36 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Nice holiday, shame about the smell!!
"I stayed at the Brayka Bay in November, having also stayed there a week earlier in the year.
Accomodation is good, rooms large, clean and airy.
Facilities are good, tennis, pool. volleyball. (couldnt find the table-tennis table though)
Snorkelling is very good, with reefs both sides of the bay with a large varity of marine life. In fact, saw turtles on both visits.
food was good and varied, with always an outside barbeque as an extra choice.
On both occasions though, myself and companion suffered mild stomach upsets for at least a day each. On the November visit we were very aware that the garden staff were spraying what smelt like raw sewage onto the grass and vegetation. This had a horrible stench. This was going on all day. with the high winds that you get at the Brayka Bay I am sure a lot of the spray was inhaled by guests and endd up on utensils and plates for those that chose to eat outside.
I wonder if any other guests were aware of this?"
- Travel date: Wed 29th of November 2006
"I returned yesterday from here and whilst the washing machine works it's magic i'll tell you all about it.
It's my fourth time to Egypt though the first time for my other Half and i went with a reasonable knowledge of what to expect from here and other sources.
I'd arranged the accomodation and transfers independently and we were duly met at the airport and taken straight there, no que and no fuss.
Our room was a beach front, worth the extra few pennies as some of the rooms certainly don't have a great view.
The reception is very grand in appearance but along the same lines as most of the big hotels, the actual site of the hotel is however massive and covers the length of the bay.
We soon realised that the Brits were in a minority here, not a bad thing as far as i'm concerned and in fact one of the Brit's there was an absolute disgrace who should be extremely ashamed about her behaviour and next time go to Magaluff where she would fit in nicely. The downside is however that virtually all the entertainment is in Italian, the team are all young Italians who will make the effort to speak English if they know you're there and are all nice guys.
The dive centre is German owned and consists of virtually all German staff, my initial visit became a hand gesture discussion until the one Brit guide stepped in and we didn't look back from there. Naomi and Boris are the English speakers, the Egyptian guides also all speak good English but the Germans hardly any.
We were lucky enough to dive with the Dugong at Abu Dabbab the second time, huge turtles and the odd reef shark at Abu Nawas. The house reef is also superb, the best i've seen anywher in the world. Whatever your rep tells you there are no Dolphins at the Dolphin House Reef this time of year, Boris in the Dive centre will tell you where to go to see things, there are Sharks at Elphinstone thought and they're big uns.
Facilities wise. The mini golf course advertised doesn't exist, the billiards tables are pool tables on a slant with broken cues and there are no table tennis tables, also mentioned. We went for a relaxing spa one night, and just as we are about to step in, realise it's freezing cold (You're supposed to pay for this privilege). We left without charge.
On the beach you're reasonably left alone, the man who try's to sell you the horse riding has a very pitiful looking small horse that he happily throws anyone, any size onto and a pair of unimpressed looking camels.
The quad biking was possibly the highlight of our stay, the guide doesn't speak much English but you can have a lot of fun and it's extremely invigorating, well worth the money.
The main restaurant serves a very good mix of food, bear in mind it's Egypt and you need to expect different hygene standards, i would suggest a course of actimel before you go out and expect a slight upset stomach, it's no surprise and i've had one every time i've been here.
The beach bar (apparently there are two but we never found the other one) is masterminded by Ahmed Said who is a gem amongst the staff, they get packed at sundown time but close quite early.
The pool bar closes remarkably early, they're reasonably efficient but struggle with lots of people. The main bar Tiffany's was a let down, there is clearly a shortage of bar staff here which means the managers do the tending and are clearly not up to the job, they sem to give the staff a very hard time here and as a result they're surly and miserable.
The front desk were fine apart from one who repeatdly told me my credit card didn't work, he suggested i get a cab at my expense to get cash out. When i returned with a receipt from the dive centre to prove it did work the manager smoothed things over.
In summary i wouldn't go back because there are lots of other places i want to visit but for a couply chilling holiday it's a good number here."
- Travel date: Thu 23rd of November 2006
Good diving - Excelent House Reef
"The resort was very good, and very clean.
