Back ground – travel with other half and young child. Usually stay in 4 or 5 star and do a mixture of travel agents/self books. Well travelled throughout the world.
Booked this 14 days before departure and got a reasonable price. Beat the canaries price wise hands down. I tend to bear price in mind when reviewing a hotel. The more I pay the more I expect for my money.
This is possibly the most difficult report I have written yet as this hotel in parts is absolutely excellent and in other areas shocking. I can see why its currently no 1 on trip advisor and perhaps more reflects its clientele rather than the hotel itself – a huge assumption to make but perhaps some staying were not so well traveled or unfamiliar with decent 4 or 5 star accommodation. Plenty of visible tattoo's, trainers and tracksuit trousers from all nationalities.
Before reading this you need a bit of background info. On reading the forum and gaining advice from others more familiar with Egypt than us we didn't take any £1 coins and took a few £20 notes to change at the airport at the banks on arrival. However we didn't appreciate these would be shut at 6pm. We didn't know there was an ATM at the airport so didn't think to look for one (and to be honest after queuing for our free visa and then queuing again for passport control then waiting for our luggage and struggling to get our courtesy bus it was the last thing on our minds. We would have immediately changed some English notes into local currency at the hotel ATM straight away on arrival but it was out of order nor were we prepared to venture outside on our first night at 10pm after our evening meal with a 2 year old to find the local bank. This made a huge difference to our holiday as you will see below.
arrival and check in was quick and smooth. Initial first impressions were good but when sitting down I noticed that all the fake leather seats were worn, dirty and ripped in places with loose stitching. We had emailed the hotel beforehand requesting a room on a high floor on the sunny side with a bath for my little one. The room was on the sunny side but was only on the 2nd floor (which turned out to be a godsend as we couldn't find a lift so had to carry the pram up and down the stairs every day). They couldn't give us a room with a bath as they were a 2 level upgrade and wanted quite a lot of money for the upgrade (which is fair enough but out of our reach this particular holiday). Greeted with a soft drink and quickly walked to our room by one of the reception staff. He seemed to linger in the room for some time (I assume looking for a tip which we couldn't offer as we had no currency either LE or pound Stirling). Suitcases arrived shortly after and again the porter lingered looking for a tip – and when we explained that we had no currency as the banks at the airport were shut and the ATM in the hotel was out of order he demanded pound Stirling (which we didn't have). He switched to Arabic and became quite agitated and loud before storming out the room. Not a good start. We returned to reception to see if they could help exchange money which they could but only a #10 pound note for a 100LE note so no good for tipping.
Room was a good size with a huge comfy bed but on arrival no bed for our little man. Quick phone call to reception and the chair in the room was quickly converted into a bed. Closer inspection showed chipped tiles in the bathroom and holey/ripped bottom sheets in our little mans bed. There were stains on the toilet door and previous occupants toothpaste on the door itself. The unit round the underneath of the sink was scratched as was the door. The tv was well equipped with english channels which was nice but the crowning jewels in the room were lovely patio furniture and a kettle, cups, tea and coffee with instant whitener. Never have I stayed at an all inc with tea coffee facilities in the room. There was a fridge stocked with chargeable items but leave these out and the cleaner removes them. Two 1litre bottles of water are left in your room each day (free).
went to the lobby bar on the first night and was shown a cocktail menu with prices next to it. No one explained that these were available on the AI package so for the first night we stick to beer. Unable to tip again because of the money situation and this affected our service for the rest of the week (even when we did tip). The second night we asked again about cocktails and the bar man pointed to the ready made drinks display on the bar saying that was it. We chose one off the bar and he brought them over. We drank them but whilst doing so the bar men were watching us, commenting in Arabic and laughing. Over the course of the next few days we realised these were 'display' drinks and sat there all day and all evening. How we weren't ill I’ll never know. We gave up sitting in the lobby bar and started to sit in reception choosing to get our drinks from the sports bar (who had a cocktail menu for AI). However on the 3rd night the bar men in the sports bar stopped us from carrying drinks in glasses out to the reception saying we had to have them in plastic glasses even though we were staying inside and told us to go to the lobby bar if we wanted drinks in glasses. When I explained that there drinks were better with more choice in the sports bar they told us that the cocktails from the lobby bar were also AI and the waiters would bring them out from the lobby bar. Not once were we served in the reception by staff from the lobby bar so we resorted to sitting on a table in the sports bar, being served a drink then moving to the reception. Tedious and not what I would expect from a 4 star hotel.
