My fiance and I have just returned from 2 weeks at this hotel, staying from June 12th - 26th. After reading some of the reviews on here I was quite worried, but thankfully we had a brilliant time and I hope this review is helpful for anyone considering booking!
TRAVEL AND ARRIVAL
We flew with Thomas Cook but were already aware that the resort transfer was 2.5 hours so thankfully that didn't come as a big surprise as it seemed to do for some people. We arrived at Hurghada airport in the late evening and were shown to our mini bus. Our cases were strapped to the roof which was a little daunting when driving through a busy run down area (I think this was El Quiser?)
We arrived late and after the travel time (the flight and the transfer) we were shattered - check in was really efficient and the guy on reception and the security man who showed us to our room were really informative (although by this point we were half asleep and their tour of the resort and the information presented was a little bit lost on us!)
We were allocated room 625 which was right on the beach front - the room was really big and the domed ceilings were a great feature. Unfortunately the bathroom was very dated and need some serious renovating - the shower was terrible!
WELCOME MEETING AND TRIPS
The welcome meeting the next morning was fantastic - our rep was lovely and went through all of the trips that were on offer. We booked the 2 hour quad biking (£35) and day in Luxor (£90).
Quad biking was great. However, given the heat and the bumpy ride I did feel a little sick halfway through, but the people who ran the tour were great and encouraged the team to rest whilst I drank water and sorted myself out (I had done quad biking in Hurghada before but Marsa Alam was totally different - the terrain is very uneven and offered a much bumpier ride!).
Our tour guide for our Luxor trip was FANTASTIC - he knew pretty much everything there was to know about the area and Egypt's history as a whole, and was always keen to answer questions. Unfortunately there are a minority of locals at the temples and tombs who are quite aggressive salesmen - they were present last time I went to Luxor with friends, but this time they were so much worse and by the end of the trip everyone's tempers with them were wearing thin! Our guide explained that they had become more 'pest like' since the revolution and at one point one of the young men tried to pick a fight with my fiance which obviously put a slight dampner on things!
We also booked a snorkeling trip with the on site diving school as they were much cheaper than with Thomas Cook- we paid around £8 for our half day trip on a boat. This trip was quite unorganised - once on the boat we told we needed flippers - after explaining that we weren't told we needed anything other than our snorkles the guides told us we should have asked for them and we'd have to just do our best without them! We were the only British people on a boat full of Italians and the snorkeling guide didn't really pay us much attention. Aside from this, the reef we were taken to was breathtaking.
As people have mentioned, certain parts of the hotel could do with being brought up to scratch, in particular the paint on some of the buildings but I really don't think that is something that could ruin a holiday!
The lobby area was fantastic and we spent a lot of our time in the evening drinking cocktails on the comfy sofas. The bar staff here were brilliant and I feel so bad that I can't mention them all by name as they all deserve a huge thank you! Our favourite was Mohamed Salah who we nicknamed 'Smiley' because he always looked so cheerful and happy! Some of the bar staff went the extra mile for us by making our cocktails look AMAZING - a tip was always welcomed with a smile and was well deserved!
Our room was cleaned daily but I'm not sure how often the bedding was actually changed as we didn't really notice. We really liked the towel art we had one day with fresh flowers, but were a bit disappointed that we only got this one time at the start of our two weeks, especially as we were really generous with our tips!
There are three swimming pools - one 'quite' pool, one activity pool (with the usual 'activities') and one reseverved for the Italians - the beach seemed to be divided the same way, with the quite area down near the Mangrove restaurant. The beach offered fantastic snorkeling opportunities - our favourite spot was down the side near the reeds to the left of the hotel where the sea bed was sandy and the area quiet (we pretty much snorkeled there by ourselves everyday which was lovely). When the tide is out go for a wander round the weeds where there are LOTS of crabs and weird creatures in shells!
