Jaz Lamaya Resort
30 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Boring, Boring Marsa!
"My partner and I stayed at the Lamaya in mid November '06 for one week. We booked the hotel because we had visited Sharm el Sheikh in May and had had such a good time that we wanted to visit Egypt again. The hotel we stayed in in May was an Iberotel and we were so impressed with it that we decided to book another Iberotel but in a different resort, hence the choice of Marsa Alam.
Unfortunately for the Lamaya, the hotel in Sharm was absolutely brilliant so the hotel had a very tough act to follow. As hard as we both tried not to, we both found ourselves constantly comparing aspects of both hotels. I think perhaps we had been a little bit spoiled in Sharm so unfortunately the Lamaya did not live up to the same standards.
Don't get me wrong, the hotel is a high quality one. The rooms are well furnished and the service at the hotel is very good. All of the staff are friendly and any small problems we had were dealt with speedily. The hotel is impressive to look at and is well maintained so there are plenty of plus points.
However, if you've not been to Marsa Alam (as we hadn't) then prepare to be out in the middle of nowhere! You get off the plane onto the coach and very quickly realise on your journey towards the hotel complex there really isn't anything there except for desert! I wouldn't have minded this at all but we found that there was very little to occupy you in the hotel especially in the evening.
It all became a bit boring after a while, we would have gone stir crazy had we stayed beyond one week!
One main gripe was that there is only one main restaurant in the hotel and that was pretty unspectacular. Imagine eating your breakfast, lunch and evening meal in the same place every day for one week. Consequently you soon start to feel very routinised and fed up of looking at the same old scenery. To avoid this monotony we went for lunch most days at the beach bar and even though the choice was limited we liked it there. Food in the main restaurant was okay but again became boring after a few days. Don't know how other people find All Inclusive but I often found that I never ate what I would call a proper main meal, instead feeling like I'd had a 'bit of everything!'
On a similar note there is only one bar at the hotel and so, since there's nothing on offer outside the hotel grounds we felt as though our only two options were to either sit in the same bar night after night or go to bed early. Evening entertainment is very limited. I couldn't fault the animation team for effort or enthusiasm, they had an abundance of both but the shows they put on in the Amphitheatre weren't the best. The only other offering was a cabaret singer in the main reception area EVERY night (or what seemed like it!). Maybe it was down to our age (mid 20s) but what we wanted was a bit of life.......a disco perhaps or a pub. Imagine our disappointment then when we found out that our one ray of hope - the disco - only opened on 2 nights a week. Unfortunately we couldn't go because of a trip one night and flying back the other but one of the animation team commented that it was very quiet so perhaps we didn't miss that much anyway.
More plus points though, the snorkelling in the bay is great. You will see loads of fish without going out far. We went on a Camel Safari which was a good laugh. Would recommend that trip. We went to Luxor by road as well. Luxor itself was good but after a total of 11 hours on a cramped minibus I think we were both left questioning whether it was that worth it. Granted it was interesting but the presence of a very over enthusiastic Egyptologist who seemed to demand the same enthusiasm from you (after the 6 hour journey there and 4am start!) soon made it feel like a Year 10 field trip that by the end you were kind of glad you went on but also glad had finally finished!
Hope you don't think I am being too negative, just trying to give an honest opinion of our experience. As I've said maybe the resort was just too quiet for people of our age group, other guests who were a bit older seemed to be loving it. If you are someone who either gets bored very easily or likes having things to do then I would recommend Sharm el Sheikh instead. Maybe if we hadn't have been there first then we would have enjoyed Marsa Alam a little more. For us the hotel needs an extra bar or a pub and an extra restaurant in order to provide variety. If you want a hotel that has all of these things then go to the Iberotel Palace in Sharm, we cannot recommend it highly enough."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of December 2006
A peaceful oasis
"My wife, our 18 month old son and I visited the Lamaya Resort for a week at the beginning of November. We'd decided to book this holiday having read the positive reviews on this website, the relatively short flight time compared with the Caribbean (initially where we wanted to go) and the good price on thomsonholidays.co.uk.
We were impressed with the short transfer time from the airport to hotel. On arrival at the resort we passed through several check points with visible police presence which was re-assuring. There were friendly staff waiting for us to get off the coach who had cold drinks for us.
