12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Excellent Accommodation Horrendous Catering
"We paid almost Â£800 each for a week here. If you haven't paid yet, I would ask to change resort due to the almost impossibility of managing a week here without falling ill. If you have paid, dont panic. The accommodation is 5 star. It is just the food and drink which lets it down and any ok food will cost you extra.
First - Thomas Cook fly Monarch to the destination and we were told 4.5 hour flight which is actually nearer 6 hours. Seats cramped and plane claustrophobic, one of the worst flights I have ever been on in all my years of travelling. But cabin crew were absolutely great and food was ok on flight.
Transfer was 20 mins and was efficient. Welcome was great at complex. Staff are excellent and cant do enough as long as you offer them some courtesy in return and a smile.
We upgraded to a suite for an extra Â£13 per night between us which was worth the money. The Royal Suites are up on a hill away from the noise of the pool and beach. Brochure says steps and there are actually 72. So not suitable if you are not relatively fit and able. Room, bed, bathroom, living area, huge balcony and jacuzzi all immaculate and serviced daily. We could sit in the Jacuzzi and look out over the resort and sea... bliss. 5* quality accommodation and all communal areas.
The only food for free is buffet food. This is of tepid temperature at best and the microwave for the children's food is poor for trying to reheat it. Our welcome meeting consisted of a large section of what to do when you get ill. Basically dont suffer with immodium in your room, get to the Dr and get the magic pills to make you better. I did and I was fine within 24 hours. However, we only ate at the buffet the twice. High risk food for food poisoning and I would say that it affected EVERY other other english couple bar one whilst we were there. People by the pool dwindled daily which was almost laughable if it wasnt so awful. We were forced to eat at the Italian Restaurant and pay for the priviledge as Pizza was the only hot food we could find which we felt wouldnt make us ill (and even then, it wasnt great). Dont get me wrong, the food isnt expensive but why would we want to pay for it when we have paid for an all inclusive holiday. To be honest, drinks werent much better. Although machines state Coca Cola - I doubt any of the fizzy varieties have been near a Coca Cola endorsed plant. local alcohol was undrinkable except for the beer. water comes free only from 'machines' and ice comes from machines plumbed into the mains so I would avoid it at all costs. We paid for bottled water at 250 EL per bottle (around Â£2.50) as we only got 2 small bottles of water in our room fridge per day. And dont be fooled as there is no mini bar although we only discovered this when we arrived when a big poster told us the facilty had been withdrawn.
The complex caters mainly for Italians, followed by Russians, Germans and lastly, English customers. We had no trouble with anyone although other people seem to have had. Culturally we are all different, that's all. There are announcements and games all day long by the pool and beach, some of which get pretty loud and annoying. However, poolside loungers are fabulous with pads and huge clean white canvas umbrellas manned by the towel man at the pool who was more than helpful.
Our flight home was over 6 hours delayed which apparently isnt out of the ordinary so if you need to be at work the next day you may want to think twice. We paid extra for day flights but landed in Manchester at 4am the day after we were supposed to return and so missed a work day.
Overall our holiday was about 40/100. Food and drink are a huge part of your holiday and we were really let down. We didnt feel the resport should be 4 star, but regraded due to poor catering and drink quality.
One last point, we did the Bedouin Night for Â£20 and it was FABULOUS. HOT COOKED FOOD BUBBLING IN PANS AND HAND COOKED IN FRONT OF YOU. Great company and entertainment. Well worth the money.
Accommodation, pools, staff excellent. Food and Drink minus rated! But we met some really lovely people.
It's a big world so we wont be returning to Egypt, but had an ok time overall. A bit disappointing but not as terrible as some people on this site make out.
- Travel date: Wed 29th of October 2008
We were at this hotel over Christmas, ar...
"We were at this hotel over Christmas, arrived back on the 29th December, it was one of the best holidays we have ever had.
The hotel was fabulous set in the most gorgeous place right overlooking the sea. It had four swimming pools one of them heated.
