Me, my wife and 11 month old have just returned from Mamlouk Palace. It was a fantastic hotel let down by a few minor issues that would be quick fixes for the hotel management to resolve.
Arrival: Tip - don't let the cheeky Egyptians make you pay more than you need for your visa, a fair few people on our flight were ripped off. When arriving in the terminal building head to the visa desk to the left as you come in, it will say Thomas Cook Visas or something like that above it, here you will be charged the correct amount. If not the Egyptians working the desks will charge you what they please unless you are on the ball. DON'T GET RIPPED OFF. The whole visa process was a farce to be honest and took nearly 90 minutes just to get through as a Russian flight landed at the same time and they don't seem to understand the concept of queuing (more on the Russians later) Once out of the airport you will need to cart your luggage to your transfer, be careful as there will be a lot of people offering to "help" you - they will sting for a tip if you let them get hold of your luggage.
Transfer - 15 minutes - Nice and short.
Check In - Straight forward and good banter from the Hotel Staff, we were offered drinks and they arranged for our luggage to be taken to our room.
Room - Our room was basic but spacious and cleaned to a very high standard daily by Mohammed who found nothing too much trouble and made some sensational towel art pieces whilst we were there, some of the best I have ever seen. He was great and a credit to the hotel. The room had a free to use safety deposit box, tea and coffee making facilities (Including kettle, cups etc) a stocked fridge with water, Pepsi and Fanta (this wasn't replenished during our two week stay) a massive bed, TV with a few English channels and shower and toilet (note to those with small children there isn't a bath so we had to buy a small blow up pool for our little one to be bathed each day) It was approx 36 degrees each day and the air conditioning in the room was more than adequate.
Pools: There are two massive ( I mean huge) pools with plenty of sunbeds but they were not fully shaded for those that need it as they were slatted roofs something of a concern when you need to shade your little one from the sun but we found a little snug with full cover in the middle of the pool island that was perfect to get our daughter out of the sun. The pool felt freezing, but as soon as you were in it was bliss. The pools were closed for one day whilst we were there due to a pretty bad sand storm but the staff worked day and night to get them back up and running.
Bars: here is my first gripe, during the day this wasn't an issue as there are plenty of bars serving water, soft drinks and locally produced vodka, whisky etc. All but the lobby bar shut at 6pm and as we were situated next to the beach if we wanted a drink after 6pm we needed to make the quite considerable hike to the lobby for one. - Note to Hotel this needs to be resolved as more than just our party found this a problem when they are advertising the beach bars being open until midnight.
Breakfast: The hotel has made a massive effort to appease the British holiday makers as there is a well documented issue with the Russian guests at the hotel, they have just started opening the Mexican Restaurant for breakfast and this is for British only guests -I recommend you use this as the main buffet is a nightmare if you are sharing it with the Russian guests. Should you need something that isn't in the Mexican you can pop through to the main buffet or one of the staff will happily go for you. - Well done to the hotel for listening to British Guests and doing this
The staff seem to find the Russians rude and have a disliking for them too, and I must stress not all the Russian guests were rude just 99% of them! The staff absolutely love the Brits and once they find out you are British they can't do enough for you.
Speaking of the staff I must mention Mustafa and Ahmed who both work at the Mexican for breakfast and Ahmed also works at the beach restaurant for Lunch, they are amazing, sincere and some of the best staff I have ever encountered over the years - Note to Hotel these two staff members need recognition as they are a credit to the hotel and always provide amazing customer service even after a 14 hour 7 day a week work pattern. I would have them in my business in a heart beat.
Lunch: We normally had lunch at the beach restaurant that was also the Egyptian restaurant on a night, we found there to be a better quality of food and Ahmed worked here and really looked after you making his amazing pasta dishes and doing what he could to get you what you wanted. Normally they served chips, salads, spit roasted chicken, steaks, kebabs and pizzas made to order (among other daily specials) all lovely food and piping hot.
Evening Buffet: This was the worst part of the food for us, luckily we managed to eat at one of the al a carts every night bar 3 so didn't have to use it that often, but some of the food is just unappetising to say the least and I appreciate its another country but there is very little served here to appease the British expectations, and don't even get me started on the "Theme Nights" every night was pretty much the same food and nothing to do with the "Theme" this is a quick fix for the hotel though
Italian - Pizza, Lasagne, Pasta, Meatballs etc Mexican - Fajitas, Enchiladas, Chilli, Burritos. I would go as far as to say had we not been able to eat at the a'la carts we may have gone hungry or had to the same food for two weeks as some of the food did not appeal to us and we are nowhere near fussy.
A'la Carts: Lovely but some have some interesting menu choices that are nothing remotely Italian, Mexican or Asian but overall the food was nice and I would recommend you try them - we loved the Asian and Mexican.
Food for a baby; we found it quite difficult to find food suitable for our 11 month old baby, the mashed potato and other foods had quite a lot of salt in them, they do soups which were hit and miss depending on the flavour. I would suggest that you take pre made baby food with you in your luggage if your baby is still in that in between stage with food.
Beach: Soft sand and mixed shingle but not too hard on the toes, plenty of sunbeds but the Russians seem to be beach people as this is where most of their towels can be found from 7am onwards, but to be fair we never struggled to get a bed. The sea was beautiful and clear.
Other pointers for those with children or accessibility needs:
The hotel doesn't have very good accessibility there isn't a lift and a steep set of stairs up to the lobby, which made it very hard for us trying to get a pram up and down, the ramps on the lower levels of the hotel are too steep and can be dangerous if you are not careful.
I would go as far as to say if you are in a wheel chair or struggle with stairs maybe look at a different hotel.
They had a children's section for food but it was limited or repetitive.
Final notes, you will get pestered all day everyday by the sales teams for trips, they are relentless and aggressive in their approach, this really needs sorting out, the hotel offer you a red flag to display (get it from the towel centres) but this does no good as they just ignore it, and I know the animation team are brilliant and do a fantastic job but they can be just as annoying trying to pressure you into doing one of the many activities on offer. If the hotel offer a red flag system it should be adhered to by EVERYONE - some people just want leaving alone, if I want to do an activity I will do it, spending time trying to persuade me to do it just made me frustrated and annoyed - I am on holiday to relax and I am sure others will feel the same way too.
Overall the hotel and its staff are great, its in a great location and you can use the equally impressive Sunrise Garden next door too
The hotel has free wifi but is rubbish and can only be accessed on the balcony.
There is a Mall nearby with a huge supermarket, designer stores, KFC and McDonalds but be careful as we were targeted by pick pockets coming back from it, luckily they didn't get anything but I did catch him with his hand in my pocket - very unnerving at the time!
We had a great holiday overall and would recommend the hotel regardless of the few issues we had.
Don't forget to seek out Ahmed and Mustafa, you won't regret it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience the Egyptian hospitality at the 5 star (local category) SENTIDO Mamlouk Palace Resort with the oriental flair and a special family friendly atmosphere and hotel facilities. The private sandy beach offers relaxing hours directly at the Red Sea. Here you will enjoy breathless sunset and fantastic views to the desert, mountains and the turquoise waters of the Red Sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sunrise Mamlouk Palace Hotel Hurghada
- Sunrise Mamlouk Palace Hurghada