Advantages Great pools and waterpark. Fun for all the family!
Disadvantages Loud tunes blasting out in the waterpark, repetitive food and no entertainment in the evenings
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
|Quality of Facilities|
I have wanted to visit Egypt since I read Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie when I was about 12. However, when I finally went to Egypt last March it wasn’t to live out my dream of a Nile cruise and visiting the pyramids, it was for an all inclusive week long holiday at Sharm El Sheikh. We knew we wanted a relaxing holiday around my birthday and that we wanted to go somewhere hot without spending over the odds so Egypt became the top choice quite quickly.
Our bags were taken up to our rooms and we followed on a golf cart which was fun! Aqua Blu Sharm is a huge complex and in the blistering heat in warm clothes walking would not have been the best thing after a flight and transfer! We were shown to our room which we thought was wonderful. Plenty of space, huge bed, table and chairs and a sofa. The small window didn’t allow in a huge amount of light but this didn’t matter as we wouldn’t be in there in the daytime. The bathroom wasn’t particularly modern but was clean enough and even though the room’s ‘garden view’ turned out to be a view of the main road, overall we thought we had a great deal. Then came the night. We went to bed quite early that evening but found we couldn’t get to sleep because of the people and motorbikes on the main road. Traffic seemed to be endless throughout the night and with horns blaring literally every three seconds we didn’t get a minute’s sleep. At 6.00am the sun had come up and we took our towels and went to lie out by the pool to grab an hour’s sleep before the other guests started to come out. Anyway, around 7.00am we went to reception and pretty much demanded another room. They said they were full up and that there were no other rooms and would have to come back at 1.00pm after checkout in case anything turned up. I turned on the waterworks – it was my birthday after all and I was feeling very stressed out. I think he took pity on me after that and said that if we came back at 1.00pm he would definitely have sorted a room for us.1.00pm came and we went back to reception with all of our bags (just so they couldn’t change their minds!) and a very unfriendly guy reluctantly handed over a new set of keys to us. The new room was wonderful! We were delighted to see that we had a balcony overlooking the pool and we were now much more central in the complex, very close to the main restaurant and snack bar. The bathroom was much more modern and very clean. The bed and layout of the room was much the same as the previous room, however with the balcony instead of a small window to the main road, it seemed much lighter and brighter. The TV was an old, chunky model but had a range of channels including English news channels and sports channels through which we could watch Premier League games while we were getting ready to go out for dinner or for bed! Perfect!
I know other people must stay in those rooms all the time but I really don’t know they could. I’m not even a bad sleeper – all I need is to lie down normally but the horns beeping constantly was just horrible. I do feel bad for causing a terrible fuss but I’m so glad now with retrospect! As well as the 494 regular rooms there are 5 wooden bungalow huts which are on the waterfront. I didn’t get to see inside one of these apartments but they looked fantastic from the outside.7/10 – hit or miss but ours was excellent!
The hotel’s facilities were one of the reasons we picked it in the first place. It has its own water park which is free for hotel guests but the public can also pay for entry. The pools were fantastic and even with additional paying guests there were enough sunbeds for everyone and towel stands were located around the pools. There were about 7 slides in total of varying intensity. 3 were quite ordinary and you could race to the bottom against the people next to you. There was a Shrek ride…. and my favourite, the slide into a big dish which you slide around until you fall through the middle. There was also another great ride which you could either take on solo in a rubber ring or with a friend in a double ring. Alex and I LOVE waterparks when we’re on holiday even though we’re the oldest in every queue (unless my dad is there too!) so we were absolutely in our element despite the loud tunes blasting out over the speakers!Except for the two days that we spent in the waterpark part of the resort, we spent most of our time by the relaxing pool outside our room. It was much quieter and we enjoyed lying on the sunbeds and then jumping into the pool for a swim while the waiters walked round with cocktails and soft drinks! It certainly was the life…until a few days later when it got a bit boring! The pools were huge with pretty features such as wooden bridges and palm trees surrounding them. They never seemed crowded and it was a very relaxing atmosphere away from the day guests. There was a kid’s pool which looked great fun too!