The food was out of this world, the hotel staff could not do enough for you.
The rooms were big with large bathrooms. We could not find fault with anything in this complex and would recommend this to anyone.
The only drawback was that we had to come back to the wind and rain."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of December 2007
Must go to Abu Dabbab
"Overall a very good hotel. The grounds are nice and it's in a nice bay with sandy beach. A VERY LONG walk to the restaurant and to just about anywhere. We went from the 15th Nov to the 22nd. It was 30 C. But windy, wouldn't have normaley minded but it meant it was a ruff sea and NO SNORKELING off the jetty, until the last day when it was calmer.
You must go to ABU DABBAB, there is a free bus and it is excellent for SNORKELING. The coral is good on both sides and in the middle where the sea grass is lives 12 turtles and the dungong. We swam with all and it was amazing.
We enjoyed the whole experience but wouldn't reccommend going all inclusive at this hotel beacuse the food wasn't great and the service poor. The next door hotel Kahramana was better and you can then chose the food and get it hot, which we didn't most the time. ( Didn't get any stomach bugs though).
If you want a really good hotel all inclusive with good food and great snokeling go to the reef oasis beach resort near sharm."
- Travel date: Tue 28th of November 2006
Never been anywhere with better service
"Ok folks not a very detailed report, but have added some info to the Marsa Alam forum too.
Just wanted you to know you cannot go anywhere more cleaner and friendlier than this hotel. As soon as our coach transfer pulled up the management and staff were waiting at the front of the hotel singing, dancing and clapping to welcome us. Straight away we knew we were onto a good thing.
We were shown to our rooms and with half an hour the porters had brought our cases. As it was dark we could only see that were overlooking the relax pool. We went striaght down to the buffet and had our first meal which was great.
The next morning we awoke to find that just to the side of our apartment was the beautiful red sea. After attending the wekcome meeting held by the wonderful Paul we ventured down to the relax pool. As soon as we had gotten our towels and parked our rears the waiter was asking what drink we would like. each day from then on the towel man would put out our towels on the same beds. Ahm the bar man would shout if we needed anything and always go out of his way to serve us.
The cleanliness of the hotel is amazing and having stayed in 5star hotels all over the world we have never been anywhere as clean as this. The hotel manager was permanently walking round talking to guests and was so pleased when we told how much we were enjoying our stay.
We went from 8 - 15 November and this was the busiest that the hotel has ever been apparently and there were only 300 guests so you feel like you have the whole place to yourselves. I cannot praise the staff enough - they really are an asset to the company and considering they only get paid between Â£20 - Â£40 per month then we have alot to learn.
Didn't do any of the trips as we went for a relaxing break and were only there for 1 week. We did speak to people and they had thoroughly enjoyed the Luxor trip and quad bike experience.
We wil definately be going back to this hotel, just wish it were tomorrow"
- Travel date: Fri 17th of November 2006
Good quality hotel, friendly staff
"The complex itself was very picturesque and the gardens, plants and lawns were constantly being tended. The standard rooms are reasonable in size and always clean. Staff are very friendly and approachable. The food on the all inclusive option was fine but not amazing, with a lack of variety after a few days. However an italian and seafoood restaurant are nearby. The beach was lovely, very relaxing and would recommend swimming in the sea....much warmer than the pool. The massage offered at the health spa is brilliant and great value for money. A few shops outside the hotel sold good quality egyptian scarfs and natural perfumes. However if you're looking for jewellery or necklaces take a walk over to the sister hotel, the Kahramana (5-10mins walk). Take a trip out to the coral reefs snorkeling, worth every penny. If you want to go to cairo/luxor etc it would be better to go for 2 weeks as marsa alam is further south than you think and you will spend a fair bit of your time travelling. Also be aware that this time of year the sun is stronger between 7am and 2pm and dark by 5pm. Very barren landscape in the local/regional area outside the complex but this wasn't really an issue."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of November 2006
Can't wait to return
"My husband and I visited the Calimera Habiba June 06. We were fed on arrival at 9pm from a well stocked buffet. During the course of the week we had to be very strict with ourselves, as the dessert choice was delicious. The service we received from staff was excellent, friendly yet not intrusive, no waiting, or queueing. The complex allowed for relaxation... lots of deep muscle massages in the Spa and hours in the beautiful clear sea. Visit the Bedouin night at the Khalamara and experience local food cooked in traditional way. The belly dancers are great fun and the Tanoura dancing was excellent. Have fun and dress in authentic costume for the occasion. Visit Fantasia in Hurgada [ we booked a taxi, which we shared with another couple] the driver took us to the main town and picked us up after our sightseeing/shopping trip and took us to the venue, He rested in the car park while we watched a fabulous show [not to be missed]
The only downside was that the entertainment was delivered in German throughout our two week stay.
