Continental Garden Reef Resort

Garden Reef Bay, Sharm El Sheikh 46628 Egypt
5 star hotel


Ratings summary


Rating by feature

  • 3 room
  • 4 pool
  • 5 beach
  • 3.5 service
  • 5 dining
  • 5 amenities
  • 1 value
  • 3 food
  • 2 cleanliness
  • 4 location

17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

best holiday ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"i only got back 2 days ago and i miss it already! i can honestly say that it was the best week of my life. Not only did i have fun i also want to go back after i have finished college and work out there i liked it that much. The staff are friendly and they make you feel at home and the scuba diving facilaties are amazing. i will never forget my time there and from my point of view it was a perfect week."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 26th of August 2006

A wonderful time and lovely staff


"My partner enjoyed a short (3-night) stay here mid-July and although the weather was hot and we are not normally fans of high temperatures the hotel, its facilities and staff made our time here really enjoyable.

Arriving at SSH airport the IC unlike some tour companies was unable to meet us air-side and we had to sort out the visa stamps for our passports ourselves; at $15 p.p. its not expensive and once through passport control we were met by the (pre-arranged) limo driver and taken to the hotel. Although I understood this was a charged for service we were not billed, either for the journey to the hotel or the return trip.

Once at the hotel the desk staff quickly ascertained our reservation details and summoned a "VIP welcome" which included some rather cool refreshing drinks, an explanation of the hotel facilities by the Guest Relation manager and an escorted trip to our suite. Our luggage arrived very quickly afterwards.

The 2-room suite had a decent sized bathroom off the bedroom, shower is over the bath, and another WC & washbasin in a room off the lounge. Each room had a separate balcony, the lounge one featuring a table and 4 chairs with parasol over, the bedroom one 2 fixed benches for sunbathing with more than adequate soft cushions, etc. There were also 2 occasional tables for drinks, etc.

I have read in other reports people comment on the furnishings, etc., criticising the fact they did not match. We had no complaints, there was a couple of pieces different from the rest but that adds character to a room; I for one don't want to wake up and think I'd fallen asleep in an IKEA warehouse!

The comfort cooling in the rooms more than coped with the 35 - 37C temperature experienced during the day and turning it down (or is that up?) in the evening ensured a pleasant temperature in which to sleep.

The suite was efficiently serviced each day of our stay and a large bowl of fruit and bottled water as well as a selection of sweets were provided on day 1 with the fruit and water being replenised daily.

The selection of restaurants more than met our requirements, each morning we ate breakfast in the Olive Tree and found both the attitude of the staff and selection on offer very acceptable. Indeed it is worth mentioning again that the attitude of all the staff really went towards making our stay enjoyable, they were without exception polite and helpful, certainly much more so than in any US and most European hotels we have visited.

In the afternoons we dined at the poolside Horizon Restaurant which is situated at 'lower pool' level and where the pizza, chicken, beefburger and pasta meals we had were all good and came in goodly portions, no worry about being hungry after one of those.

Evening meals were taken in the Food Court open-air restaurant where a wide variety of different menus are available and on our last night the Al Hamraa Lebanese restaurant which I suspect is the centerpiece / showpiece dining venue but is no better or worse than any of the others.

My partner took the plunge and had a massage at the health club, probably the single most expensive item on our final bill, and reported that she thoroughly enjoyed it...but did not accept my offer to treat her to another!

Worth stating this just has to be the cheapest IC that we have ever stayed at, and one of the most enjoyable into the bargain.

I could go on and on but probably best to answer the question...would we go again...YES...and it will not be long before we do."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 2nd of August 2006

Ever so slightly disappointing but great location


"We are regular travellers both for business and leisure staying frequently in Intercontinental Hotel Group hotels in major cities worldwide though not for our “bucket and spade” holidays mainly because there are few Intercontinental Group hotels in bucket and spade destinations. On this occasion, we wanted a hot sunshine break for a fortnight in March but didn’t fancy flying halfway across the world. An enquiry posted on Trip Advisors’s Egypt forum resulted in several positive responses persuading us that Sharm el Sheik will meet our needs. With our high opinion of the standards at Intercontinental Hotels and also because we belong to their loyalty programme providing us with a number of privileges, the Intercontinental Garden Reef at Sharm el Sheik was an obvious choice.

