10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
The Most Luxurious Beach Hotel in Egypt
"InterContinental the Palace at Port Ghalib Resort is in every aspect absolutely the best beach hotel I have ever visited. The hotel itself is brand new and simply beautiful. Itâs an oasis of tranquility. Services and hotel stuff are unbelievable.
The rooms are spacious and very comfortable, equipped with classy furniture, flat screen TV and outstanding bathroom. This type of room with âopen-bathroomâ is very common in the top Asian hotels. I found everything necessary here, including iron and iron-desk, high speed-internet, minibar, selection of tea and coffee, bathrobes and fully equipped bathroom with magnifying mirror as well.
As the InterContinental Ambassador members we enjoyed all the benefits such as daily water and fruit replenishment, goodnight-sweets and selection of nuts and hibiscus lemonade that have been also replenished daily.
At Port Ghalib you have plenty of possibilities to dine out. At InterContinental we had lunches at Pool Deck bar, which we found quite good and dinners and a lunch at The Olive restaurant where the food and service are really the top-level. From my point of view, the restaurant is not overpriced. The food is expensive but adequate to five-star hotel. We have been advised to experience the Budourâs Court Lebanese restaurant and Souh Al Hana traditional Egyptian restaurant both in Cornishe & Khan shopping mall, but we never found ourselves interested in visiting them.
There is sophisticated infinity pool, which is heated during the winter months, which is our time for visiting the Egypt. The area is luxurious and very quiet. You can also swim in one of the largest swimming pools in the world, which is connecting InterContinental and two Crown Plaza hotels. Port Ghalib hotels are build on their very own coral reefs, but there is bridge leading to the deeper waters, which are marked as swimming zones. Beaches are clean and well equipped with the furniture of any kind.
Services are tremendous at the InterContinental the Palace Port Ghalib. The staff is very willing and kind. There are many additional services that surprised me a lot. On the pool we experienced the waiters with fresh ice tea and fruit for free and also âsunglasses cleaningâ.
In the hotel, there is Six Senses Spa which we found very good. Thai-staff is really doing their job.
Overall, the hotel is definitely the best in Egypt, forget the Ritz-Carlton in Sharm-el-Sheikh. It will be very difficult to compete the level of services for any other beach hotel in the future."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of April 2010
"We where at the Palace the first time in may 2009 and returned in october and hope to go back asap.
The hotel rooms and facilities are excellent, stayed in a executive suite in october and it is a wow factor one of the best suites I have ever stayed in and believe me I have seen many.
All the staff is extremelly professional and really do their best to make you feel like a queen.
Olive restaurant is great for breakfast and Ã la carte dinner - a little bit of music on the background during dinner would be a good idea.
A special thank you to Mr. Duchenne for the wonderful surprise we had on the friday morning."
- Travel date: Tue 9th of March 2010
great hotel, but almost empty
"Excellent staff! Very polite staff! They do their best to serve you. The hotel is great but it was almost empty. They work mostly with conventions as they told me.
I recoment Olive restaurant, not only for breakfast but also for a la carte dinners. It is expensive but you get the best food there. We went also in the Crowne Plaza / Sahara Sands and Oasis Souq al Hana restaurant - 210LE plus taxes per person for unlimited buffet, Italian, Indian or Asian food counters, massive range of desserts, salads etc, but we did not felt satisfaction with the food (only the desserts were interesting). Snorkeling was a unique experience there. Food and internet were very expensive."
- Travel date: Sat 23rd of January 2010
A beautiful hotel
"This hotel is truly an impressive building, much due to its enormous lagoon, which I thought during a long part of my stay, that this was the main swimming pool. After staying there for a full week, I realised that there are several other pools, one even heated and the lagoon is only a point of attraction. Me and my partner did attempt to swim in the lagoon, but the water was too cold.
The hotel was one of the cleanest I have ever seen and the rooms, spacious and modern. It was a pleasure to sit on the balcony and have either morning coffee or evening tea. The staff was friendly. The bar had a magnificent view overlooking the lagoon. The food areas offered a wide variety of global food. Me and my partner tried all the hotel restaurants and we enjoyed the quality of the cuisine. My partner who is a keen swimmer, scuba dived in the Red Sea and was impressed with the underwater scenery. This became a daily routine in his programme during our stay there, while I enjoyed the privacy of the beach."
- Travel date: Sat 26th of December 2009
p Perfect Stay at The Palace
"The hotel is located near the new airport of Marsa Alam, only 10 minutes away from the hotel. We had a perfect ""Greet & Meet" service and the receipt was very kindly, just a form of comming home.
