The citizens of Sharm El Sheikh understand better than most the devastating efforts of a flight ban on a local economy. Hence, it was no surprise, we were greeted effusively with open arms when we visited the city recently on one of the first flights back from the UK. Flights had been stopped from the UK since 2015, but the government has pumped plenty of pounds since then to make sure Sharm El Sheikh is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world and to also improve cultural, sporting and sightseeing options in the area.
The resort is conveniently located in the heart of Nabq Bay with numerous shopping and dining opportunities just a short walk away and is only 10 km from the airport with a short transfer time of 20 minutes. They have a sandy/pebbly beach, which is approximately 200 metres in length, but you can’t swim directly on the shoreline where the coral reef is protected. They have a 240-metre long pier where you can walk out and swim in the sea and also observe the coral from a safe distance. However, with acres of land, TUI Magic Life Sharm El Sheikh has plenty to occupy you within the resort.
The rooms are well-spread out across the resort with sizes ranging from around 28 square metres to around 56 square metres. They all have a balcony or patio with lush garden and pool views and most have their own living room areas. The decor is fairly neutral across all rooms and suites and they all boast amenities including a mini fridge with complimentary water, soft drinks and alcohol with a daily delivery of fruit platters and Egyptian sweets.
There are four restaurants available to choose from, the focus being the buffet restaurant at Magico. There are countless food stations there to please the most demanding of guests from live pasta and roast stations to the healthy green fit corner for the diet-conscious, and the dreamy dessert station for those with a sweet tooth. There is Downtown, which is closer to the beach and offering street-style food like gourmet burgers and burritos. The real highlight is Sofra, which offers more of a fine-dining experience with local cuisine. The dishes I would recommend include baba ghanoush for the starters and the seafood garlic tagine, with fresh-tasting fish, shrimps and calamari that might have felt overcooked if presented at a buffet station.
You might think an all-inclusive resort might just include wines, beers, and soft drinks but they offer exceptional cocktails here too and, anything they don’t have on the menu, they are more than happy to consider creating for you. They have speciality cocktails every evening to make sure you never feel the choices are stale. They offer eight bars, including one which is open 24 hours offering snacks and drinks plus a coffee house offering artisan coffee and creative cakes.
There are plenty of soothing spa treatment options to choose from whether you are looking for an anti-stress massage or a body scrub using local red sea salt. If you want to go for an all-out treat, then give the butterfly royal programme a try, with sensational coffee and coconut full body scrubs as well as a calming body therapy massage.
The list is surprisingly lengthy from morning yoga to learn how to dive to offsite adventures for those adrenaline-seeking adventurers. Two excursions I would recommend include a half-day jeep safari through the deserts of Nabq National Park and a VIP snorkelling cruise to Tiran Island. The former is a bumpy yet exhilarating adventure through the arid landscape. There are plenty of photo opportunities from camel riding to trekking through the stunning dessert, but it also includes cultural immersion as you can enjoy a traditional Bedouin tribe dinner and handicraft for purchase from the nomadic locals.
Sharm El Sheikh rose to prominence because of their impressive coral reefs and their numerous pristine diving sites so a whole day luxury cruise to Tiran Island is a must-do activity. There are numerous snorkelling opportunities in crystal clear aqua-blue seawater during the cruise as well as sunbathing chances. They offer a buffet-style lunch as well as water and soft drink options (alcohol isn’t permitted during the cruise).
You can also arrange trips to different parts of Sharm El Sheikh including SOHO square containing a plethora of restaurants, bars and entertainment options including a dancing night-time fountain show. Luxor Egyptian restaurant is one to consider if you want to sample local cuisine in a fine dining setting. Also, do check out the many mosques in the region; the latest is El Sahaba mosque with a fascinating mix of Ottoman, Indian and local architecture.
Without COVID-19 restrictions, there are two TUI flights a week from London to Sharm El Sheikh with the average flight time around five hours and 15 minutes. As it is a mid-haul destination, you do need an airline like TUI with a decent selection of refreshments and snacks and relatively spacious seating to make sure you arrive at your holiday destination in tip-top condition.
In a nutshell
Sharm El Sheikh is going to be high on the map of places to visit in the coming years. Whether you want to just relax by the beach or want to entertain yourself with action and adventure or immerse yourself in culture. This is the place you should be considering.
TUI offers seven-night holidays to Sharm El Sheikh staying at the five-star TUI MAGIC LIFE Sharm El Sheikh on an all-inclusive basis from £756 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 31st May 2020 and transfers. To find out more about this holiday or to book go to tui.co.uk.
Address: Nabque Bay, El Tor, Sharm El Sheikh 70770, Egypt
Phone: +20 69 3710050