We travelled independently booking our room off the Intercontinental Hotel Group’s website and arranging scheduled British Airways flights to avoid the discomfort on the chartered airlines. Interestingly, this worked out quite a bit cheaper on a like for like comparison for the same hotel and room category offered by packaged holiday operators. Getting to the hotel from the airport was easy - the hotel operates a free airport shuttle and their representative was waiting for us as soon as we stepped into airport terminal building. He shepherded us through immigration control, retrieved our suitcases off the baggage and saw us unto the hotel’s minibus which transported us directly to the hotel.

First impressions of the hotel were excellent. It is situated over a kilometre or so off the main road with several security checkpoints before getting to the main building, the final couple hundred of meters or so being through beautiful gardens and then a pretty courtyard. The lobby area is pleasant enough though overshadowed by other hotels in the same class in terms of both size and luxury. Leading off the lobby were the main restaurant, bar and the ala carte restaurants. A small shopping mall consisting of a bank with ATM outside, jeweller, and a couple of others selling various souvenir items completed the picture.

The bedrooms were in separate buildings. We had an executive suite which consisted of a bedroom with a king sized bed separated from the sitting room by sliding doors – overall probably the size of two ordinary rooms. The bathroom was en suite to the bedroom while there was a separate toilet leading off from the sitting room. There were two large balconies and interestingly two front doors – every other suite we’ve stayed in at other hotels have had a single entrance. The seaview from the balconies was excellent.

The furniture and décor does not measure up to the standards normally found in Executive Suites in Intercontinental Hotels at in major cities worldwide but to be fair Sharm el Sheik is quite a bit cheaper. Another review has already mentioned the non matching furniture. In the bedroom we didn’t find this too bad as the quality of the furniture was reasonably good but the sitting room was some way from luxury with a rattan three piece suite, sideboard, console table and occasional tables all of mediocre quality.

We had breakfast delivered to our room everyday and had dinner from the room service menu a couple of times – the menu is a cut down version of that found in the main restaurant and the food was good. It was a pleasure eating on our balcony as the view could not be surpassed by any of hotel’s restaurants. Daily deliveries of complimentary fresh fruit and petit fours to our suite was a nice touch – we don’t know whether this is for all rooms, one of the priveleges of being in the Intercontinental Hotels loyalty scheme or just for suite guests. We also had a complimentary newspaper delivered through the door every morning.

We ate in the hotel regularly mainly to avoid having to venture to Naama Bay. The fish restaurant by the beach was particularly impressive serving freshly caught fish at reasonable prices - shame it closed at 18.00 each day. The Lebanese/Moroccan was also good while the Mexican and the main restaurant were disappointing. At the latter there was a choice of a buffet or an a la carte menu. We only went the once and ordered a la carte but we did not enjoy the meal. Maybe the buffet would have been a better option but we were not tempted to try it to find out. There was also a food court by the upper pool which we didn’t go to - while it was definitely open for business we never saw any customers there. In fact there weren’t many diners at any of the restaurants and yet the prices were competitive with those found in Naama Bay. The hotel’s bar also had few customers and was often empty in the evening – must have been disconcerting for the Russian female duet who sang there every night. Locally brewed beers were reasonably priced but the price of wine at 182 Egyptian pounds was exhorbitant for the poor quality. The price of these was 64 pounds in retailers in Naama Bay which is still dear for what you get. We suggest that you take your own from the UK. Spirits were also very dear unless you have the local variety we can’t imagine the quality to be particularly high.

For leisure, there was a reasonably equipped gym and a spa complex which offered a range of different types of massage. An outdoor massage facility could be found by the beach. There was also tennis coaching but the courts were of poor quality – certainly not commensurate with the class of the hotel. The small football pitch was similarly poor. There was a daily entertainment programme which consisted of volleyball, darts, aqua aerobics and petanque but there was nothing advertising what was on offer until a notice went up during our second week. The animation team was made up of two Russian girls and three local lads who were friendly after we managed to break the ice but they really catered for the Russian and Middle Eastern guests who were in the majority at the hotel by a long way particularly the Russians – there were only a handful of British, Italians and Belgians.

