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Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas
Ranked #12 of 30 Hotels in Makadi Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 19 January 2009

We have just returned from Fort Arabesque after 7 days.Beach was wonderful, our rooms were spacious and clean.Food could only be said to be average.Drinks were OK if you like wine or beer.Spirits are only locally produced and are just about acceptable (white rum was not available).Entertainment good but directed at Italians.Be aware that although you pay for 7 days all inclusive, you will not even get a drink of water after midday on the day you leave, so dont expect any food.It doesnt matter that you did not arrive until 8pm.It would not have hurt them to give a small bottle of water to children when its 25 degrees.The attitude of the staff seemed to change on your last day (I wonder why).I wouldnt go back there for these reasons.It was good value though.If you do go there save some free drinks from earlier.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank skymanLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 January 2009

My husband, son and myself spent Christmas and New Year at the Fort, had a great time. Food excellent, with excellent gala dinners both Christmas and New Year and all hotel staff friendly and welcoming, could not do enough to make our holiday one to remember. Also the beach was excellent, from looking at the surrounding hotel beaches we had definately made the right choice, as the Fort's beach was the best by far, always got a sun bed at the waters edge and this is after not getting to the beach until at least 9:00/9:30! The snorkeling was also excellent!

I for one had never been to Egypt before and was rather worried about a couple of things from reading about other peoples experiences. i.e. stomach problems and problems with eastern european holidaymakers conduct. Well no stomach upsets and no eastern european holidaymakers here!! So no problems. Returned home happy, relaxed and ready to face an new year ! Thank you to all at Fort Arabeque!!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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11  Thank CaroldKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2009

we have just returned from a week at Fort Arabbesque in Kaladi Bay on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. The setting is idyllic there is a beautiful well maintained beach and the hotel grounds are also beautiful.
The holiday should have been a dream, we paid £ 2600 for one week all inclusive departing on boxing day 2008, however it didn't take us long after arrival to realise that we had made a big mistake!
Having arrived at 8pm and dropped off luggage we went to the restaurant for dinner to be confronted by total bedlam. The food is self service buffet, and there is a pasta bar where a sauce for the pasta of the day is prepared for guests. Other guests were wandering from buffet to buffet fingering food, there was no queue protocol, plates were cold and situated nowhere near the main serving areas.
There were no laid up tables available and very few waiting staff to do so.
As was the case with most of our visits to the restaurant we had to ask for a table to be laid up, and for suitable cuttlery. No one automatically offered drinks or water which invariably we had to ask for, the wine glasses were clearly designed to be as small as possible and waiters poured your wine at the table by the glass. Very often if you asked for water they would would give you a bottle but no glass!
If you could get the attention of a waiter to pour a second drink before the end of your meal it was a miracle.
Waiters would try to clear your table without asking if you had finished your meal and would remove glasses if you were getting another course.
Food was less than mediocre, and if you actually wanted a hot dish you had to join in the scrum when it was first presented. The lids of the serving dishes were left open and the food was supposed to be kept hot by weak parafin burners, the food generally got cold quickly but was not replaced until dishes were empty.
Salads were the same each night.
If you wanted pasta or pizza every night these were the only dishes which were served warm to hot.
Desserts and fresh fruit were ok but once again lacked variety from evening to evening.
Getting on to the hotel generally, the guests are predominatly italian (there were 12 Brits out of about 400 guests) and we believe the hotel is italian owned. The italian guests are given a different colour wrist band which affords them preferential treatment. They are served with priority in the bars etc,
The annimation team are all italian and all the activities, shows, childrens activities are announced and directed in Italian. The animation team made no effort to involve other nationals in the activities organised by them and the evening entertainment was totally geared to the italian culture.
The hotel provides no alternatives to this, the lounges are stark and unintersesting and once again service from waiting staff is poor (you can't go to the bar to order a drink and have to sit and wait to get the attention of a waiter to bring you a drink, in the worst case we waited 20 minutes from ordering coffees to actually getting them).
Fortunately we had paid for a room upgrade as we spent most evenings in our room reading or watching TV.
The pools were a disappointment with totally inadequate facilities, there were insufficient sun beds which were all reserved with towels before dawn! Very often these would not be used until after lunch time when approaced regarding this the hotel reception confirmed this was an acceptable practice to them.
The hotel gounds are exceptional and constantly maintained to a high standard.
The beach is stunning the sea is safe and snorkeling around the nearby coral reefs is a fantastic experience. There is an abundance of varied sea life to see in clear shallow water.
Unfortunately if you want to use the beach you have to get up before dawn to reserve a sun bed, something regrettably we found ourselves having to do to complete with the italians for the beds.
We are not serial complainers and returned to Egypt on the basis that on previous holidays to other resorts the service we received was fantastic. Ok food has never been that good but this has been compensated by good service and generous bar service.
In Fort Arabbesque we felt like second class guests the management of this hotel have clearly set an agenda which the staff interpolate as giving preferential treatment to Italian Guests, we did not feel welcome and if honest were relieved to be leaving on our last day.
THEN TO ADD A FINAL INSULT WE WERE ADVISED BY RECEPTION THAT OUR ALL INCLUSIVE EXPIRED AT 12 NOON ON THE DAY OF DEPARTURE DESPITE HAVING ARRIVED AT 8PM ON THE FIRST DAY. THEY WERE ADAMANT ABOUT THIS AND WE WERE REFUSED FURTHER SERVICE UNLESS WE PAID FOR IT!
The hotel blamed our tour operator Thompson for this however Italian guests departing on the same date were not precluded from All Inclusive consumptions.
Our overall experience was complete disappointment with the hotel and its staff, no way did we get value for money, we did not feel welcome or valued by the staff and would not recommend this hotel as a suitable destination for UK travellers.

Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
9  Thank MickJenEssex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2009

We stayed at the Fort Arabesque from 26 Dec to 2 Jan and we loved it. Having read all of the reviews before we went I agree with most of them. The hotel is spotlessly clean and well maintained, the staff are friendly and helpful, the beach is uncrowded and the snorkelling amazing, the heated pools are a delight when it turns cooler and the food is great. I struggle to understand the reviewer who said that the food was the same every day - the format is the same but the individual dishes vary every day. The is a glorious salad table ( which my husband ate from every day and had no hint of tummy trouble) , a selection of hot dishes, about 8 or 9 different types of bread and as a fallback fresh pizza or pasta cooked to order. Our party consisted of 3 children ( 7 10 and 12) , my mum (76) and my husband and I - we were all very satisfied with the food which is no mean feat. Oh, and the puddings were too tempting - the children in particular enjoyed hot chocolate sauce with EVERYTHING.
The weather at this time of year was good though there is a breeze that can make it a bit chilly especially when the sun goes behind the clouds - this happened on 2 days when we were there and the beach pretty much cleared though we went up to the protected swimming pool which was really warm ( verging on hot !) and that was fine.
We upgraded our room directly with the hotel before we went and had an executive room adjoining an executive suite. The suite was HUGE - there was seating for at least 8 people in the lounge area plus a massive bedroom ( you could have put about 9 double beds in it) and an en suite bath and shower. The executive room was similar to the normal rooms but with updated decor. You can see them really clearly on the hotel's own website.
I agree with other reviewers who say that the flight was cramped - it felt a bit like a cattle truck. We were told on the flight that we wouldn't need tourist visas but in fact we did need them - it was quite straightforward though - they cost £13 each at the airport.
We only took one trip which was on the hotel shuttle bus to Hurghada - the place they drop you is 'down town' and it's awful. It's basically a long dusty road of souvnier shops with the owners stood outside trying to entice you in - sometimes a little too aggressively for my liking. I understand there are some more upmarket shops but we didn't find them
All in all, for a spot of winter sun with amazing snorkelling and good food I would say go for the Fort Arabesque.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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7  Thank BasilHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2008

Just returned from a great week, including Christmas Day, at the Fort Arabesque and had a wonderful relaxing time.