During our whole stay the staff absolutely spoilt us and the management takes very good care of us. For the third time we had the same suite (sea and pool view) and a connecting sea view room for our children and our grandson.
All the food, including breakfast, pool diner and restaurant diner was absolutely fantastic with everything you could wish for. You can eat inside or outside and the service was exemplory. The staff is very service minded and kind friendly. They like to make us happy and it works very well.
Port Ghalib is a small resort that you can walk around quite easily and lunch and evening (buffet) meals can be taken in any of the Intercontinental restaurants near The Palace: such as Crowne Plaza Sahara and Crowne Plaza Oasis. There are also several restaurants and coffee bars at the Marina. There are small shops (souvenirs and so) at The Corniche. Security guards are everywhere to make sure guests are safe.
We had a very enjoyable and relaxing time. The hotel staff does their utmost to satisfy us with all our needs.
I would recommend this resort and, in particular, this hotel, for anyone seeking relaxation and peace.
The beach at The Palace is clean and quiet with sunbeds, umbrellas and windbreaks. You can also get bar service.
The beach is perfect for snorkling directly from the beach (or from the jetty) to the reefs with a lot of colours and all kinds of fish. The water temperature is approximately 28 degrees centigrade (also in september)and the water is extremely clear (nice for making photographs).
For Scuba divers there is nearby (3 minutes with a free watertaxi) a excellent diving company (Emperor Diving) which takes very good care of all diving needs such as training, certification, boot- and reef dives and all equipment you need.
It is a great place to have a quiet, relaxing, enjoyable holiday. For our grandson there is a childrens club and for swimming there is the beautifull lagoon and 3 swimming pools (o.a. with waterslides)."
- Travel date: Tue 3rd of November 2009
If a few more people go it will be superb !
"Stayed for 3 nights in an Executive Suite last month and overall it is an excellent hotel. The hotel rooms and facilities are excellent and it really has a wow factor . The suite was absolutely huge and because it's a new property, still in pristine condition - it has huge terrace, 2 bathrooms, lounge with flat screen and DVD player, dining area etc etc- to die for. The Port Ghalib set up is impressive and I am sure that with the right marketing will be a great success- occupancy during Sept was very low even at the Crowne Plaza's too. Food was good quality and yes drinks are expensive but that's pretty much the case at any 5 star property worldwide so little point in moaning. The room rates are a bargain imho anyhow. We took snorkelling and dolphin trips arranged by the hotel which were both great - swam with wild dolphins at Dolphin House reef and saw amazing huge turtles only 10 mins from marina. Its fab and with a few more guests will be one of the best in the area I think. A small glitch with checkout was the only service issue during an otherwise faultless stay ."
- Travel date: Fri 30th of October 2009
Truly lovely hotel but London prices for food and drinks
"Intercontinental The Palace Hotel, Port Ghalib
THE GOOD NEWS - Stylish and visually stunning, also friendly and VERY quiet (if
you like quiet.....!) - THE BAD NEWS - London prices for food and drink
(My example prices given below do NOT include the 12% compulsory hotel service charge, or the 10% Govt and 2% local taxes, which they whack on top of the food and
drinks - when we went the FX rate was abt 8.2 LE (Egyptian pounds) to Â£1 UK).
Booked with - Crusader Travel (actually it turned out to be Longwood Holidays
with a Thomson Fly ticket on a First Choice (cramped 757) plane - but Crusader
were cheaper than all the others mentioned, for the same B&B package including
the in-flight meal on the plane (which the crew try to charge you Â£7.50 for if
you don't have it included.!). Drinks, headsets, ice cream, snacks, Thomson
charge you for the lot- it was more like a flying supermarket trolley dash than
Marsa Alam airport is privately owned and it shows - it has been upgraded since our last visit about 3 years ago, it is not huge but it is clean and smart and fast track - everyone is out within about 30-40 minutes of the plane landing, they want to speed you through. There are various visa desks in the arrivals hall, your tour operator will meet you there, take you to his desk, give you a visa stamp so you can clear immigration, then you pay him on the bus to the hotel. This cost LE100 - about Â£12 (via the Longwood holidays rep). There is also a visa window / bank in the arrivals hall if you want to buy it yourself, I doubt you'd save a lot - face price is $15. Going back it was a much slower process but there's not much to do in departures although there is a small duty free shop, so the queueing is OK)
Port Ghalib Marina
The Port Ghalib marina and hotel complex is about 10 minutes drive from the
airport and is made up of 3 hotels linked via a huge central man made salt
water swimming lagoon. These are - the Palace (aimed at couples/adults/not on a
budget), the Crowne Plaza Sahara Sands and the Crowne Plaza Sahara Oasis (aimed
more at families/on a budget - it is hard to see where one 'Sahara' ends and
the other starts - very similar buildings, only difference is one is beach side
and one lagoon side). There is a fourth smaller and much more basic hotel - the
Marina Lodge - aimed at divers - on the far side of harbour, linked by a water
taxi boat service (free until 5pm then a small charge payable) where they have
a bar and one restaurant.
