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"I am sorry to write this as I don't like…"
I am sorry to write this as I don't like to be too negative about our holiday experience, but the truth must be posted. We have travelled extensively in Egypt on an all inclusive basis and have also enjoyed the delights of the Caribbean; this demonstrates that the Sofitel is NOT all inclusive it is PART inclusive and 3 star at best. Sofitel are part of the ACORR group, you will recognise IBIS, Mecure etc, all cheap and nasty; at least this hotel doesn't let that reputation down.
We arrived as previous contibuters late Tuesday evening; we had to wait at Taba airport whilst the remaining 2 planes could arrive, in order that we travel in convoy? This only happens with Thomson/First Choice; the other carriers depart as soon as ready! Thomson/first Choice on departure day leave the hotel at 6pm, resulting in a three hour wait in an un-serviced airport, the other carriers depart at 7.30 pm much more civilised; I accept this is not the hotels fault, but it is an issue.
When arriving at the hotel, yes, they kindly keep the buffet restaurant open, and take your bags to your room; here's where it starts to go wrong. We have our meal, such as it was, not much food left; where is our room? The restaurant staff speak good restaurant English, but did not understand our question about the location of our room, the reception has over 100 tired people queuing for their keys and there are no signs to block 3???? After wondering around aimlessly, we discover a couple on their second week and they direct us, it takes 20 minutes for us to find our room. At last we get in, we have a very tired 5 year old with us, but there is no bed for her, we call reception who are very busy, but will get somebody to us in 30 minutes, it is now 1am. At 1.30am I return to reception and they promise to get somebody ASAP, when I get back to the room a porter arrives and suggests our daughter sleeps on the couch; this has a camber that means she would roll off and besides it is not a bed; eventually he is persuaded we need a bed. We hear the bed leaving the lift 40 minutes later, but the porter receives a mobile phone call and spends the next 20 minutes putting the world to rights; he agrees finally at 2.30am to deliver the bed, our daughter gets to sleep at 3am Wednesday having left home at 8am on Tuesday, we are expected to attend a welcome meeting at 10am, yeh right! Our luggage now finally arrives. During the next few days we find out that this issue affected every parent, not one child got a bed on arrival, and one parent shared a bed with her two children for three days; do you think this is 5 star service? When questioned the Rep says this happened because we were 180 arriving but she was only expecting 100 also the hotel don't know the demographics of the new guests and if pre allocated rooms are for somebody disabled or old and they are far away, they may change the allocation resulting in some mix up with beds. Total BS, this would not result in every child not having a bed; it is just poor management and planning; this is the issue throughout the hotel.
You will get ill if you use this hotel, of the guests that arrived with us we know of nobody who wasn't ill, you will note even the good reports earlier say they were ill and are still suffering now they are home, well so are the waiters. One girl on our arrival date, ate Tuesday night spent the next 5 days in bed not having been in the sun or pool, she recovered, ate again and immediately fell ill, recovered but this time chose to eat every day in town at her expense and was fine for the balance of her holiday. Another family were on drips and received injections that finally sorted things out again 5 days later; they were also prescribed medication for a parasitical bowel infection, one of the family was a nurse and recognised the prescription, when her daughter got her tablets out at the Buffet restaurant, their waiter said "Oh I am on those tablets";; should he be handling food??? We befriended one of the waiters who couldn't have been more helpful and in fairness this was the case with all the staff, excepting they have no management; he kept complaining of a bad stomach; I asked if he had seen the doctor to which he replied it doesn't matter it is just the food, it makes you ill. This hotel was extended by one third recently but they haven't increased the catering capacity, net result restaurant chaos; they can't cope at peak times. The BBQ staff start preparing at 3pm and serve from 6.30-until 10pm, the chicken hangs in the sun on skewers un-chilled all this time, one evening I noticed a queue of Palestinians, very odd as they don't do queuing, I asked if this was the back of the queue and was told, "no go ahead"; the chef pulled out some Chicken from under the counter and offered it to me; when I sat down it was only part cooked, I returned to the BBQ only to see the Palestinians pounce once there was some freshly BBQ'd chicken, they were laughing and winking with the Chef. This BBQ services approximately 1000 guests and is the size of a large gas BBQ from B&Q, clearly it can't cope so they pre cook food store it un- refrigerated and serve it many hours later recipe for salmonella.
As I said earlier we have stayed all inclusive in Egypt and the Caribbean, we have always been very happy with the food, service, facilities and cleanliness; this is not true of the Sofitel. When at Baron Palms last year, you couldn't get near the pool until they had scrubbed the floor, washed down the beds and tables and had a management inspection approving the readiness of the facilities, at the Sofitel we witnessed ice cream being dropped and not cleaned for 10 days, discarded plasters on the steps to the pool not collected for the duration of our holiday, we would clean up the area we used ourselves before laying our towels etc. At Hotels Iberotel Lamaya in Marsa and Baron Palms, Sharm the toilets were spotless with no nasty odours and both hotels were immaculate. The Sofitel stank, often with no toilet paper and general cleanliness and hygiene was appalling. We were amazed at the stoicism of the guests; the common retort was "what we didn't expect much, it is all inclusive"; Well, we do expect much as we have witnessed what is possible with a bit of management.
One of the biggest gripes from European guests was the all inclusive drinks, they are awful; you can only get wine in the buffet restaurant at lunch and dinner, WHY? If you choose to eat at the poolside bar restaurant, you need to take your food into the buffet to enjoy a glass of wine, it is only 50 yards; but we Europeans change to go into a restaurant rather than through on a wrap or tea shirt over our swimming gear, don't we? Ultimately we have paid for all inclusive and you don't get it at the Sofitel; I hear the supporters saying but the all inclusive details are in the brochure and you get what you booked. We didn't book this hotel, we booked the Jaz Royal Taba; this had 4 all inclusive a le cartes and wine was available in any bar. At the Sofitel you had to pay for the Asiatic restaurant hence it only had 4-10 guests per night and was often cancelled due lack of interest, this has always been inclusive at any other hotel we have been to. Also they charged for the Egyptian restaurant, all inclusive everywhere else.
Lastly, facilities; Childrens club looked good, we didn't use it, Childrens entertainment, cinema at 7.30pm and 4 songs in a mini disco; they play at offering a service, staff are great but they can only deliver as instructed. General entertainment, Rubbish with the exception of the whirling dervish on Monday nights. The reef is dead and therefore the snorkling is not as good as Sharm or Marsa, the reef is dead because people walk all over it, either out of ignorance or because they are ignorant, this wouldn't happen at Sharm or Marsa because the reef is policed by staff, not at the Sofitel; lack of management again.
One positive, the general staff are great, but they so need their enthusiasm being given some direction. I would not book this hotel again, however we never go back as we try to find different experiences, this does mean doing a lot of research, we did this but can't plan for being moved to a hotel we didn't plan for, there endeth the lesson.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"This is a luxury hotel, huge complex, with massive pools.…"
This is a luxury hotel, huge complex, with massive pools.
Kids club available at the resort which has a garden, two play rooms and children's minders to help keep them entertained. The Kids club is situated right next the gym, spa and a pool so you can relax and get pampered whilst your children play.
Sofitel has baby sitters available if you'd like to enjoy a cocktail at Aladdin's bar or dine out at one of the many restaurants on site.
The chefs are amazing, really helpful and happy to tailor the menu to suit allergies, intolerances or fussy eaters!
The chef specially prepared vegetarian sushi and stir fried noodles for me on my first night at the resort. Besides this Asian A la Carte restaurant the resort also has a steak house and another restaurant which serves British foods such as fish fingers and chips - keeps kids happy.
From the lovely traditional style rooms, there are beautiful views of the surrounding areas, e.g. Isreal and Jordon. What I particularly liked about Taba Heights is its proximity to a number of historical and exciting places such as Petra - the Rose City.
For me two excursions stood out, first a drive through the Sensai Desert to St Catherine's Monastery which has historical links to Christianity and a place where God spoke to Moses and is home to the biblical 'Burning Bush'. For excitement, a visit to Waterworld is a must! To find out more about snorkelling or glass bottom boat adventures go to www.redseawaterworld.comRead moreLess
"Amazing hotel. Staff unbelievably helpful and kind to us and…"
Amazing hotel. Staff unbelievably helpful and kind to us and our 18 month old daughter. Food excellent and the head chef helped us chose meals for our milk-intolerant daughter as and when required. Rooms amazing, pool great but not well heated. I imagine in the summer the heat of the sun would heat the pool well, but in December it didn't quite manage it. Lovely children's play area attached to the kids club (which we didn't use, but it looked lovely).Read moreLess