The hotel is of a very high standard. The rooms, buildings, gardens, pool and beach areas are immaculately clean, and there is a high presence of housekeeping staff and gardeners all day long - they work so hard and never seem to stop.

All the staff, whether it be reception, waiters, chefs, gardeners, housekeeping, were so friendly and always had a 'hello' and a smile for you.

We had a garden view on the ground floor which, although you don't get a sea view, is an advantage for walking straight from your patio door to the beautiful gardens, pools (3 of them heated) and then to the beach.

The beach is by far the best in Makadi Bay, with so much space between sunbeds you don't feel like you're in anyone else's space. We walked around the bay in both directions, passing several hotels, and agreed that we'd made the right choice in choosing this hotel for it's quality and relaxing ambience.

The food was delicious at both restaurants (the main wing and the Saga wing) although, as has been mentioned by other travellers, the food does appear to be warmer in the Saga wing. However, either way, we had no complaints whatsoever (and had no Pharaoh's Revenge). There was SO MUCH choice on offer and it was a little tempting to indulge, hence we've put on a few pounds over the holiday!

The hotel put on a wonderful Christmas Eve gala cocktail reception and dinner (all seated and silver service) which was superb. I believe they are doing something similar for New Year's Eve. All the stops were pulled out to make this a very memorable evening.

On Christmas Day we were sunbathing on the beach when we saw Father Christmas being rowed to the shore in a kayak - it was lovely for the few children that were staying in the hotel to see that Father Christmas hadn't forgotten them. There's a big kid in all of us I guess!!

There is as little or as much as you want to do at this hotel. We went for pure relaxation - and that's exactly what we got. There are watersports for the more adventurous, and there are daily activities with the animation team should you wish to join in.

The Italian speaking entertainment team (who could speak every other language too) were always on the go encouraging people to join in activities, but not 'in your face'. We enjoyed the evening entertainment at the 'Arena' a couple of nights, but on other occasions enjoyed the singer at the Sunset Bar in the Saga wing, or in the Lobby Bar in the main wing. There were always alternative options for all tastes of entertainment.

My one regret is that we didn't go snorkelling. We were both full of cold for most of the week so only managed to go paddling, and out on a kayak on a couple of days. Even so, we saw the most amazing coral and colourful fish swimming around our feet and below our kayak- it was wonderful. How much better it would have been if we'd snorkelled!

All in all a wonderful hotel, dedicated staff, and a fabulous holiday.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Alibongo45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2008

This was our first time in Egypt and we are the wrong side of 30, actually 60 is nearer the mark, but we came back snorkellers and loved the place. I am a rubbish swimmer and have never done snorkelling before but the sea here is so buoyant that I could swim for ages with no effort at all. You don't need to go out of your depth to see gloriously coloured tropical fish and coral. You can borrow snorkelling stuff or buy it very cheaply. You don't need flippers.
The hotel, the rooms, the restaurants,the bars (with more food and ice creams for adults and chidren), the pools, the beach are superb.
The staff were so helpful and not looking for tips like so many places in North Africa, though we did treat at the end of the holiday.
There was a large range of ages including some with very young children and some SAGA (us).
Entertainment was there for everybody of all ages. The Arena theatre was well worth visiting, we went most nights, although mainly spoken in Italian and German there was enough English to understand the sketches and the dance routines were very good, especially their "Riverdance" evening.
The animation team were active all around the hotel.
We did go to Luxor and although a very long day (by road) is really worthwhile and you see artifacts that are over 3000 years old, almost unbelievable.
This is one time when we can say we are definitely going again and it is a holiday area for every age.
DO GO SNORKELLING.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank JonBean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2008

Have to say after reading some of the reviews on here we did wonder what we were going to get when we arrived at the Fort.

We should not have had any concerns - this hotel is superb and we found no problems at all during our 2 week stay.

We were travelling with my parents in law and asked the hotel via their web site if we could have two adjoining rooms on a high floor. We were given rooms 3320 and 3321 in the mountain side wing - sure not much of a sea view but just how much time do you spend in there anyway?

