Guest Post: Iberotel Il Mercato

This hotel was simply great. The few people that said it was not 5* and the food was not great really ought to stay at home in their “starred” accommodation and not bother to travel. The hotel was clean well run, the food was plentiful for all meals with an excellent variety. The fact that some dishes were repetitive was because the are attempting to give you beef,chicken, fish every meal and there is only so many ways you can cook the dishes. There was also sometime typical Egyptian dishes.The serving staff were always pleasant even when they were rushed off their feet. Sometimes when the restaurant was busy, you may have to wait for your ordered drinks—but hey, you are on holiday, have some patience and relax! The roof terrace was lovely and even could get late breakfast !!–if you missed the b/fast slot—not many hotel provide that facility. Lot of mineral water freely available under FI 4pools with two heated to a reasonable temp as we swam in Feb and it was not cold. Hotel had free transport to two beaches almost every hour till 5pm The Sky beach also could have snacks and drinks under your FI. This was also close to the Old Market which has better exchange rates than the hotel. Big credit to Asast Front desk Manager Aziz Ramadan, who inspite of being away during my stay left instructions of my request, and was brilliantly carried out by Emad El Dein. At the airport get your visas ( if you are going out of the Sinai peninsula, otherwise not reqd for Sharm) at the counter that says $15 and get one of your group to stand in the meantime in the Immigration Q which is very long and it will save time. Taxi from Sharm airport should be approx 50LE , but doesnt work out when you first arrive due to the cartel, but works fine in the reverse direction Altogether a brilliant holiday—good hotel, great weather 28deg in Feb and good food !!

Iberotel Il Mercato
Hadabet Om El Seed
Sharm El Sheikh
Egypt
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About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
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