in the day , table tennis or squash or theres is a gym which are all air conditioned and clean
overall the sofitel is probably the best hotel we've ever stayed in and we cant wait to return next summer!
- Travel date: Wed 7th of October 2009
Sofitel Karnak, Luxor, Discover Egypt
"This was a lovely, picturesque and calming place to chill out in and they had some good provisions for children including a nannying/childrens' centre and swings and pools for them specifically.
Negatives - facilities were good although the gym was more of a fitness room and most of the equipment were broke; the room service menu was very limited; the room we stayed at was incredibly noisey and we didn't sleep very well. When we complained at reception they did nothing about it. The noise was due to lots of Japanese tourists checking in and out very late at night or very early in the morning, they seemed to be short stay tourists (1-2 at most) and we felt as if they were in our rooms banging and slamming doors - we have never complained about noise in any other hotels and if we had, they'd sorted it, this was a first. The only request we made was to ensure they asked incoming tourists to try and minimise noise when they checked in. We didn't blame the tourists, it was up to the hotel to communicate this effectively. Last of all, because some of the staff thought I was Egyptian (as I was asked at least once a day if I was Egyptian or Arabic) I often received dirty looks, because they thought it wrong for me to be with a man. I had to justify my presence by explaining that I was married to my husband, before they appeared to be at ease; and when we checked out, they added mini bar charges to our bill when we hadn't taken anything from the fridge!
Overall the hotel's good very good if you're not bothered about the gym, have lots of cash to burn and don't look like an Egyptian woman. It was certainly beautiful alright."
- Travel date: Tue 2nd of December 2008
well.. they said luxurios, i think i did...
"well.. they said luxurios, i think i didnt get any of those, the food in he restaurant was horrible, breakfast was the cheapest i have ever had.. the room where horendous and dated... it is next to a mosque and they didnt stop praying day and night.. it was just tooo expensive.. i paid Â£295000 for my holiday and it was just room and breakfast,, i wont go to a sofitel hotel never ever againg.. don make the same mistake.. it is overcrowded ,, people arrive in busses hundred of them daily,,, only one small swming pool,, and they dont have anything else to do..
please dont make a cily mistake.. it is really bad... "
- Travel date: Tue 7th of October 2008
Well where do I start..... I know I will...
"Well where do I start..... I know I will start with the cramped airline. But it is not all doom and gloom just an honest reflection of a 5* holiday that was nothing but.
First choice...... OH first choice. You read all the warnings and think its not that bad but it really is. The seats are so cramped and the breakfast on the way out was astonishing especially when you have to pay extra to be fed the gruel they served, saying that tho the return evening meal was moderately better and resembeled some kind of food. I will not be flying first choice again, especially when the check in staff at luxor made you haggle the price of your excess bagagge and would not give you the extra weight when you had NO hand luggage.
So after a 6 hour flight of bliss..... We arrived at the airport and was bombarded with people wanting to take our bags and expect to be paid to drag them 2 foot down a path. We boarded the bus which was nice and the guide was more than informative and pointed out all different things along the way to the hotel.
The hotel was nice on the inside and we were checked in quite quickly to our rooms, when we got to our rooms I found it to be nice but the bath had not been cleaned and the groating of the tiles on it was coming off. Hence to say I showered with my flip flops on the entire time. But the next morning after being warned to to drink the water or ask for ice or eat the salad I lived on a high protein and fat diet the entire time and lived on bottled water from the shop outside the hotel.
Which brings me on to the meals served in the hotel I found them to be of reasonable quality and rice with everything but being half board I had to pay for the lunches which after a week the menu never changed and you were charged UK prices for everything. For example... Â£1.20 for water Â£1.70 for a can of coke. Â£5.40 for a pizza base with a sliver of topping on it. We paid those prices as we were scare mongered into not eating out with the threat of salmonella and other wonderful parasites.
When We my girlfriend and I ventured out to the locality we were harrassed everywhere even in the temples and the museams by the security and customer officials saying how lucky I was and if I wanted camels for my Gf... Yes Ill just leave her here and take a camel back to the UK I hope her parents dont notice the difference...Douche bags.. We were nearly kidnapped into every store when we went down the bazaar which may I add we only did half as I actually feared for my girlfriends safety as I found out that being blonde makes you a target for the locals. So we only just got round the temples and and did the site seeing things as we were not in the mood in the 40 degree heat to be haggling and saying no every five minutes too kids, shop keepers, police, tourism police and others trying to sell you everything they could.
The Valley of the kings is good and and the valley of the queens. I would recommend going to egypt but only for a short time and if you stay in the hotel be prepared for the 4am wake up call you get every morning with the mosques morning prayers nicely said over the PA system they have this goes on for 30 minutes.
Valley of the kings and queens you get harrassed for money when the people who are watching the tombs try to shepard you into places you not 'supposed' to go. In the luxor museam after being acosted by the customer service agents we were offered to take a photo by some of the pieces that were off limits but for a price which I refused and we went on our way. My GF didnt really get to register anything in the place as she could feel the eyes of cusotmer services eyeing her up and her every move making her uneasy.
We asked for a DR to attend our room and waited 2 hours for him to arrive which was a long time considering he was supposed to on call and we had to chase reception to chase him. They had forgot to call him so when an hour had passed I called back to the reception and they said they would try again and magically the dr would be there in 10 minutes. .... This luxury cost us Â£90. We missed our dineer and had to get room service which we had to pay for.
But its not all bad, the waiters in the restaurant were very nice especially the skinny mohammed he looks like the skinny wayans brother you cant miss him. The food was reasonable but a little samey through out but I would, also if you need a taxi go to the desk and ask for taxi 4 its two brothers mohammed and syed both are really nice and do really good deals. Ask you rep for the prices to pay its no more the LE15 to luxor temple. Also the papyrus shop they know is good no hassle and a little haggling but nothing aggressive like in the street bazaars.
Nothing is free in egypt even using the pens in the airport costs money....
Everybody should go to egypt and experince the wonders of the temples etc but be open minded and keep your items safe around you.
- Travel date: Wed 3rd of September 2008
We chose the hotel because it was descri...
"We chose the hotel because it was described as luxurious, peaceful and relaxing. We were so disappointed!
Crowded, noisy and right on the outskirts of the town, down a long drive and shut off by high walls and guards, you really could be anywhere in Europe as it fills up with large tour groups.
Rooms, in blocks with cutesy names like 'cleopatra' etc, are small, dark and a bit grotty. Brochure showed a windowseat and domed ceiling - we just had a grubby balcony and cobwebs!
The main dining hall is a synthetic Karnak temple with birds living in the eaves and eating off the buffet table - YUK! Several other restaurants in the grounds but all quite pricey, even by hotel standards as there is such a big captive market.
A few shops on site sell souvenirs etc plus drinks and crisps. Internet Â£4 for 30mins (Â£1 an hour in town!). A shop & internet cafe outside the gate are a bit cheaper but you might have your bag searched by the gate guards on the way back in.
Pool: 5 feet deep in the shallow end, lots of loud music and organised activities for those who want to herd together. Not enough sunbeds so people get up early to put towels out: very pretty effect but a bit 3* Spain for my taste. Lots of pushing in and splashing, 'no diving' signs ignored by guests and staff alike . 'Kiddies paddling pool' and a dangerous water slide - cuts, grazes and a boy with a broken arm according to another guest.
There are sunbeds all over the Nile-side garden so it is hard to enjoy the view during the day, at night the security guards hover expectantly. Nowhere really to sit and watch the river other than at the bar. Also, there is loud evening entertainment every night which echoes across the site, so much for a peaceful holiday.
Bingo in the Carter Bar most nights and lots of fun and games with the Animation team: my personal idea of hell.
Some people only left the site on organised trips, then came back and complained about 'hassle' - some were scared to leave the complex. We have no worries about going off by ourselves and enjoyed self-guided trips to Luxor Temple, Karnak, Luxor Museum, the West Bank etc
We paid Â£24 each for a Sindbad balloon trip: Thomsons wanted silly money.
There is a free mini-bus from the hotel at odd times of the day, and a boat twice a day but these fill up fast. Neither of these run in the evening so you will need a cab or use the local mini-bus if you want to enjoy Luxor town's lovely restaurants or historic sites.
Staff here are more tip orientated than usual in Egypt - in fact they seem to expect to be tipped before they do anything rather than afterwards! this was particularly noticeable by the pool where money would produce a sunbed, otherwise you were on the grass.
This was by far the worst hotel we have ever used in Luxor, about as luxurious as a Travel Lodge and as peaceful as Benidorm. We were glad to leave."
- Travel date: Thu 28th of August 2008
We were pleased with our choice immediat...
"We were pleased with our choice immediately, met at airport and ushered through customs quickly and minivan transfer to hotel was quick. Hotel looked just as photo's on their website, our room was a good size, bed was huge but hard, bathroom was ok, sink huge & shower over bath. Room was cleaned everyday to an ok standard & bed made each day, sheets turned or changed most days. Towels changed when left out. If you ask cleaner he will do as asked, sheets, towels changed. Hotel & Gardens were beautiful, sunbeds were plentiful - everywhere (we enjoyed ones on the gardens overlooking the nile) watching a kestral, hoopee birds & kingfishers. Free towels for the pool is grest. The buffet breakfast was very good & evening meals were too, although got repeatative the second week. We tried The Palmareia for an occaisional meal and it was very good. The Moorish Cafe is great for a coffee to cool down, Mojito cocktails at Carters Bar were lovely and its cool there too, We will miss sunsets at the Sundowners Bar, overlooking The Nile, wow what a view. The free shuttle bus & boat are a great benefit. Used Jolleys to book our tours (by the Winter Palace Hotel - thats worth a look & have a coffee). An Excellent holiday's been had!!"
- Travel date: Sun 24th of August 2008
highly recommended.my first holiday away...
"highly recommended.my first holiday away with my to children i loved and so did the kids.
So much we are going back in 2009 for a week.
Staff are so friendly and the food surroundings and atmosphere is great.
The hotel is kept clean and tidy at all time.The belly dancing was a bit of a laugh when i tried it with the kids
- Travel date: Sun 20th of July 2008
Wow what a hotel!!! just outside Luxor s...
"Wow what a hotel!!! just outside Luxor so away from noise and dirt, set in beautiful well kept gardens,wonderful plants and birdlife.Rooms beautifully clean and spacious,air conditioning wonderful!!! Food-excellent choice with chefs on hand to make sure all was well. swimming area lovely and clean but we preferred to sit in the gardens overlooking the nile next to a little pool which was ideal for cooling down in.hotel staff marvellous,could not do enough for you.cant wait to go back!!!!!!!!!"
- Travel date: Tue 17th of June 2008