The whole complex and airport is owned by a very wealthy Kuwaiti. It has been
open for two or more years but initially it was under the management of the
South African Sun International hotel chain and it did not flourish or gain
trade. Sun has now been replaced by the Intercontinental brand, and European
managers were much in evidence. The place is starting to take off. At the moment you can only fly from Gatwick and Manchester. Guests were primarily French, Italian, German, UK and locals/wealthy Egyptians (no Russians and no Eastern bloc tour operators planned to be allowed in. allegedly the owner wants to keep it reasonably exclusive!). A grand opening is advertised for November 09 with Beyonce attending to perform the opening ceremony and a concert!
We went the first 2 weeks in October. It was fairly deserted and occupancy was
running at about 20-30% (fine for us as we were looking for diving and R&R but
if you like busy, or even slightly busy, just forget it and go somewhere else.
You could be the only people eating in the hotel restaurant some evenings,
although the Marina is busier!)
However the conference centre trade is just starting to pick up which did fill
the Palace hotel completely for 5 nights with 300 delegates which made the
staff a bit fraught - like going from famine to feast workwise - but the
delegates were all out by 9am daily to the separate conference centre block
, so they did not interrupt the leisure side over much.
There are several shops mainly selling essential cosmetics, biscuits, crisps,cigarettes etc, and a load of tourist tat. There is a games room, a tiny internet cafÃ©, restaurants (see below) and a bar/cafe. There is clearly potential for expansion here and a lot of the units are still unlet. There are also apartments for sale in the Marina but none seem to be sold, the prices we were told are unattractive being 2/3 times higher than in El Gouna for eg.
The road infrastructure is obviously ready to be expanded but at the moment the
reis nothing except the airport and the staff village, outside of the Marina and
There is a tiny bank at the marina, there is also a cash machine tucked away
y in an unlikely hallway that we found by accident, adjacent to the immigration
arrivals hall of the port, near the Fish Market restaurant.
There is a taxi firm at the Marina but I'm not sure where you would go in one!
except to find the pharmacy!
The only true pharmacy that sells medicine is in a complex about 2 miles away
where the staff of the hotels live. It is at least a half hour walk from the
Marina on good road, with a pavement but then you have to transit an area that
is still 50% building site and its hard to find. There is also a small
supermarket of sorts there. Don't bother unless you are desperate.
Live-aboard dive boats come into the Marina at the start and end of their weeks
to refuel and drop off / pick up passengers, so the Marina can be either busy
or quiet. Emperor Divers are based at the Marina Lodge and will pick you/your
gear up from any hotel initially, thereafter you can get the water taxi to the
dive centre. Emperor have four/five boats and are a slick and professional
operation. They were busy - best to pre book if you are short on time or want
to dive every day. There is also a water sports centre with windsurfers,
pedalos, a large Seascope yellow submarine that leaves from the Marina offering
trips a few times daily to view the corals offshore, fishing trips can be booked
from the marina.
Attentive and friendly service, (but occupancy was very low so they were very
eager to chat and had plenty of time for you) Impressive large rooms and lovely dÃ©cor (a big cut above the other two hotels in terms of style)
Common to all three hotels in the complex are a huge salt water lagoon pool with
artificial beach surrounding it , a large fresh water swimming pool, kids pool,
a giant water slide for kids, loads of terraces, no shortage of comfy loungers,
garden and grassy areas. It takes nearly an hour to walk right round the hotel
Huge beach offering snorkelling within metres of the shore, at two places near
the Fish Market end of the beach you can walk in, otherwise there are two long
piers with life guards at thee end, offering easy large wide stepped access to
deep water drop off, you will see just snorkelling as good a range of fish and
corals as you can see scuba diving, maybe just not the very large fish or the
sharks (fine by me)!
There is an onshore breeze usually blowing that gives relief from heat, in
October we had a constant 28C-33C daytime, always sunny!
The only bad thing - the price, you are really paying London prices for the food
and drinks, the Fx rate was 8.20 LE/Â£ when we went, last time in Egypt it was
about 10LE/Â£ so not all due to FX rates. The Port Ghalib complex is just pricey
compared to All Inclusive deals at hotels like Calimera Habiba - however it is a
massive cut above in terms of quality of rooms and facilities and obviously you
could eat in a different place every day for one week's stay.
