6 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Sharks Bay I LOVE Diving there its like diving with friends!
"I have been to Sharks Bay twice now, and I love it for every detail and would recommend to any diver, There are faculties for all types of divers, if you so wish you can stay in the extremely posh Bedwein rooms, or if your like me and like a bit of basic you can stay in the very comfortable beach cabins which still have their own bathrooms. They have other trips out other than diving, but this is a true Diving resort and has access to the beach from the shore straight out to a coral reef so if you are learning you open water you complete you skills there which is amazing. I have complete two course there and was very happy with what I learnt, as I was not only learning from the instructors the guest there are so friendly. Both times I have been there I have traveled on my own and from the minute I got there I haven't felt only!! There are good quality trips on a daily boat which leave every day where there is the opportunity to dive three times off the boat and the food is perfect! There are a variety of restaurants all on the beach which give you access to anything you might fancy but if you want you can go the very lively Narma Bay! Once is normally enough!! I will continue to go to Sharks Bay every year because I love it!! And would recommend it to any Diver!!"
- Travel date: 5th July 2008
Great room, lousy scene
"My wife and I stayed at Umbi after spending ten days in Dahab. Our primary reason for booking was we wanted somewhere with a house reef, run by locals, that was outside of the package-resort holiday chaos of Na'ama Bay/Sharm but still within striking range of Ras Mohammed National Park. Also, we were recommended this hotel by the Inmo Hotel in Dahab, which was fabulous. Room: We booked in their relatively new "Bedouin Village", a very attractive set of whitewashed cliffside bungalows overlooking Shark's Bay. From our balcony, it was very peaceful and entertaining to watch all the dive boats loading and unloading, the men (and only men) in the courtyard involved in evening prayers, breaking the Ramadan fast, lovely sunrises, and the goings-on around the sandy, parasol-laden beach. Our en-suite room was kept reasonably clean though it didn't come with the television that had been promised on the resort 's website (not that we minded). And quite a deal too at 50 euros/night. Food: Well, here it gets dicey. Great shisha bar serving a lovely tea and Egyptian coffee. Great for an evening chill-out. The food in the main restaurant served your basic pasta, pizza and middle eastern mezze, all tasty and to good standard or so we thought. There is also a little store selling water, snacks and ice-cream. The breakfast was dull, a bit instituional and seemed adequate until my wife, both our neighbors, an English guy upstairs and myself all came down with SERIOUS gastrointestinal distress at the same time. And these were just the people we spoke to. The guy nextdoor got it the worst and had to be put on an IV drip at the hospital (!) and after hearing his night of retching horror through the thin walls, and starting to cramp quite badly myself, I put myself on a course of antibiotics, something I almost never do. However, I do realize that this is Egypt and these are the risks you run. From the glowing reviews that have since been posted, I would like to think that they have rectified this situation (?). Snorkelling: The primary objective of most of our travels! Snorkelling at Shark's Bay was interesting in that the fish are pretty tame and there's a fair number of them around the jetty but overall the coral is pretty damaged from hundreds upon hundreds of novice divers doing their training, scuffing their fins on the reef, etc. On each outing, we felt compelled to collect at least a dozen of the many plastic bags floating around the Bay. Also, when my wife and I went out night snorkelling it was like Return of the Jedi with all the divers' torch-lights waving around and scaring away all but the smallest of critters! That being said, there are some lovely, picturesque grottos to swim through at high tide and it's a good place for beginners. Also, there are many, many dive boats that leave directly from Shark's Bay to Tiran Island which is nearby and supposedly fabulous but the overcrowded cattle-boat scene gave us the Fear. Staff: Here, a mixed bag. The three English women at reception were wonderful, gave us a great room, replied promptly to e-mail, recommended a place in Sharm's Old Town to buy top quality Egyptian cotton towels and were more than tolerant with my bizarre questions about local marine life, culture and where to buy top-quality Egyptian cotton towels. Mohammed at the front desk-- a warm and jovial man himself-- also recommended a fabulous, respectful driver, Solomon, who just about redeemed our whole time in Sharm! He took us to Ras Mohammed National Park on two occasions for snorkelling and though his English was limited, he knew exactly where to take us and was a perfect gentleman. An awesome trip, and so much better, faster and less-crowed from shore, as opposed to from a dive-boat! However. The guy who runs/touts the dive center was an absolute creep. Not only pushy, but after meeting us, waits for me to come off my lounger to take a cooling dip and when I come back he's sitting next to my wife and telling her, "You make everything around you more beautiful." (Which of course she does but, you know...) She was, in a word, unsettled. This guy was not only married himself, he informed us he was observing Ramadan, supposedly a time of abstention and spiritual reflection. Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident and I am in no way trying to imply that these situations are endemic to the Umbi. However. The woman next door, who we became friends with, while her husband was out diving for the day, came back to her room find the room boy... well... this story gets worse but I'd prefer not to have this review cancelled by Trip Advisor on the grounds of hearsay. Also, any unattended woman, single or otherwise, can expect to be manhandled in the name of a "sample massage" by the many massage touts on the overcrowded beach. These and other overt lecherys, combined with busloads of tourists from other hotels, mainly Eastern Europeans, arriving every morning to clog the beaches and take the lion's share of the tatty sun loungers, combined with the onset of dysentary conspired to create, in my mind at least, a lousy, lousy scene. Though we did like our room. And going to Ras Mohammed with Solomon, who discreetly and respectfully turned us his back when my wife changed into and out of her wetsuit. And this all happened 8 months ago. But we will never, ever go back. Inshallah."
