10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
great hotel shame about the doctor
"this hotel is a loverly place to stay but has a few problems that let it down.first due to the location there is nothing around the hotels,just three hotels and a beach,fine if thats what you want.the beach is super but this time of year the sea is very cold as are the pools.i have never been anywhere on all inc where you had to pay for bottled water.if this hotel wants a five star rating it has lots of work to do.the entertainment dose not happen,just a few italians a dancing horse,and cat !!!!!! ?after a few complaints they must of had a word with the "coming" italian animation team,because the second week they made an effort to include the english guests.doctors Please Please Please be very careful when asking to see a doctor our friends had upset tummies so saw a doctor "for free" and were given a bill for Â£75 for some pills and a full examination that they never had,after a few words with the doctor he decided to reduce the bill buy Â£55.this man was putting many pepole on drips at a cost of Â£200/Â£300 per go.it seemed every one he saw needed a drip,strange but i am sure the insurance companys will soon get on top off this ripoff,the sooner the better.
It is a shame such a nice hotel is being spoilt buy someone that is taking advantage of holiday makers and insurance companys.I dont know any other place in the world that uses these drips so often.
All that said its a very nice hotel,nice staff and im sure they will improve over time"
- Travel date: Wed 12th of May 2010
"We have just returned from a week break at the Jaz Crystal and what a hotel from the moment we arrived the staff could not do enough for us, we had a problem with getting the safe working a quick phone call to reception and within 5 minutes they were their to help, this service applied to anything that you needed more hangers, tea coffee for the room etc. This was our first time in Egypt and has created a lasting impression.
The hotel and grounds are spotlessly clean it is nice to see that every table whether on the beach, round the pool or in the bars have an ashtray on so no cigarette ends thrown about.
Our room was great it even had a seating area separated from the bedroom, we would come back to the room and have a variety of towel creations on the bed, another nice touch while we were out in the evenings our room attendant would come in turn down the bed, draw the curtains, straighten the towels and leave a light on for us.
The food was fine like previous all inclusive hotels we have stayed in as the days go on you lose the enthusiasm and start to think it would be lovely to have a steak etc. but there is a good wide choice pasta, carvery, salad to name some. We did not experience any stomach problems and my partner has quite a weak stomach. We also went for a meal at the seaford restaurant one evening although I am not a huge fish eater the food and service was excellent only thing to be careful of is the wine is expensive.
There is one thing the hotel could do with is some British entertainment some evenings there was entertainment for the Italian guests but nothing for the British.
The managers invited the guests to cocktails on the last night which is a nice touch it was very informal just a chat wanting to get the British guests opinion of what we thought of the hotel, service etc and if we had any negative views so these could possibly be addressed as this is a new resort to the British.
Overall we had a great holiday and felt thoroughly spoilt we would definitely return to this amazing hotel the service and attention you receive from all makes it that bit special.
Just a note for the smokers you are unable to smoke in the departure area at the airport."
- Travel date: Wed 12th of May 2010
Excellent value as long as the sickness is eliminated
"We booked our package holiday to the Jaz Crystal less than two weeks before departure via First Choice Holidays website which was excellent - Just a few clicks and it was done. We paid what we thought was a fantastic price - Â£466 each for one week 5 star all-inclusive including Credit Card Fees. We selected our seats online which showed the flight was pretty full.
A couple of days later the Iceland Volcano grounded UK flights and our holiday was in doubt. We had not booked a holiday before with Thomson / First Choice and watched with interest as their management made a first class impression on many TV appearances throughout the disruption. After flights resumed Thomson made the decision to get their holidaymakers home before resuming their schedule which seems to have only taken 2 days and generally their customers gave good reports about their treatment during the crisis.
So everything was back on schedule and we booked our Gatwick parking and left for the Airport. Tickets at Departure were waiting at the desk and there were no queues at check in. We spent an hour in the peace and quiet of the Wentworth Lounge taking advantage of a good selection of drinks and snacks then straight off to boarding the on time flight.
We were a little apprehensive about the Thomson flight as many people seem to criticise them. However the plane was pretty new and the sensible move of the magazine pocket from knee height to the top of the seat gave what would be a cramped space an extra 2 inches. The flight crew were excellent and we arrived ahead of schedule.
