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“Sadly, a bit average”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Port Ghalib Resort

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Port Ghalib Resort
Ranked #19 of 71 Hotels in Marsa Alam
Certificate of Excellence
Luxembourg
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Sadly, a bit average”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 2011

Just been for a week to the Crowne Plaza in Port Ghalib - wanted a quiet week of relaxing in some warm weather. Overall conclusion - the hotel is a bit disappointing, especially as it brands itself as 5-star.

The hotel is part of a resort complex of three hotels (different brands of the same Group, IHG) with many of the leisure facilities shared. The resort is part of a conference facility - the Conference Centre was just across the road - but in a very quiet area.

I was on an on an ‘all inclusive’ package but found that not very much is inclusive. OK, I’m lying a bit - yes, three meals a day, snacks and drinks are all included, but there is no mini-bar in the room. Well there’s one there but it was switched off - I’m not looking for racks of beers and spirits, but the room was quite a distance from any of the bars and it would have been nice to have a few soft drinks and nibbles nearby.

Talking of the room, it was comfortable enough…sofa, bed etc. But I also wanted to do a bit of work - as might guests visiting for a conference - and the room was really not suitable for this. There was no desk area, just a small table, maybe 18 x 30 inches, nowhere near the socket for the internet, which meant there was a cable trailing around the room. I guess this was recognised by the hotel management because the cable was long enough (around 8 or 9 yards probably) to reach the little table. Fortunately there was a little stool that was a good height for sitting at the little table.

On, and the internet – it was incredibly expensive and offered very slow data rates…..when it was working. There were long periods without internet access at all - quite probably this was not the fault of the hotel but just made the cost seem all the more unjustified.

One major gripe - the shower! Nice pressure, plenty of hot water, too much in fact sometimes. The temperature adjustment doesn’t seem to be thermostatic and so every time someone nearby turns one of their taps on or off the shower temperature jumps up or down. Not just a little - I came close to scalding a sensitive part on one occasion (just one more downside of going bald, I guess). It didn’t make for relaxing showers, continually being poised to jump out if the temperature wavered at all. The last time I experienced anything like that was in a guesthouse in Blackpool…and there’s no way that I would expect it at a 5-star brand.

Having said all that, the room was nicely decorated and clean.

The food offering was disappointing too. Day after day it had a very ‘samey’ feel to it - different ingredients but the same sauces. When there was something good it often seemed to be notable from the empty tureens (or whatever those dishes are called) which took ages to be refilled or replaced. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t unpalatable, just boring. Quite a few things appeared to be made from packet mixes - I may be doing the chefs an injustice, in which case I’m sorry, but the desserts particularly seemed to be mainly bought in.

Breakfasts seemed to highlight some of the disappointments in the restaurant. While all the usual options were available, there was limited choice in several areas. One which particularly rankled was the choice of jams – there was apricot or strawberry…every day. Nothing else. I can’t believe that costs would spiral out of control if there were one or two other ‘flavours’ offered! And the fruit juices (well, the OJ anyway) were packet mixes and rather chemical-ish - again, it seems such an obvious economy and one which detracts significantly from the hotel experience in my view (I like a nice breakfast, can you tell?).

The staff were - in the main - great. One or two seemed to be just ‘going through the motions’ but these few were usually easily avoided and more than compensated for by some real characters who genuinely appeared to enjoy themselves and their work!

Overall, it was a good break away from it all. I might well go back sometime for the peace and quiet but I’ll be looking for another hotel. It wasn’t awful, but then again it wasn’t the ‘relaxing, good food and don’t worry about anything’ break that I’ve experienced elsewhere in Egypt. It was a last-minute break and I picked the hotel because it is an international brand and I thought I knew what I would be getting - based as much as anything on business stays I've made at other Crowne Plazas - but this was a rather different different standard.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gaz58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IHGCare, ihgcare at Port Ghalib Resort, responded to this review, 23 December 2011
Dear Gaz58,

Thank you for your detailed review of our hotel. I certainly apologize for the inconveniences you experienced

While you noted the decor and cleanliness of the hotel as being positives, I was sorry to hear some aspects did not meet your expectations. All of our reviews are evaluated by management, and your review is no exception. We strive to provide the best guest experience possible, and will use some of the feedback you’ve provided to further improve our service.

Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and we hope your future travel plans will continue to include IHG.

Sincerely,
Brenda J.
IHGCare
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
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  • Arabic first
  • Czech first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Zurich/Switzerland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2011

Some of reasons why we will choose again
Crowne Plaza Sahara Sands/Oasis
next year, the 4th time

THE SMALL PARADISE at Port Ghalib, Marsa Alam / Egypt

Location
 Only 4 – 6 flight hours from Central Europe
 Only 10 car minutes from Airport Marsa Alam
 Small airport, without crowds (only 2 to 6 flights per day)
 After arrival usually at the exit within 30 minutes
 Very quiet location, inside the hotel only small club cars. The few planes per day flying over in about 1000 m height during airport approach do not disturb at all
 Hotel only 10 to 15 walking minutes from the modern yacht port Port Ghalib, with some good restaurants, cafés and small food and souvenir shops. Very clean and safe port area, nice and long palm promenade along the shore, no harassment on the streets, ideal for longer quiet walks, well illuminated at night.

Hotel resort
 Architecturally beautifully built
 Unique big lobby, a masterpiece architecturally
 Lobby with reception, bar, nicely decorated side sitting rooms, outside terraces with beautiful view onto the long stretched lagoon
 Big resort with countless big palms and with beautifully landscraped and maintained flower gardens, everything well maintained
 Whole hotel site and lagoon nicely illuminated at night

Beach / Sea
 Private hotel beach approx. 1,5 km long (mainly rougher sand), with beautiful onward walk along the sea to Port Ghalib (10 – 15 walking minutes, see above)
 Depending on location of room, just 1 to 5 minutes nice walk, without stairs
 Beach chairs with solid sunshades and wind shields, slightly elevated from sea level, thus with beautiful view over the sea. Only two rows of beach chairs arranged parallel along three sections of the long beach
 Solid broad jetty over the shore of the coral reef, with solid stairs into the sea for snorkeling and swimming
 Early morning the sea is often very calm, depending on wheather condition, so that swimming is possible off the jetty without problem
 Unique coral reef with well preserved colourful corals and large tropical fish stock, incl. turtles etc., ideal for snorkeling
 Good attention and support of the guests by hotel staff on the beach and the end of the jetty

Swimming lagoon with sea water
 Second biggest artificial sea water lagoon of the world, built inmidst and stretched throughout the hotel complex (lagoon surface: about 8500 square metres, contents: 9,45 million litre salt water. 7 litre fresh sea water is continuously pumped in per second
 Ideal for swimming as depth in the whole length of the lagoon is always minimum 1 metre deep
 Nicely arranged „sand beaches“ around the lagoon, with many beach chairs
 Clean and being well maintained every morning by special staff
 High salt contents due to the evaporation of the sea water. For example a newspaper can be read by lying on the back of the body, alike in the Dead Sea. This is unique and unprecedented for a hotel
 The high salt contents of the lagoon sea water have a positive effect for human skins.!


Sweetwater swimming pool
 Nice bigger swimming pool with sweetwater, with many chairs and parasols. If somebody does not like the animation activities there are many other quiet places (lagoon, beach).

Restaurant
 Nicely concepted and decorated main restaurant with various single and smaller sized sections with nice designs (no canteen impression)
 Very large outside terrace directly at the lagoon for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Meals
 Daily theme buffets in main restaurant (Oriental, International, Indian, Italian etc.),
 Big variety, choice and variation of buffets with good quality, nicely presented
 Good service by service staff


Guest rooms
 Located in single or double storey buildings only
 Nice concept and well equipped, with garden, lagoon or sea view. Rooms with sea view close and parallel to the sea with 180 degree sea view
 Good size of guest rooms
 Comfortable large beds
 Generous bath rooms, with large shower (approx. 2 m2)
 Good daily cleaning
 With fridge and water cooker
 Nice furnished terrace or balcony


Hotel staff

 Whether at the reception, restaurant, bar, room attendance, beach – everywhere friendly and helpful staff
 Attentive hotel management


Possibilities for improvements

As valid for the best hotel in the world there are always possibilities for improvements, for example:

 Restaurant staff could be trained even trained
 Better cleaning of the restaurant tables when new guests sit down
 Command of foreign languages (English) of some of the staff should be improved


Eventualities

 In case of higher occupancy rate of the hotel the seating capacity in the main restaurant could become limited. Danger of longer waiting times to get a table. Also queues at the buffet would be unavoidable.

 Big groups, for example due to the presence of hundreds of congress or conference participants (hotel has an attached congress center) could negatively influence the holiday effect for the individual guests.

Room Tip: Rooms with 180 degree sea view
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Erwin7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Presov, Slovakia
Level Contributor
103 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 September 2011

Location - Crowne Plaza Sahara Oasis & Sands Resort with neighbouring Intercontinental The Palace and Marina Lodge Hotel at the opposite site of lagoon are only resorts in Port Ghalib. Hotel is right on the long private beach. You can go walk by promenade on the beach or by gardens to the „centre“ of Port Ghalib, with few shops, one minimarket, disco, taxi rent, coffees, restaurants and marina, but really few. Transfer from airport is approximately 15 min. If you need to go to pharmacy go by club car (ask reception), as pharmacy is not in „centre“, but in apartment area for locals, about 25 min. by walk. I booked this resort as “Oasis & Sands” and stayed in “Oasis” part. It is one resort with all common facilities. The only difference is that “Oasis” part is designed in Arabic style while most of “Sands” is directly on the beach and it’s designed in Nubian style.

Resort -hotel gardens are great and spacious with big man-maded salt water lagoon, with sandy shore, in which is impossible to swim if you are taller than 1,4 m...lagoon was really cold, as it was not heated and it is really big! Main swimming pool is nice, but again very very cold, and they couldn’t repair heating for 22 days which I spent there…Small swimming pool in children’s area was hot, but crowded by children. There are two water slides and lazy river. What I really enjoyed, that there was not loud music around pools or lagoon. Great pool bar, with lack of seat and strange opening hours / they close at sunset (around 4 p.m. - 5p.m. in winter time), after that you can use only lobby bar. Reception with lobby area has really wow effect, but be prepared that it is frozen place. Guests were mainly from Germany, Austria, UK, Italy and some polite Arab people. In that time there were only few Russian/Ukraine guests.

Rooms - we had standard double room, but it was amazing, beautiful Arabic design, large cozy beds, sofa, TV, safe, ironing facilities, minibar, coffee and tea facilities, ice and chocolate before sleeping. Big balcony with lagoon, garden and little sea view. Cleaning twice a day with always smiling staff! Bathroom: walk in shower. The only negative is that toilette is not separated from bathroom, as bathroom has got saloon door, which are effective but not practice!

Beach - wide and long beach, with one jetty from Crowne Plaza part and one from Intercontinental part of beach. Enough of sunbeds in winter time, but in summer, i don’t think so.. Beach toilets, showers in beach a la carte restaurant (not in all inclusive). No beach bar, but drinks served from pool bar by beach boys staff (by little tips).

Sea - at Crowne Plaza part of beach is access to the sea possible only by jetty, at Intercontinental it is possible also directly from beach in some parts. Amazing hotel, best I have ever seen in Egypt, really deep water, but great snorkelling. Most of time big waves by Crowne Plaza, so be prepared for it in winter time, it’s easier to snorkel at Intercontinental beach. I got great present on my birthday - private snorkelling with turtle along beach! Dolphins are also often seen. Lifeguards are always on jettys and look after guests.

Food - I stayed on all inclusive base
Souk El Hana (B, L, D buffet) - main buffet restaurant is nice decorated and not very big inside, more places to sit are outside. Cuisine is divided into four parts - Indian, asian, international/mediteran/Italian and Egyptian. Chefs were great, as we came more familiar we got options to get “a la carte” if something wasn’t in buffet :)
Cardamom (L, D a la carte) - can’t review as I didn’t use it, as I had my personal a la carte in buffet :)
Shamlula’s Fast Food Court - (snacks) - horrible choice of snacks: rest of pastries from breakfast and lunch plus awful hotdogs

Drinks
All inclusive: cola brand drinks, juices, water, wines (white, red, rose), draught beer, local spirits (whiskey, gin, rum, brandy, vodka) and some cocktails. Local spirits are quite ok.
Lobby lounge bar - nice place, amazing terrace with water pipes, great service, nuts and chips serves with drinks, all inclusive ends at 11 p.m. At the end of my stay the started to have animations there twice a week, so I hope they stopped with it, as they ruined atmosphere with those noisy and annoying fun for tourists.
Pool bar - lack of seat and strange opening hours, they close at sunset (around 4 p.m. - 5p.m. in winter time), they should change it!
No beach bar!

