For my next vacation in Makadi (check my other reviews - I stayed in Makadi several times per year since 2013) this time I chose TIA Makadi Heights.
It wasn't simple decision, because I heard and read quite controversial opinions about this hotel. It is very close to the PDL dive center I prefer to dive with, so I met a lot of people from this hotel during my daily diving I did last years and of course I asked them did they enjoy their staying in TIA.
Year ago I was walking along TIA's beach and was able to see some elements of infrastructure - in august 2016 for example it was rather disappointing - no people, some workers did renovations, no lights in the evening :(
But for my regular November trip (it is a school holidays in Russia, so I travel with my two children boy (13) and girl (10)) I finally chose TIA. Why? Let me explain:
- Other hotels I was considering were either overbooked (Arabesque) or overpriced (Sunrise, Cleopatra, Jaz)
- it was extremely cheap :)
- it wasn't really bad so far I knew. I heard some negative but you know, there are some unhappy people everywhere :)
- it has a big real aqua park (my children really love such entertainment)
- it is next hotel to Sunrise where PDL dive center is located
So I decided to try and wasn't disappointed, but there were some negative points too I'd like to let other guest be aware.
First of all, I found that this hotel was absolutely unprepared for self-organized travelers, I mean those who plan their trips completely by themselves, buy tickets, book transfers and hotels, etc.
So I've been always asked who my travel operator is. The problem is that service in such cases oriented mostly not to the end customer but to travel operators.
I wrote in advance to inform about my late check-in (actually next morning in spite I paid for full day) and asked to prepare the room but they weren't ready and I wait at front desk after the long flight with two tired sleepy children.
Another thing that there were large groups of tourists from specific countries. In case of TIA I've noticed most of travelers where from Ukraine and Belorussia but there were some from UK, Czech, Germany and even Finland.
The most negative moment happened is that initially I was settled not to the main building, but far aside from it, to the block called Cascata :(. Cascata building called as "aqua rooms", "promo rooms", "garden rooms", so be aware of it. I booked Standard Double Room, so have no idea why we were settled to Cascata.
We were too tired and it was early morning to discuss about with anybody, so we got to sleep. After that we come to main building to guest relation manager Elena and explain that we don't like the provided room, she was very nice and helpful and offered to us to move to the main building and we did it.
During our stay we contacted guest relations several times and they (Elena and Tanya) did their work excellent: always nice, accurate, responsible and helpful.
Room #3235 in the main building was exactly what I was waiting from the TIA when I booked it. It wasn't too big but enough for 3 of us, has LCD tv, two beds + small sofa that was moved to the balcony to free space for the extra bed. The balcony was with partial sea view looking to the opposite site from the main pool and most activity.
During nights it was a bit noisy until midnight because of Sunrise night entertainment but not too much.
Main building lobby is spacious with nice stairs in the middle and bar, looks great.
New room was located close to everything we need: restaurant, sea, Aqua Park; so we started to enjoy our vacation but because of time we spent for negotiations and relocation to it we lost one day.
The hotel is really huge about 1200 rooms, but was occupied up to 20% only. Luckily for us it didn't seriously affect the service.
TIA's beach is sandy - that is rare in Makadi, so you don't need the coral shoes and can enjoy shallow sandy entrance to the water and swimming even with small kids.
The disadvantage of it is the lack of coral reefs and sea life, so to enjoy snorkeling you have to go to Fort Arabesque beach and further to Makadi Waterworld and Makadi Garden hotels or to my favorite place for snorkeling - to Stella hotel (it is a Gotta Makadi dive site there).
There are a lot of chaise-longue on the beach
The main restaurant provides the food of good quality but not exciting variety but it was better than I was expecting and absolutely acceptable for me and my kids for these 10 days we spent there.
Usually some beef, chicken and fish were available daily. Fruits were oranges, apples, garnets, melons, pears, dates, figs and guava.
There were some queues for omelet during the breakfast and fruits (that were freshly cut in front of you) – annoying but not so long.
Fresh juice was available for $2 (mango, orange). Mango fresh is absolutely awesome! You can also buy huge mango from the beach bar for $2.
We visited the Italian a la cart restaurant twice, it wasn't too much options too, but it was tasty and I have to mention great service from our waiter there - Adel.
It was absolutely European style service: attentive, caring, patient, fast and with excellent English; we enjoyed he served us both times we had eat out there.
Alcoholic drinks in TIA were disappointing - I wasn't expected too much but even for the Egyptian all-inclusive hotels the vine was absolutely sh**t. It was semi-sweet, tasted like water and smelled like soap.
So, mostly I drunk brandy, beer and gin-tonic cocktail. Sometimes tonic was finished.
Non-alcohol drinks were presented by bottled cola, sprite, fanta, Schweppes tonic and sweetened fruit juices from the dispensers.
As I mentioned above there were great fresh juices for the extra charge.
Aqua park water slides and pools were surprisingly in a good condition, but donuts were mostly old and sealed but good enough to use, especially they were required not in every slide, there were mats for about half of slides.
The wave in the wave pool was turned on once per day for about 15 minutes before aqua park close.
Aqua Park is big enough with about 20 of various waterslides of all level from easy to extreme and we enjoyed :) It is free for guest but I didn't see the prices for non-guests.
It was a bit cold in the beginning of November (air 25-28 C, sea - 25-27 C, pools (21-23 C )and not crowded because of it and also because of general hotel load at that time. So we went there two times per day for one hour: after the breakfast and after the lunch.
Almost no one used the main pool because it was noticeably cooler than sea.
I used to smoke shisha in evening, it was in the Decker bar and costs $2. Service there was good (with some regular tips - excellent) but don't expect too much from the tobacco taste for these money.
So it was great inexpensive stay, it make sense to travel with your kids because of aqua park but during hot period (May to October), but you have to pay attention what type of the room you book and aware "aqua"/"promo" stuff.
I think I will consider this hotel once again for my future trips to Makadi because of good location and aqua park.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on Egypt's spectacular Red Sea coast, TIA Height's large resort is ideally situated on a stretch of sandy beach in Makadi Bay. The hotel faces the magical waters of Egypt's Red Sea, nestled between desert dunes and breathtaking mountain ranges. The bay provides a superb location for scuba-diving and snorkeling. Built over 250,000 square metres (in a total surrounding area of one million square metres of land), this five star resort boasts an international standard Aqua Park, a 6,400 square metre swimming pool that is considered the largest pool in the Middle East. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tia Heights Makadi Hotel Makadi Bay
- Hurghada Le Meridien
- Meridien Makadi Bay
- Le Meridien Makadi Bay Hurghada