We visited Cairo by bus, long journey but worth it. Visit the Old Arabic quarter, mesmerising, wonderful architecture and a feel of old Egypt. We visited Al Gouna for more Tanoura dancing, an experience not to be missed.
If you are looking for a wonderful location, clear seas, great food, service and lots of relaxation then this is definately the place to visit."
- Travel date: Tue 17th of October 2006
I've been there at the end of September... The hotel is brand new (it seems to be opened April 2006) . Beautiful place, clean, safe, excellent service. Cooking at a good level. Waiters and management are very kind. Cheap prices for alcoholics if not all inclusive optioned. I can only say thanks for the beautiful staying. I'll be back soon, hopefully. Go there, enjoy it, no problem at all. Trust them. I suggest it, honestly. And the Red Sea is magnificent, almost Maldivian... I even had the luck to meet Dugongo in Abu Dabhab Bay.... That's a perfect place to go with your fiancÃ© or family, just to relax and enjoy sea places... Sunshine all the time...Please, messy, noisy and young people: stay away! Keep it as it is! Ratio: Five stars!
Paolo - Milano"
- Travel date: Sun 8th of October 2006
"We stayed here for a smashing 2 weeks from 24th Aug. First impressions - they weren't kidding when they said it was like something from the Flintstones..which was just as well as we went on to have a yabba dabba dooo time!
The room was impressive, it really felt like a home from home. It was clean and there were surprisingly few bugs (only saw one cockroach and that wasn't in the room), but whats with the earwigs on steroids?! Maid times seemed to be a bit erratic and a little inconvenient as they were often cleaning the room when we went back for our afternoon bonk haha! The roon itself was well equipped with plenty of wardrobe space, a good size bathroom - excellent shower with plenty of room for 2. Well impressed with fully flushing toilets, but somewhat disgusted at the lack of sanitary disposal facilities (not even any bags to wrap and put in bin). We were told that Egyptian men are disgusted by womens 'problems' and so do not cater too well to female needs. We were only provided with 1 600ml bottle of water per person per day - this was not enough, especially considering you couln't get any from the bars between midnight and 10am. We weren't informed that you could buy large bottles from the lobby bar. We appreciate that the bars won't be open 24hours but feel that water should still be available at all times. We got caught out when going horse riding in the desert. It was a 9am start and we couldn't get any water before we left so spent 90mins in the searing heat, feeling uncomfortably parched. Luckily the trip was well worth it!
In the resort. we spent most of our time by the 'relax pool', partly because this was close to the restaurant, had a sea view and was much more, well, relaxed! Top marks to Cas & Jo (who we met by the pool) for pointing out that you could actually get a pint glass, rather than the usual plastic thimble, if you asked for it..! The staff (both bar and pool attendant) were very friendly here - the relaxed vibe was obviously felt all around. We spent a lot less time than we thought we would at the 'active pool'. The main reason being that the way the daytime programs were run, seemed to be aimed at the German guests. For those that want to get out of the sun for a while, the poolside beds were fantastic.
Evening entertainment was very poor, non-varied and not exactly participatory. If you like tacky cabaret then this is possibly your bag! This led to us having to be more creative with our evenings.