We had a 'lower ground' room 6142 facing the marina at the back of the hotel
which was lovely and quiet. The lower ground is actually at pool/garden level
and all lower ground rooms have nice flagged private terraces leading into the
garden areas. The Ground floor rooms are at reception/entry level, and the
first floor is the top floor of three. GF and 1st floor rooms all have
balconies. Our room had flat screen TV with various cable channels including
Star Movies, BBC World etc, in room safe, mini-bar, internet point, aircon. A
non - flushing loo was dealt with promptly and with huge apologies by a very
sweet maintenance man.
The rooms are open plan and include a sink and bath at one end in a large alcove
(which you can screen off with a curtain), also a separate WC and shower - I
believe that not all rooms have baths? Nice hot water, good quality wooden
furniture and contemporary dÃ©cor, very spacious, all towels and linens changed
daily! Ours was a standard room, which was fine. The sound-proofing is
excellent and you rarely hear noise from other rooms. The suites are bigger
with a separate bathroom, lounge and bedroom, two terraces, and sea views -
otherwise the dÃ©cor was just the same. You could allegedly upgrade to a suite
if you took out an Ambassador club membership for Intercontinental hotels (cost
$150 p/a) which would have been good value for a 2 week stay BUT there are only
14 suites in the Palace and there were none available for our period of stay so
don't do it unless you can be sure that you will actually get a suite!)
There is also a Presidential Suite which is very impressive and if you get an
invite to the Management cocktail, this is where it is held (Weds night 7-8 so
as the Gatwick flight arrives earlier on a Weds evening some people didn't get
to hear about it-as we were staying 2 weeks we go an invite on the second
Wednesday of our stay). This is a chance to see how the other half live.
Beyonce was getting this room for her one night stay!
If you are staying in the Palace, you can sign on your room at any outlet inside
the three hotels, and also at Budour Court restaurant in the Marina
In the Palace
Olive restaurant, for breakfast and a la carte dinners - main courses 80LE-150 LE
approx In the Crowne Plaza / Sahara Sands and Oasis Souq al Hana - 170LE per person for unlimited buffet, Italian, Indian or Asian food counters, massive range of desserts, salads etc, only go if you are hungry!
Cardomum Restaurant - only open evenings once weekly, but open at lunchtimes
Shequelas Fast food court-daytimes only for pool food/kids food etc
At the Marina
Budour's Court (at Marina), Lebanese food, starters 20 LE per dish, mains 80-90
LE This was my favourite of the outlets!
Pizza Hut (hard to find, no English sign! behind Budour Court), cheese overdose
and very average pizzas!
Fish Market (a Fish restaurant) The fish is sold by weight so you don't have
much idea what you will pay, sea bass is one of the cheapest on offer but it
was also very nice tasting, it was lovely and fresh, simply cooked, no frills
but good tasting
Le Grand CafÃ©-for drinks and small eats, seems to offer free WIFI
Fusion Japanese Hibachi restaurant, pricey but nice raw fish and the cheapset
bottle of wine found (Obelisk Rose LE110,very drinkable)
Baskin Robbins Ice Cream parlour
Costa Coffee shops
Grand CafÃ© for drinks - also have nightly display of sort of unenthusiastic
belly/disco dancing and music of sorts, big screen for football, also sometimes
a disco, the hotel staff and divers seemed to congregate here
Wine is the same price everywhere - 155LE per bottle for Sherehzade Egyptian
wine, a bit cheaper for Omat Kayyam and Obelisk brands. All other imported
wines are prohibitively expensive
A large 600CL bottle Sakkara, Stella or Heieken beer costs 30LE, cocktails
60-85LE. The cocktails in the Lobby bar of the Crowne Plaza were more generous
on the alcohol than at the Palace!
You get free bottled water and tea and coffee in your room, mini bar available,
also at beach they provide a free cooler box with water and cold towels, sun
glass cleaning service, and once or twice some ice creams or a bit of fruit
There is an internet cafÃ© with four terminals near the games room at the
marina.With your own laptop, you can access WIFI in the central area of the
hotel and wired connection in your room (RJ45 cable is provided) - they charge
25LE per 50MB of data downloaded, so if you just want to check email online
this should connect you for your stay. The Grand CafÃ© seemed to have free WIFI
judging by the huge numbers of people sitting there tapping away!
Six Senses Spa offers expensive but fabulous spa treatments, all sorts of
different massage package prices ranging from 495 LE (60 mins), 660LE (90
mins), 880LE (120 mins)... up to the most expensive 2,090LE for a 'detoxifier
journey' that takes 4 hours !!