We had paid extra extra for a sea view and we were initially disappointed as our room was on the ground floor so we couldn't see much of the sea. Secondly our double bed and our sons cot were separated by a curtain rather than the wooden partition that I later found out was the norm in the majority of rooms. I thought this may have caused a problem if we'd have decided to watch the TV on an evening waking our son up. As it happened he slept like a log and nothing disturbed him all week.
The room was kept immaculate by our room boy who each day spent a couple of hours keeping it spotless and making amusing shapes with the towels.
We were camped out beside the two kiddies pools each day for obvious reasons. The poolside was a little bit slippy so make sure you put some sandals in for the kids, the water was too cold as well.
The food was nice for the first few days but it became repetitive. Breakfast was good with omelettes while you wait, cereals, cheese and nice bread. The evening meal seemed to be the usual meats and fishes in weird and wonderful sauces and the homemade deserts were disappointing. The waiters were very good and attentive and polite. Please be aware that if you are taking your baby/young child then every single one of the high chairs were broken when we there. You'll have to watch your kids like a hawk or they'll be turning around in them, standing up, slipping out, etc. we brought it to the attention of the rep so hopefully they'll be new ones soon. None of us had upset stomachs during the week which was an obvious bonus.
During the day we ate at the beach restaurant which was much better for us. It was waiter service so you avoided the crush of Russians and Italians and you could see the chef cooking the food from fresh. Although the menu was limited (pizzas, burgers, soup, salads) the food was lovely and quick to arrive. A nice touch was the final night of the holiday when the hotel manager held a cocktail party at this restaurant and all the Thomson guests who were leaving the following day were invited.
We had no complaints about the drinks. They were free flowing in the restaurants and bar service everywhere else but the staff didn't keep us waiting long. The lager was obviously watered down but try and prove it!! The wine and spirits seemed 'un-touched' and we thought tasted nice.
We didn't book any trips as we wanted a cheap and quiet week so cannot comment what they were like.
We went down on to the beach one morning but did not stay there long. The sand is not very good and more like gravel and you can't go into the sea unless you walk round to the other side of the bay. It was windy all week so the sea was quite rough which put me off snorkelling. It was sheltered around the pool, I would describe the weather all week as being like a hot English summer.
The evening entertainment was rubbish. It was the same few locals each night who made attempts at comedy sketches, dance routines, etc. It was a shame as the amphitheatre at the hotel was impressive. If the management had brought in belly dancers, snake charmers, fire eaters, etc. it would have been a definite improvement and would have kept our son entertained a bit longer thus preventing us from going back to our rooms at 2130hrs each night!! :-(
Overall we had a good holiday but a week was long enough. We would return to the resort again as we liked the location and climate but would try one of the other hotels further round the bay.
Foxy + Family."
- Travel date: Mon 4th of December 2006
like a palace & we were the royal guests
"Abolutely brilliant -in fact I've been putting off giving a review because I don't want everyone knowing about this place. We booked a last minute deal about 10 days before travelling as we wanted guaranteed sunshine without spending a fortune.It's impossible to put into words, or show in pictures, how wonderful a resort this is. You really are in the middle of nowhere even with the airport only being 15 minute transfer. On arrival at the hotel, you enter reception for a cocktail and to have the all-inclusive band put on, whilst one of your party stay outside to identify and tag your luggage which is then delivered to your room while you finish your drink and are given a quick tour. I could go on for ages about EVERYTHING but will keep it short as possible - at the end of the day you just want to know if this place is worth visiting and are there any "surprises"? A definite yes to the first and only pleasant ones for the latter. We bought the visa at Marsa Alam airport and it cost Â£8. On the return journey some of the duty free prices seemed to alter depending on whether they like you or not and they do take sterling as well as Egyptian pounds and Euros.
All staff very friendly - reception, cleaners, room boys, waiters, bar staff, gardeners, pool boys ...everyone!
The rooms were spotless and had hairdryer, built in safe, fridge, tv with a couple of English channels,shampoo & shower gel fixed in the shower (big enough for a party by the way!). The towel art is great - we had hearts, boats, flowers, crocodiles, mini-people, swans and on the last day a special surprise from Hany the room boy....a 5'5" 'body' sitting on the bed, back to the wall, legs crossed, reading a magazine - for this they used my trousers and top which had been sitting out - not as if they go routing through your wardrobe so don't worry.
