Egypt – Hurghada – Part 1

RO: Dupa un an si jumatate in care nu am calatorit deloc inafara tarii, dupa atata vreme in care efectiv am tanjit dupa miros de kerosen si dupa zboruri… oriunde, dupa nasterea Anastasiei, dupa nopti nedormite si oboseala acumulata dar mai ales dupa mutarea care ne-a sleit de puteri, excursia in Egipt a aparut intocmai ca un print salvator pe cal alb :))) A fost o plecare destul de spontana, in urma invitatiei celor de la hotelul Steigenberger Aqua Magic din Hurghada. Am avut cateva ganduri si ingrijorari in prima faza (in urma pandemiei ne-am pierdut din antrenamentul calatoriilor si mai ales din indrazneala) insa apoi ne-am hotarat sa onoram aceasta invitatie. Aveam nevoie de o vacanta si de o schimbare de peisaj ca de aer. Iar Egipt era ca o… provocare, pentru ca nu stiam mai nimic despre aceasta destinatie. 

EN: After one and a half year since we haven’t traveled abroad at all, after so much time of longing for the smell of kerosene and flights to… any destination, after the birth of Anastasia, after sleepless nights and accumulated fatigue, but especially after an exhausting move to a new house, the trip to Egypt appeared just like a saving prince on a white horse :))) It was a rather spontaneous departure thanks to the invitation of the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada. We had some thoughts and worries in the first phase (after the pandemic we lost our practice in terms of traveling and especially our audacity) but then we decided to honor this invitation. We needed a vacation and a change of scenery. Aand Egypt was like a… challenge, as we didn’t know much about this destination.

RO: Nu am fost niciodata intr-o vacanta in resort all inclusive. Pentru ca nu a fost cazul. Cata vreme nu am avut copii am preferat sa mergem cat mai departe si mai putin confortabil posibil, iar apoi cand a aparut Alexei ne-am continuat in mare parte aceleasi obiceiuri, alegand poate destinatii mai sigure. Insa de cand suntem parinti de doi copii, nimic nu ne suna mai tentant si mai relaxant ca o vacanta in care sa primim totul de-a gata. In care sa nu fie nevoie sa ne ocupam de nimic, sa nu alergam dintr-o parte in alta, sa nu ne stresam cu eventuale probleme sau lucruri imprevizibile ce pot sa apara, sa nu citim reviewuri, sa nu facem liste de vizitat, sa nu gatim, sa nu facem cumparaturi, sa nu inchiriem masini, scaune auto si-alte cele. Cu alte cuvinte, o vacanta in care sa stam. Doar sa stam. Da, am zis de nu stim cate ori in viata asta ca nu vom merge in vacante all inclusive, ca nu ni se potrivesc, ca preferam experientele mai aventuroase etc. Am spus de toate de-a lungul timpului, pana cand am realizat ca vine o vreme pentru toate acele “eu niciodata nu voi…” 🙂 Iar in momentul acesta al vietii noastre, cu doi copii mici si cu multa oboseala acumulata, a venit fix vremea vacantelor all inclusive. Deci invitatia celor de la Steigenberger a venit la fixul fixului, motiv pentru care nu am vrut sa o refuzam. 

EN: We have never been in an all inclusive vacation. Because we never needed one. As long as we did not have children we preferred to go as far as possible and then, when Alexei was born we continued with more or less the same habits, maybe choosing safer destinations. But since we have two children, nothing sounds more tempting or more relaxing than a vacation where we can have everything in one place. Where we don’t have to do absolutely anything, we don’t have to wander from one place to another, to stress about different problems or unpredictable things that might occur, read reviews, make list of sightseeing, cook, shop, rent a car, car seats for kids and so on and so forth. In other words, a vacation to… stay. Just stay. Yes, we’ve said it several times before that we will never go in all inclusive vacations, that these are not for us, because we prefer more adventurous experience etc. We said so many things over the time, until we realized that there is a moment in life for all those “I will never…” 🙂 And in this moment of our lives, with two small children and a lot of accumulated tiredness, it’s time for all inclusive vacations. So the invitation from Steigenberger came just in time for us, so we couldn’t refuse it.

