Arrival at Hurghada Airport was a shambles, totally unaware we had to pay 250 EGP EACH to enter the country, it was 150 EGP but it has recently been increased to 250 EGP which is around £20 you have no choice but to pay & most passengers on our flight had no idea this was expected of them, so thanks for the warning Thompson! You then have to go through 3 passport checks, so they can triple check that you HAVE paid! its totally unnecessary! Eventually you get to your luggage & got hassled as soon as you step out of the airport with locals trying to carry your bags for a tip, REFUSE! We were told coach 2 we queued up behind loads of people at coach 2 to discover it was then coach 7…. We finally get on the coach & arrive at our hotel approx. 40 mins later.
Sayed the Thompson rep is possibly the worst rep I have ever seen! He kept us on the coach outside the hotel for about 15 minutes explaining the RIDICULOUS procedure that was about to take place inside the hotel to get to our room & reiterating that the mini bar is NOT free! He repeats himself OVER & OVER & loves the word MAXIMUM!
Inside the hotel & we have to all queue (2 coach loads) to receive all inclusive wrist bands, we then are given a warm towel & a soft drink, you then go to the lobby bar to get an envelope that has your room number & luggage tags on, you then have to go back outside, locate your luggage & put these tags on your cases, then have to wait in reception till EVERYONE has done this. Then Sayed assembles every one like a head master on a school trip to the outside terrace where we are split into 4 groups & hotel staff show us to our rooms, we are told our cases will be delivered in 2 minutes & we wait…. The hotel put on a late buffet as our arrival was 10pm but we’re told the buffet will be removed by 11pm & we’re sat in our room waiting for our cases for 20 minutes….
We stayed in room 1240 this was 3rd floor up & overlooked one of the pool areas, the room was standard 3* it was clean, quite small, the aircon worked, only had 5 hangers in the wardrobe, our only spare socket in the room was broken so we unplugged a lamp to charge phones, use hair straightners etc
We attended the welcome meeting at 10am the next day, we were in two minds whether to or not because Sayed was such a bore but I wanted to know about the hotel, for the first 20 minutes it was SELL, SELL, SELL seats seated together on the flight home, chocolates & champagne on the flight home…. I didn’t want to sit listening to this on the first day of my holiday! A few people left. Eventually he talked about the hotel, it was 50% occupied, this meant there were plenty of sunbeds for all guests & we were given unlimited access to the al la carte restaurants instead of 3 visits. He gave us a list of excursions, nothing interested me on there, so we left the meeting after 30 minutes, I was later told it went on for about 1 hour! There is a sister hotel next door called Bluemarine, you can use all their facilities, we didn’t bother because Jaz Aquamarine is HUGE but I looked it up on Trip Advisor when we got home & it has WAY better reviews so I wish we’d at least poked our heads in!
There are 4 main pool areas (17 pools in total) on day 1 we sat at the pools with the pool bar, this is where the animation team assemble & do their aqua aerobics etc there is a mixture of nationalities around this pool & mainly families, there is an adult only pool area, this is where the 4 long pools in a row are, but no music plays & it seemed quiet & boring there so we stayed by this pool, but by day 2 I had to go elsewhere because a family we were seated near had a little girl who was obviously not well & she kept weeing & pooing herself & they would wash her off IN the pools, ENGLISH family I was disgraced to notice! So we headed down to the beach, I had read bad reviews about the beach but I loved the beach area, there was more of a breeze & yes the sea is shallow & when the tides goes put at lunch time it goes out about 1 mile! There are 3 water slide areas in the hotel! 2 at either ends of the beach & one in a kids pool area by the shops / gym , we hired a beach lodge 3 days in a row at an extra cost of 25 euros a day, BEWARE when you go to lunch people will go into your lodge & take photos of themselves in them!!!
We spent a couple of days sunbathing by the large pool area by the beach but found ourselves surrounded by loud, rude Russians, Germans & Polish, we got mistaken for Polish on a daily basis! I rarely saw another Brit until we got on a coach to go to the airport
Food & Drink
The Four Seasons restaurant wasn’t open during our stay because the hotel was only 50% full, the buffet by the terrace was where we went for breakfast & some lunch times. it’s quite hectic but it’s no different from any 4* hotel I’ve stayed in, with a variety of food to suit all nationalities, you can get a chef to make you an omelette or fried eggs which is nice but there are only 2 chefs so be prepared to wait 15 minutes some days, we gave up on breakfast after day 2, there are snacks available during the day, at the pool bar snack bar or Paradiso snack bar by the beach, here you can get pizza, pasta, salad, burgers, steak sandwiches etc included in all inclusive, the all inclusive drinks were fine, local beer was nice, wine & a few local spirits, Vodka, Gin, Rum & Whisky were the only spirits available & red, white & rose wine.