There are 3 pools - again spotless - plenty of sunbeds and the animation staff try and get people up to play volleyball, aerobics, salsa dancing etc. though if you really just want to chill & be lazy it's no problem.
The local spirits were fine and it's more the large measures they put in that you need to worry about. Even the wine on tap in the restaurant was more than drinkable (though only tried white) Try the Mai Tai's - they're strong and go down too easily
The day trip to Luxor cost Â£75 and really is worth the money. Although you don't spend that long at each of the stops it really does give you a taste of what's on offer and if you haven't been to Egypt before it would be a shame to not experience at least one visit outside Marsa Alam. We were picked up at 4am (not great but part of the adventure - make sure you book your breakfast box & dinner box the day before) and had a 2-21/2 hr trip to Safaga which is where the convoy gathers before setting off for Luxor. We left Safaga at 7 and arrived in Luxor @ 11.30am. The last half hour into the city is amazing especially driving along the Nile and seeing the way Egyptians live/exist. It just feels like you've stepped back in time.
We went to Queen Hatshepsut's Temple, Valley of the Kings (Tut's tomb is Â£7 to enter and there's not much there so up to you), power boat trip across the Nile to have lunch in another Iberotel hotel, then Karnak Temple (be prepared to take 100's of pictures) a visit to a Papyrus factory and then left Luxor @ 6pm. Our guide Sami was an endless font of knowledge. Back at the hotel at 11.40pm - just in time for a quick drink before the bar shut. Our dinner was in the room already but be warned this was just a sandwich and some fruit. The breakfast box consisted mainly of pastries and a couple of rolls with cheese or meat in so if you want something savoury you'll need to visit the shops outside the resort the day before too.
When visiting these shops be prepared to pay well over the odds unless you're prepared to haggle and/or face the wrath of the shopkeepers. Maybe we were unlucky but paid Â£5 for small carton of juice, can of fizzy drink & packet of 4 biscuits.
The only other trip we did was the quad-biking Â£40 - if you can spare the money, please do this. It was such a laugh, you're given helmets, they check you're comfortable with riding it before setting off and if you lose your nerve halfway round they get on the bike with you. Try and take a small backpack if you can as it gets very bumpy and even though you can tie your belongings to the front, any cameras etc will not properly protected. I'd also suggest wrapping your camera/phone/camcorder in a plastic bag if you don't have an airtight cover as sand seems to get into the smallest nook & cranny. Do wear long trousers as the engine gets HOT and it's right by the bottom half of your leg.
After watching the sunset at the top of a sand dune, visiting the bedouins and eating, a little shopping, quick visit to powder your nose at the hole in the ground a bit of a hike away, it's back on the bikes (after trying apple sheesha!) and towards home in the dark. This part was brilliant - the guides constantly check everyone is still together and safe and it's a quicker less bumpy ride on the way back. It's bizarre looking back and seeing a snake of lights winding through the Sahara with billions of bright stars above you. Then...as if that weren't enough...you have a drink or 2 in a 'bar' in the middle of nowhere - male or female it won't matter if the "mad"man dancer is there, you'll be up on stage before you know it- thoroughly entertaining.
Ok, the shops to the side of the hotel, as opposed to those outside the complex, are pretty polite when you're just looking. You will be asked to have tea or coffee with them and it's up to you. We didn't but somehow still managed to spend 3 hours between the Papyrus shop, being entertained by Ahmed, and the perfume shop where Sheriff wanted to take lots of pictures! 5 minutes to them was an hour to us. As long as you're prepared and don't expect to just 'look and walk' it's free entertainment and can get some genuine bargains but do be prepared to haggle. Be careful with the perfume shop though as how we heard the price turned out to not be the price when it came to buying! Ahmed in the papyrus shop was great, not at all pushy and is genuinely interested in meeting and getting to know more about the visitors to his shop. His pictures/paintings are amazing and it's impossible not to buy something even if it's just a bookmark.
If you're into snorkelling only then try & bring the equipment with you and would recommend the rubber shoes for the beach - apart from being hot it's quite stoney though that's great for exfoliating your feet! Coral from the jetty is wonderful and the water is soooo clear and warm you just want to dive in.