The swimming pools were impressive. The upper pool was empty most days probably because it was more exposed to the elements while the more sheltered lower pool was more busy though still not crowded. Similarly, the well sheltered beach was well attended and on some days crowded but the more exposed sun bathing terrace only attracted a handful of people. The upvc sunloungers were of mediocre quality and compared unfavourably with wooden framed ones at the beachfront hotels in Naama Bay. There were extensive and beautifully maintained gardens within the hotel complex. Other facilities include a dive centre catering for scuba divers which also hired out snorkels, masks and fins for 50 pounds. The quality of these were poor but diving around the nearby reefs is a must. A floating walkway leading to a pontoon made it easy to get to the reefs. On our first day, the sea was very choppy and there was a lot of movement on both the walkway and the pontoon which made it seem like a fairground attraction – certainly not but the most sure footed. Litigation conscious countries in the west will no doubt have closed it but standards are different in Egypt.

Naama Bay was about an hour’s stroll away but only a few minutes by taxi along a dual carriageway. We were lucky that the first cab we got charged 20 Egyptian pounds which seemed reasonable by our standards and this formed our benchmark for the rest of the stay. Subsequent cabs quoted 40-50 pounds but backed down quickly when we made it clear that we were only paying 20. We paid 50 pounds from Old Sharm which was considerably further but nonetheless we suspect this was over the top by local standards. It is clearly advisable to ask the price before boarding and be on you guard against overpricing. The hotel operates a shuttle bus into Naama Bay but it did not run at the most convenient of times – we didn’t bother with it as its easier to walk or get a cab.

Concluding, while the standards in parts did not quite match what we had come to expect from the Intercontinental brand elsewhere, it was still a nice enough hotel. Overall we enjoyed our stay and we have no hesitation therefore in recommending it to anyone wanting a relaxing break."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 20th of April 2006

Luxurious place- great diving!


"Charlie- my 13yr old son & I have just returned from a week here with a great tan and done some good diving.
I agree with all the previous reviews to save a lot of writing, but with a few tweeks this hotel rates highly for both of us and our needs.
My husband and two older sons are skiing again in April, but us two decided to go for some sun instead and more diving -
This hotel beach is situated on the renowned garden reef where I was taken from my cheap diving hotel 2 years ago to do my open water. Not having dived since then, I was very nervous that I had forgotten it all so was very lucky that Sam was such a kind dive master. He is a freelance instructor so you cannot guaruntee who you will get.
The dive club has just been taken over so was a bit chaotic but the staff- lovely smiley boys- were so helpful-did all the hard work like carrying all your gear to the jetty for you, helping to put it on, and generally making you feel welcome although they are not very good at english I kept smiling and managed fine!
The diving was superb- much warmer than feb-which was too cold.
My son went off for two days to do his junior scuba and then we went together as buddies for the first time-with Sam and others- a lasting memory for me-along with the spanish dancer-thanks Sam!

My main points which I feel would improve the hotel were;
- that it needs to be all inclusive/use any restaurant as most of them were empty which was a shame.
-Provide a central venue with music in the evening for dancing/meeting up with new friends etc-as i was on my own after Charlie went to bed there was nowhere to go-this was the biggest problem as I was alone, bored with MTV and would have loved to have mixed with all the different nationalities at the hotel-such a waste of resources!
-Heat the top pool and get things going on up there as it is a stunning area but wasted-no-one uses it.
However I had a thoroughly warm relaxing week surrounded by helpful smiley staff and do have a massage from SAWSAN-awsome!
-provide tea coffe making fac. in rooms

As Charlie put it just after our arrival-this is the best place I've ever stayed at-based on the stunning architecture and presentation- he would agree by the end of the week with my suggestions-plus the pizzas from the poolside are fabulous!
For a change of venue- do try the Dananeer restaurant in Sharm- excellent food and service, takes CC.
I personally wouldnt care if I never went into Sharm again as I always find it like Blackpool with constant hassle from Egyptians- the shuttle is not frequent enough and always full but the limo taxis are only 50le from the door-and reliable.Take your chance in the blue ones but they tend to end up singing to loud music and driving hands free much to Charlies amusement!
I agree there is a lot of walking but it got rid of my cellulite and I enjoyed the steps down-just got the lift up! After the enormous amount we ate for breakfast I needed the walk-double eggs on toast -tuns of good coffee!