Overall the resort and staff were first class (or 4 star). Be ready for the usual propositions of marrying your sister, cousins or mum! We would recommend that you don't accept the first standard offer of 2 camels and hold out for a better deal! The resort beach was not great - very rocky in the water so wouldn't advise swimming without shoes on. Not much coral therfore not much sea life for snorkeling.
We went on a morning horse ride in the desert
Evening quad bikes in the desert
2 day trip to Luxor
day trip to Abu Dabab
The horse ride - this was great and the guide was excellent (spoke very good English). We went for 90mins in the morning as opposed to the 3 hour sunset ride. Definitely make sure you wear long trousers as the rubber chaps they provide will blister your skin. He will encourage you to both trot and gallop - a little hairy when you don't have a hat and are surrounded by rocks! We loved it!
The quad bikes - this was a 3 hour sunset trip including tea with the Bedouins. We took the trip reccomended by andrea, rather than the Thomas Cook trip, as this was on the resort rather than a 90mins transfer. This was about Â£44 for 2 people sharing a quad. It was immense fun, but be warned safety is hardly paramount. They offered no helmets and made us ride 2-up on a single person quad. Our guide spoke very little English, which could have made things difficult if you had not rode before. Make sure you have cash with you as you will need it at the Bedouin village.
Abu Dabab - this was a short (free) shuttle bus journey and was recommended as a good place to snorkel. We didn't see what all the fuss was about. Yes, you could snorkel and there was more to see if you could get past the multitude of jelly fish. We didn't see any big fish or the resident Dugong, We waited for the last bus back which was due at 6pm, however we were there before 6 and it had already left! We assumed that it wouldn't be coming back and were worried about how we would return to resort. The bus did, however, return about 20-30 mins later. A timetable is exactly that and the Egyptians didn't seem to understand this!
Luxor 2 day trip-this wasa last minute decison for us and in terms of content,it didn't dissapoint. However,the hotel in which we stayed,did.! It was marketed to us as 5 star luxury......but was in effect mutton dressed as lamb, all spangly and lavish at the reception, yet all murky and outdated once you got past that. The chalets were more 'Hi De Hi' than luxury hotel and I almost expected Sue Pollard to jump out on us!! If we wanted mustard colured vinyl bathrooms, we could've gone to my nans! The upside was that the food was really nice and the staff friendly and effecient, except by the pool where you couldn't get a drink for love nor money! The actual trip included Karnak temple, Hatchepsuit temple, papyrus 'museum' (really just a shop), alabaster factory (again not much more than a shop, plus got hassled a lot), motor boat trip on Nile for 1 hour - too long with no commentary, but most impressivley we went to the Valley of the Kings. You get entry to 3 tombs but have to pay for Tuthankamun (Â£7). This is well worth the money, but slightly eerie as this is the only tomb to still contain an actual mummy. Ash, our guide was excellent if somewhat like David Dickinson!
All in all a fantastic holiday. Top resort with great people, easy pace and plenty of glorious sunshine. We went intending to scuba dive, but got so caught up in other things, we didn't get round to it, so will definitely go back. Calimera is great - 'do it'!!"
- Travel date: Fri 22nd of September 2006
"Returned last week from a a great two weeks at Calimera Habiba can highly recommend a stay here. Only two minor complaints no tea making facilities in room and the bars close at midnight.
Restaurant: Great food not once in two weeks were we served the same meal twice although always chicken, fish, beef ( a bit chewy), or a pasta dish.
Service is excellent here and all the staff are friendly and approachable. They will go out of thier way to help you.
Italian on the next complex well worth trying and so cheap.
Lebenese on complex for that special meal for two (or more) also very cheap.
Pool Bars: Great service here as well, drinks bought to your side if you wish, so you do'nt even have to move from your lounger.
Once the towell boy knows where you like to sit he will have towells ready for you.
Entertainment: The team are the best i have seen for a long while. Thier dancing is great with a different show every night. They will try and get every one involved but if you just want to watch they will not pressure you. The fire show they do with reps from other three resorts is not to be missed.
