“ Address: Sharks Bay / Sharm El Sheikh / Egypt „
After a recent visit to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt I thought I should share my thoughts on my accommodation. I travelled to Egypt by Thomson Fly from Glasgow airport on the 7th of July 2008 returning on the 14th of July. My holiday package was booked through First Choice on an all inclusive basis.
The following review is based on my opinion of Gran Tropicana Oasis - Sharm - Egypt
Grand Tropicana Oasis is approximately 10 minute drive from Sharm international airport, myself and my wife where met at the airport by the taxi company and taken the short drive to the hotel.
Arriving at Grand Oasis
First impressions - as the taxi turned in to the long drive way which lead us to the main gate I was amazed at how well kept the gardens where kept, here we were in the middle of what looked like a dessert and we had beautiful flowers and real pam trees. Stopping at the gate the taxi driver spoken to the gateman in Arabic before we could set our eyes on the hotel.
The outside of the building looking nothing short of outstanding, so well kept and not a piece of litter in sight, as we pulled up to the hotel a member of staff swiftly opened the door and welcomed us to the hotel. I then went to the rear of the vehicle to get my cases, only to be told by the rather helpful staff that he would carry them. In through the main entrance and with the reception in sight I sudden feel intimidated, to my disbelief there is an arm police officer ion the door. He has what looks like a pistol to me. I immediately felt very unhappy and wonder what the hell I am booking in too. *More to read about this soon
Forgetting about the armed guard
Looking around in the foyer this is definitely the hotel for me, with the huge seats and marble floor which you can see your face on. The place is so clean and there are many happy people wandering around.
Our suitcases are placed by the guard and we head over to the reception.
Reception staff and booking in
The reception is very traditional with wood effect fixtures and fitting, all signs are in Arabic and English. First member of staff I speak to ask me my name and then ask me to complete a few forms which taken less than 5 minutes, he taken a copy of both our passports and then gave me a key and 2 credit card style cards.
Reception staff spoke very little English but enough to get along, always very professional and helpful in my opinion.
Once give your room number you need to tell the "Bell man" what room and he will instruct staff to carry your cases to the room. We were escorted to the room and given a quick over few of the room.
Room number 1117 was to be our home for the next 7 days and I can tell you we were delighted with it, the rather bright and spacious room with a double bed, colour television (16 English channels), fridge with ice cold water already in it, air conditioning (free), hair dryer, bath and shower, safety key box, mini bar, direct dial telephone and not to forget the fantastic lighting which is standard in all rooms. Many places to tuck your clothes in to including the full fitted wardrobe with hangers.
Open the patio door and we had a small balcony area which was peaceful, two chairs, table and a light where also there for your use. From this room we had a walk our approximately 100ft to the pool and bar area. Sitting on the patio/balcony area you also got the sun and to be honest we loved every minute of that, however this could be a pain in the back side if you like a shaded area.
The patio door had fly screens which could be closed; it also had black out curtains in addition to the standard curtains. I truly believe that the hotel has considered all options when fitting out the room. In the evening when the patio was closed and the curtains where over you could hear nothing and you can expect to have a pitch dark room if you put all lights out.
If your anything like me I am very restless on the first night in a strange bed, but known that you're in a comfortable bed with crisp clean sheets always helps. There are additional pillows tuck away in the cupboard in case you require them and you could always call reception if you require more. The bed was very comfortable and the smell from it was that of freshness. To enjoy my sleep more me and the wife decided to leave the air conditioning on number one all night, this kept the room cool. Albeit there was a little noise but I would much prefer coolness.
Thought - There is nothing I could fault about the room, it was clean, spacious and bright. What more can I ask for.
If you're like me then you will walk around the hotel grounds on the first day to see what there like, The grounds are the best kept I have seen for a long time, the staff work so well cutting and watering all the grass and plants all day long. The paths are easily marked and steps all have railings to offer additional assistance. The buildings are all maintained to a high standard and staffs are constantly make sure there kept to a high standard. Whilst walking around the extensive grounds there are many areas that you can take a seat in out of the baking sun.