RO: Luna august nu e tocmai indicata pentru calatorit in Egipt, temperaturile sunt foarte ridicate, iar pentru o familie cu copii mici poate fi destul de neplacut. Insa daca nu sunt planuri de calatorit foarte mult, de facut excursii indepartate, poate fi o varianta pentru ca preturile sunt mai mici iar resorturile mai putin aglomerate. In cazul nostru, am avut un noroc chior de vreme nesperat de buna. Dimineata cand plecam la plaja (ora 8) erau cam 28 de grade iar la 11-11:30 cand ne indreptam spre camera erau deja inspre 40. La pranz, cand era cel mai cald, stateam in camera pentru somnul copiilor (si uneori al nostru :D) iar dupa amiaza ieseam din nou la plaja dupa ora 5, cand temperaturile incepeau sa scada din nou (soarele apunea la 6, 6 si un pic in perioada aceasta). Insa zi de zi a batut vantul, mai ales seara, iar asta facea ca temperaturile sa fie mai usor de suportat. 

EN: August is not precisely the best time to travel to Egypt, the temperatures are very high and for a family with small children can be quite unpleasant. But if there aren’t plans of traveling too much or going in faraway excursions it can be an option as the prices are lower and the resorts are less crowded. In our case, we were extremely lucky to have great weather. In the morning when we were going to the beach (8AM) there were around 28 degrees and around 11-11:30 when we were heading to the hotel there were already 40 degrees. At noon, when it was the hottest, we were staying in the room for our children’s nap (and sometimes ours :D) and in the afternoon we were going out again at the beach around 5PM, when the temperatures were starting to decrease again (sun was going down at 6, 6 and a bit). But every day was windy, especially in the evening, which made the high temperatures easier to bear.


RO: Buuun, am calatorit catre Hurghada cu Anima Wings (charter oferit de Christian Tour) iar zborul catre Hurghada a fost de 2 ore si 45 de minute. Desi ne gandeam ca vom fi printre putinii care vor calatori in Egipt in august, avionul a fost aproape plin (aveam sa vedem ulterior ca si hotelul la fel – 70% grad de ocupare, conform regulilor covid din Egipt). Referitor la covid, in momentul in care am calatorit noi, regulile erau acestea: Andrei a trebuit sa prezinte certificatul de vaccinare, iar eu, pentru ca nu aveam 10 zile de la rapel, am avut nevoie de testare PCR cu maxim 72 ore inainte. Ni s-au verificat aceste documente atat la checkin cat si la aterizare, in avion. Nu am putut iesi din avion pana cand nu ni s-au controlat documentele (dovada vaccinului sau testul PCR plus o declaratie covid ceruta de guvernul Egiptului (aceasta) pe care noi nu am avut-o (nu stiam ca ne trebuie) dar pe care am primit-o si completat-o in avion. La intrarea in aeroport a trebuit sa cumparam vize pentru toti patru (25 dolari de persoana, valabila 30 zile, neaparat de platit cash daca se ia la fata locului in aeroport – am aflat ulterior ca se poate obtine si online cu 7-8 zile inainte insa nu am stiut atunci cand am plecat). Cand am iesit din aeroport am fost directionati catre autocarele Christian Tour care faceau transferurile catre hoteluri (era o parcare uriasa plina de autocare). Drumul catre hotel a durat aproximativ 10 minute. 

EN: Ooook, so we traveled to Hurghada with Anima Wings (charter offered by Christian Tour) and the flight to Hurghada was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Even though we thought that we will be some of the few that will travel to Egypt in August, the plane was almost full (we would eventually see that the hotel as well – 70% full, according to the regulations in Egypt). Regarding covid, at the moment we traveled, the rules were these ones: Andrei had to present the vaccination certificate and me, because I did not have 10 days from the second dose of the vaccine, I needed a PCR test made with maximum 72 hours prior to departure. These documents have been checked at the check in desk and also when we landed, in the airplane. We could not exist the airplane until we haven’t had our documents checked (the proof of the vaccine or the PCR test and also a covid declaration requested by the Egyptian government (this one) which we didn’t have (we didn’t know we needed it) but we received it and filled it in in the airplane. In the airport we had to buy visas for all four of us (25 dollars per person, available for 30 days, paid in cash if bought from the airport – we eventually found out that it can be obtained online with 7-8 days before departure but we didn’t know this when we left). When we exited the airport we were guided to the Christian Tour buses for the hotel transfer (it was a huge parking full of buses). The transfer to the hotel lasted approximately 10 minutes.