Went with a list of trips to do but with great people we met 1st week thanks to Jo/Cass, Paul/Carren, Roger/ Joan, Talia/Emma, and Brian and Sue (true brits).
2nd week thanks to Lyn/Steve and Peter and to staff Anais and Gaby, Amed at the pool bar, and mostly to Bakry Zane and the great Mustafa (watch out for his mean coffee cup trick and great egyptian dancing) at the active pool.
With all these people did not need to leave the complex was so chilled out.
We also had a bad experience with Suri (quad bikes) but too long a story to go into but steer clear of him.
The Calimera has a great team working for them right from the Big Boss down to the ground staff. Everybody takes time to know you and make your holiday great. First holiday i have left crying (sad i know) even a tear in husbands eye. Friends and staff came out to wave us off.
Tips: most shops prices are in euro's"
- Travel date: Fri 22nd of September 2006
Overall pretty good...
"First of all a quick hello to the great people we met at the Calimera during our stay there last week in August and first week in September. Cas/Jo, Doug/Stacey, Dean/Cathy, Roger/(ah forgot), Talia/Emma (I think Talia wrote the review prior to this one).
This is quite a lengthy review and split into two parts.
I reccomend the hotel
I do not reccomend trips to cities,unless you are made of stern stuff...
The first part of this review is about the hotel.....
We flew from Manchester as we live in the lakes but I would seriously advise anyone who does not normally travel from Gatwick to travel down and fly from there as we flew to Hurgada some 250-300 miles from the resort and were bundled into a taxi for the transfer - this took 2.5 hrs and we pushed our driver to go fast. (Gatwick flyers go to Marsa Alam airport a mere 20 miles transfer).
We arrived at the hotel at about 8:30pm and were given a welcome drink and two porters to take our bags. We had asked for a suite and were astounded by the room.
2nd bedroom had 2 beds one wardrobe.
Lounge with huge 'L' shaped sofa and T.V. with patio doors
Main bedroom with queen bed T.V., Mini fridge and Patio doors
Dressing room with table/mirror and wardrobe, Free Safe
Very nice marble bathroom and shower (no bath)
The whole room(s) took up the entire floor of the block and the balcony the full length with 2 loungers, 2 chairs and 2 tables. This option is well worth the upgrade...
Usual towel sculptures on the bed, until the second week when a new (male) maid took over and he wasn't as good...
T.V. has reasonable selection of english speaking channels and the air con very efficiant - echo previous review about leaving the key fob in your room...
Food was better than average and staff were smiley and friendly.
Hotel on the whole was good reflecting it's 4 stars but will have to work damn hard for the 5 they probably want. We had no real complaints about the hotel.
The second part of this review is about other options and trips whilst you are there....
Andrea talked us through various trips vetted by Thomas Cook and gave her honest opinion which led us to drop some of the trips we had earmarked. It was nice to get honest advice instead of having every trip going shoved down your throat.
Trips we went on.
Luxor 2 day
Horse ride into desert
4x4 safari into desert.
Quads (well sort of, read on for more...)
We went on a 2 day trip to Luxor and incorporated the sunrise balloon ride into this. On the whole not too bad.
4am start from the hotel
50 coach armed guard to Luxor
Arrived Luxor 10:30 am
Saw Karnak Temple in the morning
Went to a Papyrus 'Museum' in the afternoon (a shop NOT a museum)
Then went to the '5 star hotel' on a island in the middle of the Nile. 5 star my arse.... The reception and resturant was great, the rooms looked like they had been picked up from a Butlins camp in the UK that had been shut for 20 years and dumped on the island - they really were awful! Dirty carpets - wall paper tile effect in the bathroom and several people we spoke to had their bathrooms flood like ours. Thomas cook really need to change this hotel - it spoilt the whole trip.
Balloon ride at 5am - Stunning. Absolutely stunning. The only issue with the balloon ride was that you will not see the sunrise for the smog over the city of Luxor.
