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.
- 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