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Reviewed 3 September 2012

We have just returned from in our view a nightmare of a holiday, and not one any of us would like to repeat, staying at the Saraya.
We were transfered to this hotel has our original booking to a new complex Tropical Splash Resort would not be ready in time, they bulled it up saying that we had been upgraded to a 5* complex.... Not in a million years was that a 5* star, I would say more like a 3* and that is being kind. For the whole holiday and that includes a four month old, we were ill with sickness and the other, the whole experience was a nightmare for us all, we went away for a holiday and came back worst.
The staff worked hard, but there were a few that were rude and tried to rip you off trying to charge you for things you did not need to pay for being all inclusive. We got endless members of staff asking us to exchange thier money into english, and there hand out waiting for a tip.
The rooms that our party stayed in were both below parr, and not at all looked like what was shown on the First Choice website. The air con in our room especially blew hot air instead of cool, so it was both 100 degree's both inside and out, asked on several occasions for it fixed with no joy.
We went to Sharm last year where the water park was on resort, this hotel thier water park is a five minute? bus ride away, be warned though the transport is less than perfect, in fact it is a little old rickity bus that they cram has many people onto it, to the point where you cannot breath... not the best experience. But to be fair the park itself is ok when you get there. It's just a shame it's not on resort at the hotel, would make it alot better.
The English are definatly the minority at this hotel, has we were told it is not designed for the english it is more for the germans and russians travellers, and you could see this where the food was concened, i am all for trying new foods from different countrys, but when you have a four year old, and other members of your group that a bit more selective in what they eat, it would be good to have to have a better range to cater for ALL who stay there.
We feel very dissapointed about the outcome of this holiday, for us it was the worst one all round from getting into the country, the hotel, and getting back out of the country back home again.
I just want to point out that this was our personal view of our holiday, we has a family had a terrible time and will never be going back to this hotel, three days on we are all still suffering from whatever we picked up over there, so the holiday to make us feel better and recharge our batteries, has on our return made us feel even worst that before we left, which i am sure you would agree is not the best outcome from any holiday.
Oh, and just to let you know that you need to buy a visa to get into this country, we were not informed of this by first choice and it was a dreadful shock when we had to pay £90 for visa's for our party when we arrived, not a good start....

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank ReaBrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reinwand, General Manager at Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing the Iberotel Makadi Saraya Resort to spend your holiday.

My team and I would also like to thank you for your critical and valued feedback. We are extremely committed to delivering the perfect holiday experience for each and every guest.

I do apologize that we didn't accomplish this for you and we welcome any suggestions for improving and developing our service.

Please contact me by e-mail klaus.reinwand@iberotelmakadisarayaresort.com in order to discuss your impressions in more detail.

Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience caused to you and I look forward to welcome you back to our hotel in the near future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2012 via mobile

I have to agree with all the comments of the previous reviewer JamesBB7, so I will try to avoid duplication.
We travelled with First Choice on a Thomson flight, from MAN in the 24th August for 7 nights. We were prepared for no in flight ent so we took a DVD player for my 4 year old son and smart phones loaded up with games / iBooks etc. Hot / cold food is served on board but we got a meal deal from Boots at the airport plus some extra snacks to keep us going, so I can't comment on the food but the choice was good outbound but very limited inbound, as the crew said they only serve what is left over from the outbound flight, we were in row 7 and they'd only got bacon baguettes left!
We booked a junior suite, the room was very spacious including a kitchenette area, seperate lounge, double bedroom area then another lounge which converted into my son's room.
It was cleaned everyday and to a high standard, and had a great view over the main pool block 6 room 6210. Some areas look a bit tired in places, but it was extremely clean which is the main thing.
We spent our days alternating between the pool, the beach and the waterpark, and your 'all inclusive' carries through to all and lunch and drinks all provided there. So it was good to vary the daily location for a change of scenery and all had plenty of sunbeds and shaded areas.
We had the daily buffet breakfast and then took advantage of the 3 a la carte restaurants, for our evening meal. This seemed to be an offer only for the English guests as part of the all inclusive with no extra charge, each one offered a set menu, which was fine. They also gave me whatever my son wanted if he didn't fancy the menu, which was excellent. We particularly enjoyed the Sofra Egyptian restaurant, the huge mixed grills were excellent with a meat and a seafood choice, in fact you were given so much that we opted to share one in our return visit! The chinese one was also very good. You can order from the main menus but that would have been chargeable. At our welcome meeting the food and beverage manager came and introduced himself and said he would make us anything we wanted, which was a special touch. The guest relations manager and another manager all personally introduced themselves too. We were also invited to a managers cocktail party but we didn't make it as my son was sleeping, but again I thought this showed how committed the hotel is to delivering high standards of quality and customer service.
Once we'd dined we went to the Shisa bar area were the evening entertainment was on, this was a waiter service with drinks. It consisted of a mini disco and then some daft games, a couple of nights had some professional shoes belly dancing and a man with fire/ swords etc. the evenings are very low key, which suited us fine.
I have been a overseas manager and a quality manager for a tour operator and I have high expectations in terms of food, customer service and health and safety standards, which were all met, plus the price we paid, £2k for 3 people for 1 week in high season, this was excellent value for money. We paid 30 euros to extend our room until 4pm on the last day, but other than that we only spent about £100, which went on some drinks on the plane, a spa treatment, some toys for my son to play in the pool with a few nick nacks and we gave a few tips to the maid and the bar staff and a la carte restaurants. So a cheap week! I have no complaints and would recommend this if you just want an easy week in the sun. Lastly the hotel staff work very hard and they are very friendly and nothing is too much trouble for them. They love children, everwhere was fanily friendly and the staff are a credit to their hotel and they made our holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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4  Thank Smossy01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reinwand, General Manager at Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 3 September 2012

