One of the places we have always wanted to visit is the North African country of Egypt and at the end of last year we decided we would organise a trip. Our preferred way to travel as you all know is to use local transport and try and stay in Airbnbs but after a lot of research we decided that a visit to Egypt just couldn’t be done that way. So we did something that we have never ever done before and booked an all-inclusive stay in a posh hotel. Shocking huh?
Red Sea Holiday
Our main reason for being interested in Egypt was obviously the history so any trip we organised would need to be seriously historically-biased. After our normal deep research we found a wonderful trip that included a week-long cruise down the River Nile sandwiched by a luxurious hotel stay on the Red Sea. Sounded perfect and actually came out reasonably priced thus not destroying our finely-tuned budget.
With flights through Thomas Cook from Gatwick it all seemed to fit our requirements perfectly. The biggest hassle was repacking a couple of small cases from our normal backpacks, storing winter clothes away, and preparing for mid 30 degree temperatures. Not a problem really.
London to Hurghada
After a night in our favourite Travelodge at Gatwick Airport we took the early flight to the Egyptian city of Hurghada on the Red Sea. A reasonably comfortable five hour flight saw us arriving early afternoon in temperatures nearly 20 degrees hotter than when we’d left.
A half hour bus ride through Hurghada and then skirting the Eastern Desert brought us to Makadi Bay. Our hotel was the Makadi Spa Hotel in a small resort of 3 hotels right on the beach. As soon as we arrived we knew it was completely different to anything we had ever experienced as the bell boys and staff grabbed our cases and led us into reception. But when we saw our room we were blown away, it was more like a suite!
We may have to rethink how we travel in future after this experience although that could limit our travel time to a couple of months as it’s just a tad pricier than the Travelodge in Maidstone.
Now many of you will have stayed at an all-inclusive resort before, in fact almost everyone has stayed in one, but this was a first for us. Having multiple restaurants that we could just rock up to and having waiters bringing unlimited beer and wine constantly was just a completely alien concept to us. I have to admit that initially we felt so pushy and non-English when we asked for drinks and they just arrived. Blew our minds.
The biggest issue we saw immediately was how to control ourselves and not just go food and drink crazy. It would have been so easy just to overeat and even easier to drink all day and all night. In fact looking at some of the other guests it appeared that they were doing exactly that. Quite a few extended waistlines and several acres of ‘wobbly bits’ were on show which perhaps served as a warning to us.
So apart from being turned away from the One World restaurant for wearing shorts the first evening, and having to change into my only pair of trousers, we settled in very quickly. The room was magnificent, the food was plentiful, and the drink was flowing. Not too hot either although that would change in the coming days.
Lazy Days and Egyptian Nights
Sounds a bit sleazy doesn’t it, well it wasn’t that sleazy it was fabulously relaxing as we spent our first couple of days just wandering and enjoying the sunshine. A bit of sunbed-laying and a lot of swimming in the wonderful infinity pool helped too although we did seem to be the only guests in the water most of the time as it was a trifle cold.
We weren’t sure how we would feel about being so inactive and just spending time around the resort as we are used to getting out there and exploring but in the back of our minds we knew that the week ahead on the Nile cruise would be full on with excursions almost every day. I think that enabled us to just enjoy the relaxation at the Makadi Spa as we knew we would be seeing a lot of the ‘Real Egypt‘ in a few days time.
Someone’s Special Day
Oh and coming up on our third day here was the birthday of someone very special so we needed to do something very special to mark the occasion. Perhaps a meal out? Or a few drinks? We could go for a swim maybe? None of those would swing it but we had a cunning plan …………..
19/04 – 03/05/2019