Hotel Novotel Sharm El Sheikh
30 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
GREAT Holiday in Novotel SHarm
"Spent 10 days at the Novotel Palm in Sharm in July and had a wonderful relaxing holiday with great weather (close to 40 degrees most days). As a pale white English chap I thought it would be too hot but I rarely felt uncomfortable in the heat, most likely because of the sea breeze and the constant dips in the ocean.
We went from Gatwick and best option for us was to pay a little over Â£60 for the "summer special" parking.....5-10min coach journey to airport every 20 mins.
Recommend you change a small amount for the journey and for the first day or two there, i.e Â£100 - travelex tends to give the best rate and can be booked online to be picked up at the airport (8.12 egyptian pounds to one UK pound).
Whilst out there you get a better rate from the ATM's - withdrawing 1000 egyptian (le) cost Â£115.46, a rate of 9.0768 - with the bank charges this was closer to 8.66 which is still a lot better than changing before you go.
The queues for visa's and passport checking at the airport when we got there were long. I read up on the visa situation and for sharm (and if you stay in sharm) you dont need a visa, we ignored the visa queue and walked (crawled) through passport checking without issue. We spoke to some people who didnt know and had paid, and they paid varying amounts, I think if you intend to go to cairo you will probably need a visa so confirm how much it will cost before you go so you dont get over charged.
For travel insurance we paid just over Â£10, a lot of insurers will classify sharm under europe and so charge according but check that sharm is covered and, as always, confirm the insurance covers you for everything you may require. We used Insurewithease for 10 days as a couple.
We did not notice any alcohol in the supermarkets (although we weren't really looking) we purchased a bottle of black label whisky at the airport when we arrived for 45 dollars (a lot of places take american dollars), this was not any cheaper than the UK, but it lasted us the week. Otherwise we purchased drinks at the bars. We found in general most things in duty free cost the same or more than the UK apart from cigarettes (because of high UK tax), so we brought back a load of these.
Water at the supermarkets cost 4 le for a large bottle and we kept this stocked up in our mini bar along with a bottle of coke and fruit juice. The juice was around 20 le (around Â£2.50).
Large water on the beach cost 15 le, but we were glad to pay this as it came with a bucket of ice that kept it cool for a while.
We were happy with most of the food on half board (breakfast + dinner) and we had crisps + chocolate from the supermarket in the room for an after beach snack, we didnt use the stuff in the minibar as we felt this was as usual overpriced. We thought we might go out for dinner some nights but didn't bother in the end, we did walk up the strip to the naama bay town centre on a couple of nights after dinner to go round the shops and bars, but most nights we went back to our room and chilled in front of the telly, there was usually an english film on.
Internet cost a lot from the room (75 le an hour - over Â£9), so on a couple of occations that I needed it for work I used the internet cafe (15 le for half an hour).
On the advice of my girlfriends friends we payed a visit to the Old Market, with the cost of the cab (35 le) and the hassle of being asked by every egyptian to go in their shop to view their stuff, i felt it wasn't worth the trouble, but if you are up for haggling you can probably get a bargain there. Just dont go midday like we did as it was just too hot without any sea breeze. In general, most places do not have a price on the products and the egyptians will always quote high if you ask as they are expecting a haggle.
We loved the snorkeling due to the range and number of colourful fish (I was lucky enough to see a moray eel), and if we had been prepared we would have sorted out a decent set of goggles, snorkel and flippers before we went as we weren't sure what was any good when we got there. There was several large (2 foot) parrot fish with multiple colours that were our favourite, and the Bluespotted Stingrays were interesting too. Plenty of Sohal surgeonfish around (1 foot) and they are territorial - may try to nip you if you get too close.
We didn't bother with the pyramids, sphix etc, felt the journey would be a waste of time, we did go on the quad bikes (215 each or 300 le for a double), you basically drive slowly in single file (being covered in dust and sucking on the exhaust of the person in front) to a location out of the way where you have the option of buying more crap and warm drinks, so essentially as you cant do what you want on the quads I found this to be very limited and wouldn't recommend it unless its a "first time experience" just to try.