- Travel date: 20th May 2008
AMAZING ! Â£15 a night and right on the beach!
"Snorkelling, off the beach or a dive boat, swimming, comfortable accommodation just yards from the Red Sea, 2 great restaurants, a beach bar for snacks, a chance to learn to dive if you wish and very quiet at night - all this for Â£15 in a beach cabin - just paces from the sea - or Â£18 for a large bedroom in the newly built Umbi Bedouin village. see www.oonasdivers.com Sounds amazing? Have just got back from two weeks staying at the Umbi Bedouin village and it was great - there is nothing better than climbing out of bed, going to your window and seeing the Red Sea just a few yards away. So many of the hotels have to coach their people to the beaches or to jetties for the boats. Not here, just 100 yards and you are there. There are 3 types of accommodation, backpackers huts above the Bedouin village; brilliant varnished wooden cabins with AC and bathroom en suite right on the beach and the large bedrooms in the Bedouin village which are clean and comfortable, AC in summer, hot air in winter, bathroom ensuite and great views. Staff are polite and nothing is too much trouble. There is NO organised entertainment, no loud music, so if this is what you want, go somewhere else. Here you can rest, relax, sleep, tan, eat, drink, swim, snorkel among the fish, go out on boats and if you want the loud noises, Na'ama Bay is 40EP away in a taxi. Enjoy!"
- Travel date: 22nd April 2008
Umbi Diving Village
"We also booked with Oonasdivers and had a great time. It felt like staying with friends, relaxed and personal. Being March it was not too busy so I guess it was the best time to go. We booked a Beach cabin but it was too basic for us (windows were blacked out and it felt a little claustrophobic) so we changed to a Bedouin Village room which all have amazing views and are well worth the upgrade. Diving was also great and Adel was our diving guide. Alex who runs the dive center and her right hand man were great and tried to accommodate every wish we had including a trip to Thistlegorm and Petra with no rest time in between (she will tell you off... we love you Alex). Na'ma bay is 15 mins away by taxi (fare was LE40) but we had such a good time at Umbi so we only went once. Breakfast was served in the restaurant by the beach which was ok (it could do with bit more variety). We had a little problem with our trip to Petra and when he heard about it one of the owners of the hotel went out of his way to sort it out for us (even though we hadn't booked it through the hotel) and that is customer service you wont get even from the 5* hotels. To sum up, we loved Umbi. Before this we only stayed in 4* and 5* hotels and since this trip was a last minute decision we decided to try Umbi Village. Here you get so much more than you pay for. Even if I had nowhere to sleep, just to have met the staff in Umbi Village would have been enough to make this holiday great. Yoka & Andy"
- Travel date: 3rd April 2008
"booked through onnas diving. stayed in beach cabins, which were fine, basic accomodation with ac and ensuite. the diving was excellent, private jetty with max of 6 boats out of there a day [compared to sharm nama bay - 60 boats a day!], brilliant dive guides and very relaxed approach. house reef is lovely as well. breakfast is fine, fruit, breads, some cooked food as well - i dont do breakfast myself. restaurant in the evening wasnt great, adequate. sharks bay itself is really relaxed, similar to Dahab. overall if your going for diving, its a organised dive site, with everything on hand and some really experienced guides, Adel was the best."
- Travel date: 30th March 2008
What a place!
"This gorgeous village/hotel, in an excellent location townhouse on the rocks is trying to represent the local architecture. It has a discreet atmosphere in a traditional-meets-modern decor. There are 3 types of room: Bedouin rooms on the rocks, fully furnished with a/c, tv and ensuite bathroom, overlooking the sea and tiran island. Beach Cabins, less stilish but with a/c, tv and ensuite bathroom, slightly cheaper tought. View Huts, much cheaper, basic accomodation, with share bathroom. Excellent view of the sea but probably too hot during the very hot months. Breakfast is served in the seafood restaurant by the beach, nice terrace with normal size buffet(dont expect a luxury one). Shark Bay is nevertheless a romantic and dazzlingly beautiful holiday escape."
- Travel date: 8th March 2008