Much more info could go on here but guess I have to stop somewhere but if you want any more info feel free to email me on:[email protected]
Temperature was in mid 30's at least, bit windy on the last couple of days (early Oct). Hotel mainly full of Germans and Italians - apparently the Russians come @ end of October when it's a bit cooler. The kids entertainment is in German so be prepared. The glasses in the pool bar are hard plastic and a decent size, help yourself to as many softdrinks as you like, the all inclusive ice cream is wonderful too - especially mango. Desserts in the hotel are endless. The food itself I'd say is maybe 3-4 star, geared mainly towards German tastes and some of it was slightly repetative but hey, you're on holiday and it's expensive for the Egyptians to import all our fancy requirements. Everywhere in the restaurant is spotless, waiters are quick to respond and were nearly always cheerful even though we went in the middle of Ramadan when they cannot drink or eat anything between sunrise and sunset. Try out the beach bar at least once - the food is delicious - especially the pizza. There isn't a huge choice but all of a high standard.
Evening entertainment is limited but at the end of the day this holiday is what you make of it - you're given every luxury you could want so the rest is up to you. Visit Marsa Alam before it turns into Sharm El Sheik in the next 5 years.
Cannot recommend this hotel highly enough - just see for yourself. As it is we're planning to go again in May to the same hotel (which I would never normally even consider) with half a dozen more friends!
PS. Neither of us fell sick once and only met a couple of people in the week we were there who had. Even they said it was possibly the oil in the food/not being careful enough of the heat/drinking too much. Bottled water is used for all cooking, washing salads etc and apart from your first bottle which is 15 Egyptian pounds (@Â£1.50)
you can then fill up the bottle from the pool bar or the restaurant for free."
- Travel date: Sun 5th of November 2006
lived up to expectations
"read all the reviews before hand and had no doubt ibn booking this hotel. I had never seen such positivity on feedback. It totally lived up to expectations.
The airport was very sticky and a bit of a long process considering it is so tiny, never the less not chaotic. Queue in sun for a bit so advisable to have a vest under jumer so u can take off.
15 min transfer to hotel, luggage brought to room within 10 minutes of arrival.
Very friendly helpful staff, so genuinely keen to please, even the manager came and spoke to everyone at the cocktail party. They are always looking to improve if they can.
Food was great. I dont eat meat but always plenty of food to choose from, big variety of salads.
The grounds are wonderful, well maintained and spacious. This was a great time of year to come. Not many children loads of free loungers. A good mix of english getrman and italian. However the manager says that in 2 weeks there will be a huge influx of russians, as they vacation time and expecting 400 children!!!
The sun sets at about 530 as it has just changed to Egyptian winter time, 36 degrees most days.
The animation team speak 3-5 languages and are friendly a couple of them a bit flash and annoying but do take the hint.
The workers really dont get much money i think it is about 20 egyptian pounds per week which is about 2 pound 50p sterling so they are so gratful of tips. i gave the room boy 40 egytian, he done amazing designs with towels each day and room alway immaculate. I gave a couple of my favourite waiters 20 pounds tip. We was there for only a week.
Did the Hamata island hopping, these are organised for Mondays, this was brilliant, the first island you can step onto, it is so exotic. Snorkelling was ok. 2nd island you cant go onto so you jump off the boat to snorkell, as the 3rd island, so if you dont like jumping off the boat this wouldnt be for you unless happy to just be on the boat like half the people. The boat was not overcroded, about 15 ppl on each boat. If you have any queries wou could email me and i would be happy to answer any questions. [email protected]"
- Travel date: Wed 27th of September 2006
"if you want to live like a king for a week or two then you must go to the hotel lamaya, its the most beautiful hotel and grounds and food you could wish to have. its perfect if you just want to relax eat wonderful food and sunbathe and swim in one of the three pools. the staff are so attentive so friendly they make you feel as if you are a royal guest.
it almost never rains so a suntan is guarenteed. it also has great entertainment for you in its own theatre, i can't praise it enough. its a bit isolated being in the desert but it also has its own shopping parade the shop where i spent most of my time was in a papyrus shop where the shopkeeper facinated me by telling me the history of the beautiful paintings on papyrus, all about Tutankhamun the young king, he has the most amazing paintings you will find for hundreds of miles around. i left the holiday very impressed and hoping it wont be too long before i go again and be treated like a movie star and buy even more amazing paintings and see the staff who treated me like a best friend"
- Travel date: Thu 21st of September 2006
"An excellent hotel, nice staff, everything you want from a hotel.
