Have just returned from a very enjoyable week at the Sofitel. Check in was fast and efficient and we were immediately directed to the restaurant as it was about to close. The food that was left at that time of night was poor and we were nervous about what would follow but we had no need to worry. In fact, it seemed to get better by the day and I am an extremely fussy vegetarian eater! Mohammed, the bar manager was super helpful in organising a special dish for me for the "Island Dinner" evening which I appreciated even though it was far from haute cuisine. Egyptian night stood out for us as the best spread of food - delicious! We also ate in the Asiatique Restaurant and found this great fun and very good value. Recommend. Our experience was that the main buffet restaurant was either quiet or ticking over (around 7/7.30pm). We queued for omelettes in the morning or pasta in the evenings but only a few minutes. Whilst it's fair to say there were some "unhealthy" choices as one reviewer pointed out, these were generally poolside during the day and in the main restaurant there were far more healthy choices - plenty of veggies and salads and a good selection of fruit (based on what I heard was provided at other hotels!)
Our kids (11 and 7) loved the pool. A little too cold for us but there was plenty of activity - aqua gym daily which was well attended, scuba trials and Belly Dancing by the pool. The staff in the pool area are continuously tidying around, removing cups, plates, attending to stray beds and repairing umbrellas where needed. Very lovely grounds to wander around. We didn't experience any problem getting beds by the pool.
The hotel has a nice gym and a great running track along the front of the resort - the climate is perfect for running early morning or late afternoon. No mossies or bugs!! Hooray!
We booked a Family Suite which turned out to be a good move; you get two rooms next to each other which are then connected at the terrace end by a lounge area. The rooms look out to the sea. The proximity to the pool/lobby/restaurant was great and it was very quiet so we slept well every night. Beds very comfy. The rooms need a little attention, if I'm being super critical......curtain hooks hanging off and grouting messy around the bath but couldn't fault the cleanliness. Top notch. Fridges are useful - you get two small bottles of water per room each day but this was plenty given there are coolers placed around the grounds which you can use to refill your bottles if you want to. Air conditioning is very efficient and we had to turn it off/down. We had a couple of small problems with the room but these were attended to immediately on reporting them to reception. We extended both our rooms for $75 for a late check out.
We changed money at the hotel back for a few Egyptian pounds, purely for use in the shop. Otherwise we used US dollars or UK pounds for tips and to settle our extras. The staff work exceptionally hard and we were impressed with their attentiveness throughout our stay, remembering names, our drinks preferences in the restaurant etc.
Saw lots of fish from the pier - we didn't snorkel as it was a little cool in the water but plenty of people were. The water is super clear so it's possible to paddle and still see lots. Take water shoes as it is a little stony.
The highlight was the trip to Petra. We took a private tour arranged via our Longwood Rep who was superb. It didn't cost that much more than the group tour and gave us the flexibility to come back early if the kids were finding it too much. We got picked up at 5.30am and were back by 6.30 pm. The border crossing into Israel was tiresome, taking almost 2 hours, but it was so worth it. The walk across into Jordan is an experience and then the drive to Petra is very straightforward. Don't miss this trip. Take good walking shoes, fleeces (it was cool in the shade) and hats/suncream and water. There are horses/camels/horse and carts available if you can't manage the walk but our kids managed it easily, although it's a good 3 hours of walking and that's just a fraction of the whole site. Stunning!
All in all a lovely week. We've stayed in some very nice hotels around the world and although is not of a US/European 5 star standard, you'd have to be very harsh to find a problem, particularly when the staff are going all out to ensure you have a good time and all your needs are catered for.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC