Egypt has suffered bad press following political upheavals, so Red Sea Holidays took a group of agents in January to see Hurghada, one of the main resorts. Here, Worcester-based Karan Hopkins, of the The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors, reports back
Due to the uncertainty in the climate around Egypt, I thought it would be beneficial to see it for myself and make it easier to sell in future, and I found the trip a very positive experience.
There was security at the entrance to the hotels which, if anything, gave me more confidence, but I didn’t notice anything anywhere else.
I didn’t feel hassled while we were out shopping in Hurghada either. Vendors did approach to try to sell us things. If you were interested, you could try a bit of haggling for things like clothes, rugs and shisha pipes, but if you weren’t, a polite ‘no thank you’ was enough. I think common sense should prevail.
STAY AND PLAY
There was accommodation for every budget. Makadi Bay has a beautiful beach and you could easily walk between hotels or the mall, so it’s perfect for clients who want to venture out.
I was very impressed with Sunwing Makadi Hotel; it is a huge, modern resort, very safe, with really spacious rooms – we’re a family of four, so that’s the first thing I look for – and excellent value for money, so I’d recommend it for families.
Makadi Spa Hotel was absolutely wonderful and very tranquil – I would send couples on honeymoons or anniversaries as it felt almost like the Caribbean. The Grand Makadi Hotel is a good family option for those who don’t want to splash out but still want their choice of à la carte restaurants, kids’ clubs and pools, and Makadi Palace Hotel was another step up, with staff who just couldn’t do enough.
In Hurghada itself, Grand Resort Hotel really felt five-star: most rooms had massive king-sized beds. The Grand Hotel has a great beach, vast array of pools, good choice of food, and a very airy feel.
I would also recommend El Gouna: with the marina, nice restaurants, a lovely beach and very good value, it’s great if you want to be outside Hurghada.
The main things people worry about are safety and food. Egypt has a reputation of not having great food, but pick the correct hotels and customers will be happy. We went to Italian, Chinese and Indian restaurants that were surprisingly authentic, the food high-quality and service very good.
The main advice regarding safety is to stay in contact with the Red Sea Holidays reps. If clients want to do trips or go out on their own, advise them to make arrangements through the reps and they’ll be fine.
We did a jeep safari and Bedouin experience, then rode camels, which was quite an experience! We saw ladies making rugs, sampled food and got a quick history of Egypt, then climbed the dune to watch the sunset. I shan’t forget it in a hurry because the people really touched me.
We also went out to Paradise Island, and had opportunities to snorkel. The sea was turquoise blue and, even from the boat, you could see lots of fish, plus dolphins and another beautiful sunset.
I’m 100% confident about selling the Red Sea now. I’ve since booked eight holidays to Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and Nile cruise-and-stays, and two of my customers have already booked to go back again.
There were some lengthy queues on arrival at the airport, although I’ve had customers who haven’t had any delay. I came away feeling Egypt is a safe place to go for culture and relaxation, and I have no qualms about sending my customers there.
A week’s all-inclusive at Sunwing Makadi Hotel in Makadi Bay, 21 miles south of Hurghada, starts at £589 for departures from Birmingham, or £604 from Gatwick or Manchester. Seven nights’ bed-and-breakfast at Grand Resort Hurghada costs from £415 from Birmingham, £425 from Gatwick and £430 from Manchester.
All prices are with Red Sea Holidays for travel in June, and include flights, transfers, luggage and late check out. Child prices are fixed at £439 for any date and duration.
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