Unexpected change of hotel on arrival at airport at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Hi, we hope you can help.
 
We recently returned from an unbelievably disappointing 1 week (25th October 2008– 1st November 2008) All Inclusive stay at the [NAME OF HOTEL] in Sharm El-Sheik.
 
We spent 3-4 weeks deciding on which hotel to book in Sharm El-Sheikh and decided on the [NAME] sister hotel ([NAME]). We saw the holiday advertised on the LIBRA website but decided to go into our local branch of [TOUR OPERATOR AGENCY] travel to see if you had any deals available. They hadn’t, but were able to book the same holiday through Libra so we happily booked it. We paid nearly £2400 in total for a 1 week stay for 2 people at the [NAME OF HOTEL] which included an upgrade to stay in a “superior room”. We happily paid the upgrade as we were under the impression that this would mean we weren’t in the sports wing of the [NAME] complex (which has bad reviews) and in the front of the hotel next to the beach as we definitely wanted a hotel with a beach. As we knew there were 3 [NAME] hotels in the Sharm area we watched the lady at [NAME] book the holiday on her computer screen which she did correctly so the holiday was booked correctly . The lady in [NAME] gave us a printed confirmation letter ready to pick up our tickets on departure. For 2 weeks we emailed the [NAME] to confirm we had a room outside of their sports wing (which we didn’t want to stay in i.e. the upgrade charge). We had no response from the hotel so we spoke to a lady at [NAME] 2 weeks before we left to try to confirm this but you couldn’t. We then got a call from [NAME] about 3 days before our departure date to let us know the return flights had changed which we were happy with as it wasn’t a big deal. On the same phone call we again asked for confirmation on room allocation which [NAME] said they’d sort out. [NAME] spoke with Libra and called us back within 2 hours to let us know Libra could not confirm, only that the upgrade we paid was for a superior room. After spending 3 weeks researching the hotel we knew they didn’t sell “superior” rooms, only standard rooms or suites. When we again brought this up and told t he lady from the [NAME] shop she said she didn’t know what “superior” was, only that we’d paid an upgrade for it so we wouldn’t be in the sports area.
 
We received another confirmation letter from Libra on Friday 24th October re-confirming flight times etc. (at 6pm, when we got home from work the night before we flew from Manchester at 4 am).
 
When we arrived at Sharm airport we were met by the LIBRA reps who told us that we weren’t staying in the [NAME OF HOTEL] in the centre of Naama Bay but we were staying in their sister hotel, the [NAME OF HOTEL] which is 20 minutes away by taxi. After re-checking the last letter from Libra it does state the different hotel but there is no mention in the letter that it was changed (not that we could have done anything about it by then).
 
After trying to tell the tour rep that we booked the [NAME OF HOTEL] he told us that we couldn’t as LIBRA had lost the contract with that complex so we had been transferred to the other hotel. We told the rep this was unacceptable but he said there was nothing we could do. We also asked to be moved to the [NAME] resort as we knew this had a beach and we were told they were full so again there was nothing we could do. He also told us that the Manager of the hotel had emailed to let us know, which was total rubbish; I’d checked my emails every day for the 2 weeks leading up to departure and no email had arrived.
 
At this point, nearly 3000 miles from home, we decided to give the hotel a chance.
 
Check in took an hour after reception admitted to forgetting about us. The hotel is well laid out the rooms are spacious and look clean. There’s a horrible musky smell from the drains that appears from nowhere every day but goes quite quickly so we didn’t make a fuss of this.
 
The “all inclusive” deal is absolutely atrocious. You have the choice of the same regurgitated slop served every other night in the buffet. There’s lots of choice but that filters away when you narrow it down to food that’s been cooked properly and you feel confident is safe to eat. The pool bar and beach bar both have set menus for “all inclusive” with very, very little choice, unfortunately the choices you do have are for an incredibly low quality of food.
 
The service is also abysmal. The waiters don’t even put out cutlery on your table unless you specifically ask them, some people were sat with hot food going cold waiting for the waiters to finish joking around with each other and go over to them. Please don’t get me wrong, we always say please & thank you to the staff and are always polite but a lot of the time they don’t return the courtesy. I found the bar staff ignore you until they’re ready to serve you, not through being busy and they make “all inclusive” guests feel like second class citizens. On our last night I even saw the manager of the piano bar taking gulps straight from a fresh orange carton behind the bar which the barman was serving to customers.
 
One lady who arrived later in the week demanded to see the General Manager to complain. She told him she felt there was a distinct difference in the way the “all inclusive” guests were treated compared to guests without the red wristband and she felt they were treated like second class citizens. To this he replied that he agreed, he took on the hotel 18 months ago and never wanted it to be “all inclusive” so doesn’t promote it. She stated that whilst “all inclusive” may not mean paying there and then at the time of purchase, people have paid a premium up front for that service and whether he personally agreed with it or not that should not determine the level of choice and service we receive. His reply was that he wasn’t prepared to do anything.  We’re both incredibly disappointed and will never go back to this hotel again. We had a budget of £1500 to spend on a week’s bed & breakfast or £2000/£2200 to spend all inclusive. We opted for all inclusive which left us with no extra money to spend on eating or drinking outside of the complex so there was nothing we could do. The holiday was paid for by my wife’s redundancy package so she could have a relaxing break before starting her new job. Instead we had a week of stress and misery at the hands of [NAME]
 
We’ve wrote a very similar complaint letter to Libra as we felt they complately mis-sold the holiday to the point that the hotel we wanted was on their website the day before we flew and the day after we got back the hotel could no longer be booked through them. we recived a letter in response yesterday from Libra who have said they’ve investigated our complaint and there is nothing they can and our grievance is with [TOUR OPERATOR AGENCY].
 
We would like some advice on what to do next as we felt they mis-represented the holiday at time of booking (they could have let us know prior to departure when we were chasing them for room confirmation) and didn’t give us any choices for alternate accomaodation on arrival.  – (EM 6.1.09)

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