Horse ride into the desert was booked locally at the Kharama hotel (not part of TC's trips) 3 hours at sunset - reccomended.
4x4 was a 3 hour trip at sunset and also was very good but a word of warning the guy filming with the intention of selling you a DVD after uses an old VHS camcorder and does not edit the footage - he also wipes out all soundtrack and replaces with Arabic music. The quality is bad as your film will suffer from the trademark lines that VHS is succeptable to. Wasn't worth 21 quid for the DVD...
Aaaah Quadbiking.... what can I say? Almost an international incident over this one. TC offer a quad ride but you need to travel 1.5 hours to get to the center. The Kharama has a local quad center that Andrea said was just as good and no complaints received - she got one this time!
We were approached by the Quad rep who is on license to enter the resort and approach guests. He quoted 440LE (Egyption pounds) to put us both on a quad for 3 hours at sunset (44 quid). Then quoted 100 more (another tenner) for a quad each. We booked 2 quads as my other half is more reserved than I and wouldn't appriciate my lunatic driving through the desert.
We paid and turned up ar reception for the quick quad piggy back ride 800m to the quad center outside the resort. My other half was plonked on a quad and I told to sit behind her. (bear in mind we had paid for two quads) I pointed this out and was told by the guy who we bookd with that his boss said that he had sold it too cheap and would need another 100LE to secure a second quad.
I don't think so! We had already paid an extra tenner in the first place and I don't like being ripped off. He seemed to think that dragging us 800m from the resort with other guests waiting to go would force us to pay up. I told him quite clearly what I thought of him (he learnt a few new english swear words that day...) Him and his partener then followed us 500m of the way back to the resort pleading and finally offering two quads. When this didn't work he the tried to blackmail us by saying that if we didn't go on the trip then the other 8 guests wouldn't either! What a tosser!
(The other guests went on the ride)
We got our money back and went straight back to the resort with me funing hotter than the surrounding desert. Andrea (the rep)has banned this company from approching english guests. we also learned that his boss was away so the undercharging excuse was a lie too - he was basically skimming...
The Egyptians are basically nice people but if they think you are likely to part with money they will pester you like you wouldn't believe. In Luxor they will stand in front of you and not move unless you buy some tacky statue - if you take a picture of a temple and they realise they are in it they will pester you for money because they think you were taking pics of them, idiots.
One couple we got chatty with on our trip to Luxor had a really bad time with a 14 yr old Egyptian lad, he 'helped' her down a jetty and then demanded money for it. He was told to sod off as the 'help' was not asked for. As we boarded the boat for our informative tour of how dirty and smelly the Nile was he threated that he would be there waiting for her when we got back.
One hour later...
He was there waiting! He pestered her all the way back up the jetty and for a further 10 mins while we waited for the coach. My other half had to get the tour guide to get rid of him, the poor woman was visibly shaken.
On the whole the Calimera hotel was good, with great staff. But if you step outside you will meet the most grabbing, self centered parasites in the world. The general populace of tourist egypt do themselves and their country no favours and the sooner they realise this the better.
As I said at the beginning the hotel is fine, more than fine but beware when you encouter locals outside of it. The hotel has alot of Germans and Italians who wern't a problem - the relax pool tends to be where the English chill... The main 'Active pool' is where the Germans go. The Animation team is German and one of them even had a sense of humour...
If you are planning to go or have booked then go without fear and enjoy, just be careful on your days out...
Dom rep in May - bring it on!
Paul and Carron."
- Travel date: Fri 15th of September 2006
"Arrived about 9.15 so plenty of time to grab some dinner. We were shown to our rooms by one of the porters, we werenât going to tip him but when we couldnât open our room door and he came to our rescue, we had to! (He thought we were very funny)
You need the white fob on your room key to activate your roomâs electricity. This also means when you are not in the room, the A/C is off. You can remove the fob and leave it in the room, just make sure you do it AFTER your roomâs been cleaned!
