Desert Rose Resort, Hurghada
We first stayed at the Desert Rose Resort in November 2017 flying from Birmingham airport.
On first impressions the hotel and grounds were very well kempt and all areas were clean and tidy. Plenty of sun beds around the pools, lifeguards present and you don't have to walk far to get snacks or drinks. Staff in reception are very helpful so ask them if you need any advice. You will be shown to your room by a bell boy and can tip in English, US dollars or Egyptian pounds.
Bedrooms are a good size and have a TV, fridge, wardrobe, drawers, dressing table and a balcony. You will read in many reviews that whilst clean and well equipped the rooms are dated in terms of decoration, we were informed that the hotel is looking into updating the rooms soon. The room cleaners were very good and kept the rooms to a high standard and unless you are going to a brand new hotel you will probably find the rooms are acceptable. If you tip your room cleaner you find they go out of their way to help you and will bring extra bottles of water, fizzy drinks, beers etc.,
The hotel has many amenities, including a choice of 5 restaurants, The Palm which is buffet style (the main restaurant) and then four other restaurants which you book separately. If you want to dine at the Italian, Lebanese (Fatoosh) or Mexican (El Ranchero) you have to book 24 hours in advance.
The Palms, is buffet style with lots of different eating areas inside and out. There's a good choice of food but when you get there, look to the right of the restaurant entrance as they have some food stands there as well which are easily missed. I noticed in the evenings they don't do chips or burger type foods for children, these are usually served at lunch time. You then have a choice of Mexican, set menu, Lebanese, lots of little dishes and Italian, set menu. All nice places to eat but more formal.
There is also a seafood restaurant which you can book, although we didn't try it we heard good reviews but understand there are some additional charges for some items there.
You can get pizza and burgers at the tent bar near the heated swimming pool at lunch time too. Also the beach bar serves hot snacks in the day time.
There is a choice of four swimming pools and the hotel has its own private beach. Don't forget to pop into the beach bars or the café bar where you can have snacks and drinks with a wonderful view of the Red Sea.
The beach has an enclosed area (as above) and plenty of sun beds, you can also walk further out to sea where there is some excellent snorkelling off the coral reefs. In the enclosed part of the beach, you will find learner sessions for windsurfing, pedalos and boats. There is a charge for these services.
Snorkelling is best found to the right of the bridges, there is an inlet on the beach where you walk into the sea. You'll see some rocks ahead of you, there is a shelf on the left hand side where you can literally stand on the edge and watch the fish beneath you. You can also walk out to the right of the rocks where the sea gets deeper and if you swim around these rocks you will find some excellent snorkelling.
You will probably have hear all the horror stories about the camels in Egypt, we have been told everything from unruly camel keepers refusing to let people off the camels unless they pay extra to tales of people being charged just for taking photos of the camels. To be safe we recommend you only use the camels on resorts. Most hotels have their own resident camel and at Desert Rose this is Cassie. Cassie can be found at the beachfront every day.
The animation team are excellent, very friendly and let you know what's going on and where.
The Winter Gardens has children's entertainment nightly and there is also an adults only bar, adult entertainment and a disco in the same building.
Hotel facilities include a spa, worth a visit for one of the lovely massage packages, remember to barter! shops and plenty of choices of bars in the evening including a shisha bar.
Tips: Bring your own hairdryer, buy milk at the local supermarket, you wont need to bring towels as these are supplied, exchange English money when you're out there and use the cash machine to get Egyptian pounds to tip. If you're invited to the hotel cocktail welcome evening, its really worth going and giving feedback on your stay. This is an effective way of letting management know what you expect from a hotel and if you have any suggestions for improvements its an ideal time to have your ideas heard.
Outside of the hotel is a row of shops where you can buy gifts, the Senzo Mall is about 15-20 minute walk away or catch the fun bus across the road by the Cleopatra shopping centre. Senzo Mall has a McDonalds, lots of shops, cafes, a childrens play area and if you need a chemist at any time there is good one which is cheap. Take a look at the little market area at the back of the Mall for lovely gifts.
Nightime in Hurghada means lots of bright lights and music in the main areas, one sight you cannot afford to miss is the sunset, take a trip down to the beachfront and relax with a cool drink whilst watching the beautiful colours as the sun goes down, it's a spectacular sight!
There's plenty to do whilst you are on holiday, for info on activities and excursions click here . Enjoy your holiday :)
Update April 2018
We returned to Desert Rose in April 2018, again we couldn't fault the hotel but we did notice some improvements.
The menu has been changed made and the choice of foods was much improved . The food was always hot and you could see the chef's checking the temperature and restocking empty dishes.
In the Palms restaurant there is still the separate sections where you can eat, so if you want adults only, there are two rooms that cater for this, there is also family areas and a children's area.
The A la Carte restaurants, Fatoosh, La Dolce Vita and El Ranchero, all provided and excellent service and are recommended. The booking system is a bit of a nightmare as you queue in a small room to reserve your table, generally you will have to wait a couple of days as the tables are all booked in advance, the down side to this is that when people book and then fail to turn up there are empty tables which could have been used.
The Tropicana Bar in the centre of the resort was closed for a couple of days due to maintenance, we did notice on our previous visit that the tiles were uneven in places which could lead to a trip. These have now been replaced and the bar reopened. In total there are 10 bars so having one closed had no effect on the guests.
Beach towels were left in our room when we arrived and these can be changed daily, either by the heated pool or at the beach hut. The white towels are for use in your room only and not to be used on the beach or swimming pools.
The sunbeds by the pools have been renewed and again there were plenty of sun loungers around the pool. On the beach the old wooden loungers are still being used and I'm not sure if these are also going to be replaced.
Drinks in the Rose Bar during the evening are served in glasses until the end of the evening near to closing time when you are given plastic cups, this is due to health and safety.
We spoke at length with the assistant manager, who has lots of plans for improvements, he has informed us that areas such as the children's play/pool area is going to be improved and that the rooms will also be updated although this is likely to be next year as there are lots of changes to be made this year. Hopefully these changes wont affect use of current facilities.
As returning guests, we were invited to a 'returners' evening, where we were given a thank you bag that contained baseball caps and mugs. Now this is only a small gift but the mugs were really useful as in the rooms and restaurants they only provide small cups for your hot drinks, so a tip for your first visit is if you like mug of tea/coffee either take a couple with you or buy some whilst you are there. The hotel operates a Rewards Program for returning guests. Following your first stay you become a Coral Member, this gives you a 15% discount on your direct booking, 10% off food and drink extras, 25% off laundry services, 10% off companionship bookings. It also includes room upgrade, late check out until 14.00hrs and priorty to early check in.
A lovely treat and very relaxing, I booked the Cleopatra and the Hamman treatments, both were very good and worth the money. Make sure you barter on the price as the different spa reps will give you different prices.
Have a fab holiday
Nicola & Joe
More photos are available on the Desert Rose Group page, click here