Belinda Jessup, who works at our Travel Quest travel agents in Woodbridge, took a seven-night trip to the Red Sea. Here are the highlights from what was a fantastic trip; detailing some recommendations for fellow travellers to this part of the world.
Destination: Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt
Operator/Host: Red Sea Holidays
(Hotel names/Ship name): Sunwing Makadi Bay, Grand Resort hotel
Airline: Thomson Airways
Duration: 7 Nights
Both the outbound and inbound flights were very good and departed on time. We got top experience a new aircraft, which had nice leather seats and good seat pitch. The attendants were friendly and helpful too.
The duration of the flight to this part of the world is 5 hours and 15 minutes and there was no in-flight entertainment. Apparently, this is the longest flight that has no entertainment shown on board. You also have to purchase your meals and drinks on board when you fly with Thomson Airlines.
The Sunwing Makadi Bay is a 5-star deluxe hotel but is perhaps just 5-star when compared to other European accommodation. It has fantastic gardens with a beach front, and its low-rise structure features beautiful, Moorish design and architecture.
Guests stay on an all-inclusive basis, but there are several other really good restaurants on site including Italian, Mexican, Lebanese and Thai. It is fantastic for families with young or teenage children as there is a water park, surfing, tube slide and lazy river to keep them occupied. Adults will love the various quieter areas and pools with plenty of sunbeds which offer waiter service for drinks.
There are three other hotels adjoining the Makadi Bay. These are the Makadi Spa, which is a 5-star deluxe, adults only hotel and Makadi Palace and Makadi Grand which are both 5-star and all-inclusive. All four hotels are within a purpose-built resort with a beachfront, fabulous views and water sports. The snorkelling on the coral reefs is particularly good as it is easily reached from the beach or purpose-built jetty.
The Hurghada Grand Resort is a more traditional 5-star hotel (4-star European) based on guests staying on a B&B or half-board basis.
It is situated on the outskirts of Hurghada and offers the use of the facilities at the sister hotel, the Grand Hotel 4-star all-inclusive, across the road. This additional hotel is fantastic, with a beachside location set within large beautiful gardens and grounds leading down to loads of sunbeds, windbreaks and towels, with waiter service provided for those using them
During the trip, we took hotel visits to the Siva Grand Hotel, the El Gouna and couple of more boutique places including the Fanadir hotel.
The area we stayed in is great for kite surfing with a nice marina and plenty of very expensive boats.
We also enjoyed a jeep safari to a Bedouin camp in the middle of the desert. This was a very worthwhile excursion as you experience what this part of Egypt is really like.
Finally, we took a boat trip to the coral reef and a desert island. The weather was very windy on this day, but the trip would have been very enjoyable had this not been the case.
It was definitely a highlight to visit some fabulous hotels and experience how Egyptian resorts differ from European hotels and destinations.
I also enjoyed the desert trip as it gave you an idea of the vastness of the sandy wilderness and that it’s only really the coastline and area around the Nile that are developed. During this trip we also rode a camel, drank tea and had dinner in a tent, and took a hair-raising drive across the sand in a jeep. Highly recommended!
The resorts themselves are fantastic but the hinterland is rather an eyesore for the western visitor. There is a lot of rubbish fly-tipped everywhere including on the central reservation of some motorways.
There are also a number of unfinished buildings and roads etc. But this could only be improved by the government.
Airport organisation is very chaotic. Getting visas and going through passport control was a bit of a nightmare.
I would definitely recommend this trip to holidaymakers. It is really good value for a guaranteed winter sun resort within the relatively short flight time of 5 hours.
There’s luxury hotels, fantastic beaches, snorkelling on the coral reefs and lots of water sports including deep sea diving and wind surfing.
The region experiences sun practically all year round, even if it is a little bit hot and humid in July and August.
The landscapes on view, as you travel from the airport to the hotel, are not the prettiest, but the minute you enter the hotel foyer it is like being transported into an oasis of marble luxury!
Must see? The Desert
Must do? Shopping and haggling
Must try? All the different types of food
The Red Sea is host to many extravagant hotels that that help to make it a great destination for a wide range of luxury holidays. TravelQuest can help you plan your perfect trip and ensure you get the most out of your time away.
Fill in an online enquiry form, or drop into one of our travel stores in Ipswich and Woodbridge to speak to a member of our friendly team face to face.