We mainly went for the diving, and chose the resort as Thompson were offering a cheap deal. We opted not to take Thompsons dive packages (which I think was with a dive company based at another resort), and instead go with Extra Divers, a German company that are located within the hotel.
Extra divers were very good, although after Reef Tax, Guides and equipment hire they were quite expensive, but I think all companies are probably much the same. The guides are friendly and are good at spotting interesting sealife, which they point out along the way.
The house reef is amazing, with a number of coral reef pinacles and walls. Within metres of the beach you are surrounded by all sorts of fish, triggers, puffers, lionfish, stonefish, angelfish, butterflyfish, pretty much anything you could expect to see.
They also take you out in a Zodiac or minibus to various other divesites nearby, or arrange 1 day boat trips to a number locations including Elphinstone and Dolphinhouse.
The resort itself is lovely, if a bit resorty, with themed buffets for all inclusive, and an Italian entertainment team, but we didn't really notice them much.
In the evenings we took walks along the beach, (Other side of the bay from the dive centre), with torches, and if the tide was right the tops of the reefs came right upto the beach. Then you could see lots of moray eels, octopus, etc.
Very good holiday."
- Travel date: Mon 13th of November 2006
Okay - perhaps too generous? Not terrible though as no permanent damage done.
"Shortly after arrival and on the face of it, this seemed like a good and well run hotel with ok facilities. The 5 star Egyptian rating would not compare to international standards however and the 4T Thomson rating seems very ambitious. The first impression of the hotel was clean, spacious, light and airy with good pools and beaches. The rooms although simple were also clean and of a good size, slightly dated, but ok.
The staff on the whole were a credit to themselves and the hotel being helpful, polite and friendly.
The advertised âhouse reefâ was understated and we found this on the whole to be excellent. It has 2 sides, (north and south of the bay) so is in effect 2 house reefs, abundant with fish and coral. This is coupled with an excellent dive centre on site run by Extra Divers. This centre is a very professional set up with excellent customer service, good boats and guides. The only downside I could find was the amount of rubbish in the water on the south side of the bay during the last 2 days that had been washed in from out at sea. I have done over 100 dives and had never swum in that amount of discarded household waste (mostly plastic bags, bottles etc) â a shame as this is a potential gem. No efforts were made to clean it up whilst we were there (I did pick up what I could and filled by BCD pockets on my last 2 dives).
My partner and I have run a catering business for many years in the UK that was one of the first to be awardedâGoldâ for food hygiene and management from our Local Authority (Environmental Health Department). I have major issues with the way the food out there is prepared and served. In the main restaurant, breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served buffet style, with cold foods being left at room temperature and in the open (25 â 30 degrees C) for hours only to be brought out again at the next mealtime and left in the same conditions or ârecycledâ into different dishes. I was also concerned to see how easily flies could land and feed on these foods and how many times I recognized the same foods over several meal times in different dishes. The same applied to hot foods but these were kept warm (but not hot for every dish served which is just as dangerous) and for the majority in containers with hinged lids. The consequences of this are obvious â it makes you ill which is entirely unacceptable.
Unless you want to starve for a week or come home early as we did (but only by a day and via Hurghada at a cost of Â£250 as there are no other flights) you really have no choice but to put up with this as there are no local alternatives. We are now back in the UK and awaiting lab results on tests done but will be ok as we are fairly young, fit and otherwise healthy. If you have children, are elderly, pregnant or not strong enough to be ill in this way please avoid this hotel as high risk groups like this can be seriously effected by food-borne bacteria. Put simply it has the potential to kill you if not diagnosed and treated quickly and this makes me really cross as I would treat this just as seriously as any potential carbon monoxide poisoning for example. Perhaps even more so as food hygiene seems to be viewed as a bit of a joke by some tour operators and hotel owners. Amazingly, bad food is accepted by so many of their customers when they have presumably paid enough for food that should be both tasty and safe to eat.
