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Sofitel Taba Heights
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Reviewed 29 September 2010

Sofitel had a lot to live up to, and we're happy to say that it really did!

Location on the beach front is excellent and the snorkelling is fantastic.
Lots of swimming pools and we managed to get a sun bed every day (although would recommend getting up that little bit earlier to get the best ones).
Food was good and you'll never go without desert.

Would certainly recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kev M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2010

Have just got back from our 1st Holiday inEygypt stayed at the Sofitel Taba, Excellent hotel food good, they do try and cater for all. Pools good, very short walk to beach for all snorkelling (very good). Hotel staff very friendly and helpful, rooms very clean and cleaned everyday. During our stay i had an accident and the hotel staff could not do enough to help. On the particular day this happened the lift was out of order and 3 of the hotel staff carried me up 3 flights of stairs in a wheelchair. Would definatly and will go back to the Sofitel in Taba. If you go you must try the scuba diving (this is a must). This is a quiet and relaxing holiday if that is what you are looking for.

Pat & Steve Barker

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank citylinkengland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2010

First of all, we went to Taba with not-very-high expectations regarding the hotel. Despite it being a five-star hotel, it's quite known that (in general) hotels in Egypt don't quite meet the expectations one usually has of an European or American hotel of the same class (which we first experienced on our first trip to Egypt, in a four-star hotel in Hurghada) and that, although they meet all the required standards for their rating, lower standard is to be expected. However, we found the hotel clean, comfortable and rather quiet (with the obvious exceptions of the restaurant and the pools), considering the number of tourists at that time.

There's not much to say about the location, as Taba Heights is basically just a big hotel complex with a small shopping area easily within reach by Tut-Tut. Taba (the town) can only be reached by taking a cab, but there's nothing worth visiting there anyway, unless you're planning to cross the Israeli border. Actually, the only reason a person who is not interested in laying on a sunbed all day should visit this location is the possibility of taking organized trips to Israel, Jordan and the St. Catherine's Monastery.

We were on the all-inclusive program and that turned out to be a rather good option. The food was good - as said before, a little repetitive, but with a decent variety of dishes, so that's not much of a problem. With a little knowledge of how to pick their food, one can fully enjoy every meal for quite some time. Besides all three meals, gym, fitness center etc, snacks and local alcohol were also included in the price - I'm not a drinker, so I can't say anything about the quality of their alcohol, but if you want something "fancier", they'll charge it pretty well. Actually, everything not included in the price costs quite a lot, which is understandable, since there aren't many other places you can go to. The same with the shopping mall in Taba Heights - there are only a couple of shops, each selling different things, there is no competition and they use that situation well. Prices are rather high and most of them will refuse to bargain.

I have read bad reviews concerning frequent food poisoning of tourists - people, you are going to Egypt, food and water poisoning are very common all over the country, especially among tourists. By no means I'm defending them, but one should get prepared and do some research before traveling. Take some probiotics as prevention, do not drink tap water (obviously), avoid drinks with ice in it (they use tap water for making ice) and fresh fruit and vegetables (washed with tap water) and you should be fine.

We also didn't have high expectations about politeness of the staff due to REALLY bad experiences the first time we went to Egypt, but we were pleasantly surprised. With the exception of one single waiter (making jokes and comments in clearly inappropriate moments, which was extremely unprofessional and irritating) and a few people working in bars in the pool area (not respecting their timetable), the staff was polite, very helpful (especially when one of us got sick), surprisingly professional and had the perfect balance between nice and reserved. I never tend to tip service I'm not happy with, but this time it was well worth the money.

As for other tourists, we've had a couple of problems with them. Brits tended to be fairly polite and patient at the restaurant, but they behaved like the pool area was their own property (and this is not the first time I've had an experience like that with British tourists). It wasn't uncommon for them to leave children unattended to make noise and occupy the entire pool by playing games, like there were no other tourists around, or to take others' sunbeds, although they were clearly taken (I've had mine taken away by British ladies a few times while I was away to get a drink, although my towel and belongings were on and around the sunbed). We've had the same problems with the Israeli as well, although they were much less polite in the restaurant - not knowing how to wait in the queue, their children running around the restaurant and being extremely loud. Polish tourists were nice and quiet in the pool/beach area, but they were not considerate at all when it came to leaving food for others in the restaurant.