We also did one of the submarine boat trips, which is probably better than the glass bottom boat as the hull of the boat has several angled windows for viewing the reef at a better angle, this lasted 1.5 hours and you get to see a lot of the reef, seemed a bit expensive though......
Our favourite trip was the snorkeling boat trip to tiran island, you travel out to the island reef and snorkel, then travel to another reef and snorkel, have lunch and then to a final location for snorkeling and this lasted all day for only 150 le. Lunch was nice and included very fresh line caught Tuna fish in a sauce with rice (they hang a line off the boat), nicest I've ever tasted.
On all the trips there is likely to be someone offering a DVD for up to 200 le and someone offering photos also at varying prices, we turned most of these down and some of them got the hump when you weren't buying, can understand why if its how they make a living but seems a waste of money when you have your own camera.
Based on what I had read I did tip most people at least 20 le (with recommendations advising 10le), the guy who had helped us accross the road all week we tipped 50le and a couple of others 30 le on the day we left,. I spoke to one guard for a while on one day and he mentioned his pay was 1000 le per month and this was good compared with the rest of egypt and the reason why you get a lot of egyptians coming to sharm for work, at that rate a 50 le tip is equivalent to one days wages!!!
The hotel was nice and clean and the staff were friendly. It has several pools and the Palm side is quieter with the "entertainment" being on the beach side. The grounds were fumigated a few times which obviously stunk and also explained why there were no flies around, I wasn't bugged by any flies at all and in addition I did not go see the doc for any jabs before I left, having read the reviews I didn't feel this was necessary. The rooms had air con which made being in them comfortable, they were cleaned daily to a good standard, the bed sheets, quilt covers and pillow cases changed daily too.
Hope you find this review helpful..........."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of September 2009
Excellent - esp if you have kids
"this hotel was excellent - clean, friendly staff, good facilities. we stayed in a family room, which had a main room with another room for the kids (bunk bed, children's furntiure). on the palm side there are two pools plus another small toddler pool. there were plently of loungers and free towels meaning no mad rush in the morning. breakfast was fresh and there was a good choice. we did not have dinner at the hotel - seemed expensive to many other options. (Pomodoro is a v. good italian and the Camel Dive hotel). lunch was reasonably priced and plentiful. the mini bar is stocked with cans of coke, beer and water - but most folks walk 10 mins to one of the many shops to purchase such things at a fraction (e.g. water 1.5 L at 25p v. Â£1.25 in the mini bar)
you are a 5 min walk to the private beach and the other part of the hotel - novotel beach. you are 10-25 mins walk from naama bay and the main restaurants etc."
- Travel date: Sat 29th of August 2009
Modern Luxury and Great Location!
"I stayed in the Novotel Sharm for four nights in June with my boyfriend. The check in didnt take too long. We had to take two separate rooms as my boyfriend is an Egyptian national and we are unmarried and this is the way the law works... But fortunately we were given rooms next door to each other. The rooms were spacious! Each room had two double bed, mini bars, a little seating area with a table, a generously sized balcony. The bathrooms had big showers and separate rooms with toilets. I have stayed in various chains in Egypt including the Sheraton and Sofitel and the Novotel sharm is the best by far!
Our rooms were right next to one of the several swimming pools which was great although we never used it, we preferred the bigger pools. The hotel wasnt too busy at that time and the majority of the guests were Egyptian.
There are two swimming pools by the reception, one which has music playing . but not loudly. We preferred this pool and often had it to ourselves. There are plenty of sunloungers and umberellas for those needing shade. There is also a bar which offers gorgeous fruit cocktails!
