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“Disappointing overall”

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Sofitel Taba Heights
Ranked #3 of 23 Hotels in Taba
uk
Level Contributor
410 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 306 helpful votes
“Disappointing overall”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2013

This was our first trip to Egypt, and we were hoping for a good quality, upmarket experience after looking at the impressive photos of this hotel online and the fact it is a "Thomson Platinum 5 star" hotel. I have to say we were both disappointed. I'll come to why in a moment, but first of all I will cover the positives. The food was excellent and in my view couldn't be faulted, although perhaps at the end of two weeks it did become a little repetitive. Most of the staff are friendly and helpful (though certainly not all of them.) There are lots of pools in the grounds, including a saltwater pool and a "quiet pool", mostly pleasant enough to sit around. The shisha tent on the beachfront is a really relaxing place to sit at night. And the spa facilities in the hotel are great, although you have to pay British prices for any treatments (the sauna is free, though.)

It's a big hotel and superficially grand, which is why it looks good in the pictures. The trouble is, it really does not have an upmarket or classy feel. Quite the opposite, in fact. Whether this was affected by the large scale cancellations meaning that it only had 25% occupancy for most of our stay, with all the troubles in Egypt, I don't know. It definitely felt downmarket to me. We looked around the Hyatt and the Intercontinental, other nearby hotels, and both seemed to me to have a much classier atmosphere. I realise the Sofitel has a band of devoted followers, because we talked to someone there who had stayed umpteen times and some of the reviews on here say the same, but it really wasn't my kind of place and I felt quite uncomfortable. It's a difficult thing, commenting on the "feel" of a hotel, and to some extent I accept it is a subjective judgement. However I did feel that I did not get what I was expecting for the money paid - £1900 for the pair of us for 2 weeks - and that annoyed me. I certainly will not fall for the package holiday marketing again - they tell you all the facilities and facts about the place, but you never know what the atmosphere's going to be like, and I haven't yet been to an all-inclusive place with a classy atmosphere.

You arrive at Taba Airport which is a weird place - it's at the top of a mountain range, so you go on this long twisty, windy road to reach Taba Heights, escorted by police outriders. It's a little unnerving; you half expect armed bandits to jump out and hijack you at any moment! Then you arrive at the resort, which is a gated enclave. It seemed safe enough but again, it was unnerving to have the underside of the vehicles constantly being checked with a mirror - to see if there was a bomb attached.

Taba Heights itself was a curious place. Clearly built to attract upmarket customers, with a big golf course and watersports centre, it was dead most of the time we were there, and walking around "uptown", the main shopping area, felt like being in an episode of "The Prisoner" - a very eerie experience, with hardly a soul in sight. The atmosphere was a bit better at night, but I didn't much like the place and found it highly artificial.

At least when Eid came around, the place filled up and it was quite nice to have a feeling of life in the place. It was a bit like Christmas with all the family getting together and celebrating, and on the whole I didn't mind the cultural differences between the Europeans and the Arabs who were visiting. However, it must be said that queuing was a foreign concept to them and this did annoy me at reception. Basically, the rule is that whoever pushes to the front quickest and shouts the loudest gets served first. It's very impolite from a British point of view. One advantage was that a second restaurant opened up (The Mediterranean) which had a much nicer atmosphere than the main one, which frankly was little more than a glorified canteen.

We were let down badly by the staff when we arrived, which got our holiday off to a bad start. We had requested a room on a high floor but were given one on the ground floor, for no apparent reason. We were then promised a move the next day. However, when we came to make the move, we were quite rudely told by Hussein at reception that it was no longer possible (remember this is in a hotel which is three-quarters empty!) That man was dreadful - he constantly had a pained, supercilious expression on his face and we actively avoided dealing with him when he was there. And this in a supposedly five star hotel! What a joke. I've had better service in dirt cheap budget hotels in England. Quite unlike Mohammed at reception who was extremely professional and polite.