Staff - great, no problems with anything, no tipping expected. Thanks to lifeguards who informs reception desks to send birthday cake. Big surprise after dinner!

Overall: amazing area, impressive interiors and exteriors, lots of details, nice and quite atmosphere, great food, unbelievable reef and warm weather in November/December. Don’t expect 5 star resort but 4 star resort and you will be satisfied (there are only few really 5 star resorts in Egypt). Even some negatives, I really enjoyed my holiday in peaceful atmosphere, with great snorkelling, sun, food and people.

Tips: Go to Grand Cafe in Marina, it has good prices of coffees and drinks and free wifi internet if you need it.

More photos in my Crowne Plaza Sahara Sands Port Ghalib Resort review

Stayed in November/December 2009

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank peterSK7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2011

First class hotel, very friendly staff ,clean comfortable rooms. Food is fantastic

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank bri_jones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2010

Booked through Latuavacanza.it website - Last Minute

Very clean, everything had been perfect during our stay!! We were two, our first vacation together, soooo romantic! :)
Kind welcome, good organization; great choice of international food and beverage, beautiful Resort with a Laguna Pool (salted water), a kids pool and not "agressive" animation staff :)
Coral reef still existing, it was the first time for me in Egypt and I got amazed by the variety of corals, fishes and underwater creatures/habitats/sceneries there!!!
We're planning to back there once again, maybe during Christmas Holidays :)

PS: Restaurant staff GREAT! If you go there, ask for Taha Mohamed Noubey (blue shirt): he's a very professional and nice guy!!!

Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank SaraB75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow
Level Contributor
21 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2010

All in all, I liked the hotel very much. Rooms are nice and clean, service is at the level, food is good and even red wine is unexpectedly drinkable.
From other reviews I was afraid to overlap with any corporate event, and called the hotel in advance to check if they plan any for the dates of my stay. Turned out the nearest event was scheduled for mid December, so I confirmed the trip with no more hesitation.
The seawater lagoon turned out to be rather cold, shallow and smelling chlorine so nothing special. But the sea is great as always, saw a lot of fishes and even a turtle.
There's only one thing that was really irritating me - the bathroom door in the room. In fact it merely exists - it's a half door with big space above and at the bottom, so there's no sound protection whatsoever...not very good if someone gets a stomach problem. Maybe good for a mother and child, but not for the romantic couple.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Sonk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cairo
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2010

the hotel is really nice & the food quality & staff are great but the animation team is not good the do nothing in the morning, & at night there is only disco but not alot of shows
the kids club was great my daughter enjoyed so much & their staff was friendly, my daughter always ask me to go there

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dufy910
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Port Ghalib Resort

Property: Port Ghalib Resort
Address: PO Box 23 | Port Ghalib, Marsa Alam, Egypt (Formerly Crowne Plaza Sahara Oasis Port Ghalib Resort)
Region: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > Marsa Alam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Marsa Alam
#15 Spa Hotel in Marsa Alam
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Marsa Alam
#18 Romantic Hotel in Marsa Alam
#33 Family Hotel in Marsa Alam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 292
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Port Ghalib Resort is located along the man-made saltwater swimming lagoon. The hotel is styled with limestone floors, mosaics, arched windows which accentuate the ambiance. This home from home is the most relaxed and casual of all the Port Ghalib hotels, offering informal yet delightful accommodation. It is ideal for families and thrill seekers who have journeyed to indulge in the wonder of Egypts new sensory playground. With its various configurations, styles and themed areas, Port Ghalib Resort offers rooms that are adorned in brightly covered fabrics, and the hand-painted decorative work sets the tone for individual, family and group stays alike. Port Ghalib Resort features rooms that face the gardens, pool and lagoon. Here guests are sure to find comfortable accommodation to meet their every need in rooms that are spaciously laid out with a bedroom, bathroom with shower unit and cupboard space. The suites are more spacious and include a bedroom and bathroom with a separate bath and shower.The resort offers a choice of three restaurants, Souq Al hana, the main restaurant serving International cuisines, Cardamom ala carte restaurant, serving Mediterranean & Indian specialties, and Fattoush Ala carte Lebanese Restaurant . Four bars, the Pool Bar, Lobby Lounge & Bar, Palm Pool Bar, and Beach Snack Bar. The positioning of the rooms allows guests access to most public areas and facilities at a short distance. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Crowne Plaza Sahara Oasis Port Ghalib Hotel Marsa Alam

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