RO: Dupa cum spuneam mai sus, am fost cazati la hotel Steigenberger AquaMagic (este un resort de 5 stele) si pentru ca suntem… multi :D, am avut rezervata o camera Family (un dormitor si un living cu doua paturi de o persoana). Am avut inclusiv un patut de bebelus pe care evident, nu l-am folosit. Hotelul este urias, absolut urias, sunt mai multe cladiri conectate prin pasaje, mai multe piscine, restaurante, locuri de joaca pentru copii, spa, zone adults only si tot felul de alte facilitati. Este un fel de mic orasel, cu absolut tot ce am putea avea nevoie inauntru, de la magazine diverse (este chiar si un souk in hotel) pana la farmacie. Iar in cele ce urmeaza in acest articol vom vorbi foarte in detaliu despre cum ni s-a parut acest hotel, cu plusuri si minusuri. Chiar daca a fost o invitatie si o vacanta sponsorizata de cei de la Steingenberger AquaMagic, vom mentiona si lucrurile care nu ne-au placut sau care nu s-au ridicat poate la nivelul asteptarilor noastre. 

EN: As we were saying above, we stayed at Steigenberger AquaMagic hotel (this is a 5 stars resort) and because we are… so many :D, we booked a Family Room (a bedroom and a living room with two single beds). We even had a baby crib which of course, we didn’t use. The hotel is huge, absolutely huge, there are many buildings connected through passages, lots of pools, restaurants, playgrounds, spa area, adults only areas and all sort of facilities. It’s like a small town, with absolutely everything we could wish for inside, from all type of shops (there is even a souk inside the resort) to pharmacy. And in this article we will detail our experience at this hotel, with ups and downs. Even though it was a sponsored vacation, we will also mention the things that we didn’t like or that weren’t as good as we would have expected.


RO: Inainte de a incepe as vrea sa spun si faptul ca in momentul in care am anuntat in social media ca vom merge la acest hotel, am primit o avalansa de mesaje de la persoane care au fost deja in vacante aici (este un hotel foarte popular printre romani, e foarte cunoscut si apreciat, de regula in topul preferintelor). Multe dintre ele erau recenzii foarte pozitive, insa au fost si cateva care ne-au ingrijorat destul de mult, indeosebi legat de camere sau de curatenie. Camera noastra a fost o camera mare, spatioasa, baia la fel. Nu era o camera luxoasa (cum am tinde sa ne asteptam atunci cand ne gandim la un hotel de 5 stele) dar era o camera mare, ceea ce aveam noi nevoie de fapt. Intr-adevar mobila ar avea nevoie de un upgrade si poate ca ar fi binevenite niste imbunatatiri pe ici pe colo (tocurile usilor tocite sau sinele draperiilor defecte) insa in general am fost multumiti de camera. Cat despre curatenie, este clar ca standardele europene de curatenie nu se aliniaza cu cele egiptene, este si o componenta culturala pana la urma. Chiar si cand am primit camera (deci cand era proaspat curatata) am vazut ca pernele decorative de pe pat erau murdare, patate, iar pe parcursul saptamanii petrecute aici am observat ca si curatenia de zi cu zi era mai… superficiala pentru preferintele noastre. Acelasi lucru l-am primit ca feedback si de la alti romani cu care ne-am intalnit prin resort, care ne-au sfatuit sa raportam orice problema la receptie, unui manager, pentru ca se solutioneaza. Si intr-adevar, asa este, sunt foarte prompti in rezolvarea oricarei probleme, atata doar ca reactioneaza reactiv 🙂 Noi am stat in cladirea principala (cea unde se afla si receptia), la etajul 3 (am avut camera 2314), cu vedere inspre piscina de copii (cea cu barca de pirati). In mod normal am spune ca am fi preferat o pozitionare mai linistita daaaar privelistea de pe balcon era distractia suprema pentru Alexei (ii era teama sa se dea in distractiile de la piscina de copii dar ii placea la nebunie sa ii priveasca pe alti copii cum se jucau). Iar faptul ca ne aflam la etajul 3 (deci mai sus) ne-a permis sa vedem niste apusuri absolut geniale! Si in plus in unele zile se vedeau minunat muntii. Iar aeroportul fiind atat de aproape, zi de zi urmaream avioanele la aterizare (deci spre bucuria lui Andrei am reusit sa facem si putin spotting de pe coridor :D). 