At least the room and bathroom was OK. It was a little battered and I don't think the rooms have been updated since the hotel opened ten years ago, but they aren't too bad. You get free tea and coffee sachets and water every day, as well as basic toiletries, although we were only given two bars of soap throughout the entire stay. Again, not exactly five star service.

The excursions from Taba are really interesting and I would especially recommend the trip to Israel (£109). What an enormous difference you notice as soon as you cross the border. You go along a dirt road with street lights that don't work, then you cross the border and straightaway you are in a First World country with all the associated infrastructure. It's really quite sad - to say Israel has only been around for 65 years, it rather puts Egypt to shame. First you go to the Dead Sea which is an amazing experience - to be able to float in the water is unique and should be experienced by everyone once in your life. Then you go to Jerusalem - what a fascinating place that is, though I couldn't say it felt holy or spiritual at all. Avoid the souvenir shop you are taken to in the Arab quarter where everything is marked in dollars - the prices are ludicrous. (20 dollars for a fridge magnet - I kid you not. Only a stupid American tourist with more money than sense would fall for that one.) Either haggle hard, or walk out and shop at one of the numerous stalls nearby.

Incidentally, despite the horror stories we had heard about crossing the Israeli border, we got through in 30 minutes flat, and our group included British Asians who were admitted without any difficulty. It is true that they are thorough and security conscious, but that's understandable. I was talking to an Egyptian guy at the hotel about going across and he told me it wasn't so much a problem for him getting into Israel; the problem would come afterwards in returning to Egypt, where apparently the secret police would follow you around to find out why you went. Obviously that doesn't apply to British tourists!

The location is one of the most interesting things about Taba Heights as you can also easily cross to Jordan and go to Petra, one of the wonders of the world. In fact, from the hotel beachfront you can easily see four countries - Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. There can't be many places in the world where you could say that.

All in all, this holiday was a disappointment and it does boil down to the "feel" of the place. I thought Egypt seemed to have quite a heavy atmosphere - as soon as we crossed the border, the atmosphere lightened and it was quite a relief. Whether this will change when the current troubles are over, I don't know. But if going to Taba Heights, I would personally recommend a different hotel.

Room Tip: Try and get a room on a higher floor with a sea view (good luck with that)
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank sfuhere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2013 via mobile

Had a fantastic vacation in Sofitel Taba heights, I didn't only enjoy the wonderful weather, luxury room and facilities ( SPA-GYM-kids area-Animation team......), but I mainly enjoyed the excellent hospitality of the staff. They were so friendly with us that we felt as we where at home.
I recommend this hotel strongly for any one who would like to have family vacation or friends vacation.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank ramymragab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eastbourne
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2013

We have just returned from our third wonderful holiday at Sofitel Taba this year, and each one was perfect, you only have to read all the previous comments from folk who were there at the same time, this hotel is our second home, and by hook or by crook we will be back in the spring of 2014, we understand that Thomsons must have a good reason for pulling out, but seriously hope that someone else steps into their shoes, come on, there are enough of us in the repeaters "club" to fill a plane, I am sure! It was a shame we encountered Eid, and a lot of very rude, loud, guests who shouted at staff, but all the staff were amazing in handling the situation, we cant praise each and every one of you enough. We will fly into Sharm and take hotel taxi up if needs be, but will definatly see you all in April. Thanks for another wonderful holiday Mr Burt and all your amazing team.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank aumaEastbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2013 via mobile