There is a gym , we didn't go in there but it seemed well equipped!
That's about it!! Overall we had a lovely time and enjoyed it hugely but its
expensive and very quiet at the moment (doubt that will last, huge expansion
planned and money no object)."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of October 2009
Superb stay, could not get better
"This was out of the blue, a trip was planned by egyptair, and we decided to go in less than 3 hours, and oh boy, are we glad we went. From the momen you arrive at the airport, the hotel staff greets you and takes your luggage (notsure if this is always the case, or just because we were an egypt air tour).. never the less, the reception, the drinks that was offered to us was heart warming. The room was SPACIOUS compared to other hotels we have been to. The bathroom was royal. The idea of using facilities of all the hotel complex (three hotels in one, so triple the facilities) was very rewarding. The swimming pool(s).. the horizontal spread.. and the breakfsat were awsome.."
- Travel date: Fri 25th of September 2009
When I will return back again
"The friendliness and professional attitude of all the staff was indeed a joy .The moment you are greeted at the airport to the time you leave makes you feel ,wow,this is what a holiday experience should be like .The whole week was a joy,and would recommend anyone to come here and relax."
- Travel date: Tue 31st of March 2009
An Absolute Pleasure
"The hotel was very quiet when we stayed & the staff absolutely spoilt us. We had a sea view room which was spacious and comfortable. The bathroom with separate toilet & shower was virtually open plan with the room with just a large curtain for privacy. We discovered that we could upgrade to a suite for a relatively small supplement so treated ourselves. The suite had a separate lounge with flat screen TV, sofas and coffee table. A fridge and espresso coffee maker added to the luxury. The bathroom was huge but had a door for privacy. There was also another room with toilet & wash basin. Our suite had a large balcony and wonderful views of the beach, coral reef and out to sea. We could also see the swimming pool and part of the marina.
The breakfast was absolutely fantastic with everything you could wish for. You could eat inside or outside and the service was exemplory. Nothing was too much trouble for all the staff. They made it quite clear that their job was to make us happy and, with us, they succeeded. A special mention goes to Mohammed.
We ate lunch at the pool bar in the Palace Hotel, but you could have lunch at a number of other venues also. The choice of food was good but expensive and again service was very good.
For our evening meal we ate in the restaurant in the Palace twice but found it disappointing and expensive. However, the management was very keen to hear our complaints and I am sure will be working very had to rectify this situation.
Port Ghalib is a small resort that you can walk around quite easily and lunch and evening meals can be taken in any of the restaurants in the three hotels there: The Palace; Crowne Plaza Sahara and Crowne Plaza Oasis (extensive buffets in the latter two hotels) and this will be charged to your hotel bill. There are also coffee bars (e.g. Costa) and informal & formal restaurants at the Marina. Here also you will find a small shop for chocolate, sun cream, biscuits etc, and the usual gift and souvenir shops. Security guards are everywhere to make sure guests are safe.
After dinner we would have a drink or two in the Look Out bar which has stunning views over the man-made lagoon. Again the staff were helpful and very attentive. Special mention goes to Moustafa.
Around the pool, hotel staff looked after us by providing cushions and towels and often coming with fresh fruit on sticks to refresh us.
We had a very enjoyable and relaxing time. The hotel staff are very keen on making guests feel like VIP's and do anything and everything necessary to achieve this. Mustafa at Guest Services is the man to see if you have any requests, queries, problems or complaints and he will bend over backwards to ensure your happiness.
I would recommend this resort and, in particular, this hotel, for anyone seeking relaxation and peace. Do not come here if you are looking for a vibrant nightlife or extensive daytime activities. In April, the resort will be host to a large number of people invited for the official opening of the Hotel so I would avoid that time if you can.
The Marsa Alam airport is approx 15 minutes drive away from Port Ghalib and as there are not many flights at any one time the airport is quiet. Security takes a bit of time to get through but is for our safety after all. Once through security and passport control there is a small duty free shop, a Costa Coffee, a Pizza Hut and a chicken restaurant similar to KFC.
Apparently, the local diving and facilities were very good but we didn't experience it ourselves. The beach at the Palace is clean and quiet with sunbeds, umbrellas and windbreaks. You can also get bar service. Security patrols are in evidence and there is a feeling of being very safe.
All in all a great place to have a quiet, relaxing, enjoyable holiday and, I feel, more suited to older adults although there is a childrens club at the hotel. We hope tp return in the near future."
- Travel date: Thu 5th of March 2009