I think this may be down to the reasonably priced all inclusive packages offered by Brayka Bay. I believe the offer of free drinks has taken money from their catering budgets and the results are plain enough to see. Donât be duped by this. The soft drinks are cheap syrup based drinks served in fairly tatty plastic beakers and old glass tumblers (if the syrup lines are not kept clean in these machines it is a source of poisoning as well) and the spirits of a very poor quality and not very nice to drink. The beer was bottled however but only given out in the same tumblers/glasses (1/4-1/2 a pint in size) to regulate supply and the wine was from wine boxes and ok but not great. Personally I would much rather pay for safe, tasty, good quality drinks, especially when on holiday and even more so if the offer of free drinks puts my health at risk.
Last year we stayed at the Coraya Beach Hotel and found this to be a much better hotel in every respect and by far except for the house reef.
To finish, in my opinion, the Brayka Bay Resort needs to downgrade their star rating or improve their food and drink offerings to be honest and fair to their clientele. Thomson needs to revise their hotel review procedures urgently by finding out for themselves first hand what the hotels they advertise are really like. They seem to rely too heavily on customer satisfaction surveys (a good way to gather and hold/sell information about their customers). The only brochure guide they offer is related to these surveys and subsequently can be very misleading but convenient as there is someone else to blame if not entirely accurate. They should be using experienced and qualified people to properly asses each of their establishmentsâ regularly and 1st hand. Tour operators are ultimately responsible for their customerâs safety and this should always take priority over profits."
- Travel date: Thu 9th of November 2006
My girlfriend and just returned home fro...
"My girlfriend and just returned home from a 2 week break and I have to say that it was the must relaxing place we have ever been. I could find much wrong with it.
The location was good nothing around you desert to the back and your own private beach to the front. There is a very big pool and kids pool so you can go for a cool down in peace or swim a few laps without swimming into anyone
If youâre into diving or snorkelling it is one of the best in the world you'll find amazing sea life and the coral reef was beautiful
The rooms were very spacious all had air condition a view and a patio or balcony. There was clean towels and bed linen everyday the bed were pretty comfortable
The staff was really friendly and knew how to treat everyone. Most of them spoke more than two languages so no matter where you are from they will probably understand you.
There is also the entertainment team who put on a show every night. If you want to get involved you can but they wonât come round looking for you to do things so you can relax in peace
The value for money was good we were half board which meant that buffet breakfast and dinner were included. The rest of food and drinks you sign for and that good because you don't need carry any money with you. Just pay for everything when you check out
Overall I would highly recommend this place to anyone and my girlfriend and I have already agreed to go back for a week next year
- Travel date: Fri 20th of October 2006
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
"Would recommend Brayka to anyone - 2 of us went - 1 week came back 11th October - not too busy so plenty of room for peace and quiet if desired. - get to the north end so the wind blows the noise of the piped music away to the south.
THE GOOD: Fantastic location, not too far from airport.
Great house reef - off beach snorkelling a must - saw the usual suspects + blue spotted stingrays and crocodile fish within the first 100m out - starts off shallow and gets deeeper both north and south sides but still so so clear! - just follow the reef round!
Take boat trips from the dive centre (dive or snorkel) - We booked with Thomspon, thier trips were twice the price for the same! - Also the Dive trips from the centre have a max of 20 people at a time (only 16 on our trip out to see the dolphins).
Food a plenty & pretty good overall - everything from basic fruit & cereals at breakfast, freshly prepared pasta & BBQ at dinner to the more exotic (don't ask me want it all was - but give it a try).
Rooms: very clean & simple. We were fortunate to have a beach front over by the dive centre - not too far from the main building/resturants, but far enough away from the hussle and bussle of poolside. Didn't use the pool - Why when there's that beach and all that sea?
THE BAD: we both suffered a little from 'Egyptian tummy' - don't bother with the Imodium - go see the the pharmacist (round the side of the Spa/Gym) Â£5 will sort you out!
That piped music - Why is it always Celine Dion? AHHGH!
THE UGLY: those camels!
Go there - enjoy!"
- Travel date: Thu 12th of October 2006
"Just returned from a weeks all inclusive holiday at the Brayka Bay Hotel with my sister in law to be, this hotel was fantastic!!