We spent 1 week here mid October and the Egyptian staff just made our stay perfect from the moment we arrived with Hussein checking us in and giving us an amazing room (1411) to the moment we left with Ali the manager ensuring eveyone was on the coach and happy.
To start, let me reassure those who are worried about travelling to Egypt at the moment that you are as safe as houses here. We never felt in danger and you really are in such a quiet tourist made area that you have nothing to worry about.
Our room had a sea and pool view - gorgeous! Was so nice appreciating the view at sunset. The room was big and the bed very comfortable. Bathroom good also but the cleaning could have been slightly better.
Pool area lovely and quiet (apart from the period when the hotel was inundated by the Jordans for Eid.. I will come to this later). Pool attendants always willing to help you and so pleasant (Mohamed, Halim). The spa was an amazing experience on our last day in the evening - the perfect time to do it and relax in the outside, heated jacuzzi. It was also spotlessly clean and everything done to perfection thanks to Mahmoud who works there. The gym also offered good facilities too and quite new and clean. When it got busy you had to hang about for the machines a bit but all in all a good gym.
Food was good considering we're in an all inclusive in Egypt. You could always find something you wanted. The staff in the Aladdin restaurant were so lovely and always wanted to help. Mohammed who makes the omlettes in a morning, the executive chef Mohammed and our 2 star waiters who served us day and night in the outside part El Araby and Essam. Nothing is ever too much for these people and they are all very professional.
Now, the down side of the holiday was that it was Eid and had we have known, we would have come at another time - always check your diaries!! As mentioned above, the hotel was inundated and went from a clean, peaceful hotel to a dirty, uncivilised riot. Kids were let lose to cause all sorts of problems at the pool bar, not to mention no one queuing. Cups were floating in the pool and the toilets were disgusting. Rubbish was on the floor and the restaurant was like feeding time at the zoo. The problem wasn't the staff in the hotel not doing their jobs, but the hotel and the facilities, and the extra cleaning services put on, could simply not cope with this influx of visitors who seemed to be going against basic acts of politeness and cleanliness. Anyway, that's how it was and check the calendar before booking your holiday!
The beach was nice but the sea stoney. I heard that the snorkelling experience just in front of the hotel is the best in Taba.
The only point which was missing was the choice in alcoholic drinks and the quality. I hardly drank all week because the beer, wine, spirits were simply not nice. For a Sofitel 5* I think an effort can be made on this.
All in all, brilliant holiday and will return!

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cazzabelle83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2013

We have been to Egypt 4 times in 3 years I can honestly say this was brilliant. There,s no point repeating everything everybody else has said, it's all true :) We went for 2 weeks to celebrate 10 years of marriage :), it was only 25% full when we arrived! but 3 days before we went home the Eid started, oh my days the parents were as bad as the kids, rude, loud & no respect for anybody, so I would avoid this time of October. We just felt really sorry for all the hotel stuff as they continued to serve with a smile, I,m afraid I would have thrown the food at the little [--]!

We felt so safe & didn,t feel the need to lock anything away, it's a shame that the troubles in Egypt are affecting this lovely hotel as there,s really no need.

THANKS TO EVERYONE, but special thanks to Sayeed the rep Thompson really needs to keep this man! wonderful! our waiters were the best Abdul he never stayed still always busy & so efficient, another one to keep :)

Hopefully another Tour company will fly direct to Taba, SHAME ON THOMPSON,!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank collydolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amersham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2013

We stayed here for a week from the 9th October 2013, my partner and i were celebrating our birthdays and had notified the hotel prior to our stay. The guest relations manager had arranged a nice room for us with a birthday cake on arrival. A very nice touch!

We arrived with lots of British guests, we were all checked in quickly and our bags taken to our rooms. A nice swift check in is just what you need after travelling!

There are 2 pools, one large for families and a quiet pool. We came on holiday for some R & R so stayed by the quiet pool along with most Brits! On the first day a child was by the pool making a LOT of noise. We along with some other guests did comment on this to the pool man and guest relations manager and for the remainder of the holiday the pool remained a nice relaxing place to be!

You can make your own coffee by the pool from 11am, and can order any drink from the pool bar which was great! The pool barman was always so cheerful!

The food here was nice enough, just what you get anywhere in Egypt. It was better the first 2 days before the huge influx of Java holiday makers. The puddings were really nice, i found my self eating less dinner and more sweet!

It was Ede which made the hotel full to capacity, with many large families, lots of unruly children who would pile 4 plates of food each and leave most of it. Since they arrived the restaurant food had become very carb based! Bread, rice, potatoes, pancakes, waffles, pasta but there was always something we liked, meat and veg and lots of salad.