I see a number of people have complained about the airport at Mersa Matruh however it was not so bad. They bus you 100 yards between the plane and the arrivals hall. It is very small and they sell you a Â£13.00 tourist visa before customs entry. The Travco busses are waiting outside and you wait for everyone to board the busses before you leave for the three Almaza Beach hotels. This took about 1 hour from touchdown to the busses leaving. The busses complete with a military guard leave in convoy with hazard warning lights flashing and take around 40 minutes to reach the hotels.
The hotel was well organised for arrival following everyone completing the registration forms on the bus. As you leave the bus you identify your case and everyone gets a cocktail while the reception staff hands out the room key etc. This took 10 minutes maximum and not long after finding our very nice room the cases arrived so we went directly to the restaurant for dinner.
First impressions of the hotel were excellent and the photos on the First Choice and Jazz Hotels website were completely realistic. As the previous weekâs flight had been cancelled the hotel was only one third full and with only First Choice guests. There would have been plenty of sun beds around the pool and on the beach even if the hotel had been full but as it was everyone had more than enough space.
The soft powdery sand beach and the amazing blue sea looked just like the Caribbean however at this time of year it was too cold for me. The pool was unheated and also cold however I think it had probably warmed up to around 26 degrees by the time we left.
The rooms were large with comfortable beds and a large bath and shower. There were only six hangers when we arrived so we rang reception and more were delivered within minutes. The flat screen TV had some English channels including BBC Word News, Fox Movies, Dubai One, MBC Action and MBC MAX.
The food was disappointing although I suppose adequate. This is the only part of the holiday which was not 5 star. The staff were excellent from the moment we arrived including reception, waiting staff, bar staff, room boy, gardeners and cleaners.
There was some confusion over the menuâs at the pool bar where sandwiches, burgers and pizzas were not part of the all-inclusive. However at 12 noon an additional menu appears which is part of the all-inclusive package. The same applies to their drinks menu where you only have to ask them to make you an all-inclusive cocktail which is made from local spirits and is then free of charge. Also free Ice Creams. Bottled water was chargeable and over Â£2 per 1 litre bottle however there were free chilled water dispensers and glasses of water were free at the bars. Some people were asking the waiters to refill their bottle which was no problem.
The other 2 Jaz hotels are either side of the Jaz Crystal and itâs easy to walk between them. The Jaz Almaza has more entertainment in the evenings and Jaz Crystal guests are welcome and can get free drinks there as part of the all-inclusive package. The entertainment highlight at the Jaz Crystal was a whirling dervish performer.
The First Choice rep was very good and his welcome meeting was a good balance between useful information and Travco tour availability. The tours looked good value for money however we were put off by the long bus rides to Alexandria â 3 hours each way, Cairo â 4 hours each way and Siwa Oasis â 4 hours each way (Also we went to Cairo in February). We shared a taxi (no armed escort) into Mersa Matruh (38KM) with another couple which cost Â£33 for the four of us. It was a good tour as the driver dropped us for 30 minutes in an old shopping district, took us to Rommels Beach and to a Mosque on the Corniche. The taxi was organised by Travco who ran all of the tours and the driver was very knowledgeable with excellent English. All of the locals we met were very friendly with none of the hassle you get in some places. It seems we were quite a novelty for the locals as they get mostly Egyptian tourists there. We asked the driver why the tours had military escorts and he said it was a normal precaution since the shootings in Luxor 13 years ago.
Lastly to the negatives: Quite a large proportion of people became ill with sickness and diarrhoea â me on the last day. The resident doctor cured people very quickly by putting them on a cocktail of drugs administered by drip. Someone told me the charge was Â£300. I canât say what caused the sickness however I am sceptical of the Doctors explanation about warm days and cold nights having a bad effect on the bacteria in the gut.
Our room occasionally had a bad drains like smell which was quickly dispersed by opening the doors and running the bathroom taps.
The Managers cocktail party was held on the night before we left and turned out to be quite a strange affair as the General Manager did not turn up and the other managers seemed reluctant to mix with the few guests who bothered to turn up. It seems like the excellent customer facing staff were let down by their Managers.
As I was ill on the last day I paid the Â£36 to keep my room for an additional 4 hours however reception called at 11:30 for us to vacate the room by 12:00. We explained we had a late check out however our room key cards were cancelled and we had to get them reset. We were again called at 15:30 to make sure we vacated the room by 16:00. At checkout we were told American Express would NOT do nicely as it wasnât accepted in Egypt. However after some disagreement it worked fine.