THE FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
Food in the buffet restuaurants was typical of all inclusive resorts. Breakfast was great which a fantastic variety of food - I especially loved the omlettes cooked as requested, and the pancakes with nutella. Lunch and dinner were much of the same and we tended to stick to pizza, pasta and salad when we ate here as the rest was a bit questionable! Mustafa who worked outside of the main buffet restaurant was probably one of our favourites across the whole hotel - he ALWAYS had a smile and seemed to be constantly in a good mood, despite the long hours he seemed to work. He looked genuinely pleased to see us everyday and had our drinks ready for us whenever he saw us coming over to this area which was really nice! The food at the beach bar didn't seem to great so we didn't bother to eat there, although the chocolate ice cream was lovely!
The hotel has two proper restaurants - if you're with Thomas Cook you can book these as much as you like during your stay. We visited the Mangrove fish restaurant one night after being told it wasn't just seafood, but it was very empty and the menu wasn't great for those who despise fish and seafood! We spent most of our evenings in the Italian restaurant - the staff here again were really hard working and friendly (the guy who seemed to manage the restaurant worked harder than I think I've seen anyone work ever!). The food here was as good as we would expect to pay on a meal out here in Manchester and being able to order with a waiter and have it served made the evenings feel much more special than just cramming into the buffet restaurant. The vegetarian pizza is probably one of the nicest pizzas I've ever tasted and my fiance loved the steak! Unfortunately the only thing that ruined the Italian restaurant experience was the kids disco that went on from around 8.30ish each evening right outside the restaurant, playing the same terrible kids party songs every.single.night (dambusters, oke koke etc.), which brings me onto...
We wanted to go on holiday to relax as we weren't the type of people who want to spend our holidays dancing to abba or watching kids run around - Thomas Cook assured us that although there was entertainment in the hotel, it was easily avoidable if we chose not to participate. Given that the hotel is given their 'Style' stamp, I trusted this - how wrong we were.
Firstly, the hotel has an 'animation' team, who work extremely hard all day everyday getting people involved in the different activities - they were really nice, especially Joe, but in all honesty, having to say 'no I don't want to do aqua arobics after I've just eaten breakfast' or 'no I don't want to do belly dancing on the beach in front of everyone' everyday did get a bit tedious!
Although the hotel serves many nationalities it is mostly Italians and so most of the entertainment seemed largely to cater for them. For example, on our arrival we were told by security that there was a cinema on the beach - after enquiring about this the next morning we were told it was only for the Italians. The restaurants, Sultana bar and evening the Lobby bar are located around a seating area where the kids disco happens each evening so unless you want to stay in your room from 8 - 9.30pm it really isn't avoidable. At 9.30 there is an evening show in the outdoor ampitheatre outside the hotel entrance but we only went to see one of the shows and despite the team working really hard, it wasn't great!
The staff make this hotel - they work so hard and are constantly friendly and attentive despite their obviously long working days. Unfortunately the unavoidable 'cheesy' entertainment let the holiday down a little bit - especially given that Thomas Cook think this hotel is a 'Style' holiday - would I stay here again or recommend this hotel to friends? I would but I'm not sure the 2.5 hour transfer is worth it when it's similar to a lot of other hotels in Egypt!
- Also Known As:
- Sentido Oriental Dream Hotel Marsa Alam
- Sentido Oriental Dream Hotel
- Hotel Sentido Oriental Dream
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Sentido Oriental Dream Resort! Nestled in an expansive landscape and 40 km from the airport, this elegant five-star resort offers you relaxing moments on a private beach. The contrast between desert, sea and mountains give the world a completely fresh aspect. The breathtaking sunsets, the turquoise sea and the magnificent coral reefs will enchant you. Unique preserved location for quiet vacation with an array of water sports activities and the desert discovery. The resort offers a 24-hour front desk, multilingual staff, Guest Relation desk, bell captain, limousine service and lots more. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia and Tingo so you can book your SENTIDO Oriental Dream Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.