Each room had 2 x king size beds which were very very comfortable, a large tv receiving a number of channels, excellent air conditioning, safety deposit box and 2 double wardrobes, a large dressing table and mirror with hair dryer, mini bar (fridge), seating and balcony with furniture - and everything was spotlessly clean - the room cleaner even moved beds daily to sweep under them.

The hotel itself is in three 'blocks'. There is the main block which contains reception, a bar and the main buffet restaurant.

This connects to the first of the new wings via a corridor containing a bazaar shop, leather goods shop, pharmacy, jewellers and hairdressers.

The third block is located at the far end of the ground and is used mainly to house those guests staying with SAGA. It contains another restaurant and bar and reception area.

There are 2 x beach bars, one serves an al a carte menu daily and all inclusive snacks from 3.30pm, the other is a small self service type affair in which you just help yourslef to anything you fancy - or have it served to you if you prefer.

The service is excellent wherever you choose to park your self - ok so the venening entertainment lacks something unless you can talk Italian but this wasn't a problem.

Food quality - no problems at all - always somthing good to eat, 2 x soup choices, proper roas beef, veal, lamb and turkey carved for you, excellent fish. Plenty of fresh prepared salads, desserts to gain a few inches by too - oh and fresh baked bread!

So - all in all don't worry if you have booked here and had concerns - go and relax - do try snorkelling the house reef off the beach its quite something!

Twice daily shuttle bus into Hurgarda - beware this will take you to the old town and not the nice designer shops - ask the driver and he should take you there instead!


100% RECOMMENDED - if its good enough for SAGA its good for you - they wouldn't want pensioners having bad food and upset stomachs etc would they!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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11  Thank rustymark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas

Address: Safaga Road | Abu Makhadeg Bay, Makadi Bay, Hurghada, Egypt
Region: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > Hurghada > Makadi Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Makadi Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Makadi Bay
#10 Family Hotel in Makadi Bay
#11 Luxury Hotel in Makadi Bay
#11 Romantic Hotel in Makadi Bay
Price Range: £63 - £119 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa & Villas 4*
Number of rooms: 458
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fort Arabesque Resort, Spa, & Villas promises tranquilityand opulence with its 444 luxurious rooms, suites, privateapartments and 14 newly built villas.Four dining venues, five swimming pools, including a children's pool(three of which are heated), a state-of-the-art gym, world class Thai managed Spa and sports facilities as well as I-Dive, a five-starIDC PADI dive center, guarantee a fun and unforgettable hotel experience.Inspired by the Sardinian roots of its architects, FortArabesque Resort & Spa combines distinctive Italianand Arabic accents in its architecture, from its imposingmedieval fort structure to its interior touches and décor,where the different shades of Egyptian cave stones fromAswan blend with the antique fine wood furnishings oforiental designs.We would like to introduce our new concept as well, which is unique in Egypt.Nestled within the Fort Arabesque resort, The Villas offer its guests luxurious accommodation, space and privacy in addition to a more personal and dedicated service. Each of the 14 Villas (8 units with 1 bedroom + 1 bathroom, 6 units with 2 bedrooms + 2 bathrooms) is tastefully decorated to reflect the mix of Arabic accents and Mediterranean influences of the Fort Arabesque Resort. All units have private garden and terrace with private access to a secluded swimming pool exclusive to The Villas. To ensure a fast and efficient service, the check-in is done through a private reception. The residents also have access to the Pavilion which is a private lounge where the villa guests can enjoy a semi-served upgraded breakfast in the morning. For lunch and dinner time the Pavilion functions as an A’la Carte Restaurant, giving the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining experience. The extra benefits of the Villa Guests include free Wi-Fi, free Gym usage and various discounts in the different outlets of the hotel.Guests at The Villas are free to use all the facilities and enjoy the same ‘all inclusive’ benefits at the resort with quick access to the main restaurant and the beach as well. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Fort Arabesque
Fort Arabesque Makadi Bay
Fort Arabesque Hurghada

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