This is my revised review of the place. The first one was one star only. Let me explain and start with the good topics first:
The place is amazingly beautiful and the nicest hotel regarding building, rooms and gardens I so far had in Egypt (which were at least 6 five star hotels during last 10 years including brands like Hilton and Marriott). The decoration was still for Christmas beginning of March, but that was more a funny thing...
Staff are very friendly, but mostly russian/Ukrainian speaking and few speak English, Spanish or German. But that was never an issue and all the guests behaved well.
Rooms are big, everything worked and was clean. We had fruits and water bottles each day.
The ala carte restaurants (ex buffet restaurant, see below) are also extremely good. The show cooking is a highlight both from entertainment factor but really high class food (we had one of the best shrimp in our life). Also Italian restaurant we could try with excellent food and romantic atmosphere. Restaurants were very clean, delicious and consistently good service.
And the cocktail bar is also just amazing, good drinks, nice view and sometimes live music (nothing too loud).
My wife loved the massage from one of the girls. Sauna is small but hot and working basically full day. Jacuzzi is just in front and pretty nice also. The Hamam we haven't tried, but looked good and clean from outside. The guy at the spa entrance is a bit rude (asking for reservations, tells people when to enter and exit the hamam, whirlpool and sauna instead of just letting them in peace, which is quite funny to watch if he sends people from the hamam to the sauna while they want to relax and cool down first), but as long as you ignore him (not speaking the language well has some benefits 😂) he leaves you doing your thing as you like. And if you sit in the jacuzzi you can have some real fun watching him trying to chase guests from hamam to sauna directly.
There is plenty of entertainment. The Zumba and Yoga classes each day were absolutely great. The night shows were ok (from really nice local dancing on the good side to a Fakir who mostly just offended good looking girls on the flip side), but this is probably individual taste and when we didn't like a show we went to the cocktail bar that usually had decent live music. So there are options available even in low season.
The hotel also offers taxi service for a reasonable price (maybe 25% above taxi cost a local would pay). Especially that they pick you up and have better cars is worthwhile taking their service. And you don't have to hazzle and negotiate for the price.
So why I originally gave one star only?
First, there were some misunderstandings on both sides eg on what is and what is not included. Seems Germans have more benefits than Russian/Ukrainian guests, but that was not proactively offered nor known by all of the staff. As we seemed to be one of very very few Western Europeans, I don't think in the meanwhile that was purpose (though I originally felt they wanted to cheat me). The hotel asks each day if everything was OK which would have resolved a lot, just that we were never in the room when they called (early diving trips). So I don't remove any points due to this, the uncomfortable situations were soon resolved and the sauna guy is more fun than an offense. Nevertheless, the hotel could become better or be more proactive to explain things (eg proactively provide internet at check in, make transparent but also practical rules to reserve the spa/sauna/whirlpool (such as no reservation required in low season with plenty of space)) or simply teach their staff what rules are for which guests.
Second topic was food and mostly drink organization. I would call it in summary a disorganized supply chain, there is definitely enough staff but not working proactively, smart nor hand in hand (sorry for this wording, I am a manager...). Things were always running out, no ice, no beer, no cutlery, no glasses and this repetitive. Also the presentation was not very obvious, eg salad dressing without salad oil (though there was oil and dressing on another place) or hamburgers offered in the pool bar to put together yourself with tomato wedges (ever tried to get those into a hamburger?!) instead of sliced tomatoes. After complaining (through 1 star review) things improved, but there is still some way to go (if the same things run out all the time, why not put more of it (two plates of goat cheese, two buckets of ice...) or get a replacement proactively instead of letting customers wait for their drinks because xyz is currently not available. This is only a topic in the pool bar and buffet restaurant, the cocktail bar was excellent, most other bars were closed due to low season, so I cannot comment. Fun comment : just make the spa manager to work in the restaurant instead: While a spa is not the right place to move people like an assembly line from one treatment to another, this is exactly what is missing in the restaurant (though with supplies instead of people). Right skills to the right place! 😉
Third and most serious topic was hygiene. Especially glasses were consistently dirty (I mean really dirty) on the pool and buffet bar (if they had available glasses). Also the pre-filled juice glasses at breakfast and some of the chairs in the buffet restaurant were sticky. Even so much that one of my t-shirts had strong marks after sitting down (see picture). After my complaint through 1 star review, I can say that the problem was completely solved on the next day (actually on all three more days I stayed). After my complaint the buffet restaurant (we had not used the pool bar thereafter) was excellent with no reason to complain, all was extremely clean. Hotel also cleaned my shirt. So based on this, full stars for hygiene and to get even so serious things in order from one day to another shows that management is committed. I hope that stays permanent as there was a huge gap between the first (inacceplable for a five star hotel) and the second half of our stay (just amazing!).
I apologize for this long comment. I travelled 7 years around the world as audit manager, meaning I am used to excellent hotels and I am a real pain in the a** with high attention to details (details make the difference between a normal and an amazing place). The hotel is so beautiful and the staff improved from one day to another that I want to invest this time for a lengthy comment. Management showed that they can get hygiene under control, which is an absolute must. If those other small things improve, this hotel will simply be the best place to go. The place has all the potential!
Will we come again? My first opinion was no as there is much competition with the big brands (eg Hilton Waterfalls close to it) where you know what you get without taking much risk. However, my wife fell in love with this hotel once things improved and I to some extent agree with her as it is a dream if things are done right, so we will come back. Last but not least, I want to see that things stayed and continued to be as good as they were after our initial complaint, which was also a bit harsh from my side for which I want to apologize. They never made pressure to change the initial comment on TripAdvisor, but surely tried to make the remaining holidays amazing for us to show what is possible, in which they succeeded.
Management really did everything to get things right again and we wish them all the very best to keep this wonderful place and make it a highlight for every customer as it was for us during the second half of our stay.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC