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“Too much hard sell and sneaky stuff....”

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Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino
Ranked #80 of 234 Hotels in Sharm El Sheikh
Certificate of Excellence
Broxbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Too much hard sell and sneaky stuff....”
Reviewed 17 April 2012

We (young at heart couple early 40’s) visited the Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino for a week’s all inclusive holiday in early March. The hotel sits on a strip of beach hotels on a coastal road about a 10 - 15 minute taxi ride from the airport.
We arrived at the Sonesta early evening and had a trouble free check in. Security appeared to be quite tight, and there was a Security guard posted at the entrance to the hotel. We had organised an upgrade, and this simply got us a bigger room and a plate of 4 apples, so really not worth the money. We were given towel cards, and these are treated like the crown jewels so whatever you do, don’t lose them!
The rooms are very basic, simply furnished, and a little tired in places….not 5* as one may know it. Our bathroom had some complimentary toiletries which were of a good standard and replenished daily. We also had bathrobes and a hairdryer in our bathroom – one of those old ones that sit on the wall. If blow drying is your thing, take your own. Our flat screen TV worked without a hitch and had some excellent channels. This is handy as it’s pretty much dark at 5pm, so watching a movie back at the room is a nice way to fill some time before dinner.
The plug sockets take standard European adaptors.
The resort itself is vast, with 6 or so pools, several bars and restaurants. Brits hang out at the cactus pool which is next to the better of the all inclusive restaurants and also has a book stand where you can swap English newspapers, books and magazines. The grounds are immaculate and are being maintained around the clock. The whole place was spotlessly clean, and generally the staff were very pleasant and helpful.
The beach is, as other reviewers have alluded to, packed out like sardines. You can find a quieter spot if you go to the upper levels to the left of the main beach. The snorkelling is fabulous! The sand pretty much stops at the water’s edge, and then you are at the mercy of the rocks and reef so snorkelling shoes are a must. You can buy them in resort for about £10 sterling, or haggle up at the main shops and pick up a pair for about £6 depending on your skill and patience!
We found the food to be of a good standard – I’m not a fussy eater, but my partner is and even he said he enjoyed it. Three restaurants are open for all inclusive lunch and dinner. One of which – Casablanca – you have to book 24 hours in advance at reception for dinner. You could be on pretty much any kind of diet and find a good meal. Something for everyone. Lovely salads and soups, grilled meats and pasta dishes. An omelette station at breakfast as well as the usual stuff. We were told that the ice was safe and made from spring water, and neither of us suffered any ill effects.
Where the Sonesta lets itself down, is its reluctance to be real an all inclusive resort. This was my first visit to Egypt, so maybe all hotels there operate this way? But the Sonesta made being ‘all inclusive’ very difficult. So many rules for this and that. Certain bars/restaurants are open at certain times, some are pay bars and some are all inclusive. Some serve drinks but not food all inclusive. You are only allowed to drink wine when eating lunch or dinner, so that makes it hard if you are a wine drinker (white/rose and red all pretty drinkable). At breakfast one morning we were delighted when two glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice were presented at our table. Fifteen minutes later we were presented with a bill for £7 sterling. It’s really sneaky stuff, and not very conducive to happy campersl!
There is also the added annoyance of the constant hard sell. Therapy’s, beauty treatments, trips etc. This is by the hotel’s own staff, not outsiders!! On day one they can tell the fresh meat a mile off and really give it the hard sell. They have their sales banter perfected to a fine art and you will often hear them call themselves ‘Dave the Rave’ or ‘Diamond Geezer’ to get you laughing and on-side. These guys walk around the hotel grounds, pools and beach all day long pestering you to buy something and have very thick skins!
One thing to note, is that if you don’t intend to go on trips or excursions, you can save yourself the visa tax at the airport – which I think is about £15.
The evening entertainment is pretty poor and sporadic. Outside of the hotel, the 15 minute walk along the beach promenade takes you passed other hotels and bars/restaurants to the main town. There are lots of shops bars and restaurants. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Hard Rock Cafe are all there too. We liked the Camel Bar – on several levels, two roof top bars and one bar showing all of the latest UK football matches. Most bars were showing the premiership matches including Brit bar The Tavern. The shops mostly sell souvenirs and fake designer goods, none of which are priced and you must haggle. Prepare to be harassed.
Check out time is midday, and you can extend your room until 6pm for an extra £25 sterling or so. We asked for a courtesy room and were given half an hour for both of us to shower and get ready. Our courtesy room flooded, and we were still pestered to leave the room after half an hour despite the room having to be drained and cleaned.
All things considered we wouldn’t go back to the Sonesta, but we did have a nice holiday.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank vanforbsie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
badramani, Assistant Regional Communications Manager at Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino, responded to this review, 18 April 2012
Dear vanforbsie

