After our nine great shopping and sightseeing days on the east coast of the USA, it was time to dive a little, relax and soak up the sun. To combine all this, warm Egypt and the Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is a perfect destination in November.
Table of contents
Choosing our destination in Egypt
In 2014 we were already in Makadi Bay. And although we liked it very much there, this time we wanted to get to know another place. Actually, we first chose Sharm-El-Sheik, because here the Ras Mohamed National Park is voted one of the best dive sites in the world year after year. But after the recent terrorist attacks and the Foreign Office’s travel warnings for the Sinai Peninsula, we decided on another region. After a long research (a direct flight from Frankfurt was important to us) we finally found a good all-inclusive offer at FTI for 9 days in Marsa Alam.
Sunexpress was on 15.10. from Frankfurt in just over 4.5 hours to Marsa Alam. Here we were picked up directly from the airport and taken by bus to our hotel.
Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort in Marsa Alam
The Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is located somewhere in the nowhere on a small bay (Abu Dabab Bay), about 40 kilometers north of Marsa Alam. There is really nothing about the hotel… except another hotel. The room was absolutely great and the complex very spacious.
The Hilton Nubian Resort hotel is located about 30-45 minutes by shuttle bus from Marsa Alarm Airport and at our time (November 2015) mainly had guests from Holland, France, Russia and Germany. In our time there were almost no children. The system is very large, but in many places it looks somehow unfinished. Black water hoses are everywhere on the ground, sometimes there is lawn, sometimes none, etc. We didn’t really like that. Nor did we understand why the complex was not built (as in the night bar hotel) directly to the sea. Between the hotel and the sea there are a good 300 meters of unsightly dry wasteland. Wi-Fi is free at reception, pool and beach, but does not always work or only very slowly.
We received a free upgrade to a Premium room at check-in instead of our booked Garden View room. The rooms we really liked: spacious, modernly equipped and always very clean.
Of all the stays in Egypt, we liked the food here the least, even if it is sufficient and varied. We like to eat fish, but the fish here is always cooked so that it already melts on the plate. The meat was also often very tough. The salad and the desserts are fine, even if we would have liked a little more change here. The noodle station, on the other hand, is very tasty. Drinks have to be ordered at the table, which sometimes unfortunately means that you have your plate empty until the waiter brings the first drinks.
In total there are 4 pools. The main pool is very large, beautifully laid out and central point of the complex. However, there is an urgent need for a renovation here. The overflow border is partially broken and therefore not harmless. Part of the pool is therefore already locked with tape. We have always found a free couch. Annoying are the many sellers at the pool. Every 5 minutes you will be approached for quad biking, horseback riding, massages, beauty treatments, diving, excursions, etc… the list can be expanded as desired. If you just want to relax, take a blue “I’m relaxing” sign with you at the towel issue and moor at the couch. We can’t say anything about the quality of the animation, but it’s the same every day. The same music at the same time. After 1 week you know the music program of Modern Talking, about Michael Jackson, Madonna etc. completely by heart. We don’t understand why you always have to play the same thing every day.
On the beach we were just for diving and snorkeling. Due to the size of the facility, you have to take a good 15 minutes walk from the main restaurant to the beach. You can also use a free shuttle that goes from the center of the complex to the beach. The beach is completely closed for bathing at the loungers to protect the reef. If you want to get into the water, there is an entry point about 200 meters further in the bay. This is where the reef begins, which is simply beautiful for snorkeling. The reef is very colorful, super preserved and you can here many firefish, stingrays, Picasso pusher fish, parrot fish, puffer fish and much more. Watch. As a tip: also swim to the middle of the bay. Here you will find seaweed and with a bit of luck one of the many large turtles. The diving center Blue Ocean is very well organized, has good equipment and all diving instructors are very friendly and competent. In some cases, however, we found the prices to be quite high. Even if you make an extra diving license, you even have to pay the boat (which brings you to the dive site in 2 minutes!). We haven’t seen this in any other diving school.
Conclusion: you can of course endure it in the hotel and spend a nice holiday. And yet we would have promised ourselves a little more from the name Hilton. More attention to detail. And here we do not compare Hilton with the standards in Germany, but with the other hotels we have met in Egypt so far. For once it’s ok, but we wouldn’t book it again.
Relax by the Hilton Hotel Pool & Beach
After the last days in New York, it was time to relax a little and soak up the sun 🙂
Diving in Marsa Alam
Above all, we wanted to dive a lot. The local diving center Blue Ocean at Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is very well organized, has modern equipment and all diving instructors are very friendly and helpful.
One of the most sought-after dive spots in the region is the Elphinstone Reef, which can only be diveped as an Advanced Open Water Diver. Since we only had the normal PADI Open Water certification, we decided to put the Advanced Course on it here on holiday. In total, we did 8 dives in Marsa Alam – four at our own house reef in Abu Dabbab Bay (which is really very well preserved!), one at the dive spot “around HalHaLa“, one at the “Coral Garden” and two dives at “Elphinstone Reef“.
And after the completed mandatory dives (night dive, deep dive, flow diving, navigation and fish ID) and a short test we are now finally PADI Advanced Open Water Diver 🙂
The video of our dives in Marsa Alam
We have seen above all many firefish, blue dot rays, moray eels, anemone fish, pusher fish, puffer fish, barracudas, turtles and a deep sea reef shark. The impressions of our dives can be found here in our dive video: