22 August 2009

Sharm el-Sheikh

We only booked 2 nights in Sharm el-Sheikh, partly because of the cost of staying there, but also because of the unfavourable write-up that it had in the Lonely Planet Egypt book.
Of all the travel guides that are available we think that the Lonely Planet books are by far the best. The're more detailed, have more maps and reviews, and generally tell you most things that you need to know to get from A to B and what there is to see when you get there. We rarely go anywhere without one, we even have the UK one for when we're at home.

Our main criticism of them though is that anything that is geared more to the package tourism end of the market usually gets slagged off, sometimes quite unfairly. There's an occasional whiff of inverted snobbery where if your not sleeping in an isolated mud hut in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity and a five mile hike to the nearest water supply, then you're just a no good for nothing package tourist scum bag who's hell bent on destroying the environment.

Sharm el-Sheikh is most definately and unashamedly a package tour resort that caters mainly for the needs of Western tourists. The Na'ama Bay area where we stayed consists of a 1km wide bay lined with four and five star all inclusive resorts, shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

As a result the Lonely Planet says you should avoid it or risk being turned into a pillar of salt.
At the end of the day it is what it is and even though it's very package tour orientated, we really liked it. And it's a dam sight prettier than the heinous mess that is Hurghada.

Our stay at the Hilton Sharm Dreams Resort was probably the best bargain we've had so far on this trip. Prior to arrival we were a bit suspicious that our £33 per night deal through kayak may have had some sort of sneaky catch involved with it. It wasn't the case and we had a great couple of nights (once we recovered from the nightmare journey to get there). We had a lovely room with the obligatory towel art, huge buffet breakfast, and best of all, use of the private beach at the even more expensive Hilton Fayrouz Village hotel next door.

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