The A/C unit is efficient if a bit loud. We chose not to sleep with it on and the room managed to get to about 24 celcius by morning, so not unbearable.
There is a great selection for the buffets. Iâm a fussy eater and Iâve managed to fill myself up at every meal. Some people have said donât eat salad because it is washed in their water but I had some every day and was fine.
All meals are buffet style in the Blue Restaurant (bottom right hand corner of the map) which is on the beach. Snack lunches are available too, if youâd prefer fries which they donât have at the buffet. After all the rich food, we needed a siesta, which was a great way to avoid the pounding 11-3 sun.
The Thomas Cook rep, Andrea (take sweets, newspapers/magazines and a pack of biros if you can) lives in the Habiba and itâs easy to catch her around.
The sea and beach are beautiful. There is a small area of water without reef where you can go about 4 feet deep. For those of you whoâve not been in the Red Sea before, let me warn you, it is much saltier than the med! I was parched after 20 mins snorkelling, although, even in the small area off the beach, we spied a blue jellyfish and a small cuttlefish! My friend Emma even saw a ray. So there are plenty of things to see even if you are not confidant enough to go in off the jetty.
The staff are friendly and eager to please, but not generally pushy. Even at our arrival at 9pm, there was a member of the animation team there to greet us with a broad smile!
Make sure you hang your âplease clean roomâ hanger outside or your room might not be cleaned til lunchtime (12.30 on our first day, and similar after), but it was always spotless (yes, we did get towel animals!)
1 600ml bottle of water is provided in your room per person per day, this is put in the mini fridge.
However, at all the bars there are water and juice dispensers. Whilst you may not fill up a bottle here, you may of course have as many glasses as you like! If you get given a small glass by the pool, they do have bigger ones (half pint size), so make sure you ask for bigger glasses if you want them. Soft drinks provided are Pepsi, 7Up, Mirinda (fanta) and some others that I didnât drink. No coca cola, for those of you who can tell the difference.
Big bottles of water are available from the lobby bar if you are going out, but you do have to buy these.
The ârelaxâ pool and âactiveâ pool are at opposite ends of the complex. So if you do want to be left alone, the animation team wonât come and bother you by the relax pool!
The complex is quite sprawling and the rep warned us about getting lost, but it is quite well signposted and you can always see the sea.
Luckily, our room was near the main restaurant, so we could just follow the signs for that. From the map, if you like, you can get an idea of the room numbers youâd like to stay in. The sea view rooms have sun loungers on their balconies, but other rooms do not.
Girls, if you want to pluck your eyebrows, bring a compact! Bathrooms obviously designed by and man and 3 ft of marble separate you and the mirror.
On day 3, I discovered I had atheleteâs foot. One of the concierges offered to drive us the 5 mins to it (it is just past the security checkpoint that enters the resort, so you donât really want to walk there). However, check what youâre given when you get there. They gave me an an anti-bacterial cream, useless against my invading fungus!
On returning to the pharmacy the next day, the lady in there insisted the antibiotic would work on my fungal infection. My advice? Take all the meds you could possibly need with you.
Take a trip to Abou Dabbab! It is a 15 minute bus ride away, which is free and air conditioned. Thereâs a bar on the beach here, but I think you have to pay for drinks. It has a great reef which you can walk out to, no jetty, so better for beginners and you can see some cool stuff even when youâre still in your depth.
Tip: When youâre there, look our for large groups of snorkellers. This is usually where the interesting stuff is and our case, the Dugong (a sea cow)! Some other people also managed to see sharks and rays (I saw one little one). I also saw some nemo fish swimming in and out of the anemones! Good one for the kids.
There are 2 reefs at this beach, one on the left and one on the right, I preferred the left one because it was far more colourful, but the right one gets deeper quicker so you see different fish. We saw the dugong in between the two reefs, Iâm not sure how far out though.
The toilets at the beach are nice (why not just go in the sea?) so it has all the mod cons, including a seafood restaurant which you do have to pay for. It has the same menu as the sea food restaurant at the Kahramana.