There were a few activities around the pool which were free for any guest, whether they were all-inclusive or not. I took part in the aqua aerobics class which was in the wave pool (although not when the waves were on!) which was great fun. I found prancing around in a pool being watched by sunbathers incredibly embarrassing to start, but quickly got into it and thought it was great as I’d never seen anything like this before. The same lady also instructed the yoga class which was right by the wave pool on yoga mats! I didn’t get chance to join in as I missed the first few minutes and didn’t dare to go over but I watched and it was very similar to the classical yoga I occasionally do at the gym. I loved the idea of practising yoga outside but the waterpark possibly was not the most relaxing location for it with all the children around!The hotel also had a decent, air conditioned gym with free weights, treadmills and a few weight machines. It was quite small but I went in twice (how sad on holiday, I blame Alex’s love of exercise!) and never saw anyone else in there. The equipment was a little dated compared to Virgin Active’s constantly changing kit but was perfectly functional and for a hotel it was more than I expected.
The hotel also boasted a spa where guests could receive beauty treatments including massage, pedicures, manicures and facials. This was at an extra cost and in the heat I found that I didn’t make time for any treatments. It didn’t actually look very nice so I wasn’t even tempted to go in and look at the prices although the ladies who worked there did walk round the pool trying to get people involved.8/10 – lots to do during the day!
I’m not really sure what I can say about the entertainment at Aqua Blu Sharm, mainly because there was none! I was absolutely shocked that a nice, all inclusive resort like this could not provide any entertainment at all. Alex and I went to Egypt for a relaxing holiday of chilling out by a pool and getting some sun so to start weren’t bothered by the lack of entertainment, however as the week went on we realised it would be nice to have something on after dinner without us having to leave the complex. One night there was a guy singing with a guitar which was lovely as we knew most of the songs but it was very much just background music and not advertised to guests. I had made a joke about all-inclusive hotels doing bingo nights before I left but by the end I would have enjoyed it!2/10 – seriously lacking!
Despite going all-inclusive we didn’t get to know the staff well as guests often do in these resorts. The staff seemed to change on a daily basis with the exception of one man in a poolside bar who kept the drinks coming in throughout the day! He was fine except for his need to keep commenting on my bikinis which made me feel a little self conscious! The staff were very polite in general and the housekeeping was especially good with fresh towels and a well made bed. The men on reception were average at best. They never had a smile on their faces which I didn’t like at all but maybe after the first day they just didn’t like me! Tipping was appreciated but not expected and because the waiting staff and barmen changed daily we tipped small but regularly. The only embarrassing tipping moment came when we first arrived and had no cash on us but the man who had demanded that he carry our luggage waited around for ages as we tried to explain we had no money.5/10 – very average
One word comes to mind here. Repetitive. So there were four restaurants for all-inclusive guests where we could eat lunch and dinner. However, despite one being the main restaurant, one being Chinese and another Indian, they were all the same! There was little to no variety between the restaurants which I found hilarious at first but annoying by the end! It also seemed to be the same food served every night and at both lunch and dinner. I never thought I could get bored of chicken or beef in a sauce but I did! We had been really excited to see that the main restaurants had themed nights (British, German, Mexican, American etc) but when even the Mexican turned out to be exactly the same food we started to doubt them and decided to eat elsewhere! I thought there would at least be a burrito or enchilada but nope – just a Mexican flag and green decorations!The one saving grace was the Italian restaurant which was located behind the Chinese and Indian, out of site (so some poor guests may never have found it!) They made the pizzas to order so you could either just grab some of what was going or request your own toppings from an extensive selection including veggies and meats. They took less than 5 minutes to make so I was quite happy to just stand at the front and wait while watching them being made. They were absolutely delicious and by the Mexican palaver we reversed our decision to only eat pizza every other night and decided it would be every night!
5/10 – wonderful Italian but rubbish otherwise.
Looking back, all-inclusive didn’t suit us very well. As we had paid for it and really wanted a relaxing holiday by the pool, we didn’t particular want to head out into town and pay for meals – however, I wouldn’t make that sacrifice again. I think this particular hotel has put us off doing all-inclusive again with the lack of variety and tiny drinks and the boredom that can come with it. However, it was a great deal considering how much we did actually eat and how many drinks we got through in a day! I’m not a massive alcohol drinker so those fizzy drink dispensers really took a battering!5/10
Overall I would give the resort a 3/5 despite toying with giving it a 2/5. It was lacking in a few areas but we really had a fantastic time and enjoyed relaxing by the pool. I could only recommend it for families with children who are of an age where they can appreciate a waterpark but too young to need night time entertainment! Anyone else, I’d suggest going with a proper 5* option in Sharm rather than a top 4* one because there is definitely a difference!
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