Dear Sir,
Thank you for choosing The Iberotel Makadi Saraya Resort to spend your holiday.

My team and I would also like to thank you for your critical and valued feedback. You have provided us with great motivation in our strive to continuously improve the service we offer.

This recognition directly influences our commitment to further improvements in 2012.

Once again, thank you for your visit to our hotel, and for your feedback.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2012

We have just returned from a two week stay at the Saraya (3/8 to 17/8) and on the whole, it was a very good experience. Having read may of the reviews on trip advisor my main conclusion is that people pay a lot of attention to what is written on this site and my aim is to present a balanced review of the experience with hopefully some tips for future travellers along the way.

Our group consisted of my wife and 13 year old twin sons. The flight to Hrghada is a long one as we expected and with no in flight entertainment it would be a bit of a struggle for families with young children. Other than that,the flights were on time and not too bad at all. We read some horror stories about the toilets in Hurghada airport and went prepared with hand gel and individual tissue packs just in case. On the whole, the toilets were OK and not daubed with faeces as we had expected that was the same for the return flight as well but we may just have got lucky. You will need some small currency to pay for the use of the toilets but don't be conned into paying too much to use them.

The coach transfer was pretty good and took approx half an hour. The guy that loaded the cases into the bus asked for a tip which we duly obliged with as we had read that if you didn't tip then you may not get your cases back! In reality that probably wouldnt have happened based on our experience but nonethe less we gave the driver a small tip just to be safe.

We arrived at the hotel at about 21:00 hrs and were seated in the main lobby. We were served a cold drink of hibiscus juice or anything else if you wanted something different. After completing a registration form and surrendering our passports (for 24 hrs) we were given our welcome packs and room numbers which we then passed on to the bell captain who transported our cases to our rooms. One of the reception staff (El Tyeb) escorted us to our rooms and made sure we arrived their safely. We were allocated rooms on the second floor of block six which overlooks both the quiet pool and the pool used for the activities during the day which is more noisy and busier.

First impression of the rooms were very good, spacious and cooled for us on arrival. There are signs of wear and tear especially around the bathroom tiled areas but nothing that I could say put us off, The rooms are kept very clean by the staff and they all included a free to use room safe. As far as the air con is concerned, we used one of the aqua park admission cards or a towel card on occasions to keep the power running e.g to charge our mobiles. Please note that the hotel is trying to be environmentally friendly so if you don't need to keep the power running then remove the card from the slot when you go out.

The facilities were generally very good and kept clean, especially the pools and surrounding areas. PH and chlorine levels are checked twice daily. The tiles around the edge of the pool are very slippery when wet so be careful! Toilets in the hotel are kept really clean as well.

