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Not up to Hilton quality!
Hilton Sharks Bay (Sharm El Sheikh)
Member Name: hcafclaura
Hilton Sharks Bay (Sharm El Sheikh)
Advantages: Gorgeous rooms
Disadvantages: Poor food
Before I begin, parts of this review are posted on the trip advisor website under the same username.
The Hilton Sharks Bay resort is 4* hotel located in the Sharks Bay area of Sharm El Sheikh. The hotel itself is split in to two sections, there is a the older part of the hotel, which is close to the beach, and the newer part of the hotel, a ten minute walk to the beach and located close to the runway of Shark El Sheikh airport. Both hotels operate under the name of 'Hilton Sharks Bay', and visitors can use facilities at either sides, with the hotels only separated by a small road. We booked to stay at the Hilton Sharks Bay Deluxe, aka the new part.
According to the Thomson's website the hotel consists of 629 rooms, with 7 swimming pools.
The hotel is only a short transfer from the airport. As I mentioned, the newer side of the hotel actually backs on to the runway. However, if you are using your holiday companies shuttle bus you are probably looking at a 30 minute journey.
Both Thomas Cook and Thomson sell package holidays to the airport, and the Hilton also offer the option of booking direct.
Myself and my boyfriend visited the hotel in July/August 2010, paying around £1100 each for two weeks all inclusive.
We arrived quite late into the evening following delays leaving the UK. However check-in was swift. Prior to leaving the UK, we had registered for the Hilton's loyalty scheme, Hilton Honours. During check-in we were asked for our membership numbers and given a special HHonours wristband to wear for the duration of our stay, with staff telling us this meant we were VIP's.
We were then taken via golf buggy to our room.
Our room was in block 2000, room 2101. We had requested a room in this block prior to departure as we were informed this was furthest away from the run way. The room was spacious enough and had everything we required.
Inside the living area of the room was a huge flat screen TV, a good amount of storage space, a dining table and two chairs and a king-sized bed. Tea and coffee making facilities were also available in the room, as was a hair dryer.
The bathroom was lovely, with an enourmous shower, as well as a full-sized bath. The balcony was of a reasonable size, with a small plastic patio table and two chairs. However we rarely used the balcony because of the huge amount of ants. It was only on the final day we actually found an ants nest on our balcony. There were also at least two lizards living on our balcony which freaked me out but I suppose this is to be expected in Sharm.
The rooms were cleaned daily by two male maids. During the beginning of the holiday our room was cleaned very early in the day, which was great as we returned to clean towels. However, during the second week of our stay the maids started arriving later and later in the day. Although this was not a major problem we did feel like we had to disappear when the maids were there, and this did sometimes disrupt our afternoon naps. More annoyingly, after a late afternoon clean we were often left with no towels until around 8pm, which is irritating when we were waiting to shower. Towels and bedding were both in need of updating. They were often stained and just looked as if they needed binning.
One incident I feel I should mention happened near the end of our holiday. At around quarter to one in the morning somebody was pushing the door handle on our door trying to get in, and then started knocking loudly. By the time we got to the door there was nobody there, and we have no idea who it was, but it was pretty scary, and I was glad not to be alone or holidaying with a group of females.
The hotel is located in Sharks Bay and around a 10 minute stroll from Soho Square. I thought the location was pretty good. Soho Square is a lovely little shopping area, and a nice place to have a walk around on an evening. The dancing fountains are fantastic. Naama Bay, the main area of Sharm, was around 20 minutes away on the hotel shuttle bus which cost 15 Egyptian pounds each, each way.
We didn't experience any problems with having the airport runway just behind the hotel. Yes there is a little noise, but it did not bother us one little bit. When lounging around the pool it was nice to see the planes every now and again, and we did hear a few rumblings in our room, but absolutely nothing that in any way effected our holiday.
