NB! 3 for service is not really related to Moevenpick hotel, it is related to Royal Dive Tribe which is a diving center in Moevenpick. The hotel would have scored a fair 5, but I think it should be somewhat responsible for a business which is located on it's premises and caters for it's customers. Please read the last part of the review if you are interested in our bad experience with a Royal Dive Tribe. Our most enjoyable experience with Moevenpick I've tried to describe below.
It all started about 10 years ago when I was backpacking in Egypt, staying in the cheapest places one can find. Once I went to El Gouna to see how it's like. I was particularly amazed by the luxury of Moevenpick. I've sneaked to it's beach, walked around it's beautiful gardens. That was obviously a striking contrast with places I was staying in. So I decided to return one day as a legitimate guest. Time passed, I've stayed in most of major 5* chains hotels including other Moevenpicks, but still wanted eventually to come to Moevenpick El Gouna.
I was a bit anxious thinking that may be it is better to leave it as a nice dream then risk a disappointment. I've ignored this concerns and it was for good.
I wanted to book directly with the hotel first, but found that when buying a package tour flight from Munich would cost next to nothing. So I bought a tour and contacted the hotel if I can stay in the cluster I like (1st one). On arrival, we were indeed given a key from a room in cluster 1. It is not renovated yet (and hence cheaper). You can tell it's age by few subtle signs if you are very eager to look for details, but none of these tiny bits really cause any interruptions. Room was huge, clean, everything worked fine. Internet is very expensive but quite fast. On the check in we've missed a dinner, so we were compensated with lunch on the day of our departure which was quite handy. Also on the departure date we were allowed to stay 2 extra hours for free to accommodate our plane's schedule.
There is a "dine around" option available in 5* hotels in El Gouna, but we did not use it because we could hardly imagine a better dining elsewhere. Main place included in HB was just perfect, and for the taste of local fish we went to El Sayaddin once. It was very good, with great fresh seafood and live music. The cost was like an average place in Munich, food was like in the very best places. On the downside, however, the taste of some of the fruits was not perfect. They were a bit watery and not as tasty as sold in Europe on any market in Cairo. May be they are locally grown in El Gouna?
The beach front is great, with sun beds available round the clock, there is no shortage of them at all. It is divided to cluster 8 section, kiter's section, and swimmers/snorkelers section. I do not count lagoons and pools because I am not a fan of swimming in those. Cluster 8's section is a bit boring for me, but from there it is an easy swim/walk to the coral near Zeytoona beach corals. Kiter's section is spectacular when there is a wind blowing. Most of the kiters do not interfere with swimmers who have their own big part of a beach. I've witnessed no casualties of a kiter hitting a swimmer, but have seen few close calls. Life guard some times help kiters to get back to their turf.
I've seen some complains about a beach, especially that sea is shallow. It is indeed, and it takes about 15 minutes + 1 short swim (if tide is high) to get to the corals. There is a flag that clearly marks the only place where you can get to open water to see the most spectacular fish without hurting a reef or yourself. A life guard's boat is on duty near the flag most of the time.
Our main activity was snorkeling and taking underwater photos. You may see some pictures my wife and I made, all taken in the radius of 50 meters around the flag. http://picasaweb.google.com/izard.ak/Underwater# From the dangerous species, I've only seen electric ray, morena and conus. Neither of these 3 would attack you unless you get too close, intentionally or not so be careful.
Now the good part is over, and below is a Royal Dive Tribe part.
We were told by our friends that there is an amazing experience, called "swimming with dolphins". There is a place not too far from El Gouna/Hurghada where dolphins are frequently spotted, so a lot of places offer a boat trip to that place, called "dolphin house". The trip could be booked in few places in El Gouna including The Royal Dive Tribe, and many places in Hurghada. We decided to book the trip at Moevenpick, it's a bit easier to start at hotel we are staying in rather then to go somewhere else.
That was a mistake. We were advised that next trip which is not fully booked is in a few days. That seemed fine, so we've booked it. They took our room number and asked to come at least 15 minutes in advance. When time came, we came to the diving center (quite a walk from our cluster, hotel's territory is really big but beautifully decorated). We were then told that that the trip was canceled, but we can buy another trip. There was some reason why they did not let us know in advance: they did not want us to rebook with another vendor, or they wanted to sell us some other trip, as we will come to their place prepared for snorkeling any way. We refused to go elsewhere, and were told that "swimming with dolphins" is available in just two days.
This should have ring a bell, and we should have thought about back-up option at this point. We did not. So when the date came, it all repeated: long walk to the Dive Tribe, trip is canceled because of some technical issues, we are offered another one. Something had again prevented them to let us know in advance (it's not difficult to send a message or call someone in Moevenpick). This reason was probably the same like first time: they did not want us to book somewhere else, and they tried again to sell us another trip. Or may be that is their general attitude towards customers. If later is the case it might be plain dangerous to go diving/snorkeling with them.
In short, my complain about Dive Tribe is: they twice promised something they can't deliver. Both times they didn't let us in advance that trip is canceled, but tried to sell something else. Both times I haven't heard even a slightest hint of apology.
So we will do the trip next time we came the Red Sea (will certainly stay at the same hotel), but will never go to the Dive Tribe again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Mövenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna is nestled on a peninsula, with its own exclusive beachfront. It offers spectacular views of the Red Sea, the tranquil lagoons and the lush gardens. The ideal surroundings combined with the resort's extensive facilities all make for a perfect stay. The charming center of El Gouna with its picturesque architecture and numerous attractions is only a few minutes away and Hurghada International Airport can be reached in 30 minutes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Moevenpick Resort & Spa El Gouna Hotel El Gouna
- Moevenpick Resort And Spa El Gouna
- mövenpick El Gouna
- Moevenpick Hotel El Gouna