The breakfast was included and there was a lot of choice ,it wasnt just catered towards one particular nationality. There was plenty of fruit, bread, youghurts, cereal,egyptian fuul and flafel. The only thing i can complain about ( and i did) is that they only provide tiny glasses for the fruit juices so you keep having to go back and fill up over and over again, but i think this is the same everywhere.
The hotels location was great, we just had to cross the main road ( there is a man employed by the hotel to stop the traffic so the guests can cross) and go into the beach hotel and then there is the hotels private beach which is nice, although nothing to write home about. Na`ama bay is only a 10 minute walk from the hotel if that, which is great for avoidig paying taxi fares after a night out!
I had a great time at the Novotel, the rooms were cleaned regularly and were spotless and the staff were very helpful! We will definitely be returning!"
- Travel date: Tue 25th of August 2009
"Just returned after a staying for a week with my 14 year old daughter. The room at the Palm was spacious and clean, couldnt fault a thing. There was a security box which you didnt have to pay for. The bathroom was very morden and clean with complimentary shower gel, shampoo and soap as well as a hair dryer. The pool wasnt that busy and there were enough sun beds to go around. The whole site was very clean and well maintained. I am glad I booked at the Palm as I wanted peace quite on an evening and thats what we got. All the staff were very friendly and always willing to help. Didnt mind crossing the busy road, there was always staff from the hotel who helped you. The beach was close by and was clean, again it wasnt that busy and there were loads of sun beds to go around. You could hire snorkling equipment for 15 LE (Egyptian pounds) per day or go to center of Naama Bay where you can buy one for 45 LE.
We went B&B so lunch and dinner was spent outside the hotel. Tried number of restaurants around Naama Bay and they were all really nice. I would recommend the Pomodoro the food was really nice.
The temp was very high so make sure you keep hydrated and have high factor cream it is so easy to get burnt.
We had a wonderful time and would certainly go back and defo to Novotel Palm."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of August 2009
I loved it!!!!!!!!!
"My boyfriend and I stayed at the Palm Novotel Resort for one week, in July 2008. WE knew that the hotel was "split" in 2 parts, the Beach (the older and closer part to the beach...) and the Palm (the new part, far from the beach); and I'm happy of it: at the Palm everything is new, clean and quiet!!! The rooms are really elegant and modern, and clean every day really good! Really useful the security box and the fridge, where you can keep your drinks (better if bought atthe shop, less expensive than in the hotel...). The bathroom was very cleaned, and also the big shower. The balcony in every room was really big.
The service also was good, at the Palm restaurant we found a kind and gentle waiter, and the variety of food's choice was amazing!!!! You eat there for the dinner and for the breakfast, for lunch you eat at the Beach's restaurant.... The swimming were very clean, and also at the beach you can find a good service and all clean... the sea was great, with many types of colored fishes.... Walking near the beach you can fins many locals, shops and you can arrive in Naama Bay quickly... I think it's a hotel good for couple and for families, but we found also group of friends that liked it anyway, even if the atmospere is quiet. Even if you have to walk a little to arrive at the sea (pay attention to the cars when you cross the street, and wait for the man who help you!), I preferd the Palm side... This year we can't booked this hotel for our holidays: we waited too much, and know their prices are too high for us... but if you can, go there people!!!
Trust me, if you have to choice an hotel in Naama Bay, choose it!!! Better at the Palm, in my opinion..."
- Travel date: Sun 12th of July 2009
"We spent 2 weeks at the Novotel in June '09 and had a brilliant holiday. Our room had all that you would need, the best part was the bed so comfortable and huge queen size. Maid service excellent. We went bed and breakfast, the breakfast was also excellent with a good choice and variety of food. All hotel staff very friendly and good service. The location was perfect, on the beach with amazing snorkelling right off the beach, you didn't need to swim out very far and there is no need to be a good swimmer to try it and see all the tropical fish. All excursions we did were very enjoyable and worth every penny, we did the jeep safari, cleo park, arabian nights, glass bottom boat and watersports on the beach. It was just a 5 minute walk into Nama bay where there is an excellent choice of places to eat, we really enjoyed Hard Rock Cafe & peking chinese. For lunch time a good tip is to go accross the road to the marriot hotel, where they have a patesserie which is very nice with reasonable prices.