The beach isn't bad, snorkling was pretty fun, although I'd suggest taking a local tour by boat (for those who are interested) if you want to see the real thing. Corals there were not that interesting, they looked rather colorless. Pools were also okay, a bit too shallow but clean, but (if the hotel is at full capacity or close to it) it's extremely hard to get a sunbed. Also, there are lots of tourists that are rude and inconsiderate enough to get up early in the morning, leave their belongings on the sunbeds and not come back to the pool area for a couple of hours, securing their places there but not using them at all, although someone else could use those sunbeds during that time. Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to this is that they barely ever have enough towels (which is unforgivable for a five-star hotel that gets so many tourists each season). The restaurant is way too small as well (for a hotel with such a big capacity) and it's not uncommon (especially during lunch and dinner) to see a queue of people waiting to get a table. That doesn't really happen during breakfast, since they usually open another restaurant and serve the same food there.

Our rooms were rather big, really comfortable and clean, all the room facilities worked perfectly. They kept the no-frills design to a certain point (which is not uncommon for Egyptian hotels): all the facilities required to get a five-star rating were there, but they did cut on other things, e.g. the shower was just an area of the bathroom separated by a shower door, they had plastic chairs etc. Nonetheless, that didn't make our stay there less comfortable at all.

I'm not sure if I would come to Taba again at all, but, for those who are interested, despite minor problems, this hotel is a good option. If you keeps certain things in mind, it's very likely you'll have a nice, relaxing holiday here.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank VikingQueen90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2010

Had an excellent stay at the Sofitel. We arrived at the airport after dark and after a quick and friendly check in were taken to a lovely sea view room. The TV had a great Arabic MTV channel which we listened to most evenings while getting ready for dinner.
The hotel is in a breathaking position with the mountains behind and the Gulf of Aquaba in front. The sea is very warm and in front of the hotel is a reef teeming with fish which came in every colour under the rainbow. The food in the hotel was good, with a different theme every night. We particularly liked the Egyptian and Moroccan nights on which we were served some of the local delights. We never had a problem with our stomachs all holiday and we ate a huge variety of food.
The hotel is ideal for couples, there were always loads of sunbeds, the poolside activities (belly dancing, aqua aerobics etc) were only for a short while from 11:00am. If you were dozing off you could always rely on Rick Astley to wake you up to let you know the bar was open!
The staff at the hotel were very friendly and helpful. Particular mention must be given to Dina, Ishmael and the fair haired Ahmed in the dining room; Ahmed and Mahmood, who made a great team behind the bar, Tito from the Spa and Mohammed who looked after our room (1421).
Every Friday, there is a street party in El Wakela, the new 'old' village on the hill behind the hotel. It's worth a visit, there are some nice shops and restraunts.
The hotel is in an ideal position for visiting Israel, Jordan and Southern Sinai. While we were there we visited Jerusalem for my husbands 60th birthday, a very long day but worth every minute. The guide Danny Frankenstein made the whole experience a day to remember. The day after, we visited St Catherine's Monastery, another early start, but worth the effort. An excellent lunch at Ali Ba Ba's in Dahab was included in the trip. After a few days R & R we went on the nightime star gazing trip into the desert, it is always amazing to see the stars and planets so clearly when there is no light polution, the food and entertainment supplied by the Bedouin was really good. A few days later,we visited Petra which was everything we were expecting and more. it is truly breathtaking when you turn the last bend in the Siq and see the Treasury for the first time. Sturdy comfortable shoes/sandals and a hat are a must for this trip. Special mention must go to Jordanian food, the lunch at the Movenpick Nabatean Castle was superb. We finished the holiday off with the VIP Red Sea Cruise (no children under 16 allowed) three excellent and very different snorkelling stops were made and a good lunch was provided.
On the final evening we were invited to a cocktail party with the hotel management who were interested in any comments guests had about any improvents that could be made to make the hotel even better. The only thing we could think of was for someone to patrol the reef in front of the hotel at low tide to stop the idiots who thought walking on it was fun. One man even pulled a large inflatable lilo on to the top of the coral before going for a stroll on it wearing flippers!
Thank you to Bert Plas (General Manager) and everyone at Sofitel a very memorable and happy holiday.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Steve-Sue-7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2010