The a la carte restaurants were fantastic! & we dined in these 5 times! There are 4 to choose from, Chinese, Italian, Eastern & Sea Food, you book your table 1-2 nights in advance using a touch screen computer in reception, there you can view the menus, I was told that this was only unlimted to Thompson guests & the other nationalities had to pay 8 euros a head, there are 2 sittings at 6:30- 8 or 8:30 – 10 we went for the later sitting but this meant that we missed whatever rubbish entertainment was provided by the animation team, we caught the end of it a few times & it really was abysmal! So we spent most evenings eating in the al la carte restaurant’s, you can have as many starters, mains as you like! On entering they hand you a wine menu where you can chose to buy a bottle of wine at an extra cost, we treated ourselves to a bottle of red every eve at an extra cost of 20 euros, the food in the al la carte is REALLY good! Although both me & my partner did suffer from an upset stomach for most of the holiday & Imodium did nothing! but you didn’t feel ill with it, you just needed frequent trips to the toilet! We drank plenty of water, I get the impression that quite a few guests had an upset tummys judging by some of the sites I saw in the toilets, the staff cleaned them frequently but I can’t understand how anybody could walk away from a toilet leaving it so dirty!
Its tricky to find a seat in the outside lobby car / terrace in the evenings, every other night there was a singer performing, but we only caught the end of him as he unfortunately finished at 11pm every night & we didn’t get out of the restaurant till after 10pm most nights, lots of guests were dancing, I just wish he’d stayed till midnight, so we could let out dinner go down then enjoy a dance too! I think he sang the same songs each night though! I don’t think he started singing till after 9pm but good luck finding a table after 8pm!
There is nowhere to go outside the hotel & the entertainment inside is really quite poor, but I had anticipated this, the all inclusive finishes at 12am & there is a disco open till 2am but there was rarely anyone in there!
I was bitten 22 times by mosquitos on the 1st day, a 5 minute walk to the pharmacy & 100 EGP later I have an antihistamine & a repellent & I don’t get any more bites!
We had to check out of our room by 12pm & our coach was arriving at 6:15pm, Sayed had told us we could pay extra for late check out till 6pm so we went straight to reception on day 1 & asked if we could pay for late check out & we were told we had to wait till the eve the night before we leave to find out of it was available, so we did as instructed & we were told late check out wasn’t available as someone was having our room from 3:30pm the next day, I stood there shocked & said we could have been told this 5 days ago! & we were told the hotel is 50% occupied so why can’t you allocate these guests a different room, he said it was not possible, I asked if we could have another room to shower in & he said we could & were allowed maximum 30 minutes in this room, I thought that was ridiculous! In the end we managed to keep our room till 3pm at a charge of 25 euros.
Everything we brought in the hotel was put on tab & we settled our bill at the end of the week, I had wanted to go scuba diving again but the dive centre in the hotel was closed, maybe I could have asked Sayed how to arrange it, but I didn’t bother, we got pestered daily by the photo team & spa staff that got quite tedious telling them we weren’t interested, you can ride a camel on the beach if you want, you are not hassled into doing it & the man has a fixed price which I think is charged to your room.
All the staff are male & speak broken English & ladies I did feel like I was being perved at by most of them, if I was with my partner they barely said hello, but walking through the hotel on my own (1000 Meters from Lobby to the beach) I must have said ‘Hello, I’m fine thank you’ about 50 times a day!
All in all the holiday was a lovely relaxing break & the weather was amazing & really enjoyed the food & drink despite having a bad tummy for most of the week, it was wonderful to relax in the sun & spending every night dining out, my partner was very dubious about going to Egypt, is an Islamic country & we had heard bad things about attacks etc, but that is more out of the tourist areas towards Cairo & I am surprised that Thompson are still offering trips to Cairo, I certainly wouldn’t pay the £199pp they charge to go there on an excursion, there was a waiter that worked in the pool bar who was a Geography teacher that lived near Cairo & he said its too dangerous for the children to go to school so he had resorted to work here In the hotel, he said it would be foolish to visit Cairo, but it really didn’t appeal to us anyway.
I wouldn’t go back to Jaz Aquamarine but I would certainly recommend it, I don’t think it’s a 5* Platinum, would say more 4* my partner said 3* but we certainly had a lovely holiday & were sad to come home, especially leaving our beach hut!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Jaz 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
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- Also Known As:
- Iberotel Aquamarine Hotel Hurghada