Food was good and varied, help yourself drinks dispensers, really nice spacious rooms. Management were on the ball, would not let standards slip at all.
We had two weeks and we wanted 3 by the end of it, I would definately go back. Diving was good, there is a local dive school on the beach, we went to emporer instead, only because it was reccomended by my dive club. To be honest the hotel school was probably a bit cheaper, you have to do some skills on your first dive to prove you are capable, other than that it would be a good dive experience. You can go in off the end of the jetty, they have a desiganated area for divers, great coral, fantastic sea life. If you are into diving go and see Dennis the Du Gong in Abu Dhabab, he is fantastic about 13 feet long munching on the sea grass. You will not regret this booking."
- Travel date: Thu 7th of September 2006
"We booked this hotel as a last minute deal as fed up with the rain in this country. I have to say this hotel could not be any cleaner and the staff could not be any more attentive if they tried! The value for money in this hotel is unbelievable and we will def go back next year! We went on a quad biking trip through the desert, watched the sun set, and then drove back in the dark, which was a real experience. The room was lovely, the food was good lots of choice and unlimited amount olf drink. We also met Mimo in the perfume shop - nice guy
Loved every minute of the holiday make this one your first choice!!!
Louise & Steve, Essex"
- Travel date: Wed 30th of August 2006
"Returned from weeks last minute holiday with daughter. Couldnt' have chosen a better place if we tried. It fullfilled all our criteria. Hot, peaceful, but not too quiet. Available sunbeds with shade and lovely pools! Loads of available shade on beach! If you wait till about 1pm you can swim in sea alone as everyone goes to lunch. Wish we'd have taken those rubbery shoes you can wear on beach and in water as sand hot and hard to walk on. Also good for boat trips, as slippery.Rooms and air conditioning excellent, cool and clean. No funny smells, big roomy shower. don't bother with your own towels. Beach covers are a good idea here to slip over bickini to have lunch etc! the Beach cafe is really good .No flies, no mosquitos. Food was O.K. in reataurant and men need to wear long shorts and proper t.shirts in evening . Also, women are expected to cover up a bit on shopping trips etc. The trips were great and educational too! the Bedouin so hospitable on the Jeep Safari and Camel Trip, and the rep guides are very attentive and knowledgable. We made friends with a baby camel, so lovely. Didn't rate the horseriding however, bit too hot and quite boring. Red sea cruise was great, it was like swimming in a giant aquarium, and we saw several Turtles and the best fish. Good food on boat too and plenty of time to snorkle. Use high factor or cover up. I burnt my back and bum.Take your own snorkling stuff if you can as it is not included. We didn't have any dodgy tummy probs, but we drank plenty of fluid and ate sensibly. Not alot of Brits this time of year, plenty of Italians and Germans. Staff were interested in my daughter most kept distance and bounderies, but there was one young man who made her feel uncomfortable! All the children we saw were having the time of their lives! We even sat on the beach and watched the Eagles catching fish! Dollars euros and eygyptian pounds accepted everywhere., and there is now an A.T.M in resort to withdraw egyptian pounds in small doninations too. If you need any medication from chemist ask one of the egyptian reps to get it for you as they are charged a lower rate! Ciggies are cheaper in parade of shops across from resort. Would have been nice if there was tea and coffee facilities in room, apparently this will be available next year when we go back next year with rest of family!"
- Travel date: Wed 9th of August 2006
"Just got back from a week at this resort with my girlfriend and i have to say its one of the nicest resorts i have ever stayed at (being fairly well travelled).
The hotel was very clean and staff could not do enough for you, always smiling, always saying hello, there are some reviews on here complaining about the friendliness of staff but you just have to know how to take it. We made a lot of friends out there and will hopefully keep in contact.
The food was excellent, huge choice, and plenty to drink.
Rooms where tidy and cleaned daily and they always leave an animal made out of towels on your bed, which is a nice touch. The air con is a god save though, you will appreciate it even sleeping at night.
