Marina Lodge at Port Ghalib
13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Brilliant Holiday and Hotel
"I knew what to expect on this holiday. Thomas Cook had informed us befor we went that there was building work going on around the hotel, THIS DID NOT ruin our holiday. In fact I dint think I really even noticed it. Although in th middle of nowhere, there were plenty of trips and if you want to do them ask because the rep didnt really push them. Me and my boyfriend went camel riding(that was an experience), quad biking for sunset in the dessert ( that was amazing) and we also went snorkelling for a day. We went for a week but as we went on trips 10 days wouldve been perfect. We paid Â£180 each for this holiday and some people cheaper some a little more . The area will be wonderful when it is all finished and I certintly wont be able to afford it then. Do not let anyone put you off this hotel, the staff are good, the hotel is fab, the poll is freezing(ha ha) but for a relaxing holiday or if you do a few trips its fab. And just a little tip, for Â£11 a day pp you can go all inclusive but you have to ask reception. Not everyone knows about this so just ask. I think you will really enjoy this holiday if you go knowing and expecting not alot there like we did."
- Travel date: Tue 30th of January 2007
A wonderful holiday at the Coral Beach Diving Hotel in Marsa Alam
"We arrived in Marsa Alam on the afternoon of January 17th. It had been raining, and the tarmac was still a little wet. We had been told that the temperature does drop from about 4pm onwards. But to us, having just left, wet, cold and Windy Manchester, the air was still balmy and warm. By about 6pm it had become a little chilly, but again, nothing like how cold it was at night at home.
The drive from the airport to the Coral Beach hotel takes approx 15mins, we were the first to be dropped off. The Coral Beach hotel looks stunning, and the entrance foyet was most impressive. We were greeted warmly and given a welcome drink of what looked like a raspberry tea. This can be taken hot or cold.
We were quickly shown up to our rooms. The rooms were spacious and the decor was Nubian, Egyptian style. I loved it, there was no bath which is often the case in Egyptian hotels, but there was a shower big enough for two!!! We had plenty of towels. The rooms have air conditioning or heating whichever you require. There are no tea and coffee making facilities in the room, but there is a Television, with 24hr films available if you wish. My hubby was diving, so most nights we were tucked up in bed by about 10pm, tired out from the days activies.
There has been mention by other reviews of the hotel looking as if it has just been dumped in the desert. I found the back drop of Mountains to be beautiful. There is work going on accross the Marina, it is rumoured it is to be a Diving Hotel and complex. But I hardly noticed the activity coming from there, as there was so much beauty to drink in all around me. Waking up in the morning and looking out of our window straight onto the Marina where the Emperor divers boats were moored along with other private boats was wonderful. Seventh heaven for my husband who adores boats. The diving apparently was out of this world, and the Guides and Crew with Emperor Divers were first class. My husband enjoyed his week immensely, having seen Duggie the Dugong..on two occassions. Plus the beautiful sea turtles. and many other exotic colourful fish. The coral gardens were a myriad of magic and colour. The food on board the boats was also superb.
Back to the Hotel.. I could not praise the cleanliness and friendly helpful staff more. Nothing was too much trouble. They will try and teach you a few words of arabic, and if you take the trouble to learn a few words, you will be rewarded by their obvious delight and full attention. The food was excellent, Omar the omlette chef and the hotel baker was charming and made the most yummy pastries. The food was very tasty and beautifully presented. At this time of the year, there is nothing in the way of entertainment, until the last night, and this was a splendid Theatre show. We were asked by the staff for two volunteers to be King and Queen for the show. One of our party volunteered me to be Queen, so I said, ok, but you have to be King. Imagine our suprise, when we were rushed off to seperate rooms, where I was told to take my clothes off..and was dressed in the most gorgeous attire and was given the most beautiful Crown to wear, I was to be Nefretitti and my friend having had a similar experience, looked fantastic dressed as Rameses. We gawped at each other..with the most massive grins on our faces. We were escorted to the amphetheatre, where our friends greeted us with delight applause. We were then told to stand oversee the floor show. To be dressed as a Egyptian Queen and have egyptian dancers dance for me and bow, was the most amazing experience of my life, and one that made my holiday.
I was worried before we went about the weather..but I needn't have. Yes, the evenings are cold and you need to have a couple of warm jumpers with you. But the day times, were gloriously sunny and warm. I came home with a beautiful tan. Find the Sun terrace, it s a fantastic sun trap and offers an amazing view of the mountains and sea. There is plenty of trips you can take, and yes, there is usually a drive involved to get there. But who cares you are on holiday. Obviously the longest one is the trip to Luxor. I did not make it because I had a bad stomach. Too much sun and fruit and veg..lol but its well worth it, so if you get the chance go.
