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“I can't wait to return.”
Review of Penguin Village

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Penguin Village
Ranked #15 of 53 Hotels in Dahab
Reviewed 14 October 2011

I traveled with a friend and we had a great time there. Thankfully, it is far away from the downtown tourist stores and the harsh lights that come with that.

I disagree with other reviewers. The staff is phenomenal. If you pay attention, and look hard, then sure yeah not everyone loves working there but that was 1-2 people of the whole bunch. However, everyone is so lighthearted and enjoys cracking jokes. It's also just good practice to try and get to know the staff at any hotel/restaurant because that is often the best way to gain insight about the local people. Anyone working in reception here knows English so be friendly and maybe try to learn some Egyptian Arabic (colloquial form).

Our room was simple but great. Look on your bed for a cool surprise once they prepare it for you. Yes, the water was slightly salty but my hair still felt clean after showering. Just remember to buy water bottles for drinking (about 2 LE for 1.5L, 5 LE for 7L).

When eating at the restaurant, I'd recommend not ordering an appetizer right away because it sometimes comes free (as does dessert). When you consider the location, the staff, the FOOD!, and the free appetizer/dessert, then the dinner price is a great value. Meal prices were pretty standard across all restaurants but here you get so much more. Ask if they can make fish in the Bedouin style---amazing. We ordered it twice because it was so good. I'm missing it now as I write this.

In regards to side trips, I'm pretty sure we were overcharged but unless you know Arabic then I'd suggest accepting the fact that commission is included in the price. Note: overcharged by Egyptian standards but still SUPER CHEAP by US standards. And everything should be included so be skeptical if someone along the trip asks for payment.

Room Tip: Don't be afraid to ask to see different rooms before picking one. Not all rooms have the same am...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Alexandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 October 2011

Well, I came to Penguin Village to take a diving course. It was supposed to be a package deal, with the diver's license and the room at a discount. The discount disappeared and the 'package' deal turned out to be more expensive than just paying separately. I was also cheated out of an extra dive (which my dive partner received) because I pointed out the pricing discrepancy.

Do not got there, they will smile and lie and cuss in your face.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled solo
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1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2011

Now, I have been studying in Egypt for three years and I stayed at Penguin three times. However, never again! Do not get me wrong, the place has all the amenities one could wish for (i.e. for Egypt, if you stay here long enough there is far worse and Penguin will line up in the top third of your choices). Plus, as for all the Dahab "backpacking"-restaurants the Penguin one is one of the few that doesn't make you puke.

Now, why did I give such a bad rating then? Well, any other s*** hotel takes pride in hospitality, even though the hotel is cockroach-laden and run-down. At penguin you will encounter three people a manager, who is constantly drunk (though fun if you get to talk to him ever, by fun I rather mean amusing), an acting manager, who will ignore you, insult you in your face in Arabic if you look western, be outright rude for no reason... a receptionist, who is probably just dense, he simply is not aware of anything going on around him.

However, what begins with the acting manager is embodied in the diving-gear cashier Hanan. She may seem nice at first, but if you pay attention (and know a little Arabic) you will notice the insults (for no reason whatsoever). You will notice that she randomly changes prices and policies, not even by a small margin, and you will notice that she embezzles change. All this may seem inadvertent, but believe me it isn't it happens elsewhere in Egypt too, but usually not in a place handpicked by lonelyplanet. I set her straight in Arabic and left without paying the final day of my diving course eventually. Just unbelievable.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank RaphDe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 September 2011

Nice rooms for the money! Good restaurant and dive shop right next to it!
Will go back next april with a group!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank gdecarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

First of all the positives: its got a great location in Dahab, not in the hustle and bustle of the main restaurant street but very close to it, very near the Funny Mummy - an amazing restaurant, and with a great view to the sea from the top floor rooms - great to wake up to. Pillow lounge a bit grotty but nice too... Room was good for what we paid, lovely balcony, good AC and not too small.

The diving offers great value for money and the lady at the dive counter was lovely. I went on a discovery dive and the instructor who came along with my boyfriend and I was lovely too - I was very nervous and he was very calming, friendly and made my experience amazing! Thank you! See below for diving negatives too though.

Now the negatives:

- Something was wrong with the electrics in our room so that the taps (and the water) gave you a strong electric shock everytime you touched it - very scary - had to refrain from touching it for all of the last day!

- Staff - could be very unfriendly at times and seemed to suffer from some friendliness schizofrenia. Sometimes there were amazing and lovely and helpful then 2 hours later they were abrupt, grumpy and didnt want to waste their time with you. Reception was terrible - there was never anyone there and if you really needed them you either had to wait for ages and ages or come back later (hence why we couldn't be bothered to report the electic problem - we would have waited hours!)

- Diving - this was not very well organised - very often the trips left very late (once it was over 1 hour late and we just had to wait and wait and wait...), and the staff seemed more interested in their own banter than looking after paying customers. It was infuriating! Also, my boyfriend did 3 dives with a different instructor who he said was so moody he hardly said a word to him the whole trip - although the dive itself was beautiful it completely took the fun out of it!

- Trip to Mt Sinai - this is 100% worth it and beautiful but maybe find another company to do it with. The driver was late, and the 'guide' we had to take us up the mountain guided us about 3/4 of the way up and then seemed to lose interest in keeping us together - at the summit and on the way down we lost him and all went down in different ways - he was not there to take us around St catherines either.

To summarise the hotel as such is good and the diving is cheap and beautiful, but there seems to me to be much better places to stay in Dahab - you did not get the impression that the staff were there to help you and make your stay better they seemed more interested in what they were doing. Go elsewhere and if you're on a budget you can always dive with them separately.

Room Tip: Top floor sea view AC room with balcony very nice
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank barbican01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2011

Dahab City Tours was a website that displayed all sorts of day tours around Dahab. My husband and I wanted to reserve day tours ahead of our trip and this looked like an easy way to do it (and you put 10% down using paypal). However, we would not recommend doing any tours through this company. First, we signed up for Ras Mohammad national park. They showed up 45 min late and then we had to drive around the city for an hour to pick up the taxi driver because he overslept. We didn't actually get to leave until 2 hours after the initial time we should have started. Next, we did not have a guide like the website stated (just a taxi driver). Also, we were supposed to have entrance fees included and they tried to tell us they weren't...and they even showed up at our hotel later begging for the money. Third, our taxi driver left 3 times while we were snorkeling (and we had no idea if he would return since he didn't say where he went) so we had to take turns snorkeling since we could not leave our belongings in the car. The park was amazing, but we were really disappointed that we had all of these problems and we lost a lot of time snorkeling since we had to still leave when the park closed (and we lost 2 hours at the beginning).

Also, we had trouble finding them (since we only knew the name "Dahab City Tours") and it took a phone call to set up the tours once we arrived in Dahab. They did not respond to emails after we paid 10% down.

Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
Thank Megan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2011

Horrible experience for a number of reasons:

- I met a girl here who was studying Arabic. While we were checking in, she overheard them, not only calling guests checking in "sons of B***es" and degrade them with swear words, but also one told the other to overcharge a tourist. They were rude and disrespectful.
- Do not book trips with them either. We booked a trip to Mt. Sinai and the driver they hired was 2 hours late. We had to run up the mountain for sunrise.
- Do not rent from the dive shop. The woman at the front desk overcharged us for the snorkeling gear. When our friend went up to order it, she charged her less. Plus, she tried to pull a fast one and give us incorrect change.

Out of all the trips that I have taken, this was, by far, the worst hotel experience that I have ever encountered. The employees that run this place are locals that are looking to take advantage of tourists. Same yourself the verbal abuse and disrespect and stay somewhere else.

Room Tip: Stay somewhere else. There are loads of other places to stay in Dahab.
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  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank jlschoenig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Penguin Village

Address: Mashraba St, Dahab 46617, Egypt
Region: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > South Sinai > Dahab
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Dahab
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Dahab
Price Range: £18 - £18 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Penguin Village 3*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Friendly, clean hotel located on the waterfront. A range of rooms including ones with A/C, private bathrooms and balcony with red Sea views. Onsite restaurant and dive center offering recreational diving and PADI courses. Pick up service from anywhere in Egypt and assistance in arranging tours to surrounding cities and the Sinai region.hope to see you soon> ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Penguin Village Dahab
Penguin Village Hotel Dahab

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