Everyday by the pools, staff came out with complimentary water melon and orange drinks. The pool was very nice although its fairly warm, so doesn't really refresh you from the heat all that much, but thats why we get away from England so im not complaining.
The weather, must have been in the 40's daily but was made bearable by a nice (slight) breeze coming from the red sea. As for the sea, beautiful, clear and all the tropical fish are there to see, corals also are amazing, as our rep put it, like bunches of flowers beneath the waves.
Day trips, didn't really do many of these but we did go to Luxor/Valley of the kings, this was amazing, the fact that its all nearly 3500 years old and still looking like it was done yesterday. To get there you leave the hotel at about 4am and join about 70+ other coaches and drive in a convoy with a police escort, its a sight to be seen, once there you visit, valley of the kings, get boat trip across the Nile, dinner in another Iberhotel, visit the papyrus museum, and finally karnak temple, temperature though is unbelievable, must have hit the high 40's not really a trip for those who can't handle the heat, the only relief is the air con on the bus.
Shops, not that many but on the resort itself, make sure you go and see Mimo in the perfume shop, very friendly guy and sells some really nice fragrances, and give you a cup of tea and cigarette (if you smoke).
I have heard a lot of talk about visas, we bought ours at marsa alam airport and i have heard people saying its Â£12-Â£15, well i think they make it up as they go along, he said a price, didn't understand him so gave him Â£25 and gave me Â£5 back so ended up paying Â£10 each.
All in all this is a fantastic place and can quite safely say that after visiting the red sea riviera im now done with the Mediterranean. We will defiantly go back next year to see all our friends and just relax, but this time for 2 weeks as 1 really isn't enough.
My only complaint is the animation staff who quite simply, are just anoying, but wouldn't stop me going back.
Hope this review helps, you will not regret choosing this hotel.
Steve & tanya"
- Travel date: Tue 1st of August 2006
loved every minute
"we have just returned from a fab 2 weeks here ,the food was great and staff were fab they could not do enough to help you. The weather was hot but there was a slight breeze of the sea so it felt great,the rooms were so clean with views over the red sea and desert. The beach itself had that gritty sand but no one seemed bothered by it to get into the sea you have to go down the jetty or you can walk around a short way to go in from the beach as the coral is protected but it is so nice and the fish well all the different colours and the sea is so clear.We did the day trip to luxor and the valley of the kings you do see alot but it is a really long day and very,very hot you leave the hotel at 4am and are on a coach all day you do not get back to the hotel until about midnight .we would go back again if you are looking for a good rest this is the place to stay as there is not alot around but plenty of trips to do if that is what you like we just did luxor and the short trip to el quiser for a bit of gift shopping but be warned the minute you get of the coach the locals are waiting for you and just want you to spend in their shops they are pushy but not rude ."
- Travel date: Fri 28th of July 2006
Want to come back !
"I know that this has been the best experience and holiday that I have ever been to I loved it so much that I want to come back again! The people that work there were so friendly and make the atmosphere enjoyable, the waters at the resort made everything enjoyable and made sure that everyone was happy. I strongly recommend you spending your holiday here as long as you can take the hot weather. The best holiday yet! I thank everyone that made the holiday feel special there was nothing I disliked because all the staff said hello as you wandered past. The room service was excellent everything was cleaned and tidy as a nice surprise, I thought that it was excellent that everybody that worked there could speak a lot of different languages. I am going to come back in the future thank you for everything!! "
- Travel date: Thu 9th of August 2012
Golden Wedding 3 April 2011
" As a surprise my husband arrange a weeks holiday 30 March for our 50th Wedding Ann on 3 April,even greater surprise was that our 3 children/partners were also coming. The Lamaya is truly a wonderfull place, and the hotel managment coulnd'nt do enough to help our children give us such a lovley day,even down to making us a anniversary cake,(half fresh stawberry;s half chocolate)all fresh cream, All day guests/staff were congratulating us, it was truly memorble day.
So I would like to take this oppotunity of thanking the manager, chef, and all his staff, for helping our children give us such a lovley day.
The hotel is top class, so clean,even though its was only 25pc full, they were trying very hard to entertain,quests, there was no reason to feel that we were in any kind of trouble(due to the unrest befor we left, we would like to visit again soon, hopefully ."
- Travel date: Mon 6th of June 2011