We have just returned from 2 weeks (7th - 21st September) and had a great time.

Rooms: we were in block 1 fourth floor. We had a nice sea and pool view and great views of the sunrise in the mornings. Room was spacious with lots of storage. Powerful shower and a huge bed. You will need to use the blackout blinds and the air con is such a relieve after a hot day in the sun.

Pools: We used the salty pool and warm pool mainly, the salty was as it says very salty but was the warmest. The cool pool felt the same as the warm pool. Both pools are approx 4 foot deep all round. We didnt use the quiet pool but it did look nice.

Food: Yes, after 2 weeks the food does become repetitive, but that is the same as most hotels. You can have freshly made fried eggs or omlettes made for you for breakfast, but we found we were just eating for the sake of it in the end. A themed night for the evening meal. The only thing that let it down for me was that the dress code for the evening meal really let the place down. For a 5* hotel to have gentlemen turn up in flip flop and sports short for the main meal was a dissapointment.

Staff: We found ALL staff to be friendly, helpful and very curtious. Yes, we did tip for good service (dollars). They work hard long days and we just take it for granted.

Beach: We didnt use the beach as a bathing area but did visit the jetty and sea daily. At around lunchtime the tide goes out leaving rock pool and nice warm shallow water making seeing the beutiful fish easier to see. We did find the best time to see the fish of the jetty was very early in the morning. But i guess early evening would be good as well.

Bars: Didnt have a problem getting a drink and the Lasultana bar was generally empty during the afternoon and around lunchtime.

Weather: Very hot, averaged 35 degrees in the shade most days.

Rep: Craig was fine, very clear and concise.

Late Check outs: Are available but at a cost (we didnt but they did sound expensive)

Sunbeds: Loads, especially on the beach. We never had a problem getting a bed but the hotel was only at 60% capacity by the end of the second week.

Golf Course: Didnt play, but liked to have done. You can hire clubs but it worked out about £70.00 for a round !!!! but the course looks amazing.

Extras: There are plenty of water stations around the complex and also on the beach. We didnt see any water stations on the beach at the other beachside hotels. So a big plus for the Sofitel for that. There is a hairdressers/barbers on site and although they say if there is a confirmed price dont barter. Go for it, i was quoted 200.00LE for a haircut but paid 50.00LE. There is a massage, sauna, and quite well equip gym as well. Small kids club, an expensive shop (non food) and a bank. You will get a better exchange rate there rather than here. We did go to the supermarket via the Tutt Tutt but paid a fortune for some crisps and chocolate, so take your own from home. Free fridge and free save in room. You do get 2 bottles of water free each day. As for the entertainment, we was always in bed when it started. (started at 10pm)

I have to say that the English were superb and it was the locals and other european nations who took the biscuit. Us brits would queue and say please and thank you but as Tafftraveller said once Ramadan had finished the relaxing holiday changed for a few days. The parents had NO control over there kids and the numerous No Diving signs were ignored. The whistle blowing pool attendents, should have been a enough to alert the parents to stop there kids ingoring the signs and looking after there kids safety was ignored to the extent were the pool attendents did lose a bit on control. The coral is protected and lots of signs in various languages says Do Not Touch or Remove the coral but again we say many non-english walking on the coral and breaking bits off. So well done to all us Brits for obeying the rules.

If anyone has any questions please send me a message and i will endeavor to help you.

And Yes we would go back.

Keith

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank keithwhitfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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