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Sunday, 1 February 2015
RIXOS HOTEL SHARM EL SHEIKH A FIVE STAR ALL INCLUSIVE DREAM
From the moment you walk into majestic lobby of the Rixos Sharm El Sheikh, you feel the stress flow from your body. In fact, it’s just like coming home, with guests greeted by the smiling, multi-national reception team as though they were favourite family members.
Rixos is a five star resort and well deserves its rating. It’s more like a town than a hotel, and is run with military precision. But the precision with which it’s run belies the warmth of the staff.
It’s a family hotel, but there’s an adult-only buffet if kids are not your thing. The main pool is for families but there are several beautiful pools for adults although, sadly, they are not heated (unlike the main pool).
At this time of year there are not many children and those who were there seemed very well behaved. And there are plenty of organised activities to keep them occupied if Mum and Dad want a little time together.
The bar snacks are great and nothing seems too much bother for the attentive staff, who seem to know what you want before you know yourself. Their attention to detail cannot be faulted.
We all know that the buffet can be a real disappointment in many Egyptian hotels – my personal tip is to avoid salads unless drowned in lemon juice. But the Rixos Nefertiti buffet is truly the best I have ever experienced. This is how five star food should be: I never once hesitated about eating anything that was served. And there are screens to see just how clean the kitchens are.
The service is outstanding although there was one little niggle – waiters in a top hotel should not greet customers with “Alright mate” or “lovely jubbly.” Of course they were only trying to be friendly but not all their British guests are characters from Only Fools and Horses. It was no doubt well-intentioned, but it grated. That apart, staff at the Nefertiti buffet could not be faulted, nor at the Zodiac buffet for families, which has great barbecued food.
On the beach, there’s a snack bar that turns into a seafood restaurant at night. Here you can get great salads and pizza but my tip is to avoid the burgers and chicken, as they were served lukewarm both times we tried them. Once again, though, the service was faultless.
There are seven A’ la carte restaurants, although, sadly, I will not have time to try them all. But you get to visit each one as part of your all-inclusive tariff. The food in the Italian Callainia really was of the highest standard, as was the service. It lacked a little in atmosphere, though – more like eating in a conference room at an airport hotel.The Japanese sushi -bar was one of the eating highlights of the trip just fabulous .
The Chinese was Feng Shui restaurant, in a lovely room with equally lovely staff. Having had Chinese food around the world, my verdict is that it was OK, rather than 5 star.
To book the restaurants, you need to make a reservation each day at reception. It’s advisable to book early but be warned – there is a fee if you fail to turn up. The dress code is smart casual.
I’ve come here for a rest with a friend but here are plenty of activities and the animation team have kept us informed of evening activities. The one night we did attend the show was very professional.
The gym is really well run and there’s a steam sauna and jacuzzi, although the jacuzzi was lukewarm both times I tried it. The gentleman running the gym was very attentive.
There’s also a spa, and I fancied a massage, but their hard-sell techniques really put me off. You are quoted one price at reception but when you’re on the beach sales staff approach you quoting another price and try to make deals.
The hard-sell spa people are really the only downside of this lovely hotel and they do let it down. It’s just not appropriate in a five star hotel to have guests hassled on the beach – let’s face it, there are enough non-hotel boat tour people to do that. You expect it in Naama Bay, but not here. And it’s bad business for the hotel – I wanted a massage, but I didn’t have one because of the hassle.
Rooms are spacious and of a high standard. Again, the staff were outstanding - the cleaner took such care and was so professional, he should be trained up as a manager.There is internet every where in the hotel and room unlike many hotels in the area
One tip is to avoid the so-called “Express” transfer to the hotel. It’s anything but. We had a long drive, dropping five people off on the edge of Naama Bay before coming back past the airport. Then we were hassled heavily to tip the driver, even after being treated like cattle on a journey that was far too long. So, my strong advice is to book a private car transfer; it only costs £10 more and is well worth it.
Once you get to the hotel, though, that all fades away. At Rixos, all-inclusive means all-inclusive and, as you wrap yourself in the fluffy blue beach towels, protected by windbreakers and soaking up the rays, you may decide that you never want to leave this paradise of a hotel.