Throw Back Thursday
Date visited: February 2011
I was unable to find any trip notes for this post so it consists mainly of photos! The text has been produced from memory which, after 12 years is pretty hazy.
Sharm el Sheik (or just ‘Sharm’) is located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. With its wide sandy beaches, warm clear sea and modern hotels, Sharm is a favoured holiday resort. The Red Sea coast is also popular with scuba divers due to the extensive coral reefs and excellent diving conditions.
Chris and I had taken James and Zoe during the school half term holidays in February and the 4 of us stayed in the Hilton Sharm Waterfalls hotel. Thankfully the hotel was large with a range of swimming pools, restaurants and activities as we were quite restricted on what we could do in Egypt at that time.
Many of the excursions were not taking place and tourist numbers had dropped away. This was because of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and with so much political unrest taking place we were lucky to have been able to even go on the holiday. Although this did restrict us we never felt unsafe and had a wonderful week in a lovely hotel in the sun.
Right outside the hotel on its little beach it was possible to snorkel from the end of this blue jetty where thousands of colourful fish could be seen. We didn’t have a go-pro or underwater camera at the time so unfortunately no underwater photographs are available.
The weather in February was warm enough to swim in the pools and the sea making this an ideal winter sun destination.
Within the complex Chillax was one of our favourite pool areas as it was quiet and low key and soft music was played continually. Ideal for relaxing and reading a book. Due to the political issues many tourists had cancelled or postponed trips to Egypt meaning the hotel was fairly empty.
The hotel had several pool tables and table tennis as well as a fitness centre and a wellness centre offering massages and different treatments.
We had booked interconnecting rooms meaning Chris and I had one room with an internal door connecting us to the twin room shared by James and Zoe. The rooms were fabulous – large and comfortable and located in a quiet part of the complex.
One excursion we all enjoyed was quad biking! We all had to wear head scarfs to protect our faces from the sand that would be kicked up from the quad bikes.
Into the desert!
Following our quad bike trip through the desert we returned to base where Chris and Zoe each had a ride on a camel. James and I declined (having had that experience in 2007 in Agadir and neither of us too keen to repeat it).
As mentioned, we were limited on the excursions we could take so we spent quite a bit of time in and around the hotel with its lovely grounds and gardens.
However on another day we had a great time in a submarine boat as it took us along a coral reef.
We all sat downstairs with amazing underwater views.
Taking this boat submarine trip is a good option for anyone who doesn’t like or is unable to snorkel. Quite a few kids were on board which meant it was quite noisy. However we saw an abundance of tropical fish swimming in and around the reef so a great experience.
The hotel had several dining options and we were able to try a selection of different types of food during the week. I had originally booked the hotel on a room only basis however upon arrival we were offered a good price to upgrade to all inclusive. Given the hotel was about 4 miles outside of Sharm we took this option and were able to stay in the hotel and enjoy the different options available.
One of our favourites was the Shish Bish bedouin style restaurant where we had to sit almost on the floor on low seating with rugs and cushions. This was open air and close to the sea and even in February it was warm enough to sit outside in the evening.
Above may have been the Paradise Reef restaurant which served Arabian dishes! As part of our all inclusive package we also visited the onsite Italian restaurant.
There was often stalls set up around the hotel resort to entice holidaymakers into buying something!
Sharm was a short 4 mile taxi drive from the hotel and for a change of scenery we did visit a couple of times. Due to the lack of tourists at that time, competition amongst taxi drivers was fierce and we were constantly bombarded with taxi taxi taxi as soon as we set foot out of the hotel.
As we walked through Sharm we found a large number of bars and restaurants. We found one along this street and sat outside on low cushions doing a bit of people watching.
While visiting Egypt during its revolution wasn’t perhaps the best time due to the various restrictions in place we still had a fabulous holiday. I had checked guidance on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office site and wouldn’t have gone had the FCO advised against travel to Sharm. We never felt unsafe at any time but then again we didn’t venture too far out of the hotel or resort and only participated in two organised excursions!
It is a wonderful place for snorkelling and scuba diving and a recommended winter sun destination. I had booked flights with EasyJet and found the hotel on Booking.com. With a short transfer of about 10 miles from the airport to the hotel this is very easy to book independently.
I have happy memories of this holiday 🙂