I can't wait to go again, and we are already saving up for the end of the year. The currency which seems to be used the most is Euro's or Sterling. You can use Egyptian pounds or US Dollars, but its true that if you take the sterling with you, you get a good rate of exchange. The hotel take credit cards, but travellers cheques have to be changed in the neighbouring town.
Any questions be happy to answer. Anyone going soon, I envy you, you are oing to have a wonderful time. It is quiet in the daytime when the divers are all out, but is wonderful for resting and just chilling out. Oh, yes, the swimming pools are freezing.!! The sea is much warmer.
- Travel date: Fri 26th of January 2007
Great place to just Chill Out
"Just back yesterday from Coral Beach after a wonderful week. As expected the area is a building site, but the hotel was excellent, modern but with an egyptian flavour. The rooms are large with tv/safe/fridge and we had a beautiful view of the pool and Port Galib. The food was very good but very very repetitive. We upgrade on site to All Inclusive for Â£11 per day, a really good option, as apart from the snack bar by the pool there is NO where else to eat. There are 2 beautiful pools, none of which are heated, and there is a free bus to another hotel on the beach, which is not fully built, so you do have to dodge the JCB's and the water was rather cold! The staff were really brillian especially NONO in the bar, you just could'nt help but laugh at him. If you are looking for vey quiet relaxing hotel, and just want to lay around in the sun, then this is the place. We were also really lucky with the weather in was sunny and hot all week, with a constant breeze - and although the hotel was not that busy we met up with some wonderful people and hopefully have made some good friends. Certainly would go back."
- Travel date: Fri 19th of January 2007
Peaceful quite and restful bar the moaning Brits
"We booked this holiday through the Thomas Cook website and got a bit of a bargain. As a couple who dive this was the perfect spot and far less crowded than Sharm and an ideal place to relax and rest when not diving.
Everyone staying at the hotel is either HB or FB. We found the food to be of a very good standard and there was always a variety of choices at both breakfast and for the evening meal.
The rooms were extremely well kept, clean, tidy and of a high standard.
Please note, the fact this hotel is called Coral Beach Diving Hotel is a bit of a give away. It is mainly focused at divers and not families with young children. There is little to do if you don't dive and nothing close by really worth visiting that is in walking distance. But, if you read all the details on the websites in the UK they DO state these facts. Listening to people moaning about the fact they had "nowt to do" (bit of a clue who was moaning there!) as they wanted a cheap 4 star hotel in a hot country without reading all the details can be a really bind at times.
Spending the last day listening to Brits complaining bitterly about an Â£8 bill with the staff and management that the believed they didn't owe yet it transpired they did owe left you thinking what the Egyptians must make of us folk!!
Also, we had already read the reviews before going so knew to stay off the wine and spirits and just drink Sakara!"
- Travel date: Fri 5th of January 2007
tranquility / beverley wardle
"We as a group of 9 divers and myself have just had a week at the Coral Beach Diving Hotel. For me, i wanted a total switch off holiday and that is exactly what i got, for the 5 days that the group were out diving i had a choice of 4 pools and any sunbed i wanted!!! No need to reserve beds here! The diving was excellent, although tiring due to a flight delay ( plane malfunction 2 hrs into flight,returned to gatwick) .A special thanks goes to Jamie, Becs and the crew from Emperor Divers. The hotels cleanliness was superb, food was good, plenty of choice , and interested every day to see what animal or flower the room attendant could make out of the bedding or towels. Although there is building work going on around the resort it didnt detract from a lovely holiday. It was pure bliss. An excellent time was had by all."
- Travel date: Mon 16th of October 2006
excellent hotel, great holiday
"Just back from 2 weeks at the Coral Beach Diving hotel. I travelled with my husband and our 10 year old daughter, we booked this hotel specifically for the on site diving facilities and were certainly not disappointed. The hotel is spotlessly clean, rooms nicely furnished and comfortable. The restaurant offered a variety of meal choices, although after 2 weeks felt we had sampled the chefs entire repartee. The food was always piping hot and beautifully presented, the waiting staff were friendly and courteous.
We found the other hotel staff to be similarly helpful and pleasant, particularly Ramona from Guest Relations was excellent.
The hotel pools were clean, spacious,and there were ample loungers.
Much has been said in previous reviews about the building noise from the new marina adjacent to the hotel, whilst it must be agreed that there is ongoing building work nearby, On the days I was by the pool, I found the noise unobtrusive, indeed infinately preferable to the ear-splitting animation teams and blasting euro-pop that seems to be the norm in a lot of resorts. The pool area was peaceful and quiet, we did not hear any building work in the evenings either.