The downside to this holiday was not the choice of hotel but the locals constantly pestering you to go in their shops and bars/restaurants, stopping you in your path & trying to give you their business cards, so it is not a good place to go if you like to look around the shops as it is impossible. This is also a problem on the beach, being constantly approached & asked if you want food, drinks, newspapers, excursions, massages, jewellery. Also the taxi's constantly beep their horns at you as you walk along the road and stop to see if you want a taxi. Beware of what you eat & drink also as both myself & partner sufferred from stomach upsets for most of the time we were there. Lastly, it is so expensive everywhere especially drinks so don't go expecting it to be cheap!"
- Travel date: Wed 24th of June 2009
LOVED IT!! WILL GO BACK
"We returned from the palm novotel on 5th June 2009. We had a fantastic fortnight away. The hotel is spotless. Like previous reviews, both the Beach and Palm Novotel's offer fantastic clean facilities but the Palm side is much quieter. If we wanted the usual water polo, areobics, noise etc, we wondered accross to the Beach Novotel. If we fancied a quieter day we stayed at the Palm Novotel. The Palm side IS cheaper even though the food is exactly the same. The road between the two hotels is very busy and you are constantly beeped at by the local taxi drivers looking for work. However, there are lovely men employed by novotel who willingly cross you safely over the road 24 hours a day. As for the taxi men, I'm afraid you have to just keep saying 'no' !! We were Bed and Breakfast and enjoyed trying restaurants in the Bay. We would recommend 'Valentino's' and Kanabesh. To find them, walk along between the beach and the back of the hotels towards the bay. We did get pestered to 'buy'.The name of the game in Naama is to be assertive (NOT RUDE) At the end of the day these people are only trying to earn a living like most of us. We went to TGI Fridays a few times. The staff are so friendly and the food is consistently good. We were invited to join a family on a private tour to the desert. We did the camel rides and went to meet the bedwin people in the desert. It cost about Â£100 for 3 of us, which does sound expensive but so worth it. They made us welcome and the food they prepared for us was delicious. We lay on mats, drank their tea, had a shisha pipe and watched the stars pop out. They cooked bread with the kids on an open fire, great stuff. We went to Cleo Water Park, great day out. Slides excellent, food a bit dodgy and your not allowed to take in your own!! But if you stick with the hot dogs you should be ok. We did suffer a little bit with tummy problems, but I have to say it was definitely NOT food poisening. It is anti bacterial. My advice: nip to the chemist and get some anti biotics. We just took two each and it did the trick!! Can't wait to return next year."
- Travel date: Wed 17th of June 2009
Didn't Want to Leave...
"As we landed we were hit by the heat as we came off the plane... WOW!!!
When we arrived at our hotel at (about midnight) we were greeted by the friendly staff and we were taken to our room by Mofassta (if thats how you spell his name) He was very friendly and drove us to our room on a golf buggy.. He was always waiting for us to come back and he drove us up to our room most nights. We also got some food from the bar when we arrived, which was good! The food was lovely and everyone was really nice (apart from when they hassle you on the streets to try and buy stuff from them, but that was just annoying!!!)
Was an amazing holiday, everyone was really helpful (including our Rep, cant remember her name!!)
Would definitely recommend Sharm el Sheik to anyone.. Already have and they are going this year :-)"
- Travel date: Wed 15th of April 2009
AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!!
"Booked a two week trip bed and breakfast at Novotel Sharm El Sheik for end of June 08 to July 08.
Initially thought we were staying on the beach side but then found out when tickets arrived that we were on the Palm side.
Upon arrival we were delighted with being put on the palm side.
