(preface: i was invited to enjoy 3 days 2 nights at the Hilton Taba as part of their PR effort using the Israeli blogging world. I was flattered to be invited and of course accepted)
Last week I spent a few days lounging around the pool in the Hilton Taba and it was glorious.
I invited my friend Channahboo to join me as it is her birthday today and I thought it would be a lovely way to celebrate. We bought our tickets for the bus online and took the midnight bus from the Tel Aviv central bus station at midnight. The trip down to Eilat and then over the border into Taba is suppose to take around 5 hours but we arrived in Eilat at 4:30am after a long night of dozing. By the way, the weather in Eilat and Taba is **so much hotter** than Tel Aviv but it has zero humidity.
We arrived earlier than expected and the hotel check in was at 2pm so we figured we’d spend some quality time in Eilat. At 4:30am nothing except for Aroma is open – not even the Three Monkey’s (Eilat’s famous pub).
We sat outside Aroma and relaxed over cawfee and croissants for a few hours. By the time the sun rose we were both exhausted and desperate to take a nap so we figured we’d head to Taba and see if we could just check in early.
Now in order to get to Taba you need to catch a cab to the Egyptian border and the hotel is situated right on the other side of the border. As we were crossing border control on the Israeli side we were asked for our Israeli passports. Once we crossed over onto the Egyptian side they wanted to see our non-israeli passports. Lucky for me I brought my American passport (I had debated bringing it but thought it might be better to bring it than not to).
On both sides of the border our passports were looked at no less than three times so we just kept our passports in our hands. Once we exited the Egyptian side of the border it was a 2 minute walk to the hotel. The hotel is directly next to the border crossing but you can only enter it through their main entrance which boasts another metal detector and luggage scanner. Security is tight which made me feel safer.
We walked up the main path to the hotel and upon our arrival at the check in desk we were greeted by a waiter with two glasses of cold mango/guava juice and cold towels to wipe our tired grimy faces. First impressions are everything and I knew at that moment that the service at the Hilton would be incredible and boy was I in a shock. Their service was even better than I ever dreamed possible. We both had green bands tied to our wrists to verify that we were guests who “paid” for half board. That meant breakfast and dinner were included in our package but not lunch and all the food/drink we could consume.
Our room wasnt available but they allowed us to check in and told us that at 2pm we could change rooms. We ascended to the top floor of the hotel and our room held a glorious view of the pool and the Red Sea. The color of the water is an incredible blue and I couldnt wait to jump in but exhaustion kicked in and we both agreed a nap was in order. We both layed down and there was a knock on the door from housekeeping asking if we wanted our room cleaned and I laughed and said we just arrived and there was no need. He returned twice, once with robes for the bathroom and hung them the way Napoleon would have been proud and the second time to bring us toothbrushes and razors.
Finally a nap was had by all. We awoke and said – beach time! So Channah and I changed into our swimming clothing, doused ourselves with sunscreen (boo to skin cancer) and headed downstairs. The pool chairs were all taken so we headed to the beach instead.
We were greeted by a hotel employee who grabbed our towels and placed them for us on the beach chairs. No less than 4 people came over to offer different hotel services like scuba-diving, manicures+pedicures, newspapers and massages. Channah signed up for the scuba-diving and we both signed up for massages. If we are on vacation, we should do it “right”. A few hours in the sun and we realized that we needed some nourishment and headed over to the Nelson’s Pub (a pub in the resort) where we both enjoyed a Micky Mouse (vanilla and cola float) Exhaustion kicked in and we both agreed a late afternoon nap was in order but first we needed to check back in with the front desk to see what the story was w/ our original room. The room was ready but on a lower floor and we decided to stay where we were – the view was too divine.
We napped for a bit a then got dressed for dinner. According to the hotel guidebook you must be dressed up in order to enter the dinning hall. Lucky for us we both brought non-beach clothing and got all dolled up. Now in order to enter the dinning hall you need to squirt a bit of hand sanitizer on both hands. I am not a fan of that stuff but if it keeps the germs out- i am all for it.
I am not such a fan of hotel food or buffets but I could taste the difference between Egyptian produce and Israeli produce. You would think that the veggies would taste similar but they were worlds apart. Israeli veggies are so much better than anyone else.
After dinner we decided to take a walk around the resort and ended up swinging in the hammocks for a bit. The rocking left us wanting sleep and we headed off to bed.
stay tuned for day 2