Which brings me nicely to the Kahramana jetty. To get to it, just walk along the beach until you come to the sea food restaurant (all of about 10 mins if youâre really slow). You have to walk through the restaurant to get to the jetty (this confused us a bit at first!). Every day the flag was red when we were there and it did look rough as well. We didnât venture of it but from what we saw from the jetty thereâs some great sea life down there. Some people spotted turtles too. So if you are a confident swimmer, I donât see why you couldnât have a go, but if youâre a first timer, go for Abou Dabbab.
They have wireless internet connected to 2 computers in the lobby, but it is unsecured so I donât see why you couldnât just bring your own laptop. They charge 5 euros for 1 hr on their computers. You can probably pick up the network in the lobby bar and on the terrace though, I donât think theyâd stop you.
The bathroomâs dÃ©cor leaves something to be desired but it definitely makes up for it in the power of the shower. Very big cubicle and massage-like stream. You are only provided with shower gel, not shampoo, so blokes, donât rely on that!
Thatâs all I can think of, overall we had a great week. Very relaxing, your every need catered for!
We met 2 couples whoâd come midweek, we asked them why.. One said theyâd stayed at Coral Beach Diving Resort and hated it, the other had been at the Tulip and, again, demanded to be moved. They said ordering a burger and having to wait 1.5 hrs for it was the last straw. The Calimera is definitely a winner!"
- Travel date: Thu 7th of September 2006
"Just arrived home from an absolutely truly fantastic holiday (13th Jul - 27)! The hotel is wonderful with the theme appearing to be Flintstones - with little stone buildings for accommodation, and obscure stones around the resort.
The hotel was only 10% occupied whilst we were there which meant no fight for sun beds as these were plentiful in both the pools and beach. The active pool is where you find the entertainment and the animation team do their best to get everyone involved - Anis, Abdul, coco, Alina and Gaby put on a show nightly and don't stop all day and night.
The kids club was also excellent although our daughter didn't go everyday due to lack of children, but at 5.30pm they are taken off to dinner for the kidâs dinner, how sweet!
Snorkelling is great; you can take a short walk to the pier and drop into the deep water just off the coral edge, or snorkel off the beach but less to see! A short bus ride away (free) takes you to Aba Daabab where there is a really pretty beach with great snorkelling and the chance to see the Dugong (we didn't despite a few efforts), but did see a few turtle both at resort and at the beach as well as baby sharks! You can walk into the water at the beach without shoes but I would take them anyway.
A trip to swim with the dolphins was a highlight, you are not guaranteed sighting but we did and was truly amazing, be aware though you can get this trip cheaper through the local dive centre on resort than the Thomas Cook, we only found out after, but well worth investigating. The dive centre is great - abdullah is a great instructor and the house reef only a five minute trip away.
The food was great with plenty to choose from, the staff go out of their way to help and assist and truly look after you. The seafood restaurant is fab and is a must with a 20% discount its well worth it, as you choose the fish which is then BBQ'd, in a wonderful setting on top of the cliff with just the wash of the waves for noise! Wish I was there.
Shapes out of towels were in our room every day and the cleanliness was brilliant! We suffered with the infamous upset stomach which is common to visitors in Egypt; the local pharmacy can sort you out though for around 40 Egyptian pounds (Â£4).
Take plenty of Imodium or similar but donât let that put you off. I am already looking at booking next year having been to Sharm last year this place beats it hands down. Whilst very quiet and not a lot outside the resort this is a truly fabulous destination and would recommend!
Andrea the rep - what can I say she is the best Rep I have encountered nothing is too much trouble and she takes time to speak to all her guests! We read a review before we left and someone asked to take sweets so we did, she was so very grateful, so please if you are going please take her some good ole English sweets, magazines, pens and say Becky super chick (my daughter) put this part of the review on for her as promised!!!
We met a fantastic group of people whilst there, which made the holiday even more memorable - thanks to Colin and family and Geoff and Carol! Thanks Guys!"
- Travel date: Sat 29th of July 2006