With the month of October upon us, now is a great time to head to the Red Sea resort of El Gouna, where the weather is pleasantly warm and the sun is not as scorching-hot as it is in Cairo. If you feel like spoiling yourself at a hotel by the Red Sea but have a budget, we highly recommend the Steigenberger Golf Resort in El Gouna.
Located between Abu Tig Marina and Kafr El Gouna/Downtown Gouna, Steigenberger Gold Resort has 196 rooms, 45 junior suites, thirteen family rooms and fourteen apartments. Aside from the two outdoor pools and two kids’ pools, the hotel also has an outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as a fitness and wellness centre famous for its expert Thai massages. As evident by its name, the hotel has an eighteen-hole USPGA championship golf course, which is located on an island across from the hotel’s main building.
However, even if you don’t play golf, you’ll enjoy the resort's two pools and lagoon beach, which is decked out with chaise longues and half-cabanas for privacy.
A standard double room at the hotel comes with either a king-size bed or two beds and is incredibly spacious with a large balcony at the end hosting two wooden chairs and a view of the lagoon or the pool. On the other end, you have the small bathroom with a standing shower and double-sink table. A large closet takes up one wall, and a flat-screen TV sits on the commode flanking the other. The only downside to this room was the satellite channels on TV, which were mostly local channels and obscure programs. We recommend opting for the lagoon view, as it looks onto the golf course island and the quiet lagoon, as opposed to the pool that might get noisy during the day.
A family room is perfect if you’re a family of four or a group of friends. The king-sized bed and fold-out couch can easily fit four people, while a small kitchenette comes with a kitchen counter, microwave and a flimsily stocked fridge. This room is also a great option if you’ve brought your food along and want to avoid dining at the hotel.
The Steigenberger’s cuisine is pleasant for hotel standards, though it won’t exactly blow you away. Our orders of burgers at the small pool were definitely less than satisfactory, though the buffet breakfast meal was decent with freshly baked bread, healthy smoothies and tasty waffles. Oddly enough, the breakfast buffet didn’t have a cheese platter display; instead you pick your cheese from a fridge counter and a chef will slice pieces according to your preference.
In the evening, dinner is served on the restaurant’s patio while live pop music is played by a singer with a keyboard. The music is not disturbingly loud, and it’s quite pleasant to enjoy a drink or meal by the pool at night under the Red Sea sky.
During the day, a shuttle boat leaves every hour to Zeitouna Beach if you want a change of scenery, though it’s also recommended that you order a Toktok for a mere 5LE per person and head out to Downtown Gouna or Abu Tig Marina for a meal. In Downtown Gouna, we’d recommend Jobo’s across from Tamr Henna, or you could spend the day by the pool at the Club House. At Abu Tig Marina, you can choose from Le Garage, Le Deauville, Maritim and Saigon for dinner, while Pier 88 is a great spot to end your night with a few drinks, as is Barten.
The staff at Steigenberger are courteous, amiable and eager to help. Free shuttle service is provided to and from Hurghada Airport, and the hotel can arrange for mini-buses to transport up to ten people anywhere in Hurghada for around 300LE one-way.
Normally, this popular hotel charges high rates of over 1000LE for a double room, but at the time of this reviewer’s visit, the hotel offered an amazing rate of 540LE for a standard double room on a bed and breakfast basis, which was great value for money.
Steigenberger is highly recommended for large groups of travellers or a couple seeking a quiet, pampered weekend.