An area that I spent most of my holiday, the hotel has three pools which are for your use. The main pool is 145cms in depth so for many users you can stand at all parts. The pool was spotless and the surrounding area was always been cleaned by the dedicated pool staff. Sun loungers are provided free of charge and are either made of wood or plastic. Now you may recall earlier I mentioned the credit card style cards, these give you free towels each and every day. I loved this part you simply walk over to the towel hut and hand in your card then a member of staff simply follow you too your preferred sun loungers and set them up, they will also provide you with a ashtray and a table too. One thing I loved about the pool side guidelines - Guests could not reserve sun beds until they were actually at the pool, if they did the pool staff just removed there towels and other guests could use them. Sun canopies and umbrella's were provided free of charge by the hotel and the pool staff where always asking if you wanted the put up or moved.
Other pools where of a decent size with one being designated to children at all times, the other pool which was still 145cms is also heated in the cooler months. Each pool has its own steps in to the pool and the larger pool of the three has steps which you can walk down directly in to the pool.
As I was there on an all inclusive basis I could take advantage of the pool bar which provided me with all my soft drinks, alcohol and water. The bar was staffed by professional and English speaking staff at all times. Drinks are provided in plastic cups for your own safety.
*One thing to remember is that the temperature in Egypt is often that hot it makes the ground so hot you can't walk on it in your bare feet. Remember your flip flops.
Being a guest at this hotel of gives you access to the private beach and more free sun loungers. The beach area is rather small and peaceful to say the least; the lovely gentle breeze from the red sea makes it ideal for you to catch the sun rays all day. A well equipped bar is on hand to provide you with the drinks you require. Once again you're able to collect fresh/clean towels down at the beach and when you're ready to stroll back up just hand in your towels. The red sea has some of the most amazing sites you will see. Know I am petrified of fish to snorkelling was out of the questions, but a simple walk along the beach and you will see some lovely fish in the water. The water is very warm and crystal clear.
On the jetty is where you can book any trips you want, whether it is a dive, snorkel, boat trip or even a trip in a submarine. These cost extra and are at very reasonable prices...... Ranging from £25-£95 depending on what you want to do.
Staff down at the beach are very helpful and always willing to move the sun loungers to allow you to sit in the shade.
Being an all inclusive guest we had so many options available to us, we were fortunate enough to try the majority of them.
*Main restaurant which is upstairs and has a lovely view over the foyer is open between 19.00hrs and 22.00hrs, serving good mixtures of foods and often with Chefs making foods fresh as you want them. Pizza was made each night as requested and you could stand and watch it, kebabs where also made to request and there was often a queue at the counter. Despite what many people say about the salads, they are lovely, a huge selection of salads which where all fresh and changed very often. There was not any occasion that I could not have anything to eat. For all us pudding lovers out there, you will be delighted to know there is a large selection of freshly made cakes, which has jelly and fruit to accompany them.
Buffet style restaurant, waiter service for all your drink requirements, smoking and non smoking seats are available. There were enough seats to seat approximately 400 people at any one time. Staff who worked in this restaurant where always very friendly and helpful.
*Italian restaurant must be booked at least 24hrs in advance at main reception, serving a varied selection of Italian food in the designated restaurant near to the pool. Not only do you get a table service by professional staff you also get a fantastic view of the pool at night. Service is relatively slow however whilst you wait you have the waiter staff providing you with drinks and if also gives you time to take in the fantastic sights. When your meal arrives you will not be disappointed, the portions are very large and they taste fantastic.
*If fish is your thing then you can try the fish restaurant down by the beach, a stroll down to the beach in the sunset is simply breathtaking. The sights are something out of this world. The red sea at night with the sun setting is just amazing. Being seated by the staff and then choosing from a very extensive range you're not stuck for choice here. I tried the grilled fish in an Egyptian sauce which was lovely the fish tasted so good. My wife tried the crab and shrimps and was very happy with the large plate she was given and the size of them was just astonishing to say the least.
*There was on an Egyptian restaurant on level 2 of the hotel which was always very busy with staff, we never tried this during our stay so I am unable to comment.
Breakfast and snacks
Breakfast is served in a buffet style at the main restaurant; on offer at each breakfast time was a large selection of breakfast cereal, breads, fresh omelettes, fruits, fresh pancakes, and not to forget the traditional porridge. Fresh orange juice, tea and coffee are also available at this time on a self-service basis. Breakfast is served between 0700hrs and 1000hrs daily and from our experience it can be very busy between 0800hrs and 0900hrs.