Food: If you are hoping for full english breakfasts and traditional english fayre, then you will be disappointed. Breakfast selections were OK and you could get freshly cooked omelettes, crepes, a variety of fresh bread, juice, fruit and yoghurt most days. There was aslo a good selection of danish pastries every day so overall there was always something to eat and the coffee was OK too. For lunch, food is available at the poolside grills and i actually liked the fact that you had to cover up to eat at there and didn't just pitch up in your swim wear. The food is freshly cooked to order, portion sizes appear to be small but made me realise that we just over eat here in the UK with our 'go large' meal deals etc. Evening meals were more of a problem and this is probably where most of the criticsims are coming from. The hot grilled foods were good and piping hot but when you went to find food to accompany the meat it was more difficult and not as hot in some cases. I can provide more details about the eving food menus if anyone wants it. The guest relations team spoke to us after about a week and asked us how we were coping with the food and when we said how it was not to our liking we were then offered the fixedd menu choices from another restaurant on site called the Grill. The choice is very limited but more like a restaurant environment. Service is very variable and went from excellent to really poor and made us feel like second class guests on occasions which we fed back to the manager to put right for future guests. I peroanlly have no concerns around food hygiene standards, i am a public health specialist and could not fault the hygiene techniques of the chefs that i saw cooking or preparing the foods. Again, if anyone wants any specific info i am happy to share it off site.

Health issues- it is very likely that aqt some time in the holiday you will get some form of an upset stomach. I do not personally attribute this to the food hygiene but more to do with the heat, changes of temperature when moving from cool hotel rooms to temperatures of 36 degrees or more outside. Dehydration can also be an aggravating factor as well. We all had at least one day with a stomach problem but in most cases is quickly resolved with medications from the onsite pharmacy. The main tablets used to control the diarrhoea cost about £4 english for 12 tablets and basically introduce flora into the gut that are more able to digest the loacl foods and fight off other harmful organisms. If i can pass on only one tip it is to keep drinkling lots of bottled water during bouts of diarrhoea, this will help the recovery process and keep you off the expensive prescribed medicines and drips that you hear people talking about. Also take some hand soap with you and hand gel to keep up the good hand hygiene. It is also important to keep a good balance of salt and sugar in your body and rehydration sachets can help with this or if not available eat some ready salted crisps and drink some flat, full sugar cola!

The animation team do their best to keep the kids occupied during the day but the evening entertainment was very poor at times and my tip would be take some playing cards or travel games with you for the evenings. The hotel staff in general are extremely friendly and very helpful and couldn't do enough for us. Kamel, our bar waiter at the ganzabil bar bought us coffee and danish pastries every morning and kept the drinks flowing all day for us.

Do not be put off by the comments about the hotwel being predominantly Russian and German. Most of the guests we encountered were friendly and courteous and if anything, it was the antics of the British that we cringed at!

Avoid the on site souk (shops) unless you want something spefici life a blow up lilo. The shops are full of chinese made goods. You will sson find the short cuts to avoid the shop keepers!

If you are planning to go on any trips, take a fold up cool bag with you (£3 in Asda) as this was invaluable. We basically froze some water overnight and it stayed ice cold all day even in 40 degree heat. I can provide more details on trips if anyone wants to know anything.

So in summary, we had a fabulous two weeks in Egypt and apart from some of the food issues we could not fault the way that we were looked after. The hotel staff seem to value the feedback and as long as we make constructive comments I am sure that the experiences will improve.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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15  Thank James B B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reinwand, General Manager at Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2012

Dear Mr. James,

Thank you for choosing Iberotel Makadi Saraya Resort to spend your holiday. My team and I would also like to thank you for your critical and valued feedback. You have provided us with great motivation in our strive to continuously improve the service we offer.

Thank you, once again, for your visit to our hotel, and for your feedback.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2012

It has been somewhat amusing reading some of the comments below as several of the complaints listed can be found on relevant travel sites about experience Egypt (inc. but not limited to power outages, Egypt men looking at western women etc.) and should not be something new for people doing some basic research up front. Having said that I’ll need to agree with several of the comments made by the previous posters; esp. regarding the food.

Plus points
+ Good and nice cleaning staff
+ Nice pools and plenty of sun chairs for those never wanting to leave
+ Free bottled water from all bars

Negative points
- Food is bland and of questionable quality
- Reception is hit and miss
- No possibility to exchange money outside of HSBC
- General rip off prices on everything and anything on site (not hotel specific I’d guess)
- The hawkers on site are as bad as anything you’ll find in Hurghada (and that’s saying something as they make Thai tourist street hawks something I’d look forward to by comparison)
- If you want anything but a “lie at pool and roast” vacation this is not for you

Now down to details, I stayed with my wife last week of July (first time in Egypt, been to other locations such as Thailand (four times), US (three times), Greece (three times), Spain (five times) etc. previously) for 8 days. Check in was not the smoothest experience but I've had far worse, we got our keys and had someone carrying up our luggage with in 15 min. Would have been nice to have been greeted by the promised cold drinks but we'll survive.

The room was hot as the power is only turned on once you put the card in the power slot (as standard on most hotels, tip here for travelers, a visit card, visa card, mileage card etc. works just as well if you want to leave it running when you're gone). The A/C is strong enough to cool down the room quickly though so leaving it on for 10 min and the room will be cool (and I'd recommend running it around 26/28 on low fan during the night if you don't want to catch a cold). Sadly this does not extend to the toilet/shower for some reason which remains hot throughout the whole day and night.

Talking about the shower, forget cold water, at best you'll get slightly warm water on the coldest setting with quite poor power. The water is also tied in with the electricity (which can be a tad dodgy as it is Egypt but nothing as bad as Cairo, worst we had was power cuts on and off for half a day). No power, no water. The shower was tiled but the drain did not work very well (flooding) but they fixed the drain promptly when pointed out as being an issue (props to the cleaners for that; in fact the cleaners were excellent throughout the whole stay and made an excellent job throughout so big shout out to them). There was also some minor tile coverage missing etc. but no fungus or anything growing (only showing it has been around for a couple of years).

Breakfast is the same yes but with 4+ different yogurts, fresh omelets (ask the chefs), 5+ variations breads, countless different spreads/hams etc., pancakes, croissants and other sweet bakeries, fresh fruits and what not I’m not sure what people expect to see honestly in a all inclusive hotel. Did it get boring over time? Of course but any buffet that don’t change would be.

We only had lunch three times and it does change over time; once again there’s a wide selection (even if some items are staples such as fried potatoes with different spicing) to choose from. Most people should not have a problem finding something they can eat. At lunch and dinner there’s also a wide selection of cakes, cookies and desserts (though the majority of it is sadly tasteless power based stuff) for those with a sweet tooth. There’s also a fresh salad selection or pre mixed salads. Only a word of caution here but the signs don’t always match what’s actually in there as I learned. I’d guess one sign per meal was simply wrong (tomatoes with mozzarella was lasagna) and the description is dodgy (never saw real mozzarella in anything but mentioned often but it was definitely NOT mozzarella). In many ways it’s like a school canteen which is to be expected with the number of people involved but this also tends to leave the food bland and tasteless. Every night is a “theme” night; from experience it appears to only change one or two dishes for the “theme” and which table cloth is used.

Talking about dinner lets also talk about the service delivered during dinner. It’s amusing that after an international managers are flown in (suddenly there were white people in most staff locations commenting to the local staff) that we’re asked if there are any problems of who to speak to. As it was our last night we simply ignored it but the fact is the service is very inconsistent. One night you’ll have constant refills, plates removed and what not, the next night you can’t get a new fork after they took away your final one to save your life. Did not appear to matter if you tipped the staff or not, they simply did not care.

Both I and my wife did catch stomach bugs while eating there but with appropriate medication we both overcame them relatively quickly. If you don’t know what to get I’d recommend coal pills and some stomach settling mix (to fix the stomach bugs which is by far the most common reason for issues). Both can be get prescription free over the counter in any decent pharmacy.

What else? Well in general things ran smoothly excluding the restaurants, the cleaning staff was brilliant. Reception felt a bit hit and miss, sometimes things went very smoothly, other times you had to wait (15 min to get someone to check if we had used the minibar when checking out for example). Also be aware you can’t change money at the hotel but has to use the HSBC branch at the end of a very annoying sales street with the usual hawkers (and their annoying attempts to start conversations to pull you in, I strongly recommend you say you’re from South Africa if asked as that appears to shut them up) which holds very poor opening hours (esp. during Ramadan) and no notice about it anywhere in the hotel documentation. As in any major tourist resort you’re treated as someone to be hanged up and shaken down for money by anyone and everyone local.