Have good trip- wear a smile-and you will enjoy !
If you are going please tell the boys at the dive centre that Kate & Charlie miss their smiles and friendship and we will be back if we can get a cheapie!

Feel free to email any querries"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 9th of April 2006

Peaceful/relaxing holiday


"A good hotel to stay in for a weeks rest from the UK winter.

We chose this hotel for two reasons 1) the number of restaurants it had in addition to the buffet facilities in the Olive Tree restaurant and 2) heated pool.

On the restaurant side we found both the lebanese and mexican restaurants as well as the buffet fine but with limited choices in the mexican as things were not on the menu that evening. I also think that the half-board allowance should have been more flexible in the other restaurants rather than the alternative menu - a straight LE pound limit would have been better.

I had seen the comments on the disorganized restaurant at breakfast and have to agree - it needed a few managers walking around to keep the staff on their toes and the birds out of the milk jugs.

The On the Rocks restaurant was excellent and the greek salad fabulous.

On the heated pool well it may have said it was 24 degrees at the poolside but it was cold.

The other thing that was missing was an information pack on what happened when and where, there was nothing in the room or on the notice board - you had to guess when the aqua aerobics started etc.

Overall we had a great time but the hotel was not full so service was good (For some occasions it was 1 waiter a table so it should have been!)"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 15th of March 2006

Loved it!


"went for a week at the end of January 2006 as it was my husbands birthday. We were met at the airport and upgraded to a sea view room and he was presented with a birthday cake on the day itself which was a lovely suprise.

Although this hotel is classed as a 5 star it is very nice indeed with lots of space where ever you went. I would put the bedrooms as 4* the furniture was a bit mis-match and there was no table and chairs to sit at. Having said that the beds and pillows were probably the best I have ever had when travelling. Dressing gowns provided. Breakfast was excellent and taken on the veranda overlooking the sea. The evening restaurants were Mexican which was quite poor and very bland, a Lebannese/Moroccan and the continental. Unfortunately the Italian Restaurant was closed during our stay. They also had a small outdoor souke area with 4 small bars selling light meals. Unfortunately as it is quite chilly in the winter evenings I prefer to sit indoors! Room service offered good menu choice at very reasonable prices. Alcholol like all Egypt is very expensive - local wine between 14-17 GBP per bottle. Since I was last in Sharm 12 months ago, they have opened an off licence in Naama Bay. Wine can be bought for about GBP 4.50 so take your bottle opener for that night cap!!

A hotel courtesy bus service is provided into Naama Bay 3 times each evening giving you 2 hours to spend there. If you miss the return leg then a taxi will cost about GBP 5.00. Plenty of shops, bars and restaurants in Naama Bay to pass the time.

The hotel is built in tiers of 2-storey buildings so plenty of steps to keep you fit. There are lifts for the needy. 2 large swimming pools - 1 heated in winter. The beach / pools provide a free towel service. Staff are all extremely helpful and could not do enough for you. I would certainly recommend this hotel and would have no hesitations returning myself.

There are two jetties, one plastic wobbly one which I could not walk on as it gave me motion sickness and the other was concrete underwater which you can wade in up to your thighs which was nice as the fish swam around you. Access to swim/snorkle was via the jetty because of the coral. Around 4-6 boats would dock each day in front of the hotel bringing divers as this is reportedly the best site in Sharm for diving so if you like diving this is the one for you. They have their own diving school also.

The hotel is just next door to the Hyatt Regency and there is a promenade to walk along. They have a lovely Thai restaurant which you can eat at. If you continue passed the Hyatt you come to what is like waste land. just continue walking and you will see how beautiful it is with the rugged bays and then it opens out to reveal Naama Bay in the distance.