I read reviews about the quality of the food at the hotel prior to departure, and honestly thought people were been picky. It wasn't until I got there myself that I realised how bad the food actually is. There is no variety whatsoever. Rice and potatoes for lunch, rice and potatoes for dinner, accompanied by some type of vegetables and meat, day in, day out. By the end of the two weeks we were literally sick of it. Some days the food was bearable. The hotel would hold themed nights, and the English, Italian and Spanish themed evenings were okay. Generally the food at lunch was the worst, and we did dread going in there and trying to make up a plate of food we could attempt to fill up on. The puddings were pretty unimpressive. Some of the soups were nice, and I often ended up filling up on these. The chicken used in the food is not pleasant. It was like the rubbish bits of a chicken that you would give to your dog.
Breakfast was by far the best meal of the day, so we found it best to try and fill up then. However the last few days of our holiday even the food in the breakfast buffet went downhill. I had pancakes every morning, and they were completely undercooked. In the reviews I read beforehand, many people mentioned sickness from the food. I was ill for pretty much the entire holiday, however my boyfriend was completely fine. We ate pretty similar things, if anything he was more adventurous in the things he ate, so I think my sickness was probably down to the heat rather than the food.
There is an Italian restaurant located on the old side of the hotel, which we visited this a few times and found to be just okay. The pizzas are quite dry, and they have the oddest combination of toppings from you to choose from. The pasta's available again were just okay, and many of them were already available in the buffet restaurant anyway. The Italian seems a bit of a missed opportunity to us, as it could be so much better. For example if the hotel had dishes of different toppings so you could select your own combinations this would give holidaymakers much more choice.
The service we received from staff at Hilton Sharks Bay was on the whole very good. Amr in the new side buffet restaurant was absolutely fantastic, and often went out of his way for us. The assistant manager who often worked in the restaurant was extremely rude however. If he was on the door taking people to tables he would just point at you and then point to the table you should go to. He never said a word to us, and the only people we ever saw him talking to was the Egyptians. The Egyptian tourists did cause a few problems with other guests. They refused to queue in the restaurants, just walked past and straight to a table, and staff would let them do this. At pool/beach bars and the pasta station where food is served to you they would receive much bigger portions. At the pool bar we was lucky to receive a handful of chips, whereas the Egyptians automatically got a plate full. Service at the pool bars on the new side was pretty rubbish, we was often waiting a very long time to be served, and the Egyptians would come along, say something in Egyptian and get served straight away. Very, very annoying. The service in the Italian was at times very poor. One evening we ordered three sets of drinks, and each time the drinks were brought the order was wrong. There were only two drinks in each order so it wasn't difficult to get right.
The pool area of the new side is gorgeous. You could always get a sun bed, even when we had done a trip in the morning and got back in the middle of the afternoon we were still able to get a bed. There are plenty umbrellas available, and every day we were able to find beds with an umbrella. The beach towels were available from huts dotted around the pool, though they were often very dirty. One thing I disliked about the pool area was the amount of people who wandered around the sun beds constantly trying to sell things. There were people selling newspapers, magazines, boat trips, other excursions, and then there were staff from the spa and House of Asia restaurant trying to get bookings. It was pretty irritating when all you wanted to do was relax on your sun bed.
We spent very little time on the beach, but it is pretty rubbish to be honest, and not at all what I was expecting. The sand is more like building sand. However the snorkelling is fantastic!
There are numerous shops dotted around the complex, as well as a bank. We booked trips with the company located in the 'shopping arcade' on the old side of the hotel. Although they were far from the cheapest, and you could get cheaper in Naama Bay, we felt safer booking through them as they were on site should any problems crop up. They were much cheaper than the tour operators, for example we paid £130 each to go to Cairo on plane, and Thomas Cook wanted £175 each, so quite a considerable saving.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the hotel, and was expecting much, much more. The rooms are nice, but you don't go on holiday to stay in your room. The food is the thing that really lets the hotel down. I didn't believe it myself until we got there, but it really is so, so poor. I wouldn't recommend staying at the hotel. It isn't one of the cheapest in Sharm, and I'm sure for the quality of food, which lets face is counts for a big percentage of your holiday cost when going all inclusive, you could get a much cheaper holiday in another hotel.
Summary: Don't stay here!
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