Hotel is in the middle of no where so dont be worried on the transfer from the airport when you dont see a person or building for miles!
We were made to feel so welcome from the moment we arrived with drinks laid out in the hotel lobbey, we were then shown to our ground floor room (2015) which was a good size and spotless, concierge arrived with our luggage about 20mins later. Room had air con, fridge (which the hotel will stock on request), powerful shower, balcony. Beds are hard but were no problem after a couple of nights.
There is one main restaurant which serves all meals buffet style, in the morning there are freshly made omlettes and pancakes cooked to order along with all the other usual hot and cold items. Lunch is a basic buffett with pasta cooked to order. Evening meals are also buffet style but with a different theme each evening, there was always a fish or meat item that was cooked freshly on the BBQ outside every night.. The food was good but was not always hot, we were very careful not to have ice or anything that could have been washed in tap water and we still managed to get upset tummies for two of the days - this did clear up quickly with immodium. Food was repetitive but then when you are catering for that many people its what you expect.
There are also two restaurants on site which, if you are all inclusive are subsidised. Only problem is that to recieve your discount you need to book one day in advance. Food at both is great and extremely cheap with the discount. Two course meal for two cost around Â£5.
Swimming Pool is big and clean (could do with re-tiling) with a swim up bar. Beach is very clean and snorkelling is a must! I can only describe it as like being in a huge tropical fish tank. We hired the masks and snorkels from the dive center, cost about Â£12 each but were good sets and well worth it. Even if you do not like swimming/snorkelling in the sea, the water around the coral is shallow enough to stand in and see plenty of beautiful fish.
The other good thing about this hotel is that because the majority of people who stay dive (and are therefore out for most of the day ) you never have a problem getting a sunlouger by the pool or on the beach. Everyone did seem to go to bed early though. We ventured in to the hotel nightclub one night and i think we were the only guests, the rest (about 8) were hotel staff. Evening entertainment was not great, mainly tailored for the itallians.
The hotels spa treatments were great, with so much choice. We had facials, pedicures, manicures and massages all at a fraction of the price we would have paid at home. They also have a sauna and steam room.
All staff were fantastic and could not do enough for you, make the time to speak to them and you will be so well looked after. House keeping were great, even if they did come round at 8am! although this was no problem, house keeping became our alarm call for the whole holiday and would always come back 20mins later when asked. We were treated to petals and sculptures made from towells on our beds everyday!
We travelled with Thomson who offered plenty of interesting trips, but do have to admit that we did none of them!! We loved the pool and the snorkelling too much to go anywhere! You could easily spend a week in this hotel, all inclusive without being bored and not spend a single penny! Our rep Wael was great, nothing was too much trouble for him. A credit to Thomson!!!
Last word, go to Egypt and stay at this hotel if you want a relaxing beach holiday, this resort is too far out (unless you dont mind a 12hour round coach trip in one day!!) to visit the Valley of the Kings or the Pyramids - Thomson does offer trips to both but we felt it was too much in just one week. Dont be put off about Egypt, it would not have been a destination i would even have considered (my holiday buddy booked it!!) but it was fantastic and i will be deffinately be going back to this resort and this hotel!
Dont take a beach towel, hair dryer or iron - the hotel provides all of these
Keep hold of small notes for tips
Be prepared to haggle in the hotel shops
Noisy Fridge - Unplug at night, we did and didnt have to mop up in the morning
Dont forget the Immodium
Have a great time, Louise & Gemma"
- Travel date: Sun 8th of October 2006
"Having heavily researched the internet, and reading every review about the hotel, we felt we must give back our opinions of this hotel. Starting from the beginning we flew with Astraeus (who we'd never heard of) but what a very good airline. Good food and very good legroom, as i'm 6ft 4. We didn't pay for extra legroom seats and very glad we didn't as the standard seats offered plenty of room. On arriving at the hotel check in was swift, and escorted to our room with our luggage turning up about 15 mins later.