IN addition to the comments above the sports bar in the evening is very very loud. You can't have a conversation with someone sat next to you. There is a kids club mini disco but it starts too late at 8.30 and has chart/pop music. There is something just so so wrong in watching a group of young children dancing inappropriately to the “Time Warp'. Just one rendition of heads shoulders knees and toes during our time there. Furniture again is tired, faded and ripped. Our little man wore brand new white canvas shoes and white shorts and whilst I understand and accept children do get dirty neither could be worn again all holiday as the stage was absolutely filthy. All the evening entertainment is in the sports bar but I will cover that further on.
Sunbeds are not allowed to be reserved before 8am and as such hotel pool towels are not given out until then. However the practice does exist with clients using their own towels, kids lilos and tipping/bribing the pool attendants to use other items to discreetly reserve them. Saying this it never caused us a problem around either the main pool or in the waterpark itself. Sunbeds are all good quality and great condition. The main pool is heated but half a day here was enough for this family. Everyone comments on how good the entertainment team are and if you enjoy that sort of thing then I can understand this. However, again, you can't have a quiet conversation or sit in peace due to the incessant noisy exuberant loud shouting from the team and the pumping disco music that blares out all day. If you want a quiet room during the day then don't have one surrounding the main pool. Our little boy couldn't have his day time nap given the loudness of the entertainment and its team. Quiet and peaceful it is not. If I hear another whoo whoo I'll scream (and I am now trying to explain to my 2 year old that this noise is not acceptable!!!) We were only hassled once by the spa representatives. A firm no was soon understood and they didn't bother us again.
Almost (but not quite) the gem of the hotel. Lovely slides, great facilities for little ones in the form of a walk round pool, 4 baby slides, water guns all under shade, a pirate ship with climbing frames and slides plus water bucket and a gently sloping wave pool. The downside was that only the wave pool was heated and this was lovely. There were only a few children brave enough to use the slides, pirate ship or walk round baby pool and slides as they were absolutely freezing. Such a shame. The flo rider is also good (so my hubby tells me). The lazy river isn't heated either. However the lazy river and all water area's have large bits of paint peeling off and the fence around the lazy river is falling apart/down in places. It was very good to see regular water testing done during the day in all area's.
A major concern though was my hubby noticed the life guard on the childrens slide pool was taking pictures of the children, specifically little girls (and some of these included my son given he was holding hands with some of the girls). I raised this straight away with the guest relations lady and to the hotels due they acted swiftly. The pool staff manager was brought in, the lifeguards phone was obtained and he was removed from duty. The guest relations lady confirmed that he was new (2 days in work) – that there were a large number of photographs that had been taken and that they had deleted them all. She also told me that there would be a policy implemented that none of the pool attendants would be allowed to have their mobile phones/photographic equipment in these area's (not sure this has been enforced though so parents please be vigilant). These could have been taken in innocence but I certainly am not willing to take that sort of risk with my child in his swimming costume.
Pool food and drinks
basic food with sometimes lax opening times. One food and drink area really well hidden reached by crossing a bridge over the lazy river near the childrens water guns and turning right. From here you can get burgers and chips Another one near the main pool was supposed to open at 1 and shut at 4 often didn't open or wasn't ready for food serving until past 1.30 and I had the cheek to go at 5 to 4 to get an ice cream for my little man only to find it had already been removed. The chef doesn't appear to understand English so it was pot luck what you were given (only choice was pizza or cheese on toast so difficult to see how to get this wrong). A much better option was to go and sit outside the main buffet restaurant and get food from there. We often had to ask for knives/forks etc and take drinks with you but the quality of food was much much better. At approx 5pm there was also a selection of snacks served here. Food (small sandwiches) could also be obtained from the lobby bar as an option for late breakfast for a limited time in the morning.