EN: But before we will start, I would like to mention the fact that when we announced in social media that we will go to this hotel, we received lots of messages from persons that have already been here (this seems to be a very popular hotel among Romanians, it is well known and appreciated, usually in the top of the preferences). Lots of them were positive reviews but there were some other that worried us a bit, especially related to the rooms or cleanliness. Our room was a big, spacious room, the bathroom as well. It was not a luxurious room (as we might expect when we think about a 5 stars hotel) but it was a big room, which we actually needed. Indeed, the furniture might need a bit of upgrade and maybe some improvements here and there might be needed (the door frame was very old, the rails of the curtains were broken) but in general we were pleased with the room. As for the cleanliness, it is clear that the European standard of cleanliness are not the same with the Egyptian ones, but this is also a cultural thing in the end. Even when we received the room (so when it was recently cleaned) we’ve seen that some decorative pillows were dirty and spotted and during the week we spent here we noticed that the daily cleaning was… a bit superficial for our preferences. We received the same feedback from other Romanians we met at the resort, and they advised us to report every problem to the reception, to a manager, because it gets solved. And indeed, it is true, they are very prompt in solving every problem, just that they do it in a reactive way 🙂 We stayed in the main building (the one where the reception is), at 3rd floor (we had room 2314), with a view to the children pool (the one with the pirates ship). Normally we would say that we would have preferred a more tranquil position buuuuut the view from the balcony of the room was the supreme amusement for Alexei (he was afraid of playing there but he loved watching other children doing it). And thanks to the fact that we were staying at the third floor (so higher) allowed us to see some gorgeous sunsets! Besides, in some days we could see the mountains. And thanks to the fact that the airport was so close, we could watch the airplanes landing every day (so to Andrei’s happiness, we did some airplane spotting on the corridor).


RO: Cat despre facilitati… nici nu stim cu ce sa incepem mai intai 🙂 Au mai multe piscine, peste tot prin resort, inclusiv piscina pentru copii nu foarte adanca (40cm doar, cea cu barca de pirati) sau piscina doar pentru adulti (la ultimul etaj al uneia dintre cladiri, cu priveliste minunata catre tot resortul si catre mare), un Aqua Park cu tobogane (nu ne-am incumetat sa le incercam :D) sau un rau (Lazy River) care inconjoara resortul. Fiecare piscina are bar unde bauturile locale sunt incluse in pachetul all inclusive (mai putin cele de import cum ar fi vinurile internationale sau berea Heineken – au o obsesie pentru berea Heineken din cate am observat :D). Apa imbuteliata este peste tot, nu ne-a lipsit niciun moment. Nu exista foarte multe locuri cu umbra, sunt doar cateva sub niste copaci (pe care am incercat sa le prindem in fiecare zi in care am stat la piscina, ca sa putem sa evitam soarele puternic). Insa dupa ora 4 soarele se duce dupa hotel si intreaga incinta este umbrita (pentru noi era perfect pentru ca ieseam la plaja doar dimineata si dupa amiaza dupa somnul copiilor). In a doua parte a zilei prindeam cam doua ore de lumina (soarele apunea pe la 6-6:30). 

