Over the years my views on holidays have changed. When I lived in the UK and only had the chance to go away for a couple of weeks a year all I was bothered about was that the sun would shine, the beach was nice and I could go a day trip or two. Now I’m much more interested in experiencing the places that I go to, living in ‘hot’ countries for the last 4 years, I’m not to fussed about lounging by a pool or beach. I love visiting historical sites and understanding local culture, I don’t even mind if it’s cold. But, now I’m going to completely contradict myself with this write-up of our stay at The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh, where we did pretty much nothing other than lie by the pool – our own private pool!
Sahl Hasheesh is about 30 minutes south of Hurghada and the journey from New Cairo took us about 5 hours. After the long drive it was lovely to be warmly greeted by the security guard and shown to reception. The grounds of the hotel are absolutely beautiful, credit to the staff who maintain the grounds they were always immaculate and it’s clear they are expertly cared for. There was some grounds work going on, I assume they are getting it in tip-top shape for the main tourist season.
I think check in was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced. We were given cool towels, a refreshing glass of hibiscus juice and sat on comfortable chairs in the reception area while the paperwork was carried out discretely by Sami.
Once this was done we were taken on a brief tour of the main facilities and then given complimentary tea and coffee while we waited for confirmation our room was ready. We arrived at 11am and luckily our room was ready shortly after. The property sits on 48 acres of land so golf buggies are available 24hrs a day if required. After a short ride we arrived at our grand suite which was just beautiful. I had read so many glowing reviews of the hotel that I had very high expectations and it didn’t disappoint.
The suite we booked was a grand suite and it aptly named. With a light and airy open floor plan, a spacious lounge led through to the king size bedroom, a walk in closet and stunning bathroom with rainfall shower and sunken bath. I really loved all the local touches such as the rugs, furniture, lights and artwork. The Egyptian linen was such excellent quality and many items in the room could also be purchased from the hotel boutique which I thought was a lovely idea. The lounge had a comfortable sofa, TV, fridge, mini bar and all of the windows were fitted with blinds so it was completely private. Each day we received complimentary fresh fruit and bottles of mineral water. Small cartons of milk are also provided free of charge from the mini bar so you can make your own tea and coffee.
The bed was extremely luxurious with feather pillows and duvet and each day it was made up and decorated with ‘towel art’.
The huge walk in closet ensured there was plenty of room for suitcases plus lots of hanging space, drawers, a full length mirror and a safe. We were also provided with slippers and robes. I loved the attention to detail such as proving electrical adaptors, a beach bag and insect repellent!
The bathroom gave us some serious interior design inspiration. I loved the wall of glass onto the small garden creating an ‘inside outside’ feel. The shower was very powerful and the sunken bath with candles was just lovely.
At times we did struggle to get hot water, we had to run the water for a while (which felt wasteful) but it did heat up eventually. The toiletries and towels were very good quality and it was always spotlessly clean. I have a real dislike of hair dryers which are hard-wired into the bathroom drawer so even though it was powerful, next time I’ll take my own because I hate drying my hair in the bathroom due to the bad combination of humid air and frizz! During our stay the housekeeping was superb. Each morning when we came back from breakfast our room had been made up and each evening the turn down service took place when we were having dinner. This discreet service was excellent, we didn’t need to wait around so they could carry out the service.
This for me was my favourite part of the suite, I have never stayed anywhere with my own private pool and this one has set a high precedent for future holidays. Leading off from the lounge a glass door opens onto a shaded patio area complete with a dining table and chairs. The sizeable pool takes up the majority of the rest of the garden and it’s just wonderful. It benefits from the sun all day with occasional shade provided by the palm trees.
There are also 2 sunbeds and a big umbrella. I loved only having to walk a few steps before plunging into the pool. It’s about 4ft deep but there is no shallow end; something to consider if you are staying with children. I have to say we spent the majority of our time by the pool and it was blissfully quiet (this is quite rare for Egypt) with only the occasional sound coming from the birds in the trees. If you order in room dining they set up the indoor or outdoor dining table so it feels like you’re still at home! On an evening the pool was lit up so you could enjoy a bit of night swimming and, if you’re staying in winter, the pool is heated.
We really enjoyed the food during our stay, it wasn’t outstanding but it was consistently good from breakfast to dinner and in-room dining. Our stay included breakfast but all other food and drink we paid for separately. Breakfast is either served outside overlooking the pool or indoors with views across the sea.
Two options are available; an open buffet or you can order from an a la carte menu.
I can definitely recommend the crepes, French toast and eggs Benedict.
The hotel also caters for dietary requirements offering gluten-free, organic and low-fat options. You can also order breakfast to your room for no extra charge which we did on our last day as it was more convenient.
We ordered in room dining for lunch, and again the food was delicious. The pepperoni pizza in particular was very good as was the chicken shawarma. The in-room dining menu isn’t huge but there’s enough variety if you’re only staying for a few days, a children’s menu is also available.
Dinner is served either under the stars in the courtyard or indoors. Both have wonderful musicians playing traditional instruments which added to the atmosphere rather simply creating noise. It really is a lovely place to spend the evening and the service was good.
It is obvious the hotel prides itself on its menu, offering seasonal dishes and themed nights. I wasn’t aware that the menu changes daily so if you see something you fancy order it because it may not be available the next night!
The bar offers a variety of drinks and snacks. We became rather partial to a gin fizz cocktail, berry mojito and shisha while playing cards! A couple of times the chef came out to ask us about our meals which was a lovely touch.
To be fair we hardly made it to the beach but it is very pretty. Fine golden sand fringed with palm trees and crystal clear water. Like many places on the Red Sea there is a lot of coral which makes it ideal for diving and snorkeling but dangerous to walk on without shoes.
However, the hotel has this covered by providing shoes free of charge and also the option of going into the sea via a jetty to avoid walking on the coral reef. There are many sun-beds and umbrellas, plus staff are on hand regularly bringing over complimentary cold towels, drinks and suntan lotion!!
I imagine if you’re staying in one of the suites at the ‘top’ of the hill the walk to the beach in the summer could be quite a challenge. But, as I said, there are loads of golf buggies around so if you have mobility problems or you just don’t fancy the walk you can just grab a buggy back!
During our stay the hotel was operating at 40% occupancy and it was blissfully tranquil. The only time we really noticed the number of guests was at dinner when most the table were taken. As many people have their own pool and other guests use the beach the pool area was generally quiet. The pool is ideal for children as it has a shallow end and steps at each side.
The setting overlooking the sea is lovely. Even on an evening it was nice to sit by the pool watching the sun set.
Other services / facilities
There is a tennis court on site and all equipment can be loaned from the hotel. The court wasn’t busy when we were there but in high season you may need to book.
There is a gym (which I peered at through the window) which looked well equipped. I’m really annoyed that I never booked a spa treatment, next time I will for sure because based on the rest of the hotel I’m sure it’s superb. As mentioned earlier there is a Boutique selling beautiful fabrics, ornaments, jewelry and toiletries. This is a perfect place to pick up a souvenir as the quality was very good and the prices fairly reasonable. It was nice to be able to browse without being hassled! I loved the reading room which was styled like a gentlemen’s club and had lots of book about Egyptology. This was a quiet, relaxing place to sink down into a sofa and find out more about the history and culture of the country.
The hotel offers a daily program for children and adults such as cooking classes, games and activities. They also have selection of trips available such as a boat trip to Giftun Island, glass bottom boat trips, visits to a nearby monastery, quad biking and snorkeling. On leaving the hotel, within walking distance there are a few souvenir shops and further towards Hurghada there is a mall with a Spinney’s supermarket and KFC etc. Although there is no ATM in the hotel you can use your bank card at the front desk to get cash back, they charge 5% for this useful service.
Some other points
The hotel doesn’t encourage the use of mobile phones in the restaurants and this was actually quite refreshing. We didn’t have to endured listening to other people’s conversations, in-fact I rarely saw anyone with their phone out. This made it quite awkward for me trying to take photos of the food and rooms as I was definitely the odd one out!
The hotel discourages individual tips. They ask at the end of your stay to place a gratuity in an envelope which is distributed amongst all staff. I loved this, we didn’t have to try to find small bills each time we got a buggy or ordered food and drinks. However, I did write onto the envelope the name of our housekeeper who did an excellent job so I’m hoping he received his share.
Unlike our recent stay in Ain Sokhna the prices at the Oberoi do not include service charge and taxes but I personally much prefer having everything included. I’m not sure if this is hotel policy or all hotels in the Red Sea Governorate operate this way. It’s something to take into account if you’re on a budget, you need to add roughly 25% to each bill.
As you can probably tell we absolutely adored our time at the Oberoi. I don’t think I’ve had a stay where everything was so relaxed and the staff were so professional, we came home feeling totally refreshed. I can’t recommend the hotel more highly if you’re looking for a total escape and luxury. This all however comes at a price……..I’d say taking the room, food, drink, taxes, tips into account we probably paid about £400 a night. Was it worth it? Yes, we will always look back at our 5th wedding anniversary with very fond memories (especially considering we spent our honeymoon in a Premier Inn!). If you are considering making a booking I’d recommend you book directly with the hotel as you will get a better rate. If you do go, please let me know what you thought.
Now, I’m pretty sure Hani, one of the waiters, told me the Oberoi brand operates a luxury Nile cruiser between Aswan and Luxor so I’d best look into booking that……!
Thank you for reading, liking, sharing and commenting 🙂