Emperor Divers in the hotel was excellent, staff very professional and friendly, Our daughter did her open water course and thoroughly enjoyed it (thank you to the ever patient Jaimie), we visited the local dive sites, pristine corals and abundant sea life. The dive guides were great, special thanks to James, Penny and Bex. and also to Martina in reception.
Best of all, the boats leave from the hotel Jetty so no long transfers and waiting about in the heat.
The hotel is very much geared towards divers, there are nice bar areas for relaxing in the evening but little in the way of entertainment for children.This was absolutely fine for us but maybe not so good for families with small children or those who like to join in pool games and such like, can`t think of anything worse personally.
Despite the hotels name, there is no beach, coral or otherwise, this did not detract from an excellent holiday."
- Travel date: Thu 31st of August 2006
The good, the bad & the ugly
"We stayed at the Coral Beach for a week at the end of August. We booked last minute through Thomas Cook and got a very good deal with flights with Excel Airways.
We booked extra leg room seats with Excel in advance, which was well worth the money as there was plenty of room to stretch out, compared to the regular seats which were very cramped.
The hotel has been imaginatively designed, with a fantastic layout. It has managed to capture both Egyptian charm and facilitate the main clientele of the hotel - divers. There are three swimming pools on site, immaculately cleaned, including a 3 metre deep pool for those wishing to learn to dive. There is a stunning roof top bar and a good pool side snack bar.
The rooms have an Egyptian feel, with pretty lights and bright paint work. They were very spacious and the beds were really comfy.
The waiters and bar staff were very friendly and service was excellent. There was a good variety of food in the restaurant. The entire hotel was always very clean.
We dived every day, so it was great to have the dive centre, Emperor Divers, on site. The centre was very organised and the guides and boat staff were really friendly and helpful. Also, the dive boats left from directly outside the hotel so it couldn't have been more convenient. We really enjoyed the diving, especially our trip to Elphinstone where we saw a hammerhead shark!
Our only disappointment with Emperor was that the dive centre were reluctant to take us to Elphinstone more than once, prefering to take more people to the local sites and save themselves the expense of using another boat. So if this dive is offered - go! it might be the only opportunity you have in the week.
The staff at Reception in the hotel were not at all helpful. On several occasions we phoned to ask questions, but were told that someone would call us back, which they never did! We also moved rooms as the first room was very noisy as it was right next to a generator and had no view.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was non existant. It was like eating in a school cafeteria. The lighting was always very bright, which was fine for breakfast but not great for the evening. There was also never any music.
We knew before we arrived that Marsa Alam and Port Ghalib were developing resorts and were ready to arrive in a quiet area with little facilities. However, we were not prepared to arrive on a building site. Previous reports have stated that the building work was hardly noticable, I can only assume that it has therefore taken off in a big way. The work is practically 24 hours a day and louder at night when it is cooler for the men to work. It is also not pretty to look at! It is not on a small scale either, and surrounds the hotel on either side and directly in front. You can obviously not walk anywhere outside the hotel as a result. The work is completely neccesary and I would like to come back in two years to see the finished result as I believe it will be fantastic, but felt it was important to indicate the stage the resort is at presently.
TO SUM UP:
The building work did not ruin our holiday, as we were rarely in the hotel as we were diving each day. If having to look at and listen to a building site doesn't bother you, and if you are happy to stay inside the hotel you will also be fine. The staff, on the whole, are charming and welcoming, the rooms are spacious and the food good. It's a great value hotel and a real little gem for divers. Weigh up the pros and cons and you won't be disappointed."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of August 2006
"I have just returned from a two week stay at the Coral Beach Diving Hotel and was very impressed by the whole set up. I was a bit concerned when I was told about the building works, but as I was going to be ona dive boat most days the noise had little impact, even on my day off from diving I hardly noticed the noise.
The quality of the hotel and the helpfulness of the staff was second to none especially as we returned on the day of the terror plot and our flight was severely delayed, we just stayed at the bar for a bit longer and the hotel allowed us to keep the rooms open. Given that the temperature was over 40C this was certainly important.
There was a wide choice of food in the restaurant and gain waiters and the chef's done an excellent job.
The diving itself was extremely well organised as you would expect from a profesional set up such as Emperor. The quality of the loacl sites was stunning especially when compared to Sharm, and if you have the chance you have to get out to Elphinstone for an excellent wall dive.
I will defiantely come back to this hotel and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to stay in Marsa Alam. If you are not worried about a beach and are just going to dive then this is the place for you."