We tipped quite generously here to the pool waiters and were amply rewarded. Swift timely service and it was quite a delight.
Only one word describes this restaurant – awful. Air con set to freezing. We had deep fried breaded cheese for starters. Undercooked and the cheese was solid. We also ordered 2 steaks – one rare and one medium. They were served to the wrong person. The meat had been battered to the point of no return and was inedible. The waiter when collecting our plates didn't like that we had left it and seemed disgusted with us that we had the audacity to say it was horrible. Another couple returned theirs whilst we were in there. We swiftly left and went to the buffet restaurant.
absolutely fantastic. Liked it so much we ate here twice. Lovely atmosphere, great service, fab food. And so so friendly towards my little man even when he fell asleep just as they brought his dinner out.
main buffet restaurant. Fab food and great friendly staff. Not at all like some of the other all inclusive 'canteens' we have been to. Waiter service for drinks and if you are carrying more than one plate they will often help you. Only disappointment was quite a lot of chipped crockery.
cereals, an egg station, plenty of toast machines, a pancake station, freshly baked bread in all sorts of flavors and varieties and croissants to die for. plenty of other fresh options too. Sadly the beef bacon can't replace pork bacon but unavailable as Muslim country.
lunch and evening dinner
again lots and lots of lovely choice, fab soups, and made to order pizza. My little man never went hungry. Lovely touch to have childrens plastic plates available. No smashed crockery!!!
day time entertainment
LOUD LOUD LOUD. No other way to describe it. Pool aerobics held in front of the pool towel attendants (who seemed to be pointing at hapless people really trying to keep up and laughing quite loudly). A quiz each afternoon and in between lots and lots of modern loud music pumping out. Not my cup of tea but a lot of people seemed to be having a good time.
Appalling. Don't know how they can class it to be entertainment. The entertainment team seem to be the entertainment. In 2 weeks of staying here the only outside act was a magician with a rather tired, old and grey goose. Best to be avoided. The only volume that the entertainment team have during the day is loud and this carries on right though the evening. The lobby bar has some quieter entertainment (violinist, guitarist, singer) but this was often spoilt by the entertainment team whoop whooping through at regular intervals right up until closing time)
Surrounding area the hotel is a good 20 minute walk away from the beach. The beach is a coral beach but well worth the effort in the searing heat to visit for the coral and sea walkways. Lovely walk along the front. Close to hard rock cafe, McDonald and KFC. Wifi is incredibly dear at the hotel so a good excuse to turn off but if you do feel the need much cheaper to make a purchase from here and use their free service for users. One thing that most reviews haven't mentioned is the constant aircraft noise. I noticed before departure that it was only 15 min from the airport and I should have clicked then that there would be lots of noise. Aircraft start passing overhead early in the morning (it was still dark) and were still flying out at 10.30 at night.
so...the all important question – would I go back? I honestly don't know. I've stayed at a splash resort before and it was nicer than this one. I've also stayed at cheaper hotels and been more impressed with facilities, condition and staff relations. Here the majority of the staff are lovely and the food is just to die for. But it is by far way too noisy for me. Funiture in communal area's is tired and shabby and some of the waterpark pools have peeling paint.
What might bring me back though is the fabulous weather and as my little man grows up he will love the water park. I might be tempted however to look at the coral sea resort with its new water park before re-booking to the coral sea splash resort (or aqua resort or whatever it is due to be called). I still had a lovely holiday once we learnt to avoid the brassiness and loud noise levels that the hotel offers.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Feel the dynamic pulse the moment you walk into the Coral Sea Aqua Club Resort. It is home to the most prestigious aqua park resort in the fashionable Nabq area on the Red Sea. The aqua park entertains guests with: Boomerang and the Speed/Bowl slides. On top of that, you can race down the multi-laner or go for something calmer like the lazy river. But the real big boy has to be the flowrider ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Sea Splash Hotel Nabq Bay
- Coral Sea Aqua Club Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt - Nabq Bay