2 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
The hotel itself is lovely, clean, very...
"The hotel itself is lovely, clean, very well kept and large and impressive looking. Marble architecture and flooring make this look like a lovely hotel, and the staff are all very friendly. However, my party and I were extremely disappointed by the food and location of the hotel. The pool area and beach are wonderful, and we could always find a sunbed each and were provided with hotel towels.
The food, although of a decent enough quality and in abundance in terms of quantity, the variation is poor. The basics of rice, pasta, potatoes, and mixed vegetables in a tomato sauce are served every single day without fail. As much as you might like these foods, they become extremely tiresome after about 7 days. The menu seemed to be limited to the same things every day. The lunch menu was a rotation of all these things, with salad, and again, a rotation of either liver, shellfish (which was truly awful) and/or chicken. The food itself was, for the most part, well cooked, so the hotel certainly have the capability to cook good food...I just wish someone would instruct them to cook some other foods.
I am English and was EXTREMELY disappointed to get to the hotel to find it is geared almost ENTIRELY for Germans. There are information folders and notice boards, etc around the hotel and they are all either German or, if you're lucky, Dutch or Italian. We could find absolutely NO information in any English. Ditto the TV (so called satellite) TV....15 or so German/Dutch channels - three English speaking channels.. of American MBC and news channels.
We paid nearly Â£1000 each for 2 weeks in this so called all inclusive hotels and was therefore disappointed to learn that if you want a fresh orange juice or a fresh coffee or a cocktail, you have to pay. This seemed petty and extremely bad for guests who'd paid for all inclusive. The free drinks were bad tasting wine (the wine is just about drinkable, the red is repulsive, and tastes metallic, the rose is ok)...or beer, or soft drinks. These limited choices were a real disappointment for my party and I.
The hotel sits almost directly on the beach so every guest gets a sew view and the beach is lovely, plenty of sunbeds and a luncheon area where you can get drinks all day while on the beach or with a pool bar area if you're round the pool. However, in terms of hotel entertainment, there seemed to be very little. The hotel Pensee Royal Garden is literally, in the middle of nowhere. The journey from the airport is a 2 hour drive (if your driver is breaking the speed limit) and there is nothing around for miles. There is one small shopping area directly opposite the hotel and it sells, well basically, rubbish. Some souvenirs or fake clothing goods etc. Inside the hotel itself, there is a gym, pharmacy, and medical centre if you need it.
There is a small shop near the pool area but honestly, avoid this at ALL costs. And it will be all costs. We bought just a bottle of coke, some crisps and a lip salve stick and some biscuits and it cost about Â£10. Everything is about twice the price it would be in the UK or anywhere else for that matter. A complete rip off as the shop knows it has a captive market and there's nothing else around for miles.
Travel time to airport was horrible...and as we discovered when we got there, excursions or trips are twice the price as people have to come to the middle of nowhere to pick you up. We didn't leave our hotel for 2 weeks, because there was nowhere to go, no information for English people and no clear contact details for anyone.
The Pensee has a sister hotel, Utopia, which I believe is of a lesser star rating, and you can walk from one to the other and share the facilities...and although Utopia is a cheaper hotel, it really shows as all the guests prefer to come eat in the Pensee and moan about how rubbish the rooms are and the hotel is ay Utopia.
The Pensee has nice rooms and facilities and you cannot fault the staff or cleanliness. The hotel has a medical centre and pharmacy nearby should you need it, and if the hotel was only in a more lively area, it would be a dream location. But the Pensee is sadly isolated where it is. We were told our hotel Pensee is in Hurghada. In actual fact, it is in El Quasar, 2 hours at least from Hurghada and any sign of life at all. Extremely difficult to get to and from.
Although the Pensee has a games room, there seemed to be very little to do. Very quiet and secluded, maybe an ideal holiday for some....but with no chance to do anything, it makes you a little stir crazy after some many days.
Hotel is clean though and well maintained and the pool area is lovely, clean and there's plenty of it and you can always find room and a sunbed.
I cannot fault the rooms, hotel service, or other facilities. There was a hairdryer for the ladies and step in bath with shower facilities. And, where I was situated, it was very quiet and you couldn't really hear the noise from the adjacent rooms. In this respect, the hotel was very good.
There is also a phone room and an internet room should you need it, and I think you will after 10 days or so of seeing any hotel staff and guests!
I personally wouldn't recommend this hotel to anyone due to the location foremost, and the food, secondly. If you want to go to Egypt, try a hotel IN Hurgarda or Sharm El Sheik, which is much more developed and lively and has plenty to do and see. If you are going to the Pensee or Utopia, take plenty of reading material, games, cards, computer games, music etc, as you will need to find things to amuse yourself for the most part. And don't expect too much food wise from this so called All Inclusive resort."
- Travel date: Wed 9th of January 2008
Just returned from a great week at the P...
"Just returned from a great week at the Pensee.
This is my second time to Marsa Alam and it is fast becoming my favourite resort on the Red Sea.
The area is so much nicer than Sharm these days. Better beaches better diving and we found in January it was a few degrees warmer than Sharm was.
The hotel itself is in a perfect location right on its own private beach, it has a lovely choice of pools, one with a swim up bar!
The rooms were all very spacious and well kept and ours had a fantastic sea view.
We spent most of our time either diving or at the hotels but a lot of people seemed to enjoy the various excursions that were on offer.
This trip was with a mate from our dive club but I am seriously thinking of coming back with the family in October half term.
The hotel would be really good for a family as there is so much to do, you can even use everything at the sister hotel next door if you want a change of scenery.
One point worth mentioning was we paid 150 Egyptian for a taxi from the airport which is about Â£15.00 but it only cost 70 to get back.
All in all a fantastic week and so bad to have to come back to this weather!
- Travel date: Thu 18th of January 2007