Marian King, from Lucan, Co Dublin, was staying at the Bellevue hotel,which is next to its sister hotel the Imperial Marhaba, when the killings began.
“On the way to the lobby, there were people looking out the window and said it seemed somebody had been shot on the beach,” she said.
“Then when I got into the actual lobby itself a British lady came running in, screaming that her husband had been shot and that he was lying on a sunbed on the beach covered in blood.
“She kept saying she needed to know if he was dead or alive and she kept trying to get out to go see if he was alive still.
“And at that point, it was becoming apparent that something was terribly wrong. People were rushing into the hotel from the beach area so the hotel staff couldn’t actually let her back out again for her own safety.”
The hotel staff instructed everyone to get to a hotel room and lock the door.
“As soon as we went into the room, complete panic broke out. There was a stampede of people in the corridor screaming ‘He has a gun. He has a gun.’ And they were just running frantically, banging on doors and pleading to be let into rooms for safety,” she said.
“There was a huge gun battle outside the window. We knew it was something major. We knew it was automatic gunfire, that was really obvious, so we knew there was something very, very serious going on.”
After about an hour, Marian — who was in a room with her children, an Irish couple, a British couple, and a Tunisian maid — decided to turn on the TV to find out what was going on.
Reports of there being only one gunman, she said, were wrong: “There are many of us that definitely believe there was more than one gunman and believe that somebody came through the hotel. It was enough to spark a huge panic among a lot of people who ran down corridors banging on doors screaming to be let in.
“When we left, the hotel manager was crying, staff were crying, the staff asking us would there be jobs for them in Ireland. I met a lady at the bathroom at the airport and she just kept saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry’.”