Egypt's North Coast is dotted with beach resorts and hotels that offer pricey accommodation in a bustling, crowded atmosphere, such as Porto Marina. Jaz Almaza Beach Resort offers serenity away from this noise.
Located just 38KM east of Marsa Matrouh, the resort is a good three-hour drive from Alexandria and around six from Cairo via the Wadi Natrun route. Once you get there, you’re hours away from anywhere else, except for Marsa Matruh; so don’t consider this a good accommodation option if you’re planning on partying it up in Marina or Marassi.
That being said, Jaz Almaza does offer a relaxing all-in-one experience, with its six pools, three restaurants, several bars and health club as well as kids' club. The best thing about the resort is its interior: one step into the elegantly designed reception with its mocha couches, large glass candle holders and subtle room incenses, and you know you’re getting your money’s worth in terms of chic sophistication.
The reception is a good omen for the rest of the hotel: a standard double room is furnished in dark wood, plush red cushions, cream walls and comfortable bedding. A standing shower, hairdryer and large ceramic sink make up the bathroom. Every room has a balcony, although the hotel’s definition of a sea view is questionable: you may be able to see the sea from a corner of your balcony; the hotel is laid out in a U-shape so that the rooms face the gardens and the swimming pools.
The biggest downside to the hotel rooms is the hotel’s internet service. Wi-Fi can be made available in your room, but it comes at a very steep charge: 176LE for a whole day and the password restricts use to only one computer; so business clients sharing a room may not be amused with this offer.
The hotel’s main restaurant provides pleasant buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with freshly baked bread, steamed vegetables and fresh fruit. At the time of this reviewer’s visit, the hotel was dominated by Italian tourists, and the chef had catered to their tastes with very Italian dinners, complete with antipasti, interesting insaladas and pasta - lots of pasta. For à-la-carte meals, Morgana Restaurant provides a calmer dining experience with a beach view, although you might be a little distracted by the loud Italian animation team on the beach nearby.
The beach itself is beautiful, with metres of white sand, large umbrellas and canvas chaiselounges. If you want to splurge, the hotel offers a large lodge room with white curtains and deep cushions on the beach for a very high 250LE per day. The water itself is a crystal turquoise; the way Mediterranean water should look. Although a little windy due to its location on an open bay, the sea offers a great swimming experience.
If that doesn’t suit you, you can choose from two very large pools, which are divided into three smaller sections each; so you can swim laps, float in the kids’ pool, or pick a quiet spot away from the screaming kids.
Two floodlit tennis courts, a table tennis area, a beach volleyball net and a baby-foot table are available, as is a health club with a gym, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room. Access to the health club's facilities costs 50LE per person, while use of the tennis court costs 50LE per hour. Watersports such as kayaks and paddle boats are available on the beach with a charge of 75LE per hour.
Every night the animation team gets the crowd dancing after dinner, if that’s your thing. If not, you can always choose from the Mezzanin or Mashrabeya Bar for a quiet drink and chat. There are supervised kids’ activities, meaning parents can get away for a few hours while their kids play group games.
Its location may be too far for some to consider, but Jaz Almaza Beach Resort offers the comfort and sophistication that would make your trip worthwhile. It’s a very family-friendly resort, and is large enough to give you space and privacy. And although you're paying high prices (50LE for gym use and 176LE for Wi-Fi is ridiculous when you're already paying 1400LE per room), the hotel's quality experience makes you begrudgingly forget the cash you've just doled out.
For the high season of summer 2011, the rates for a double room are 1400LE per room for bed and breakfast, and for the low season beginning on September 6th, 2011, the rates will drop to 900LE per room for bed and breakfast. For more information, contact Jaz Almaza at 0046 4360000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the site here.