Perfect for a chill out holiday."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 12th of February 2006



"Got back yesterday from Sharm, stayed at the InterContinental Garden Reef Resort. It is a lovely hotel, very grand, lovely grounds, nice big room with balcony looking out to sea. The staff very polite and friendly. Weather was hit and miss, even when it was sunny it was cool by 3ish. The nights were very cold you certainly needed a coat. We found the hotel had no atmospher as it was very quite with only a few people around, drink was very expensive which probably did not help. There was no international coffee shop, which we found unusual in a 5 star hotel. We found ourselves having to go out every day, costing around £7 per day by taxi, the hotels bus times are not good to get people down to Narma Bay, many people complained about it. There is a lot of security driving up, and getting in to the hotel, a bit unsettling really but a way of life it seems at Sharm. Sharm Bay is not quite what we thought, we have lived in Bahrain and Dubia in the Gulf and had them in mind. It was very difficult to shop as we were constantly hasseled to the point of not going any more. Wish the locals would understand that we would have bought many things if they had not made us want to run a way from them, enough was enough. We had three tremours, the second one was very frightening. The cleaner and I were talking in my room when we hear a banging sound coming nearer and getting louder, there was a huge bang, then the whole place shook. We thought is was a bomb and ran like hell with the floor shaking beneath us, I called to my husband to get out of the bathroom, ran down the steps and into the garden. Our friends were running up towards us, very frighten as were the staff too. It was the talk of the hotel and Narma Bay during the next few days, it seems it was unusual, but we had another scare a few days later. We really wanted to come home, it was very unsettling not knowing if it could get worse. Lets hope they were, unusual, and it won`t happen again."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 7th of February 2006

Would go back tomorrow if I could!


"Just returned from two weeks at this resort and thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. I really wasn't sure what to expect before I went, having read the previous mixed reviews from other members... But I needn't have worried because everything about the hotel was first class. The hotel grounds are magnificent, the entrance is like a castle, our room was very spacious, and the staff were very friendly and helpful, especially Ahmed our cleaner who really looked after us. All the staff here work very hard and are keen to ensure you have a good holiday. Management were also very visible and always available to speak to.

The breakfast was very good, so much to choose from. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis and so tended to eat out in Naama Bay most evenings but we did try out both the Mexican and Lebanese restaurants in the hotel and had lovely meals in both. We also ate lunch at the Horizon restaurant by the lower pool and the other restaurant by the beach. The prices are a little more expensive than restaurants in Naama Bay but that's to be expected at any 4 or 5 star hotel. However, we ordered room service on at least a couple of occasions during our stay and regularly used the minibar but the bill for this was remarkably low, so much so, had I not had a itemised reciept in front of me I would have said they made a mistake!

We took an overnight trip to Cairo during the two weeks and stayed at the Le Meridien Pyrimads Hotel - supposedly one of the best hotels in Cairo - but although it was a very nice hotel it wasn't a patch on the Intercontinental, and we couldn't wait to get back to our spacious room.

After reading all the other reviews on this hotel I wonder if I was actually staying at the same one!! On one of our many excursions, a local guide told us we were staying in the best hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, and I have to say, from what i've seen, I agree with him!!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 29th of January 2006

Terrific weather


"We have just returned from a week 21/01/06 at the Intercontinental at Sharm el Sheikh
The hotel is magnificent a truly imposing building, facilities second to none nice heated swimming pool a well equipped gym, private & secluded beach, For a winter holiday it beats the Canaries hands down 8 hours of sunshine everyday(take your sun cream with you) .The sea was lovely & warm the coral reef must be one of the best in the area as many as 5 dive boats arrived every morning it truly is amazing under the water .If you cannot swim the hotel runs a speedboat over to Namma bay & drops you off for the glass bottom boat then brings you back all for £10 Hotel staff are delightful polite & attentive
Breakfast is o/k eggs any way you want, you will not go hungry. Now for the bad points evening buffet & snacks during the day, along way to go to catch up with a 4* hotel in the Canaries, Drinks were very basic & costly, if you think you can order a Pina Colada with all the trimmings you will be disappointed, very few people in the bars, they have not heard of happy hour yet, if you enjoy a drink take plenty of dosh with you, Evening entertainment was very poor If you want Karaoke, bingo, evening walks with bars & entertainment then this not the hotel for you
Would I go back! Yes I would go back for the sun & the beach, you will not better the weather at this time of the year unless you go on a long haul holiday"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 28th of January 2006

More 3 Star Than 5 Star


"I was very disappointed with my stay at the Intercontinental. I had spent a few weeks touring Egypt staying in 4 and 5 star hotels and the Inter was, by far, the worst value for money. I felt that I paid a 5 star price ($266 per night) for a 3 star experience. The hotel looks good on the surface but close up was tatty and not too clean. The stairwell to my room was unlit most evenings. My 'beach front' room would have been better described as 'sea view' as there were no rooms directly adjacent to the beach. Most of the showers I took were tepid - I do expect a power shower and hot water for $266! My bedside lamp didn't work and wasn't fixed during the duration of my stay, even though I reported it as a problem. The cleaning of the room left something to be desired - the last guest's toothpaste was still evident in the glasses in the bathroom. The service provided by the receptionists was poor, they seemed to lack concentration and were a little on the surly side. We cleared our own tables a couple of times at breakfast just so we could sit down. When you did find a table, the chances were it was laid incorrectly with things missing. There were a lot of people wandering around looking for knives, forks, salt, etc. There is a farcical system in operation in the hotel's 'food court' area which involved plastic money and much confusion for guests. My pizza, when I finally got it, was not particularly appetising. Perhaps a little re-branding is needed? I associate the Intercontinental brand with 5 star quality. This hotel is more 3 star and obviously caters to large groups of European and Russian package tourists. If I had been on a cheap package holiday then this hotel would have been satisfactory. At $266 per night it was definitely not satisfactory."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 16th of January 2006

Room 2110


"It is not a hotel for English people or should I say non Russians! We were constantly ignored by the reception staff, unbelievably unhelpful and rude. Only Russians were treated with respect. It is definitely not a 5 star hotel, I would rate it a 2 star.

Never stay in room 2110! The curtains were torn, rug on the floor was flirty and the bathroom had grime on the shower head and the tiles around the shower was all mouldy. The toilet seat always collapsed on you every time you sat on it. The smell of swage constantly from the shower plug hole. A 5 star hotel with no hot water? It was horrible and when we complained we were told to be grateful as we were upgraded to a sea view room. WHAT A LIE we paid for a sea view room ( what liars).

A 5 star hotel which does not offer free Wi-Fi ( unheard of), it took reception three days to sort out the Wi-Fi connect from the room.

The food! Disgusting the only good thing was the fresh juices. It’s a waste of time paying for all inclusive. Restaurant staff were very pleasent, wish the food was the same.

The only good thing about this hotel is the location, the beach is amazing and the ground staff were very hospitable but management and reception staff are rude and unhelpful ( their priority are the Russians). Without the beach our holiday with have been ruined.

I will never stay at the Continental Reef Garden Resort, my advice is to pay more and stay at a real 5 star hotel.


Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 27th of March 2013

Rating breakdown

  • 4 Location
  • 5 Beach
  • 1 Room
  • 3 Pool
  • 2 Service
  • 1 Value
  • 1 Food
  • 2 Cleanliness



"This was my husband and I's first trip to Egypt and also first time trying all inclusive. It was a last minute booking via our local travel agent and we were a little wary. But we couldn't have chosen better.
Clean, well furnished, large room - cleaned and towels replaced every day.
Helpful, hospitable and friendly staff.
Great choice of food at each meal.
Reception staff really helpful and friendly.
Animations could have been a big better but still quite enjoyable.
Free coach to other areas of Sharm really useful.
The staff in the restaurant really made us feel at home.
We will definitely visit this hotel again in the not too distant future. Definitely a good experience"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 28th of November 2010

Rating breakdown

  • 5 Beach
  • 5 Room
  • 5 Pool
  • 5 Service
  • 5 Dining
  • 5 Amenities
  • 5 Food
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  • Garden Reef Resort
  • IntercContinental Garden Reef Resort Hotel
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