EN: As for the facilities… we don’t even know what to mention first 🙂 They have lots of pools in the resort, including a children pool, not very deep (just 40cm, the one with the pirates boat) or an adults only pool (at the last floor of one of the buildings, with lovely view toward the entire resort and to the seaside), an Aqua Park with water slides(we didn’t dare to try them :D) or a river (Lazy River) that surrounds the resort. Every pool has a bar where local drinks are included in the all inclusive package (except the imported ones, as international wines or Heineken beer – we noticed they have an obsession for Heineken beer :D). Bottled water can be found anywhere, we always had it at hand. There aren’t too many sun beds with shade, there are just a few under some trees (we tried to get those ones so that we can avoid the bright sun). But after 4 o’clock the sun goes behind the hotel and the entire courtyard is shaded (for us it was perfect because we were going to the beach in the morning and in the afternoon, after the afternoon nap). In the second part of the day we still had two hours of sunlight (the sun was going down at 6-6:30).


RO: La capitolul mancare… e nebunie. Exista un restaurant principal (Magic Flavors) de tip autoservire (din cauza pandemiei nu mai este chiar autoservire, sunt angajati care servesc astfel incat turistii sa nu atinga vasele si ustensilele), unde mancarea este extrem de variata si foarte buna. Chiar si eu, vegetariana fiind si incercand in ultima vreme sa renunt la lactate, am avut extrem de multe variante din care sa aleg. Singurul lucru care ne-a placut mai putin la acest restaurant a fost faptul ca era cam haos, aglomerat si galagie, o forfota continua si obositoare. Ca sa evitam toata agitatia preferam sa coboram la cina chiar cand deschidea restaurantul (la ora 18:00) si evitam orele mai tarzii cand se aglomera. Insa mai exista si trei restaurante a la carte (incluse in pachetul all inclusive), cu specific variat, unde fiecare familie poate sa faca o rezervare pe saptamana pentru cina. Indicat ar fi insa ca rezervarile sa se faca chiar in prima zi in care se ajunge la hotel, este bataie destul de mare pe aceste restaurante a la carte. Fiecare restaurant are insa si un meniu care se plateste in plus, cu preparate mai deosebite (noi nu le-am incercat). Este un restaurant cu specific italian (Palappa) care noua ne-a placut enorm, unul cu specific oriental (Orient) unde a fost geniala mancarea (si foarte multa) si unul cu specific international (Sky Restaurant) care ne-a placut mai putin ca mancare (e foarte buna insa comparand cu celelalte doua, ni s-a parut sub ele) dar care se afla pe acoperisul cladirii principale si de unde se vede o priveliste foarte frumoasa. Si un apus minunat. Si avioane la aterizare/decolare 🙂 Stiu ca citisem niste reviewuri negative legate de mancare inainte de a pleca, insa noua ni s-a parut ca efectiv nu aveam niciun motiv sa ne plangem de mancare. Ni s-a parut si variata, si buna, si poate chiar prea multa 🙂 Mai exista si alte restaurante a la carte care insa nu sunt incluse in pachetul all inclusive, am fi vrut sa incercam si noi unul dintre ele cu un show live de gatit mancare asiatica (restaurantul Samurai Teppanyaki) insa din cauza unui episod bebelusesc mai dificil nu am mai reusit sa ajungem. La toate aceste restaurante care nu sunt incluse in pachetul all inclusive oaspetii de la Steigenberger Aqua Magic au 20% reducere (cei de la Steigenberger Aldau si Pure Lifestyle le au incluse in pachet si pe acestea).

EN: When it comes to food… it’s a total madness. There is a main restaurant (Magic Flavors) a cafeteria (due to the pandemic there is staff serving the food so that the tourists do not touch the bowls and tools), where the food is diversified and very good. Even me, a vegetarian trying to give up dairy as well, had plenty of options to choose from. The only thing we didn’t like so much about this restaurant was the fact that it was a bit chaotic, crowded and noisy, a continuous hustle and bustle. To avoid all this fuss, we preferred to go to dinner precisely when the restaurant was opening (at 6PM). But there are three other a la carte restaurants (included in the all inclusive package) with different gastronomy, where each family could make a reservation per week for dinner. It would be best to make these reservations in the first day because these restaurants are quite requested. Each restaurant also has a menu that is not included in the package, with special dishes (we haven’t tried them). There is an Italian restaurant (Palappa) which we loved, an oriental one (Orient) where the food was amazing (and plenty of it) and an international one (Sky Restaurant) where we didn’t like the food so much (it is good but compared with the other two we found it less impressive) but it’s on the top floor of the main building and it has a beautiful view. And a gorgeous sunset. And airplanes landing and taking of 🙂 Before we left, we read some negative reviews about the food, but we didn’t found any reason to complain about the food. We found it diversified, good and sometimes maybe too much 🙂 There are also some other a la carte restaurants in the resort that are not included in the all inclusive package, we even wanted to try one of them with a live cooking show (Samurai Teppanyaki restaurant) but because of a difficult evening with our baby Anastasia we couldn’t go. All these restaurants that are not included in the all inclusive package have a 20% discount for AquaMagic guests (guests from Steigenberger Aldau and Pure Lifestyle have them included in the package).