Oh and before I forget I have to mention the beach. Well, the correct answer would be what beach to be honest as for me a beach consists of water AND something next to it that’s a beach (but here you only get one of two). The “beach” is about a kilometer away from the resort which is ok, I can walk that but once you reach the water and you think you’re done you have to walk the same distance again to the side to get to the hotel beach. The beach is nice; the water it goes down to is not. It is basically made up of rocks without sand and 30m out you got three “coral reefs” or so they are called. In essence they are just rock formations stick out of the water which may one day grow into something that you’re not allowed to get close. This means you’re even further closed in and can’t swim, dive or do anything of note at the water. If you want a real beach you need to get a boat/bus trip somewhere else.

I did briefly mention Hurghada in the introduction and I think it’s worth noting the “shuttle” traffic offered there. The shuttle is NOT done by the hotel but local enterprise, it’s cramped and will cost you 6 EUR per person single way. It will drop you off at a small parking close to an intersection and pick you up 3 hours later. No maps, no directions and you’re free to go. Expect taxis to wait for you there wanting to take you to see materials (don’t bother; it’s a waste of time that you have to pay for!). I strongly recommend simply skipping Hurghada or taking your own taxi in there instead but you’re unlikely to find much beyond the usual hawkers and crap being sold. You’re honestly better off buying it at the airport instead (once you’re through the second control and walked through the duty free store you’ll find a huge selection of the same stores but with better prices all accepting USD, EUR or EGP).

Hence over all I'll rate it as Average (3/5), it's not five star by Western standards (they never are) but by Egyptian standards I'm sure it is. Oh and I'll not bother to mention about the 10pm football games put on by the locals at the football field with local teams only; thankfully I could sleep through their late games). Will I come back? No not really. It's a golden cage, all of Hurghada is (and I don't blame the hotel for this) and it simply don't interest me; esp. when all local merchants try to rip you off (lets not even get started on the "spa" treatments costing 80 EUR per hour for a massage with oil).

On a separate note, not related to the hotel, the diving experience is great there but be VERY careful to not get a native trainer. My wife had one and beyond deciding to cut the training short to take an afternoon off (two days in the pool ended up being one day in practice) also had some very poor training skills. Hence I strongly recommend asking for an international trainer if you decide you want to go diving.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank Jonas W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2012

Ok so despite travelling abroad for the past 32 years (at least once a year to places as far reaching as GOA and Thailand) here is my first ever review. Why now ? Well I have always held reviews on here with high regard... following this last holiday I want am not so sure. Just returned from our holiday that you all seemed to rave about and have promised my children (boys aged 16 and 14) that I would put the record straight!

This hotel appealed to us because of the high rating it was given on here and in the brochure. It is supposed to be on the Beach and have a water park with shuttle bus services from the hotel. It s write up talks about restaurants and choice of food and drink being available almost on tap. The reality is that to get to the beach you need to take a very long hot walk. Yes there are shaded walkways that are near to shops with vendors keen to hassle you as you endure the 15 minute hike (min). I always book all Inclusive ....this is the first all inclusive holiday where we have all lost weight due to stomach upsets and lack of recognizable food to eat. The resort is full of Russian and German people and the food caters for their tastes. I am not a big drinker but felt very frustrated about the restrictive measures given and how difficult it was to get more than one small glass of warm wine with your evening meal. The staff are very nice but I did feel very patronized by them and saw them treating British people very different from other Europeans. The water park is a long way from the hotel and the bus is a public one that runs up and down the resort packed with other tourists.

I have apologised to my family for putting them through the experience that was this holiday. just feel now that all reviews I have read about this hotel prior to booking and going MUST have been fictitious! My family and I have been at home for 48 hours now and we all still feel very ill. I hope that by writing this I will prevent someone from being mislead as I feel I was.

Room Tip: Everywhere very quite because they are all ill
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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16  Thank Michelle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reinwand, General Manager at Jaz Makadi Saraya Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 15 August 2012

Dear Sir, We thank you for your recent stay with us and we regret that you did not enjoy it as you and your family were hoping. To address the comments mentioned in your review, kindly be informed that we never advertised our resort as a beach front located may be you can double check with your booking agent, also having 13 different outlets serving food & beverage around the clock should give the required variety as the hotel cater for international clientele.
As for the aqua park we have shuttle bus service each 10-15 minutes in front of the resort.
Although we see that the title of your review is a little bit harsh, but we truly feel sorry that you did not have a good time in Egypt.
Once again thank you & best regards,

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