The hotel surrounds, the gardens, the rooms, the staff cannot be faulted. The staff especially are such nice people and make you feel so welcome and so special - not just the staff in your own area or the bars/restaurants you frequent, but as you walk through the grounds/hotel areas, just everyone greets you with a smile and a "good morning/afternoon/evening; how are you". They are truly wonderful. Kelly, the hotel relations person, is particularly good. Even if you go with a tour company (and the Thomson reps, Angie and Samy are good also - and always around) it is worth seeking her out, as she loves to talk to you, hear what you have to say and is a mine of information.
If you want a week or two, all-inclusive, 4/5 star hotel on beach with great pools, you've got it here. The swimming/snorkelling is amazing - like swimming in an aquarium. What I would point out, however, is that if you like sea swimming, you have to do it off the pier - in 25 metres depth. While we were there, there was a bit of a breeze blowing and red flag was up until after lunch most days, so pier was no go a lot of the time. The one time I went off the pier, it was a bit disconcerting as the lifeguard was very astute about blowing his whistle to ensure you did not venture more than a few yards from the pier. Not sure if this was because of the swell/tide/current, or that they are still panicking about sharks! Understandable - and all for our own safety. We went on a diving/snorkelling boat trip to Tiran Island which was very relaxed and absolutely fantastic. Best snorkelling I have ever done (including the GBR) - you didn't need to SCUBA - vis is so good you can see the divers on the bottom beneath you and can see everything they can.
What you need to know is that the coral comes in right to the beach in Nabq Bay so you CANNOT swim off the beach - although if you walk to the right a few yards there is a lagoon (about 3/4 ft deep) that you can swim in. No prob when we were there, as hotel was half empty (almost all English, absolutely no Russians etc) and you can take your pick of frontline sunbeds on the beach at any time of the day. If you've got young children and want to see them running in and out of the water, then you need to be by the lagoon. Might be a prob if hotel was full?
Food is OK. Nothing to rave about, but perfectly acceptable. Main buffet has loads of choice, including freshly cooked grills/roasts, pizzas, pastas. Breakfast very good - anything and everything you could want - and amazing pastries. Twice weekly BBQ evenings are fab. Eat on the terrace and you will feel you are more in a restaurant (albeit self-service) than inside, which has less atmosphere. A la cartes? Take your pick - we liked Chinese the best, although everyone raves over the Italian .... Everyone to their own taste and experience! Personally, I like eating outside and would prob trade the A la cartes for a table on the terrace in the better evenings (don't forget we had this breeze/more like a wind some evenings - not sure if it was unusual for time of year or not).
Entertainment - the best I can say is that it's extremely hit and miss! Youngsters will want to (and did) head into Narma Bay - half an hour away - in which case you might as well stay there to begin with. Families and oldies will be fine. Basically this is a hotel based holiday - there is nothing to walk to outside except a new shopping complex and a couple of English (!) or pseudo Egyptian bars (oh - and Macdonalds and TGIs!). This is a beach resort holiday. The area has been carved out/reclaimed from the desert and there are no authentic towns/villages to visit nearby. Noone actually lives here or comes from here - all the staff are from Cairo and other main cities - some hundreds of miles away and not do-able as a trip unless you want to pay a lot to fly or spend 6 hours on a coach! If you want to see Egypt/the Nile/Temples/Pyramids, stay there or do a 2-centre.
Naama Bay and Soho Square are purpose built bar/shop/nighclub areas. We didn't go to the "old town" as such, cos people who did said it wasn't worth it (unless you are into cheap and obviously fake handbags). There is a nice carpet shop in Soho Square and I bought some fab Egyptian cotton shorts/trousers at the shop in the airport on the way back. Basically, although we've been to Egypt, I don't think I could say I experienced much that was Egyptian - except, as mentioned before, the peole who are fantastic.
Lastly, be prepared for the spirits at the hotel to be "local" not brands you will recognise. Some are rather "rough" - but you'll get used to them if you persevere! We were pleasantly surprised with the wine and stuck to that most of the time. We're not beer drinkers but that seemed to be Ok - the usual non-descript lager type.
Have tried to give a balanced view so you know what to expect - but absolutely overall recommend it. Very good value for the price and beautiful and clean place. Only thing I would caution is bear in mind hotel was less than half full when we were there; could be a different experience if it were full - but any probs, spk to Kelly and she will sort!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 198 Superior Rooms, 290 Deluxe Rooms, 70 Family Rooms and 137 Junior Suites are spread around this beautifully designed modern resort. Several swimming pools wind there way between buildings or there is a gorgeous stretch of beach providing our guests with lots of options on where to spend their days. There are even 3 water slides to entertain the young and the young at heart. Try snorkeling from the wooden jetty or merely a stroll at sunset to see the magnificence of the underworld of the Red Sea. Dining choices include international buffet or choose from the World of Cuisines, with Chinese, Indian, Sushi, Italian, Sea Food or a taste of Egypt. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Grand Azure Hotel Nabq Bay
- Rixos Sharm El Sheikh Egypt - Nabq Bay