- Travel date: Thu 10th of August 2006
Great hotel & Great diving!!
"I've just come back after 1 week from the coral beach. The only problem I encountered was that I never booked 2 weeks. The hotel facilities were excellent. The staff were friendly and helpful (especialy when my son locked me out of the room). The food was lovey ( they have a new chef now). The rooms were spotless and the different designs of blankets every day was something to look forward to after diving all day. The tables and chairs in the water was absolutly wonderful. A good spot for that beer after the boat. There is construction works at the moment but we hardly heard anything, it certainly did not disturb my holiday. There are lots of places to lay down in the sun or in the shade, the beds in the alcoves are realy nice. I met the manager, who was very friendly and did his utmost to make our stay as pleasant as posible. What the gentelman failled to say in his report about the Jack Daniels was that imported sprits has a 400% imprt tax!! I cannot praise this hotel enough, thank you all at the hotel from the manager to the cleaning staff. Emperor divers' were excellent from the beginning to the end, very friendly and helpful. Safety was the key word for everything. The boats were great and roomy.The food on board was better than what I've got on other diving trips in Eygpt (spicy chicken espcialy). I can recommend the hotel and diving center to anyone."
- Travel date: Wed 26th of July 2006
Brief stop at Coral Beach
"I can't write a full review of this hotel - we had spent the week on a liveaboard dive boat and were given day use of the hotel on our final day. This is why I am reluctant to give it 5 stars, as for all I know, the service over a full week could be terrible, although I doubt that.
From what we saw of the hotel, the rooms were spacious with air conditioning, a balcony, large shower / bathroom area, TV and fridge.
The pool was bracing but refreshing given the July heat. There were several pools, we just stayed near the one by the main reception, but the remainder looked clean and well tended. There were ample sun beds, etc.
The waiter service was good, we had a pleasant club sandwich each and chips, and a number of drinks throughout the day. All served with a smile.
There was a massage room on site, and a little warily my partner and I decided to try it. It was very professional, about 30 Euros for a one hour full body massage, well worth trying, although when we tried to book for the same day, there were not many slots left, so make sure you get in early.
Based on our brief stay (and other reviews), I would be inclined to stay at the Coral Beach if I fancied an alternative to a liveaboard holiday."
- Travel date: Tue 18th of July 2006
What a disapointment! Try somewhere else!!
"I have just returned from two weeks at this hotel with my wife and two children, aged 13 and 16 years. We are not divers, although my children did use the services of Emperor. I have no complaint of Emperor and found that they were very well ran and extremely helpful. It's a shame I cannot say the same for The Marina Lodge Hotel. On the one hand there are some good qualities about this hotel i.e. some of the staff are very good, nice swimming pools, however, I don't think I have ever come across such a poorly managed hotel. Unfortunately we had many complaints, most of which originated from the poor quality of the all inclusive package. The all day snacks consisted of 'local cakes' in the morning and afternoon, which appeared to have been left over from breakfast! There was no ice cream, as promised, on offer. Although when we left we were told that they were going to allow free ice cream 2 days per week!! All inclusive customers are also only allowed to get their drinks, in plastic cups, from the bar near the pool (not air conditioned), whilst half board customers were allowed to buy drinks from the 50 bar (air conditioned) and were trusted to use glasses.
My wife and I were both very ill with a severe stomach upset and infact my wife is unwell still now (2 weeks later). I would estimate 60% of the customers were ill with terrible tummy cramps, which must be connected to something at the hotel, although I don't know what.
When we tried to complain and asked to see the manager, at first this was refused, however, we were then told that he would be 5 minutes. Eventually an hour later we were told that he was in a meeting and could not see us. We were then seen by a 'manager' who spoke with an American accent who openly lied and was very rude.
I could go on for sometime detailing my complaints, which did spoil the holiday to some extent, but must say that it did have some redeeming features e.g. the Animation Team, who were very good and great fun. Also the rooms were fine, so long as you closed the door before the smell of the drains crept in.
Anyway, if you're at this hotel just to dive and not too bothered about your accommodation then this hotel will be fine, but if you are expecting more, then try somewhere else!
- Travel date: Sun 1st of August 2010
i stayed here in feburary 2008, and i wa...
"i stayed here in feburary 2008, and i was overwhelmed with the service of all the staff, especially in the resteraunt and bars. the staff gave us a warm welcome and we settled in in no time. My 2 brothers took there scuba diving course whilst on holiday and they both said the really enjoyed it and would reccomend non-divers to try it. The food was delicious. the entertainment at night isn't what you expect, but still it is great to watch. overall, i really enjoyed my stay and can say i will be back "
- Travel date: Thu 21st of February 2008