We’re Egypt ‘regulars’, with this being our 9th or 10th visit to the Red Sea area, although first time for us in Hurghada itself. For this reason, I have a good contrasting opinion based on several other high-quality Egyptian resorts.
I’d like to jump ahead a little, but bear with me as this point is significant. We visit the Red Sea for the almost guaranteed Sun and undersea life. We have come to expect a bit of illness, as is the by-product of the extreme heat and the less-than-perfect hygiene standards that are typical of developing countries. We’re careful with what we eat/drink and don’t generally let it bother us. Fortunately we have never been so ill that it has ruined any holiday. However, our stay at the Premier Le Reve was the first where neither of us were even slightly poorly. This in itself is quite remarkable, the reason I am mentioning it so soon is because it is a significant concern of many people planning to visit the area. Please don’t be complacent though, be careful with what you eat, always ask for the egg-based products (Omlettes etc.) to be cooked just that little bit longer and certainly NEVER consume their tap water.
The hotel is positioned within about 30-40 minutes of Hurghada Airport, a journey that is prolonged by Egypt’s weird road network and the fact that it is within a fairly newly built district called Sahl Hasheesh, a gated and fairly exclusive area with hotels and residential accommodation, but only accessible via a secure entrance point. Sahl Hasheesh appears to be a part-finished development, as is typical of Egypt, I would guess that the take-up for property there hasn’t been as strong as was hoped, this doesn’t spoil the enjoyment of the hotels in any way.
Premier Le Reve is an Adults-only resort, which was a treat for us. We have never been somewhere that was this way and that aspect of it was lovely. We don’t detest kids and it hasn’t been top of our list to avoid them, but being able to relax without Rugrats charging around was definitely one of the plus-points of our holiday. The hotel itself is grand, the entrance lobby area is magnificent, spacious and sparsely-but-luxuriously equipped with seating areas and a flower-petal filled pool in the centre. Reception staff are immediately on hand to greet new arrivals, offering the customary Hibiscus tea (yuk), the check-in process was painless. Significantly, the hotel has full and free-of-charge Wi-Fi coverage. It is generally fast, although our room seemed to be in a bit of a dead-spot. That said, we didn’t have any problems anywhere else in the whole place. I never took my phone to the beach, so I cannot comment on what the coverage was like down there, but I suspect it was OK. As a side-note, there are 3 or 4 desktop style computers in the ‘Long Bar’ which are freely available and I used them to upload holiday pictures to my Smugmug account, whilst we enjoyed cocktails and a game of Pool, though do bear in mind that the pool tables are in terrible shape and only good for a ‘knock-about’.
The hotel is built in a U-shape and split over 4 floors, although they have used a weird numbering system. The ground floor as accessed from the main entrance is floor number 2, although the room numbers on that floor are 13**, arguably suggesting 3rd floor. I suspect someone made a simple error at design stage! The internal layout and style reminds me of a conventional hotel, in the sense that it has corridors, and formulaic rooms. Unlike the more ‘Nubian’ style Egyptian resorts, which are more to my taste to be honest. The rooms are very spacious and well-appointed, on face value at least but don’t really have a ‘wow’ factor. We had a large bed, though this was essentially 2 doubles pushed together. I’m not really sure what use this is unless you are a couple that sleep apart, in which case the beds wouldn’t need pushing together? I know that the Egyptian build quality and finish leaves a lot to be desired, but I felt that aspects of the room were finished poorly, even by Egyptian standards. Let’s not forget though, I’m comparing 5-star resorts, so don’t expect a shambles! I’m the kind of person that looks around in detail and it always amazes me that they buy relatively high quality décor/fittings then seemingly throw it all in place. One nifty detail is the electronic ‘Do not disturb’ system. When engaged, which you can do from the bed, a light is displayed outside the room and the ‘bell’ doesn’t function. Saves hanging a sign on the door handle. The room has a min-bar which contains a few cans of drink/water which is replenished daily and is free for you to take. The aircon was OK, but very noisy, although it didn’t keep us awake. Some rooms have 1 or 2 sockets that take English 3-pin plugs, but don’t count on it. I found that the ones that don’t were poor and my UK adaptors wouldn’t stay in, despite having not had problems with those adaptors before. The room has a TV, although is it surprisingly small for such a luxury hotel (28” at a guess) and doesn’t have many channels that were of interest to us. It has no hardware connectivity either, I went equipped with my Samsung tablet, a specially purchased MHL/HDMI convertor and several movies but there was no HDMI socket that I could use. It didn’t cause too much of a problem, but it’s better to be aware of it in case that’s what you plan to do.
The pool and beach are accessed from the rear of the hotel and down 2 floors from the lobby level. Within the U-shape is a paved area comprising lush gardens, decorative pools and several very nice and clean swimming pools, the largest of which has, I estimate, room for over 100 bathers on individual and very comfortable sun-loungers. They are strong, wooden frames with a nice, thick padded PVC-covered cushion. Some of the beds are ‘double’ and the resort is littered with other quirky day beds, seats, swings etc. There is a pool bar very close by which is lovely and caters for cocktails, alcoholic drinks, soft and hot drinks. The staff there are very friendly, particularly Abdo (?), who speaks fantastic English and kept us amused with his incredible knowledge of English ‘Lingo’. There is a restaurant which functions close to the pool bar and caters for lunchtime dining. It is also possible to use the main buffet restaurant, which was our choice as the food in the pool restaurant was average at best. There are 2 sets of ‘washrooms’ close by, with showers in them.
Beyond the pool area is a wide block-paved path, this stretches as far as the eye can see in both directions and serves as a walkway to the other hotels. Premier Le Reve has several ‘Golf Kart’ type buggies and small ‘Go-Peds’ that can be hired if you want to explore the local area on the beach side. There was also a cute little ‘bus’, that operated a service to the ‘Old Town’, I cannot comment on this though as we never did it. The beach itself is nice, spacious and kitted out with white plastic sun loungers, not as nice as the ones by the pool, but mainly comfortable nonetheless. We did encounter a few that were ‘knackered’, I don’t doubt due to the above average number of obese people that we encountered. There are also various double beds and much larger family sized day-beds. As expected though, people get up at the crack of dawn and nominate these with towels, before returning to their rooms until they are ready to bathe. Despicable if you ask me. The hotel should definitely operate a towel-card system because people are able to keep their towels from the previous day with which to reserve their beds, then swap them for clean towels later on.
The beach is clean, the sand is a mixture with crushed shell/coral, though not too uncomfortable underfoot. There are some areas though, mainly in the extremities, where the sand has become hardened and these are painful to walk on if you have nothing on your feet. There is a jetty that is used to access the coral reef, generally it is not allowed to access the reef for snorkelling purposes any other way. There is a sandy area to the left and outside the boundary of the hotel where you can snorkel from too. The jetty is in nice condition and not too long. That said, we have snorkelled all over the Red Sea and both felt that the undersea life visible from this jetty to be very average, nothing like we’ve seen in Sharm el Sheikh (Hyatt Regency, Baron & Sensatori for example). There were some colourful fish, but put it this way, I didn’t take my underwater camera in as I didn’t feel it was worthwhile. On a couple of occasions, we did walk along the beach to the next hotel, the Tropitel, who have a vastly superior jetty. It is much longer and so reaches out into the cleaner reef areas where there was a much more interesting amount to see. Still not the best I’ve seen, but definitely worth doing. There is another lagoon-style ‘pool’ accessed from about 2/3 of the way along this jetty, which is about 6 feet deep and is so warm, perfect for relaxing in. Of course, I guess it isn’t officially acceptable to use the jetty belonging to a neighbouring hotel, but we went with as few belongings as possible and certainly without towels so as to remain as ‘stealthy’ as possible.
The hotel has a large Buffet style restaurant, typical of Egyptian hotels and with an abundant choice of varied food. Ranging from breads, soup and pasta to meats, chicken, fries and vegetables in many forms. There was also a nice salad bar and an impressive looking dessert selection. I am one of the fussiest eaters, so I did struggle a bit, but I was able to ‘get by’. In comparison to other resorts, I’d say the food was fairly average although I did find some things I really liked, Sweet Chilli Chicken being my favourite of the week. One thing I really missed was the availability of proper fresh Arabic Bread, you know, like fluffy freshly cooked Pitta’s. Nothing will beat the Stone Oven at the Hyatt Regency in Sharm, where the bread was cooked ‘live’ (do they still have that?), but the Arabic bread at Premier Le Reve tasted like it’d been bought in, not great and if there’s one thing that should be standard in a 5-star resort, it’s the ability to bake local bread fresh daily. I didn’t dabble with the fancy desserts, but my Wife had one of the colourful offerings and commented that it tasted like ‘petrol’. The staff were exceptionally friendly though and, with a bit of guidance, were able to support our requirement to make tea using English teabags that we took with us. They do have Lipton English Breakfast tea, which is OK, but we prefer bog-standard Tetley or Twinings if we are feeling a bit posh. If you do this, be sure to ask for cold milk as they default to warm milk and this doesn’t work in tea if you ask me!