RO: Hotelul are si o plaja privata, insa nu e situat fix pe plaja. Dar nici departe de ea. Pentru a ajunge la plaja se iese din resortul Steigenberger AquaMagic, se traverseaza o strada, se intra in resortul Steigenberger Aldau si apoi fie se merge pe jos prin tot resortul pana la plaja (cam 5-7 minute de mers pe jos), fie se ia o masinuta de golf care ne lasa fix la plaja. Teoretic e foarte aproape plaja, practic pare un pic cam departe (pentru noi cel putin) pentru ca nu e umbra, se merge direct prin soare iar daca avem bagaje multe (si bineinteles ca avem :D) e putin mai dificil. Dar plaja e foarte frumoasa, sunt sezlonguri cu umbrele mari si paravane pentru intimitate (ambele tin umbra chiar bine, pe tot parcursul zilei), este un stand de prosoape acolo (deci nu trebuie aduse de la hotel) si un bar (unde bauturile sunt incluse, precum si un light lunch cu sandwichuri si pizza de la 12 la 5). Apa este mica si se adanceste lin, e perfect pentru familii cu copii, iar plaja e de nisip, nu pietre. Nu e cel mai fin nisip dar e nisip, perfect pentru joaca. Plaja se cam aglomereaza dupa ora 10, noi intotdeauna am mers la plaja inainte de ora 9 (pe la 8:30) si am prins sezlonguri in primul rand. Soarele arde puternic inca de la prima ora, asa ca am folosit din plin creme de plaja cu SPF50, si pentru noi si pentru Alexei. Pe Anastasia am ferit-o complet de soare si nu am dat-o cu creme (o imbracam cu bluzite lungi de matase, foarte subtiri si o tineam de cele mai multe ori in carucior, cu copertina trasa si cu umbrela caruciorului deschisa, la umbra umbrelei mari). 

EN: The hotel also has a private beach, but it is not directly on the beach. It’s not too far from it either. To get to the beach, guests have to go out of the Steigenberger AquaMagic resort, cross the street, go into the Steigenberger Aldau resort and then either walk through the resort to the beach (5-7 minutes walking) or take a golf car that take them to the beach. In theory, it is very close to the beach, but in practice it seems a bit far away (at least for us) because there is no shade and the walk is through the heat and if we had all sort of luggage with us (and of course we had :D) it was a bit difficult. But the beach is really nice, there are sun beds with big umbrellas and shields for intimacy (both of them kept good shade during the day), there is a towel rack on the beach (so there is no need to bring them from the hotel) and a bar (where the drinks are included, as well as a light lunch with sandwiches and pizza from 12 to 5). The water is not too deep and it deepens slowly, it is perfect for families with children and the beach is sandy, not rocky. It is not the finest sand in the world, but it is sand, perfect for playing. The beach gets a bit crowded after 10AM, we were always going to the beach before 9AM (around 8:30) and we always found sun beds in the first row. The sun is scorching from the first hour so we used plenty of SPF50 sun creams, for us and also for Alexei. We kept Anastasia away from the sun completely so we didn’t use sun cream for her (we were dressing her in long silk blouses, really light ones, and kept her in the stroller, with the sun blind and the stroller umbrella opened).

*** Continuarea in cea de-a doua parte a articolului / To be continued in the second part of the article ***

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