We were at this hotel two years ago and even at the time we were quite impressed. It is arguably the best all inclusive Egyptian “resort” we have been to and we have been to perhaps fourteen so far. Not that it is flawless; after all this is Egypt so inevitably it carries some of the general characteristics of the place. Inconsistency to name but one.
As I described it in my two years old review it is a modern and very spacious establishment in fact consisting of two sister hotels: Aquamarine and smaller-Bluemarine. Some say the latter is a bit posher but I saw no evidence of it. You can wonder freely to see both but the all-inclusive wrist bands are of different colors. You can see the layout on the photo I am enclosing with this report. The elegant style of the buildings I would describe as classicistic with some oriental details(eg. chandeliers in the main lobby).
On this occasion we stayed on the third flood in a superior room which was in fact a very spacious family apartment looking out onto the main pool. From our large balcony we had a perfect view of the setting sun behind the lobby and the mountains beyond, of the somewhat raucous pool and pool bar as well as the garden and the sea in the distance on the right. Well, we did tip to get it though the hotel was only 1/4 to half full undoubtedly on account of the recent unrest in the country. But it kept filling up as we stayed. And as it did things started to come creaking apart at the seams. I fear what it is like when it is full. Still January is not the busiest month I suppose. The apartment was quite comfortable, had two sofa beds in the anteroom(for kids-like) and a king size bed in the main bedroom, small flat screen TV set with some satellite channels in English, Arabic, Russian, Polish, German, French, Turkish(?) and Italian, paid for minibar, complementary 1l mineral water a day, tea, coffee making facilities, large shower with rather mediocre toiletries(if the cleaner remembered to replenish), hair dryer and some nice pictures on the walls. The TV set has USB ports so you can watch your own movies from a pen drive bur our portable hard drive was too much for its processor to handle. There were some issues with electricity and not-hot-enough water which were dealt with promptly if not quite definitely so I had to ask them again to rectify it. The apartment was a little tired around the edges, some dust collecting here and there but had wifi/internet socket(better) costing 250MB/10Euro or 1GB/30Euro. Best paid in cash as there is 5% surcharge for any card payment. They converted our 30Euro into Egyptian Pounds anyway so in effect you can pay in any currency you like: $$, GBP, etc.
The greatest feature of the hotel complex are its big heated pools(15 or 18 in total!) and for this reason alone I know of no better one in Egypt. They are heated or not depending on the number of guests. During our stay the heated ones were the one by the main bar, the one near Bluemarine Hotel, two long, rectangular ones(out of four) on the other side and both aqua parks by the sea. Great fun! The third aqua park is located close to Blue Marina Hotel. There are also two private pools(80cm deep) as you approach the lobby for the few, perhaps 12 exclusive apartments and a third one facing the sea. Besides, you will find a few little and shallow pools for toddlers. Our son would have loved these when he was little. I have nearly missed mentioning Jacuzzi by the beach!
As I am now at the subject of the beach it has to be said it is unusual in that a large part of it is grassy and irrigated. It was quite windy when we stayed but the hotel provides fences/screens apart from parasols. The sea here is quite shallow which makes is ideal for kids and stretches to the edge of the reef far, far off where presumably a snorkeler would spot some nice specimens of fish. In fact we did see some hardy Russians snorkeling from the neighbor(and exceptionally ugly) hotel Titanic convoluted jetty but in our opinion you need a wetsuit in winter. Contrary to my previous report it is quite suitable for kite surfing as well as recreational wind surfing so long as the tide is high. There is a water sports center(just a shack really); wind surfing costs 20Euro/hour but it is negotiable. Swimming in the shallows is nearly impossible; bathing yes, by all means. Water must get quite warm in summer since the sea is this shallow. Besides, the hotel has a spa/gym over the shops on your right as you walk toward the Bluemarine hotel. There are also play areas in quieter spots for children and paid for out door game stations closer to restaurants and the lobby, notably Playstation Wee by the entrance to the theatre. Some fun!
After the physical exercise one needs food and drink. There was one big restaurant open during our stay; the one next to the lobby. Two years ago it was the one farther away in the direction of Bluemarine Hotel. Food was good, no complaints in this department. There are also a few a la carte restaurants paid extra or not depending on your package. Never went there. In our experience afterwards you end up in the main restaurant anyway if you do not want to go to bed hungry. Red wine was passable, white less so-too sweet and sometimes not cold enough. Gin&tonic we drank was also good (unless they put soda instead of tonic) so I have to retract my previous comments on Egyptian spirits. Coffee however comes from Nescafe coffee makers except for the bar next to the lobby. Hot water regrettably often stinks of chlorine which makes making decent tea nearly impossible. There were no true fruit juices either. In numerous bars spread evenly on the grounds and the beach one can get snacks at lunchtime instead of the main restaurant, which we often did. At this point it is perhaps worth mentioning the staff is exceedingly polite, helpful and well trained. Best we have ever come across in Egypt. Some also know the basics of the languages of their overseas guests notably English, German and Russian. As you are in Egypt you must realize tipping is a fact of life. Most of the staff is paid little and rely heavily on the tips. Besides, it is a part of local culture and religion that the well-to-do(presumably like yourselves) are generous. It will make your stay even more pleasant if you conform with it and get the staff’s grateful attention. We would frequently give one Dollar note, which are surprisingly difficult to come by, or 5-10 Eg.Pounds notes(changed at the reception) to room cleaners, waiters, bar tenders, beach boys etc. 1 Dollar is an equivalent of 7Eg.P., 1 Euro-10Eg.P, 1 GBP-12Eg.P. Surely it is not going to ruin you and besides, “a Dollar a day will take you a long way”. As for the holidaymakers they come from all over Europe and Egypt and possibly some other Muslim countries(Saudi Arabia?) as well. We counted a large contingent of Russians, Poles and other Eastern Europeans, English, Germans, French, Scandinavians, Balts; sorry if I missed any particular nation. For those who are interested in that sort of things we also spotted a few interesting birds: carrion craws, falcons, egrets and other waders, pied wagtails, bluethroats, ubiquitous sparrows, chiffchaffs or similar also small lizards and large, well camouflaged, green praying mantis hiding in the bushes. Sometimes you can get a mosquito bite so take your repellent if you must but the grounds are fumigated regularly after dark. There is the usual animation team, perhaps better than most, surprisingly good evening entertainment, live music after dinner, disco after 23.00.With regard to the social unrest in Egypt it has never reached the remote sea side resorts. One is cocooned in their safety. I would not necessarily advise a trip to Cairo at present but at the same time I think the Egyptians realize it would be like shooting oneself in the foot to undermine the tourist industry so many of them depend upon. What is even more important: any trouble would undermine the vested interests of the military. Consequently, unless it becomes too “hot” we keep coming to Egypt as before.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Iberotel Aquamarine Resort is made for those who want to spoil themselves with the prefect, relaxed, All inclusive luxurious five-star Egypt holiday. Located on the southern tip of Hurghada with its own unspoiled private beach, this impressive complex features seven restaurants. It boasts over 1,001 comfortable rooms equipped with all the latest facilities, services and amenities as well as the “Mercato” shopping complex and a conference centre for up to 1500 people. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Prestigia, Odigeo, Expedia, TripOnline SA, getaroom.com, HotelsClick, Cancelon, Evoline ltd, Hotels.com, 5viajes2012 S.L., Ebookers and HotelQuickly so you can book your Jaz Aquamarine 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.
- Also Known As:
- Iberotel Aquamarine Hotel Hurghada