Thank you for this very detailed review , it is always a pleasure to see guests commenting with full details , we will take into consideration your negative comments and let me say that for the all inclusive formula , you can find a letter when you check in mentioning what are the restaurants included and excluded from the all inclusive in order to avoid confusing our guests , again sorry for any inconvenience you faced and hope to give us one more chance to host you at our resort
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English first
Highbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 April 2012

We returned from our holiday 2 weeks ago, I had a fall on the first night of the holiday which resulted in me being admitted to south sinai hospital, I stayed there for 4 days after a operation to my leg, I spent my birthday there, We soon made up for the lost time and although I couldnt walk far or go swimming or even have alcohol, the staff at Sonesta were fantastic, I must mention Islam, Fayez, Emad, Saad, Rashid, Ibrihim, Sawort, and many more that were so helpful, This was our 5th visit, it hasnt put me off and we will be returning later for our honeymoon, This is paradise on earth, I wouldnt want to go anywhere else. The rooms are spacious and clean, the food is excellent, and the staff were brilliant, I cant thank them enough, we are looking forward to our next visit, well done Sonesta for ticking all the box's.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Gillysomerset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
badramani, Assistant Regional Communications Manager at Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino, responded to this review, 18 April 2012
Dear GillyWarwickshire

We are so sorry for your accident , we hope you feel much better now, we are so proud of our staff contributed in making your vacation unforgettable , waiting to host you again for your honeymoon
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2012

Arriving at reception at 2am, greeted with a drink and a smile, to be told we were being given a large room at the quieter cactus pool in the preferred area was a great start. It's a 10 min walk almost from reception but we were in the farthest block from reception. Lovely pools, 3 with bars with plenty of choice of drinks and cocktails available in the all inclusive. Meals are buffet style and have plenty choice, with 2 restaurants, 1 near reception and 1 at the back of resort near the cactus pool area. The beach was smallish and fairly crammed with large fixed umbrellas making it fairly hard to stay in the sun at times. Plenty of loungers away from the front of the beach though and up on the raised rocky bit at the side. Staff on beach and in the hotel are all friendly, they all smile at you, please at least return the favour and they will look after you like royalty. Naama bay is amazing, just be careful of the guys who want u to go with them to their new store to just give u a business card as once you're there, they will try and make u buy stuff, and I have heard of some who will block the door out till you spend your money. I've always been ok but am strong willed. I always smile and just say no thank you and they have always been nothing but polite back. Go and have a ball. We've been to Egypt 5 times now, and would I go back to sonesta again........most certainly yes'!!! That's the best recommendation I can give it. Go and see for yourself.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank kelvin500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tampere, Finland
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2012

Sharm el Sheik is not very interesting place but weather was ok, sun was shining and we were on holiday. Red sea is beautiful and there is much to see. Sonesta beach is a nice hotel. Location is good. Rooms are spacious, family room was huge and we had connection rooms so it was easy for us to live there. Garden is big and safe and pool areas comfortable and clean. The staff was pleasant. Only in restaurants the atmosphere was not so warm towards clients. This was our first visit to Sharm. We were travelling with our grandparents and children. Pensioners and children really enjoyed their time in here. For us place was little bit boring. The food was good and plenty of choice in large buffets in the breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pilates and stretching hours and massage was pleasant, fun and effecting.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Sannastiina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sunderland
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

Ok, firstly let's clear something up. Many reviews slate the fact that this isn't a 5 star resort, but what amazes me is that if you have been to a 5 start resort (and I doubt everyoen has) surely the price was a give away? I know that around the World 5 star can mean different things, we are well travelled and for what it's worth i have a BSc in Hotel and Catering Management, but for the price we paid for a week of all inclusive, this was a brilliant hotel and met our needs. 5 star, 4 star it doesn't matter, you get great value staying here in our opinion.

So, we were allocated a room near the Cactus Pool following my partner e-mailing the Manager in advance based on some other great reviews/recommendations found on here. What a great tip! We were given room 2903 and yes it was perhaps a little tired and not luxurious, by my god, it was HUGE! An 8 ft bed, a small lounge area with a TV and fridge, a room with bunk beds another room with a single bed, a room with a desk, chair and cupboard and finally of course a bathroom. As it was the two of us and a 13month old baby we had stacks of room and could have fitted 3 other people if we had wanted to!

The room was next to the Cactus pool and this leads me to my first staff compliment. Ibrahim the pool attendant was wonderful. Such a charming man, helpful, great at playing with our littlun, nothing was too much trouble, I cannot speak highly enough of the man and how he helped to make us feel welcome. I felt as though we had know him for years within only a few minutes.

The beach at the hotel is quite small and can be a little crowded. From our room which was as far away from the beach as you can get, it was a 10 min walk (with pram) through very well kept gardens and past the restaurants. The staff here are AMAZING. On our first venture down they helped us find a spot to rest, but it was the remainder of our trip that they never ceased to amaze us. Our second trip down resulted in us being reserved 3 loungers at the front of the beach, with parasol to help the baby have some shade. Our pram was carried down to help us and within 5 mins of being there we were given a bag of toys for our little girl to play with and 5 mins after that snorkles and shoes to wear in the sea. This happend every single day, they made us feel so special. Saleh Ibrahim, Mohamed Zenhom and Sameh Saied, you couldn't have done anymore to help us, you made it so easy and such a wonderful trip, thank you!

Now for the food. We ate at Le Dome almost every evening because of its location to our room. It is a fairly large buffet style restaurant but not as busy as others on site. It is also lighter and not so noisy. Again, the staff, wow! The waiters knew us after our first day and from then on made such a fuss over our little girl and had our drinks on the table before we had to even ask (one beer/one white wine). Mohamed El Kamash and Mustafa Fawzi became firm favourites of ours and our little girl simply adored them! Chef Kalid also came out to say hello most nights, we felt as though we'd moved in!! The staff were simply brilliant, i cannot praise them enough! The food was good and we always found something to eat. Lots of stews, an array of salads, fish, meats, curries etc. The food isn't English, but we are in Egypt right, so of course it's different, but we had plenty of choice and I put on half a stonne in a week so that's a sign of what we found to eat! The other restaurant we frequented was the Cassablanca at lunchtimes because it was close to the beach. Smaller and with less choice than Le Dome, but quite often we had the place to ourselves! The most people I saw with us at lunch was 9 i think! Nice and cool and a relief from the heat of outside.

So, all in all an excellent trip. We wanted sun, rest, food and a break and the Sonesta Beach delivered this in bucket loads! We will be back, especially because of how great the staff were!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank GJECBVP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bradford
Level Contributor
180 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2012

Beautiful grounds, friendly staff, clean rooms and good food. Add this to fantastic weather patterns, a variety of pools,a warm sea teeming with exotic fish, and you have a wonderful hotel.
Yes the rooms are a little tired, but the staff keep everything so well, what's not to like?

Many Thanks for a great holiday.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank IanGBradford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2012

Just returned from Sonesta first I would like to say we had a lovely time.
The grounds are lovely and we used the Cactus pool and bar every day Ibrahim was a gentleman and always worked hard to look after his guests. The room was always kept clean and the service was very good BUT! the rooms are very dated very dark and dingy. We were in room 1091 it was right beside the Cactus Pool and very peacefull. We have stayed in sharm 3 times now and love it but dissapointed with this hotel .The Minibar in the room is chargable so beware. The air conditioning only blew cold for ten minutes and you do need it the temp yesterday 8th april was 35.
Lovely walk into Namma Bay ate at the Camel Bar every night food is really good and if you go onto the roofbar you can watch the hustle of this vibrant resort.
I still would go back to this hotel because of its very friendly atmosphere .But it is only 3 Star at best.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kate573
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino

Property: Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino
Address: Naama Bay, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Region: Egypt > Red Sea and Sinai > South Sinai > Sharm El Sheikh
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#15 Best Value Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#40 Family Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#41 Romantic Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#58 Spa Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#71 On the Beach Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
#74 Luxury Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino 5*
Number of rooms: 505
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino Sharm El Sheikh, stretching across the sands of Naama Bay, overlooks the Red Sea and South Sinai desert and mountains. The resort's traditional Arabic domes and archways form a village-style ambiance. The resort offers a private beach for the world's best scuba diving in the Red Sea's legendary waters, and seven swimming pools for relaxing laps in the sun. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sonesta Beach Resort And Casino
Sonesta Beach Hotel Sharm El Sheikh
Sonesta Sharm El-Sheikh
Sharm El-Sheikh Sonesta

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