Because of the celebrations the hotel went to an extra effort to ensure we all had a relaxing stay, the opened another restaurant for non children families which was a really nice touch! We had 2 waiters that looked after us really well. Always remembering which drinks we liked.

The bar was nice, two good bar tenders who went out of their way to make me cocktails that they thought i may like, always serving crisps and nuts alongside the drinks too.

The entertainment in the evenings was awful! We only went to one show and that was enough!

My partner loves to snorkel and said the fish were amazing, with lots of different coloured ones.

The only negative thing i have to say really is about Taba as a resort and not the hotel! There is a mountain there which means at 3.30 the sun has gone! The sun does not set until 6pm in October, yet the mountain stole it at 3.30. We just relaxed with a cocktail before getting ready for diner.

All in all a lovely holiday, not the best in Egypt. See my other reviews. A lovely relaxing break, but next time i think we will stick to Hurgarda to have more sun!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Smudddle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2013

Just returned from a weeks stay at this beautiful hotel. Four adults travelled and prior to arriving i had emailed the hotel asking for a higher room and near to each other. The hotel staff acknowledged my email almost immeidately and upon check in we were given rooms about 4 doors from each other.

Check in was efficient and no hassle. Three coaches arrived at once (I think that must have been everyone on the Thompson Flight) but the hotel are clearly very experience at this and simply have you fill in your registration form on the coach. When you arrive you provide your registration form to the reception staff who allocate your room. You identify your luggage to the conceriege and go off to enjoy dinner. By the time you have had your meal - your luggage has been delivered to your room. So easy.

On arrival we were told that it was Eid. Wish i had checked prior to travelling as the hotel was at full occupancy and unfortunately many of the guests were unrully and loud and i know its a british thing, but totally incapable of queueing. The hotel did all they could to deal with this surge in number. They laid on an adult only dining area. Provided additional sun beds around the pool and kept apologising for the other guests. As mentioned in other posts, this is no criticism of the hotel.

By friday the hotel had returned to a very low level of occupancy. Nice for the guests - but such a shame for the hotel.

Every single member of staff that you interacted with would go out of thier way to help you or ensure you were enjoying your holiday.

Staff in the bar would begin preparing your drinks as soon as you entered the bar. In fact we began to play a game of trying to get to the bar and order a different drink before it was being served - but failed on most occasions.

My only criticism of the hotel would be that the food was very repetative. However the food was well prepared and always something on offer that even the fussiest of diners (my dad) could find to eat. No upset tummies by anyone in our party.

As mentioned by many other posts Sayed is the most friendly and kind and entertaining hotel rep that i have had the pleasure of meeting. Such a knowledgable guy on the local area and always willing to spend time to give you a bit of history.

We stayed in 1414 and had a goregous view of the main pool and Red Sea. Room was huge and the bed massive and extremely comfortable and was kept immacutely clean.

The whole of Taba Heights is extemely safe and many miles away from any of the troubles. If you can, you must go to this beautiful hotel and support them.

Hope to become one of the many returning customers

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MattHM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sofitel Taba Heights

Property: Sofitel Taba Heights
Address: Km 42 Taba Newuiba Road | Taba Heights, Taba 46621, Egypt
Region: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > Taba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Taba
#2 Best Value Hotel in Taba
#2 Family Hotel in Taba
#3 Luxury Hotel in Taba
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Taba
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Taba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Taba Heights 5*
Number of rooms: 442
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A truly magnificent location, at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba between the southern Sinai mountains and the Red Sea, Sofitel Taba Heights is also a uniquely designed hotel, inspired by traditional Oriental architecture. This exceptional resort is an all-inclusive property with easy access to the private beach, 3 exquisite restaurants, 5 swimming pools, a fitness center and 3 meeting rooms. Just 20 km from downtown Taba and 40 km from the airport, it's convenient for business and pleasure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Taba Heights Hotel Taba
Taba Heights
Accor Taba Heights
Taba Sofitel

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