The hotel is in the middle of nowhere !! There is nothing outside of this hotel. No shops, no nothing just desert. BUT if you are looking for a chill-out holiday, this is the place to go.
Our room was very large, very clean, fridge, tv etc etc etc and daily cleaned. The hotel grounds are beautiful, well kept, lots of lawned areas, palm trees and paved walkways around the whole of the complex.Very few children were there, there is not a lot for them to do, if they wanted more than just the sea i wouldn't really recommend it for children. The hotel/bar staff were always very friendly and could never do enough for you
We were all inclusive and would strongly recommend upgrading to this if you are only half board. The food was very good with a wide variety at each mealtime, fish/beef/chicken etc cooked on a bar b q with a wide selection of potatoes/pasta/veg/salad.We were not ill at all and only heard of 1 person who was slightly ill for a day.All ice and washing of food is done with bottled water.
As the hotel is in the middle of nowhere the entertainment is all based within it, the Italian Entertainment team put on a number of daily activities, beach gym/aqua aerobics etc etc with a daily evening show in the amphitheatre.
STUFF TO DO:
Other than sunbathing you can snorkel in the fantastic bay that the hotel is built around, with some of the best corals and fish life i have ever experienced. There is a dive school on site,offering a good mix of house reef and boat dives. As per the previous review both Boris and Naomi were very helpful and always willing to chat/pass the time of day.
At the moment you can't go and see the Dugong in Abu Dabab as there is financial wrangling going on with the hotels/dive boats wanting to attend etc etc but this should be sorted fairly soon. However, you can see Ali in the hotel lobby and he will take you there by taxi, snorkel with you and show you the Dugong/turtles/barracuda etc and even dive down for you to take a close up picture with your camera.
Take the time to walk to the far end of the bay on the south side (at night) and sit on the bench and just take in the view of the stars and listen to the sea lapping away-HEAVEN
We spent two weeks here and were not bored once. We loved it.
If you want a chill out/relaxing holiday then this is definately the place to go. If you want clubs/bars/restaurants then look for a different resort as quiet is the trend across all of Marsa Alam.
Would we go back-Definately !! We are looking at booking again and we've only been back 2 days.
We found no need for bug spray, we weren't bitten at all and didn't hear of anybody else getting bitten.
We could go on for pages as to how much we thorougly enjoyed this hotel but i'm sure you've got the drift of it by now.
All in all a fantastic place and can't wait to go back"
- Travel date: Thu 5th of October 2006
My boyfriend and I returned home yesterd...
"My boyfriend and I returned home yesterday after spending seven wonderful and relaxing days at the Brayka Bay Resort. We had a ground floor, air conditioned room with a terrace overlooking the beach. That is to say the beach was 10 metres from our patio doors!
We woke every morning to glorious sunshine and that is the way the weather remained throughout the day and the week. Our room was spacious and comfortable and each day the cleaner made an ingenious shape out of our towels or bed linen.
There is an army of staff who work very hard to keep the resort clean and the gardens manicured and there are yet more staff in the various bars and restaurants who are constantly working to keep you fed and watered.
The entertainment at the resort is taken care of by a crew of Italian reps and it is very much your choice just how involved you wish to get. There was a daily list of activities including aqua aerobics and Latin dancing and at night there was cabaret and something for the children or you could simply take a moonlit stroll around the bay.
There is a wide array of marine life in the bay and we spent hours just wondering around fascinated by the fish and the crabs. It is true that the resort is fairly isolated but there are excursions and there is so much going on in the resort we did not find ourselves bored for even a minute.
The alcohol is all Egyptian and is a little rough but there are well known brands for sale and there is enough food to feed a small country. One thing our tour operator didn't tell us was that when you arrive at Marsa Alam airport you have to pay for a visa stamp to get into the country it costs around Â£15 each and slows down the process a little but you can get the stamp before leaving the uk we are told.
Our holiday was a real success. We have returned home relaxed and happy and wishing we were still there. It is a very friendly place with lots of effort being put in by the some very hard working people to make Brayka Bay an interesting and fun place to be. If you love sunbathing, snorkelling, trying new food and having fun then this is the place for you.
