5 independent reviews for Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

Reviews for Alternative Christmas & New Year in yoga holiday in Egypt

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review 13 Dec 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being in a relaxed and friendly place.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go diving as well as doing yoga. Make the most of the beautiful location by taking trips to the Sinai Mountains and St Catherine's Monastery.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, many people benefitted locally from the environmentally friendly hotel and tourism trade.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic experience!

review 31 May 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hike to Bedouin Village - I arranged locally outside of the tour operator trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If enjoy flow yoga and do regularly do not chose this yoga trip - do not do desert trip - takes you within walking distance of hotel, not 'desert' !

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

No.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Hotel - basic as advertised, but clean & good service generally. Yoga - not great experience, prefer flow yoga - great for absolute beginners, felt add on trips where rip off & would have missed out on sessions if not attended trips.

Read the operator's response here:

I always recommend people to do the Bedouin village trip and am happy to point them in the direction of people who can take them. The main purpose of the desert trip is not to "see" the desert as we go at night but to Meditate in the supreme silence of the desert which is what we do and then to have dinner cooked by local Bedouin in their traditional style. The holiday benefits local people hugely. As previously mentioned the desert meditation/dinner is totally run by local Bedouin. We employ locals for all our transportation needs, excursions and the hotel is owned by local Bedouin. Most of the employees at the hotel are locals. If someone doesn't want to come on a trip we still offer them their scheduled class.

review 5 Jan 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Dahab is a beautiful place and provides plenty of opportunities for activities, whether in the desert or by the beach. The people in the group were great and we made some great friends during the week.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

n/a

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Not too highly, unfortunately. As a single traveller, the price of the yoga package is fair. But as two persons travelling together, we effectively paid twice the amount for our room. The room was extremely basic (which we expected - the description of the room was "simple but comfortable") but also dirty and dingy (the room had not been thoroughly cleaned in a while - bathroom floor was dirty, shelves were dusty; the shower was old and rusting; the mosquito grid over the window was hanging off; sheets were washed but old and stained; the room was lacking even the most basic amenities like hooks to hang wet clothes). If we had booked the hotel without the yoga package, we would have paid EUR42 for our Double Mountain View A/C. But having both paid the same price for the yoga package, we effectively paid the equivalent of EUR94 for this room. I need to emphasise that the hotel location, gardens, pool, yoga room and especially the staff are wonderful. So we were surprised and disappointed at the standard of the room, considering the price we paid for it. Due to the flexibility of the yoga package, new people arrive every day to join the course. In addition, outside people are able to drop in for classes. This means that the level of the classes does not progress. Sadly the main yoga instructor did also not encourage individual growth during the week, making the classes very rigid and rather adapting the level to the lowest common denominator than letting people choose their own level of practice. We were very lucky that there was a guest instructor teaching the afternoon classes while were there, from which we benefited far more. Despite these disappointments, we enjoyed our holiday since Dahab is a beautiful place and the people made it a very fun week, both the local people and other people in the yoga classes. I would not, however, recommend this particular yoga package to other people. Several people from my yoga community in London (and from my mother's yoga community in Munich) were very interested to hear what it was like and I have had to tell them I do not recommend it.

Read the operator's response here:

I make a very special effort on first teaching a person to evaluate what I think they need to progress in their practise. I don't discuss it as it would take too long with a largish group such as yours, but it is none the less happening and you were in no way an exception. You may have heard me mention that the practise of hatha yoga is primarily to develop the mind, is for self enquiry, the physical benefits being secondary. Unfortunately in the west there tends to be far too much focus on the body therefore, in my opinion often missing the point. Had you voiced your grievances with me I would have been only too happy to discuss them and tried to give you what you wanted. As for the room. Again, had you mentioned it to me I would have done my best to improve matters. Regarding the price, this includes over and above the room cost, your classes, transport to and from the airport, the cost of the yoga room hire, myself and the team organizing excursions etc for you and doing our best to give you an enjoyable holiday, hopefully meeting your needs. I am glad you liked Veena's classes and other things. Wishing you and your mother all the very best for the coming year.

review 22 Oct 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting fitter and healthier through some great yoga. Snorkelling over the coral reef at Dahab, making new friends, waking up in the morning to a view of the Red Sea and Saudi Arabia in the distance, relaxing and chilling out. Many good memories!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Always wear sunscreen! Wash your hands after handling Egyptian money.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Definitely benefited local business owners and taxi drivers. But I was told by an ex-pat that the 'local' Bedouin are prohibited from working in the tourist industry and that many of the hotel workers were from the Nile Delta region. But generally yes the locals were very welcoming.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very very good : )

review 31 Aug 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The hotel staff and locals were very friendly. I chose to learn to dive whilst there too which was fabulous!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Ensure women take and wear appropriate clothes (it is a Muslim country and bare chests, shoulders and legs will offend and promotes an unhealthy view of white women). It is NOT a yoga retreat as the hotel is not solely accommodating yoga. There is also a dive centre attached and also the pool is open to non-residents who bring their children with them! If you are after a true retreat this is not the place for you.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Not sure that it did benefit local people? It did not minimise impacts on the environment as we all drank bottles and bottles of mineral water as the local water is not safe to drink. Also, there are no local facilities for recycling - Egypt is certainly behind in this regard.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was good but not great. I wanted a quiet, peaceful retreat and to practice and improve my yoga. The yoga teacher was not one of the regular teachers I understand (check this before you book if you want Barbara or Monica as they take leave in July/August). He did not teach us but showed us how to do the postures but his eyes remained firmly shut for almost the entire class! Almost every class there was a posture that only he was doing whilst the rest of us opted out - he was totally oblivious! He encouraged us to do postures that are not suitable for beginners despite being told that one of our group was a beginner! When I said that I had a sore back from the previous day he told me that I should just push through it and carry on!! I said that I thought I hadn't done the posture properly and wanted him to check me and he replied that my soreness wasn't down to the yoga! (and never did check any of our postures). On the other hand, his meditation was fabulous - definitely his strong point. I ended up doing my open Water Scuba Diving Course as it turned into that sort of holiday - a 'do it' rather than a relaxing one! I would not book this holiday again - it lacked any cohesion as no-one seemed to be running things from the yoga/hotel point of view. Not all the things indicated in the brochure are available - the Bedouin dinner ("there are not enough of you for that"), yoga on the beach ("no, it will only be in the yoga studio") and yoga under the stars (the teacher was not aware of this at all when he was asked).

Read the operator's response here:

Point 2: You should have received an info pack in advance which includes dress code. Re accommodation - I see your point and this is why we call it a Yoga Holiday on the website and state that you will be staying in hotel. We also state in the info-pack that there is a dive centre attached. We do now offer a Yoga Retreat as a separate holiday in a different location. I'm sorry for any mis-understanding on this point. If there is something you think I should change/re-write in our advertising please let me know. However, having run the holidays there for many years now, I have to say I find the yoga room extremely peaceful as I do the hotel in general which is why I have remained there. Point 3: With both these issues I'd say there is a lot going on behind the scenes that you would not be aware of as a tourist on a week's holiday there. I would say it hugely benefits local people as it gives them work which they wouldn't otherwise have. The local people of Dahab depend on tourism for their livelihood. Us being there offers them work at the hotel, driving taxis, selling their wears, plus all the work the diving creates for locals. More and more Egyptians are becoming instructors and by law each dive centre has to employ a certain ratio of instructors. The issue of re-cycling is huge in Dahab and we (ex pats mainly) have been working very hard with the government to try and put re-cycling in place, it is just beginning to happen, but it is very difficult when you are up against people who don't see it as necessary.

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