Snacks are provided at the pool dolphin restaurant daily from 1100hrs until 1700hrs - usually just rolls, hamburgers, onions, sausages and potatoes.
This is what the hotel lacks in my opinion, during the day you can expect the animators to put on some sort of games, usually darts, water polo and then a club dance. At 2145hrs each night the pool area turns in to a show arena and the the rep's put on a show varying from a comedy show to a general singsong. As the reps are from all over the work other than the UK it can be very difficult to understand them at times. Now before the show each night if you're lucky enough to be up in the main bar then you will have the torture of the local singer, unfortunately the young girl can't sing a note and it's a big NO from me. Once the reps finish their show at 22.30hrs approximately there is nothing on.
If you're feeling energetic then you can have a try at tennis on the fool size tennis court, this does cost extra (£2) and you have 60mins per game. Now if you're a fitness fanatic then you will be happy in the full size gym on site which will cost you £6 per session which is approximately 2hrs.
Sauna for anyone? Yeah the hotel has sauna on site which is fantastic, it will cost you £2 per session and you feel so much better after it.
First choice rep and other staff
A dedicated desk set within the main foyer is where you will find all the information from your first choice rep; the rep was very helpful and was there daily apart from a Wednesday. I questioned the rep top why we had an armed police man on the door, she advised it was merely a deterrent and he has yet to use his gun. She went on to advise that from the previous attacks in Egypt all hotels have taken this options and now have armed staff on door. A 24hr line is also available should you require any assistance from First Choice staff.
Bar staff - These guys just work so hard and for so many hours each day, we became very friendly with one particular member of the staff who was always very helpful and professional, he told us what drinks to try and what to avoid. As we tipped him the service got even better. Just as we walked in to the bar he was making towards us with drinks.
Shops - there are 6 shops within the main foyer which sell a mixture of photography equipment, local jewellery, gifts and a shop very similar to your local newsagent. All the staff are chancer's and you need to haggle for everything. If they ask for 100le which is £10 you offer then 50le.... They expect you to haggle and will not be offended. Just stick to your guns and I bet you get a good bargain. If you do not want to buy the item just say no thanks and leave they will not be offended.
Photography staff - during your stay here you will come across the guys trying to allow them to take your picture so you can buy in later the next day, if you do decide to have it done, agree a price first and stick to it. These guys are very nice but can be a little pushy.
Massage - Lying at the pool side you will hear "hello where you from?" that's there opening line, then they attempt to sell you a massage a simple no works wonders. Prices range from £11-£40. Please keep in mind your massage is done by a male near to the pool edge in full view of all guests.
Henna Tattoos - There on offer for £10 around the pool, I found these staff irritating and often felt I was having to raise my voice to tell them to move on.
Newspaper boy - a nice pleasant young lad who walks around the pool selling papers, very helpful but never has change.... That old chestnut.
Check out is midday and it can be a little manic at main reception as many guests check out on the same day. When you check out you may be required to pay any outstanding bills such as telephone calls, I had to pay 4le which was 40p in English money, as I never had any change I was able to pay the 40p in English money. Your suitcase is placed by the door staff and you're free to continue to use the facilities until you leave.
Egypt is a very warm country and during our week there temperature averaged 104f which is 40C - so remember and drink plenty fluids. If you're all inclusive you can get unlimited water at the pool bar and you can request as many bottles of water from the main bar 24hrs a day. It's also pleasant and nice to tip the staff for their services, they do not ask for it but 20le a night is only £2 and you will see how much the service improves. Remember and haggle for anything you buy out of the shops unless it has a price on it. The hotel runs a free shuttle bus to Naama bay which runs 6 times a day, you need to book it 24hrs in advance at reception.
This was my first visit to Egypt and certainly my first visit to Tropicana Grand Oasis, I can certainly say I would recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxing lazy holiday. I would say it's not the best place for kids as there is not a lot for them to do and to be honest it's a little too hot. All the staff where very professional at all times and nothing was too much hassle for them. The shops within the hotel where ok but there are far more in Naama Bay. The free bus ride to the bay can be scary as they all drive without lights on.. Don't ask!!! They just go about sounding there horn. A perfect holiday for a relaxing couple, just remember ladies no topless sunbathing, at meals times ladies the more you wear the more respect you get and gents you need to wear trousers or at least three quarter lengths.
More information is available from
438 rooms on three floors
4star rating hotel
Thanks for reading