- Travel date: Thu 14th of September 2006
Egyptian staff so friendly they love Eng...
"Egyptian staff so friendly they love English children to practice their language on as hardly any English go there.
There is no expectation of tips or ulterior motives, they're just lovely. My kids were taken into the pool pizza bar to make their own pizzas, behind the bar to create own fruit cocktails. We were taken out into the deserts on quad bikes and as a result of meeting desert nomads my son (6) decided to give his favourite toy to a boy heâd seen. The next day we sped out on the quads again to track the nomads and my son silently gave Hassan his toy. The Egyptian family and I were in tears at his gesture of spanning cultures.
There were many chances to experience desert life whilst being totally pampered and at ease in the hotel. The rooms were so clean and every day new towel sculptures were created on the bed. It was quiet for the children at night and food was fabulous with lots of choice and a range of themed nights.
There were 3 restaurants in the hotel. It was the only one in the area to have its own beach with great snorkeling, a dive centre on site, well maintained tennis courts and a constant refreshing breeze. I can't recommend it more highly."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of July 2006
We have just returned from a very enjoya...
"We have just returned from a very enjoyable week at Brayka Bay Resort, Marsa Alam. Weather fantastic, accommodation faultless i.e. cleanliness, efficiency, friendliness and amenities. We had a sea view room and the views were stunning.
We opted for All Inclusive, which was good value for money, in fact we did not spend anything (nothing to spend it on). Resort not keen to take Egyptian currency, quite happy with euros, Â£'s and US dollars. Food all buffet style, gets a little tedious after a while but ok for a week. Everything is contained in the resort itself, absolutely nothing around it only desert, but perfect for a spot of R & R in beautiful surroundings. Lots of snorkelling and diving.
Tips are appreciated but you are not under pressure to give them. Take some Imodium, as everybody seemed to be suffering a little. Airport very small and very little duty free, but hassle free check in. All in all a really great holiday."
- Travel date: Fri 16th of June 2006
If youâre into Scuba Diving then this...
"If youâre into Scuba Diving then this is a must. They have their own diving school on the complex which offers night time diving too. Very popular not that I tried it out but other people I met did and highly recommended it.
The airport. You can pay with sterling and its roughly Â£10 per person. Or US Dollars. This takes the longest when arriving as it only has 1 airport. You write your visa out on the plane so there is no need to worry about that at all. Flight took around 5hrs 15 mins.
It takes 45 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport. It looks like itâs in the middle of nowhere but the resort is slowly being built up.
Hotel is very clean and the staff are very friendly. This complex is huge and at first seems daunting but it doesnât take long before you learn where youâre going. The gardens are well kept.
All rooms (and we had 2 in different parts of the hotel) were cleaned every day and spacious. I had a sea view and you literally walked 30 steps to the beach.
It has its own private beach which is immaculate. You can see the different coloured fish walking along the sand. A good view of fish too when you go out snorkeling yourself. Sun loungers and parasols provided.
The hotel has 1 large pool with a pool bar and a little pool for toddlers. You have towel cards for the pool so you donât have to worry about that either.
If you go half board you can upgrade when your there. There is a separate restaurant outside. Food is very good but donât expect burgers as they donât do this. Nice variety and there is something there for everyone.
This is a complex where there is everything you need but i will say barter with them with everything. The price they offer they are expecting you to say no... Half it then go maybe up once or twice then walk away if youâre not happy. They come back after you and say yes ok then.
There are free pool tables upstairs and internet access to whilst your there.
There is no cash machine there but there is a hotel nearby you can go to if you need to. They do take visa for excursions despite what the brochure says. They also have their own exchange too.
All in all if youâre looking for a relaxing holiday where you can chill out for a week then this is ideal for you.
Temperature when we were out there hit 103c. On average for the whole stay there temps were between 93- 98c.
Well I hope that helps anyone whoâs thinking of going out there to this up and coming resort. Booking this holiday a lot of people went independent and saved money doing it. Up to Â£100 pp this way. Food for thought.
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of June 2006