The hotel was fantastic. Very new, spotless, rooms excellent, staff lovely and friendly. Take your time to speak with the staff and get to know a little about them. I really think this helps make the trip so much more pleasurable and they can give you little tips on places to go, trips to take etc.
Me and my girlfriend (21 and 25) both loved this holiday and really can't fault much at all.
Breakfast was really really nice, massive selection of pastries, cereal, toasts, fruit, hot foods and lots more. Never got bored of the breakfasts and again staff were very friendly each and every morning.(we took time to speak with them)
The hotel was very very quiet and often we had two out of 3 pools to ourselves which was heavenly. Not sure why so quiet but loved this aspect of it.
There are 3 lovely pools on the palm side and we were near the top pool furthest away from reception. Bit of a walk to the room but worth it when you get there. The grounds are spotless.
Room excellent, very clean, decor nice, shower huge with never ending hot water. Air con great, fridge ok, tv ok.
When you leave reception and walk out to front of hotel there is a main road to cross to get over to the beach. Don't worry this is not a death trap as many other people state. If you stop, look and listen like we were all taught then you will be fine!!
The hotel also have a staff member on duty who stops traffic for you which is handy.
The hotel has an excellent location.
Their are banks nearby and a cash machine at the front of the radisson which is the hotel next door. Also shops nearby to purchase anything. We often bought large bottles of water which were very cheap at the shops and took them back to our room or for around the pool. They are expensive in hotel so be warned.
Security at front of hotel do not check bags when coming in with shopping as some other hotels I've read about do.
Naama bay is only ten minutes walk away. There is lovely walkway from the beach side to naama bay which everyone uses. Its next to the beach so its a lovely walk past the front of other hotels and restaurants. This is very safe, lit up and lots of people, never any trouble.
Once in Naama bay it is lively. Numerous clubs for dancing, hard rock cafe, tgi fridays, pizza hut etc. Imported drinks and cocktails are expensive in these places.
Easy to get taxis from everywhere. Just go on to main road and they'll stop. Barter, barter, barter as you will get the best deal. Don't except their prices as like anywhere they will try to get as much money out of you as possible.
We done trips to Cairo by plane to see pyramids. This cost approx Â£120. Fantastic. Don't go through travel agent to book this, but check out many of the egyptian companies (sun & fun is one nearby hotel on path to naama bay). Again discuss prices with them for cheaper deals. Cannot recommend Cairo enough as pyramids are truly amazing.
Also done quad biking including tea with bedoiuns, day trip to blue hole (abo galoum) for snorkeling, camel ride etc, and nearby water park (5 mins from hotel). All trips were great and worth doing.
One other trip was scuba diving to tiran island which cost approx Â£45 including boat trip there, lunch. Realy recommend scuba diving also.
I really recommend this hotel and Egypt as a holiday destination.
We had the best holiday ever and are returning to Egypt in March 09."
- Travel date: Sun 1st of February 2009
"Stayed at the novotel palm in the summer for two weeks. could not fault one thing, absolutely loved it!!! we were a bit weary at first due to the reviews on here of people wanting the other hotel. we did originally want the other hotel but the palm side is so much better. the road could be a problem if you have prams or toddlers but we found it fine, men stand at each side to get you across safely.
Because it is a new hotel, everywhere is spotless. the rooms are the biggest rooms iv'e ever seen, the bedroom and bathroom is amazing! would defiantly look at staying at another novotel hotel after staying here. The pools, three to choose in this hotel, are massive, we did go to the pool over road but found it too full of small children splashing and running around.
Breakfast was excellent, the chef can make you pancakes, scrambled eggs, omelette's and fried eggs. there was also yogurts, fruit, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes and fresh juice. The hotel was about 10 mins walk along the beach to the centre which we found perfect. would definatly return back to this hotel if were going to naama bay again."
- Travel date: Thu 15th of January 2009
Marvellous family week in the sun....
"As the previous reviewers stated a virtually brand new hotel, in a great location, and a much higher standard than a UK Novotel.
