I was genuinely surprised when one day on our family group chat (where all the important conversations obviously happen), Dad suggested Sharm El Sheikh as our family Christmas holiday destination, as opposed to the successful, tried-and-tested trip to Mombasa.
We were a little wary of the weather because it was winter in Egypt, but the temperatures were as high as 27°C during the day, and as low as 15°C at night, although the seaside destination meant that it was often windy. In addition, the days were short with the sun setting in the evening at 5PM. Anyways, several nights of research later, we chose Coral Sea Waterworld Resort and immediately booked it via Booking.com. (No, I wish this post were sponsored by them. Maybe I’ll get a free holiday after this?).
Soon, we were flying to Cairo and onwards to Sharm El Sheikh, with Dad’s friend and his family.
A short 15-minute car ride from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, Coral Sea Waterworld Resort is located in the Nabq Bay, with dazzling views of the Red Sea facing Tiran Island and a plethora of shops and restaurants just outside the resort.
Upon reaching the resort, guards and a security dog check the vehicle, then we dropped near the entrance. There’s a stunning glass painted dome right outside the reception where there are a few shops. To enter the main lobby, there’s another security check and a vase of fresh flowers greet you. In the lobby, on one end is a lounge and on the other, a Lobby Bar. The way the resort is planned is that the lobby overlooks the resort from the top, so the Lobby Bar’s patio is a great place to have a drink in hand and watch the sea from afar. Our check-in was smooth and we were offered welcome drinks.After checking in with the Wi-Fi (which was only available in the lobby), we headed to our rooms. While everyone went down the stairs, I used a golf cart that dropped me right to my room as there is no lift in the hotel. Thankfully, Mom later found a shortcut that cut down the commute to two minutes, which was useful when we left the resort for excursions.
Dad and I booked us a Family Suite so that we could all spend quality time together.
I quickly noted while booking, that this is a family resort but their smaller and cheaper rooms are all upstairs and the bigger deluxe rooms and suites are on the ground floor of the hotel. Thus, I could either stay in a deluxe room or a suite.
Our Family Suite consisted of a nice front area to store our luggage, a large room with a king size bed a mini-fridge, television, a vanity area and a closet, a smaller room with two single beds and a TV, and a day partition with two daybeds and a TV that leads out onto a terrace with a garden view of the pool. It was big and spacy, although we only had one bathroom with a tub. The room’s location was nice as it wasn’t far from the pool or the main dining restaurant. The beach, too, was within a short walking distance.Food and Drinks
On the dining front, the hotel claimed to have 16 dining options on Booking.com, but on their website, only nine were listed. However, several of those 16 dining options, I’d call self-serving stations as they served fresh juices and hot beverages from the Nescafé coffee machines. While guests were all-inclusive at the resort, some restaurants were not all-inclusive and reservations had to be made beforehand. We usually dined at the Dine Around restaurant. Offering a buffet selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there were plenty of choices, and there was always a kid’s buffet. We could also opt to sit inside or outside depending on the weather. Our breakfast usually consisted of bread, pastries, pancakes, cheese, salad, fresh fruit and yogurt. Eggs were made to order and tea, coffee, water and juice were served from the drinks corner.For lunch and dinner, there would be bread, cheese, veggie curries in the Egyptian section, falafel, salads, French fries, pasta and mini-pizza made to order daily. And of course, a selection of dessert too. However, as vegetarians, we thought that the choice was limited after having eaten there for several days.
Since it was the Christmas season, I assumed the entire hotel would be full, but it was relatively empty. Perhaps, because of the British ban on flights to Sharm El Sheikh. Thus, the Italian restaurant Ilcapriccio Restaurant, Mermaid Restaurant (which turns into an Indian-themed restaurant at night), Finnely’s Bar and The Stonegrill seemed to be not operating. However, the Beach Bar on the beach was perfect to stock up on refreshing drinks, while soaking in the sun. And a special Bedouin-style tent near the beach offered drinks and shisha, giving the resort that Egyptian touch.
The Resort and Facilities
I found all the hotel employees to be very helpful, especially the servers at the buffet restaurant. However, I found that some of the vendors selling activities would often get aggressive and borderline harass us to do these activities. I was not impressed at all with the housekeeping as they would often not clean our rooms till late afternoon, and when you tell a housekeeping employee nearby, they refer the room to be outside their zone. Furthermore, they wouldn’t thoroughly clean the room and trash cans would repeatedly remain filled with litter.
On the activities front, this resort had it all. From two gigantic pools (with pool bars), one heated in the winter, and a waterpark, there was plenty to do at the hotel. Since we visited during the winter, I found the heated pool too cold (I can clearly only survive in tropical climates), and so I only swam twice. The waterpark, huge and full of fun rides, had a wave pool and a lazy river, my favorite rides, among other water slides; although, we didn’t go in because we found the water too cold. The waterpark also houses the Splash Bar and Olio restaurant that serves snacks all day.
The resort also had an equipped fitness room, a kids club, aerobics, tennis and football courts and beach volleyball games. The animation item would always be busy organizing some fun kind of activities such as dancing by the pool. Some facilities such as the spa and the indoor Jacuzzi were open to us at an extra charge. Mom and Diva went for massages at the spa, which they seemed satisfied with.
There was an array of activities available onsite such as windsurfing, water skiing, sailing, glass bottom boating. The Diving Centre also offered introductory and special courses for diving and snorkelling, with diving equipment for hire, to use for day dives, night dives, and wreck dives.
Besides swimming, we’d often find ourselves at the beach, which had a Beach Bar and plenty of cabanas, sunbeds and umbrellas to sunbathe in. Since it wasn’t a very soft sandy beach, I could easily drive on the beach, which I was pretty excited about. Also, with views of Tiran Island opposite us and the Sinai mountain range behind us, it was pretty picture perfect. We even joined in the color party the animation team threw on the beach one day.
Overall, I loved the location of the resort right by the beach as many hotels in Sharm El Sheikh are not exactly beachfront. However, I found it a little disappointing and frustrating that there are no elevators in the resort, considering that it caters for couples and families, alike, and it would be difficult for parents of young children to carry strollers up and down the stairs. I also thought that housekeeping department needed some tweaking, however, not everyone in our party had the same issues as we did.
Outside the hotel were plenty of restaurants and shops. We even dined out at the Hard Rock Cafe Nabq Bay, once. Furthermore, it was easy to take a taxi to the other attractions in the city. The staff and food were good and the layout of the hotel such as the large pools and the beach was planned well.I loved my time at Coral Sea Waterworld Resort and think it is good value for money. If you’re heading to this region of North Africa soon, I recommend you end your trip in Sharm El Sheikh to relax.
Coral Sea Waterworld Resort is located at:
Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh
South Sinai Governorate
Photos by Hitesh & Diva Shah