One point to note is the Wine. My Wife is a White-Wine drinker and typically, the Egyptian wine tastes like Vinegar, resulting in her having a ‘week off’. However, she tackled it head-on this time and was able to find a way to enjoy it. I’m not sure whether the Wine was actually any better or if she simply applied a new level of tolerance to it. I aren’t much of a ‘drinker’, but I had a couple of cocktails containing local Vodka, which, for a moment, made me feel like I was in Russia. The Vodka here is strong and definitely resulted in a spell of incoherence and inability to support my bodyweight.
Our stay included use of each of the hotels Al La Carte restaurants once per week. I cannot comment on the Seafood Restaurant, as this isn’t to our taste. It is transformed from what is the pool restaurant by day. The other two main Al La Carte restaurants are ‘Bella’ Italian and ‘Mandarin’ Chinese. I think there might be a Sushi Restaurant, but again, this is a no-no for me. We had no trouble booking tables in both restaurants, the system is far more amenable that we’ve encountered in the past at other resorts.
Bella was the first of the Al La Carte’s that we experienced. We were very impressed at first, the décor is beautiful and the ambience is select and quite upmarket. The staff are familiar, though the service moves up another notch. The menu is varied and with lots of choice, albeit slightly confusing. There is a good selection of dishes that are available within your All Inclusive allowance and some items that require a contribution. We had 4 courses and only my main was a contributory item, however they got that wrong so I, quite rightly, refused to pay for it. It put a bit of a dampener on the whole evening, we finished with Ice Cream and English Tea in the main restaurant!
We ate at the Mandarin Chinese towards the end of our stay. Located directly next to the main Buffet restaurant, Mandarin is in typical oriental style and feels authentic. Again, a good choice of food awaits, along with a plentiful supply of Prawn Crackers, which were very ‘moreish’. We ordered 2 types of Spring Rolls for our starter, but the pastry wasn’t the typical oriental ‘Rice’ paper, instead a much heavier ‘chip-shop’ style. The 2 main courses, although agreeably similar on the menu left us unsure as to which dish was which! Mine had no mention of peanuts on the menu, but clearly contained whole peanuts, whilst my Wife’s had no obvious nuts despite them being mentioned when she selected her meal. The staff insisted that they were correctly placed.
Overall, the common theme throughout the hotel, in my opinion, is that it is more like a 4-Star, certainly not what I'd reasonably expect from 5 star accomodation. This is even taking into account that the Star rating in Egypt don't really match up to other parts of the world. They have all the necessary 'tools' to be excellent, but just need to step back and take a look at the things they should and easily could improve upon. I’d like to think that even if they can’t get the complex things quite right, the simple stuff should be easy for a 5-star resort, but it just wasn’t quite up to it. It wasn’t dire, far from it, but they could certainly do better. Others will no doubt disagree, but let’s not forget, this resort is 5-star. We certainly left there feeling as though we’d not taken full advantage of our All-Inclusive entitlement. We think that this hotel has tried hard to create a ‘select’ atmosphere, but has left some of the fundamentals a bit lacking. As beautiful as the lobby is, I’d still prefer they improved the standard of the restaurants for example.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in extensive landscaped grounds, this luxury hotel leads you from pool to beach to sea in one beautiful vista. With Sensimar Premier's unique Ultra All Inclusive standards, you can dine in one of seven different restaurants, enjoy a relaxing drink in numerous bars or swim and play in a choice of pools or on the private beach. Each evening entertainment is offered or spend some quality time in the hotel's spa facilities. This is affordable luxury in a superb Red Sea setting ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Premier Le Reve Hotel And Spa
- Premier Le Reve Hotel Hurghada