As there are 3 of us we opted to move into a family room rather than share a double at the Novotel Beach side - just send them an e mail they are really accommodating, they even picked us up from the airport free of charge.
The room was a mini apartment, with a separate section for kids; bunks built into the wall, and a door separating it from the main bedroom, great 'wet room' type shower, minibar/fridge, safe & air con, nice balcony, even a kettle arrived after our first day.
The hotel is still 'bedding in', and not everything is finished, but the building work is really unnoticable.
When fully established the kids club will be very good, they have separate buildings for activities, small pool/waterslide area, top quality climbing frame (supervised with helmets & harnesses for the children), mini skate board park (awaiting the instuctors arrival when we were there), mini football & hockey pitch, with a really good team running the whole thing.
There are 3 pools, 2 obviously in the main section of the hotel, the other one a small one at the top of the development, again this had not opened.
The animation & pool staff were really helpful, not pushy so if you don't want to join in that's no issue.
Plenty going on at night on the beach side.
We just opted for B&B, the food was really good, especially if you like eggs!
Our only real concern was the road, which turned out to be a dual carriageway with a very wide nicely planted central reservation, and the hotel must have taken note of concerns as there are now security guards on each side acting as 'school crossing patrols' on each side - although why only one of them had a hi-vis jacket remains a mystery!
Personally I am not a big fan of Naama Bay's shopping & night life, I guess it's a culture thing, but I would have spent more if not hassled all of the time, but this hotel enabled us to avoid that if we wanted too, plus with the added benefit that very few Russians seem to have discovered it yet.........."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of March 2008
Not the hotel I thought it was!!
"We have just returned from a week in the Novotel Palm and it was not the week we thought we were getting. My party (me 52, wife 51 and daughter 22) were supposed to be booked into the Novotel beach hotel, after I booked it specifically.
When we arrived, we found out we had been booked into the Palm and I was not amused. The Palm is situated across a busy dual carriageway behind the original Novotel and this is the problem as this is the main road through Sharm. Apart from taking your life into your hands every time you cross, there are the taxi drivers who keep stopping to ask if you want a taxi and this gets tiresome after a while. The hotel is a brand new (as of Feb 2008) complex and is very clean and the staff are mostly very helpful. I have stayed in Sharm quite a few times and I dive, therefore I am out for most of the day, though as my family are with me, I like to have them stay in a nice hotel.
As the hotel is not quite finished, the facilities are limited, with no shop or entertainment unless you cross the busy main road to get to the older hotel and of course you have to go to the older hotel if you want the beach. The rooms we were booked into had no working air con and we requested to be moved, and after a bit of persuasion, we were upgraded to superior rooms, one of which also had non working air con.
Call me pernickety, but when I book 5 star, I expect things to work. If I book 3 star, with 3 star prices, then I am prepared for the odd problem.
The rooms in the Palm are bigger (so I am told) than the older Novotel Beach, but as far as I am concerned they are not fitted out as 5 star rooms and the only difference between standard and superior rooms is a bit more space and a bigger balcony. I compare 5star luxury with the likes of the Hyatt Regency, which I have stayed in a couple of times. The beds in the Novotel are acceptable, but not the most comfy in the world, whereas the Hyatt are literally a dream to sleep on (pardon the pun). On the plus side, the hotel is quiet and there is not a great rush for the sun beds.
Hotel food prices are also very steep and as you can guess, many of the guests go into Sharm for dinner if they are not staying full board. Typical prices for lunch in the hotel would be (Salad Â£5.20, Coke Â£1.50, plate of fries Â£2.00 bottle of beer Â£3.20) and considering that Sharm is a cheap place to eat, that is a lot of money. If you want good food at reasonable prices for an evening meal, I can highly recommend Pomadoro which is located on the main street in Naama Bay at the Camel Dive Centre. Would I go back to this hotel? NO. Would I recommend it? Only if you can get a good deal and you donât mind crossing busy roads."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of March 2008