As the title says this was a holiday of firsts for us. Having never done an AI holiday before or having been to Egypt but wanting a good value, great weather holiday in the school half term, this had come highly recommended.
We travelled with Red Sea Holidays and found the meet and greet at the airport exceptionally well organised, we were whisked quickly to the coaches and at the resort very quickly as its only 5km from the airport. Check in was swift and we were soon in our Junior Suite. The rooms are comfortable and functional but certainly a little tired and not quite up to what I would expect from a hotel rated as 4.5 star. Although the issues were only small e.g. the glass topped table had chipped corners which were sharp and could easily cause a cut if not careful, a small plastic tray for the complimentary soaps etc in the bathroom was damaged and had not been replaced, an intermittently noisy aircon I ended up having to correct myself and the inability to get hot water at certain times of the day (especially around 6pm). This said the room was comfy and was cleaned to a very high standard every day.
There have been many complaints from previous reviewers regarding the food to which I have to strongly disagree. The breakfasts are excellent blending varied egg options (delightful omelettes) with a more continental style buffet, good coffee, selection of cereals and juices. The juices are not freshly squeezed (they cost extra) and were on occasion very watered down.
Lunches and snacks were available in a few areas around the pool, simple pizzas, burgers, hotdogs and chips but all were welll cooked and readily available. The lunch time highlight though was the Oasis restaurant by the beach. This again is buffet style with two sections of live cooking, a pasta and a vegetable section, the food was varied with delightful rice and vegetable dishes and an excellent bread section. I would highly recommend trying this at lunch.
The evening fayre was a little more limited but at no point did we fail to eat an enjoyable meal.
The pool and beach areas are both great. We travelled as a family, two adults and an 8 year old boy, and between these areas we could all spend a very enjoyable day. Both are constantly cleaned and have very attentive staff who are happy to serve you drinks if you wish or you can pop up to the bars and help yourself to beer, wine and soft drinks thought the day. The beach was a highlight to us with lots of fish to enjoy snorkelling with and non-stinging jellyfish so nothing to be afraid of!
From the beach there is a large spit and you can get a great distance out from the main beach in shallow, safe depths and can easily see from the darkening sea colour where it gets deeper if you wish to venture out a little further, most enjoyable.
At both the beach and pool we did not struggle to get 3 beds at any time but there is certainly an element in the guests that like to reserve them although that is supposedly not allowed. I did watch people heading down with towels from as early as 6:30am but if you go before 10ish you will have no problems.
The entertainment in the evening is a little dated and would not have been out of place in the Costas in the 1980s, one of the reasons we spent more time at the inside bar of an evening was the huge numbers of smokers at the outdoor shows. The use of "hooka" pipes and normal smoking meant the air could be unpleasant for us non-smokers so we found the non-smoking inside area more agreeable, this is purely our personal preference and not a complaint!
Whilst there for the week we did encounter a couple of problems that did require a complaint to the hotel and rep and we did not feel were appropriately dealt with.
Firstly, we booked a trip to a Bedouin camp in 4x4s with a BBQ and watching the sunset and stars from the desert. The trip was advertised at £90 by Red Sea Holidays but when converted to Egyptian Pounds at there exchange rate ended up costing around £108, it would have been nice to have paid the listed price and exchange rate be amended to meet the advertised cost! Far more annoying though was the fact that the trip was poorly managed, we ended up sitting around for an hour waiting for the BBQ (this was food delivered in large metal serving trays, not a BBQ) and were then advised that sunset was not for another hour and a half so unless we wanted to sit around again we would not see it. We were in groups so ended up driving round for around half an hour before heading back to the hotel before sunset, very disappointing. We reported his to the rep but did not manage to receive a satisfactory response before leaving, we will continue to chase an answer.
Far more concerning though was an incident we had with reception. We received a call from the UK leaving a message regarding a serious incident at home that we needed to respond to, the message was very accurately left but unfortunately we did not receive it! We only got the message via text some 5 hours later. We reported this to reception who blamed the caller for giving inaccurate information so we could not be identified, accused us and our caller of lying, this was most unpleasant. We complained to the reception manager and our rep. This ended in an apology from the reception manager but the rep did not keep us informed or have as up to date info on the complaint as we did.
I really felt the rep did not fulfill his role well and thankfully the incident at home was resolved but could have ended far more negatively.
All in all despite the above issues we encountered we had a very enjoyable weeks holiday. Fantastic weather, good food and attentive service is always welcome and we left with a positive view of Eqypt and the resort. The value for money was exceptional and we would consider an AI holiday again in the area.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoying one of the very best locations in Hurghada, the Siva Grand Beach delivers tradition with a twist. Choose from generously sized junior suites in the main building or rooms in the two storey bungalows in the grounds. There are few steps and with a wide gently sloping beach and excellent children's facilities, it is a firm favourite with families. And it's within easy walking distance of a wide range of shops, restaurants and other activities too. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Siva Grand Beach