We were taken to Mersa Matruh again in an armed convoy for the return journey home arriving at the airport three hours before the flight. There is one little gift / food shop within the departure lounge but nothing to do there while waiting for the plane. The flight was less than half full for our return flight so we spread out while the excellent flight crew did their thing.
Overall Thomson / First Choice were excellent. The hotel facilities and customer facing staff were first class. The food was disappointing. The hotel management did not interact with the customers and were certainly not pro active as people became sick â shame on them. Although this holiday was unique because of the low occupancy it would probably be better later in the season when the sea and pool would be warmer."
- Travel date: Tue 11th of May 2010
Paradise (If you don't drink the water)
"Just got back, should be at work today but I seem to have brought the "mysterious bug" back with me, so not to go into too much detail but can't be far away from the loo longer than 20 mins! My husband suffered whilst on holiday so I was careful not to eat anything other than bread for the last 3 days, but still got it! This leaves me thinking it must have been the water, although the rep said ice etc was ok to have.
Whilst the surroundings, the staff, the space and tranquility were heavenly 1 week was long enough as there was absolutely nothing to do, a million miles from anywhere, plonked on a desert island.. sounds great..., but when the affects of eating and drinking is dubious and there are no people to watch I got a little stir crazy.
Our bathroom always smelt of sewerage and we had an ajoining door by the side of the bed to the room next door which allowed us to here everyword our neighbours said (All times of the day and night)
Hints and tips-
Take lots of books
Ear plugs for night time
Money for bottled water (it's not free, which doesn't help in a hot country with a stomach bug)
Warm clothes (Jeans and cardi) for evening as the wind is very chilly
High sun factor, as the wind makes you cold during the day so you are more likely to sit in the sun rather than seek the shade.
A new developing hotel and resort, fast forward 5 years and I would like to return to see the difference."
- Travel date: Thu 6th of May 2010
beautiful peaceful hotel at the moment
"We have just returned from the jaz crystal went for a week on 27th april. the crystal was the quieter of the three hotels which suited us we wanted peace and the hotel only had about 90 guests and around 70 were british and the remainder were italian. apparently the italians prefer the oriental and almaza because there is more going on and it does get quite noisy as they love loud music until around 3 am. We looked at the other two hotels and the crystal was definately the better of the three its very different to the others and is much nicer than it comes across on photos although its all down to personal choice. The weather was fantastic and got warmer everyday better than was forecast even got milder in the evenings. the hotel as i said is beautiful and the staff are attentive and friendly cant do enough to make your stay a good one. The most unfortunate thing about the hotel is the food there is so little choice or flavour and it was never warm. Everyone we spoke to seemed to say the same that they were very dissapointed with the food. The hotel managers seemed very concerned that the guests were not happy and bless them did seem to try harder but it just wasnt consistant. I think also the fact that it only has a buffet restaurant and one chargeable speciality restaurant It can just get a little boring. You can use the chargeable restaurants in the other hotels but guests mentioned that it would be nice to have these in the all inclusive package not chargeable. We have been to hotels where all restaurants are included. One of the managers told us that it was not up to them as thomson and first choice are the ones that choose the package that we are allocated.
I noticed that some of the reviews before this dont mention poor food so maybe its hit and miss and i am usually not a person to complain i will take each country as it is so i hope they can improve. Also other reviews have not mentioned that they had tummy upsets but unfortunately about 8 out of 10 of the guests whilst we were there did, including us and we have still got it on return some people were on drips. This i dont think is down to the hotel as we have been to other hotels around egypt also 5 star and beautiful and we have had the same tummy problems along with other guests but nobody seems to know what causes it. I dont think luke warm buffet style food helps. We have visited many countries and never been ill. To anyone that is going here you chose the best of the three it is beautiful and i really hope the food improves for you and you all have a wonderful holiday"
- Travel date: Wed 5th of May 2010
Jaz Crystal a most fantastic hotel
"My wife and I have just returned from a fantastic two week holiday in the 5 star Jaz Crystal hotel at Almaza Bay near Mersa Matruh, which is some 30/35 Km away. We booked through Thomson / First Choice and flew from Gatwick arriving mid evening at the military airport at Mersa Matruh after dark. As is normal in Egypt we got our visas on arrival, however the operatives did not have any change so it was lucky that we had the correct money in dollars. The airports carousel is so small that luggage had to be taken off and piled up to allow more luggage to be sent through but this was soon sorted and we made our way to the coaches for the 30/40 minute trip to our hotels. On arrival at the Jaz Crystal we entered into the vast marbled reception lobby with an enormous crystal chandelier where we were very quickly dealt with by the efficient staff (thank you Peter and Helena) and shown to our rooms prior to going into dinner. The hotel is essentially three buildings consisting of the main block and two accommodation wings that flank the swimming pools. The main block houses the reception and main bar, the main restaurant (waves) and a small shopping area of ten shops (four not yet occupied) on the outside of this block is an outdoor extension to the restaurant and a patio bar. The bedrooms are situated on three floors in the accommodation wings, ground, first and second floors. There is ramped access to all ground floor levelâs, there are no lifts to first or second floors. The rooms are placed either side of a very wide central corridor, 50 on each level, some facing in towards the central swimming pools and courtyard with some facing towards the neighbouring hotels next door on each side. The whole complex is beautifully lit at night and is almost magical. The centre courtyard area is vast and is where the main swimming pool is situated with main pool bar which serves drinks snacks during the day. This area is surrounded by planting palm trees and has an abundance of sun beds under sun shades, more than enough for everyone. One side of the pool area opens onto the beach where the beach bar will be found sitting on the edge of the white sandy beach and the crystal clear Mediterranean sea, be warned this is northern Egypt and the sea is not as warm as in Sharm etc. Again here on the beach there are numerous sun beds under sun shades. The restaurant operates on a buffet system and has several choices at each meal. For breakfast there is fruit, cerials, continental, breads, pastries and hot foods (including fried eggs). Lunch and Dinner were varied each day but included meat, fish and Pasta etc. The restaurants staff were extremely attentive and have a great sense of humour Nothing is too much trouble and they will carry your drinks and food to the table for you. Our thanks go to all the waiters and chefs but especially to Mustafa, Ahmed and Rabea. The bar staff under the care of Hani were equally impressive and Anwah in the pool bar became a favourite. Our room cleaner (for room 5250) was Ahmed who did an absolutely brilliant job, nothing was too much trouble for him. We very highly recommend a visit to Farouk the masseur. Farouk ministered to my wifeâs very bad back and thus made her holiday very enjoyable. This is an amazing hotel set in a beautiful location and the staff cannot do enough to make sure you have a relaxing holiday. The facilities are absolutely pristine and well maintained. However due to the very remote location there is very little to do, unlike places like Sharm or Hurgada. This is a hotel for people who like to relax, sun bathe and swim etc, there are no local attractions apart from the excursions offered by Travco. During our stay the hotels amphi-theatre was not open and it was necessary to go the hotel next door but the entertainment there was very limited. Finally we would like to thank âCheâ our Thomson repâ who helped to make everything go so well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions."
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of May 2010
What a fantastic find....
"We have also just returned from a week at the Jaz Crystal..........the airport on arrival was very organised, yes we did queue but only for a short while. You always have to buy a visa when entering Egypt, expect to pay $15. All the airport staff were very helpful and switched on.
There is a transfer time of approx 35 mins, when we arrived at the hotel, check in was speedy and we were in our fantastic room in no time.
The Jaz Crystal is beautiful to look at, quite stylish. Photo's don't do it justice. The hotel definitely has a huge WOW factor!
The staff from the start of our holiday to checkout were brilliant, nothing was too much trouble. I really can't praise them enough!
While we were there we used the fish restaurant, I would really recommend you eat there at least once during your stay, it really is worth it..My husband isn't keen on fish so the restaurant arranged for him to have a different starter and a steak..
The outside area's are as good as the inside space, the pools are lovely, with loads of sunloungers, the pool bar offers a great selection of food and drinks, it is always fully staffed and again the staff can not do enough for you!
The beach is gorgeous again with loads of loungers, there is also a great beach bar.
The Jaz Crystal is a real find.
I can't wait to go back again."
- Travel date: Sun 25th of April 2010
Jaz Crystal Resort - Mersa Matruh
"We have just come back from this holiday and the hotel, as far as we were concerned, absolutly lovely. The hotel is situated in the middle of the three Jaz hotels in Mersa Matruh, the Oriental and the Almaza being the other two. It's friendly, clean and has the staff were wonderful, although at times a bit to eager. This time of year it was very quite there, which suited us just fine. It is great for couples or families that just want a quite time. It is not geared up for daily activites so young children could get bored, whereas the Almaza would be the better alternative. It has one very large pool with the pool bar situated in the middle then there is a childrens pool. The hotel is situated on the North coast and there are no local towns or villages to go a wandering, if you like that sort of thing. Catering - Ample choice of food at meal times and caters for those with simple tastes to those with a more adventous appetite.
The beach was lovely with ample loungers and family tents (at a cost) available with its own beach bar. For this time of year the weather was okay, managed to get a respectable tan. Although when the breeze and wind gets going can get chilly. For those travelling out there in the next week or so I recommend you take a few long sleeve blouses/shirts, jumpers for the evening.
If you intend going on trips, arranged by the rep, these can cost from Â£20 to almost Â£175 per person (cheaper for children), also need to take into account tips for driver and guide. There is extra charges for taking photos inside some places.
All in all I would recommed this for a quite getaway.
The only downside of this trip was the delights of Mersa Matruh Airport, what a nightmare. This airport is run by the Military. Be prepared to wait and queue which can be a couple of hours. There were not prepared for the arrival, only one immigration officer!! Be prepared to pay for your visa on the coach to the resort this will cost you 13 poundssterling, each including kids. No discount for kids! On the way home we had to show our passports 5 times, a bit excessive if you ask me. Another bit of advice, mainly to the ladies, is to make sure on your way home all your cosmetics and creams etc are in your suitcase, my wife had to throw away the suncream lotion, savlon, hair spray, deoderant, then again others didn't. If you got spare batteries for your camera make sure they in your suitcase as well.
The only other annoying part was the flight out, we flew with Thomson's and somehow managed to have insufficient meals for everyone on our flight and the flight from Manchester so they gave us vouchers to compensate for this, the voucher didn't take away the hunger pains and the voucher had to be spent in one go on the flight, they did not give you change if you did not or could not spend it all on bar snacks. The other option was to send the voucher to Thompson for a cash refund..... lets hope they get it right in future. However I was pleasantly surpised to receive a letter from them during our stay apologising for this. Anyway won't bore you anymore but I am happy to respond to any replies if needed."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of April 2010
"This is the first time my son and I have travelled to Egypt and it certainly won't be the last. We travelled with First Choice/Thomson to Mersa Matrouh. Be aware that the airport is very small and it took ages to get through immigration and then we had to wait on the coach for an hour and half for the Manchester flight to check through and get on the transfer coach. Can get a bit fractious after a long day's travelling! Once we arrived at the Jaz Crystal it more than made up for the wait. The hotel is absolutely stunning and the staff are so very friendly, and not in a 'I have to be, it's my job' way. I have found being a widow and travelling on my own with my son, who is now a tweenager, a bit daunting and lonely as families tend to mix with other families and avoid single travellers like the plague, but the staff at Jaz Crystal were so very friendly towards both my son and myself. The food was of an outstanding quality and variety, the rooms were very clean and comfortable. Our cleaner made some fab towel sculptures for my son every day. I decided to treat myself to a course of massages and the masseuse, Farouk, was amazing. Would highly recommend him. The hotel sits right on the beachfront and it should be compulsory to wander along the bay for a walk every day. Absolutely beautiful beach which is kept very clean. There is no sunbed shortage and even though there seemed to be lots of us at the hotel we weren't crammed together round the pool. Everyone had their own space and every bed had access to shade. This hotel sits in a row of 3: Jaz Almaza, Jaz Crystal and Jaz Oriental. The Crystal seems to be the quieter one of the 3, but you have access to the other 2 hotels if you require day and evening entertainment. Nothing seems too much for the staff at Jaz Crystal. Your every need is met with courtesy and friendlyness. I cannot sing this hotels praises highly enough and even more so if you are a single parent travelling with children or travelling solo. I can't wait to go back there :o)"
- Travel date: Wed 14th of April 2010
excellent, well kept, friendly hotel
"my fiance and his family and i stayed at the Jaz Crystal for a week in April. The weather was lovely, and the Jaz Crystal was a great place for a holiday. The hotel is immaculate, and so well cared for, not one piece of rubbish anywhere!!
The staff were very friendly and helpful, attentative and hardworking, but with a sense of humour :o) the food was cooked to a high standard, and i didn't have any problems with it.
The rooms were fab, and the cleaners did a great job, every single day. The hotel facilities were a high standard also, from the pools, to the bars to the toilets!
As we went at the beginning of the season, the evening entertainment was at another hotel, and was not that great, apart from that, we were very happy with our stay, and would recommend the Jaz Crystal to anyone wanting a quiet, relaxing time away in the sun.
Shelly, Bristol, UK"
- Travel date: Mon 12th of April 2010