So, I realize it is the beginning of February – I came home from this trip on January 7th.
This took forever to finish. The amount of photos and information alone, I mean. Shit.
A lot happened and there was sooo much information to put into this. Really hope you enjoy it and that you enjoy a nice LONG lunch reading this.
First off, I posted the budget for this trip before I went and you can find that here. I know that is a big question with a trip this size, ‘what did this cost?‘ – so there, you can see it all laid out. However, not everything was included in that budget post because one part of this trip was a surprise for my boyfriend. I will, of course, say how much that cost when I get to that day.
Let me start with the bullshit BEFORE THE TRIP EVEN BEGAN.
We had tried to go to Cairo in 2021, but because of Omicron it got cancelled. We had rebooked this flight in February of 2022.
Then I get this email later in the year, flight is cancelled. Immediately I’m like oh my goodness, this is a sign, we aren’t meant to go to Egypt. This will go sideways again.
Eventually I calmed down.
We were planning to go December 29th to January 7th but since British Airways said that was cancelled – we chose to leave two days earlier. Thankfully, there was no charge to change the date and after this, BA didn’t make any other changes to our itinerary. Well, kind of. More about that later.
Also, prior to leaving for Egypt, there is an online Visa option for us Canadians.
DONT DO THAT SHIT. DO NOT MAKE THAT CHOICE.
Now that I have all those points out of the way, keep reading for further explanations. Enjoy.
Tuesday, December 27th
If you were following any news during December, you’d know Pearson was a total mess. This would be my first time traveling with checked-in luggage since…..a while. Plus, a layover in Heathrow, another mess.
I just want to say – I can’t believe a big airline like British Airways ONLY had four counters available at Pearson Airport, during Christmas/NYE travel. What the hell is that about? We waited 90 minutes to check our luggage. Makes me sick and reinforces why I will choose carry-on only travel 9.9/10 times.
Thankfully, we made it through Pearson and Heathrow, to Cairo, WITH OUR LUGGAGE ARRIVING JUST FINE. We were so worried but the luggage made it and in a timely fashion too. Figured my luck with this trip was changing. This was the sign.
Wednesday, December 28th
We arrived at Cairo International Airport in the evening and the first thing we had to do was get a visa. I had mentioned earlier to NOT get that online and choose to get it in person as well.
Let me explain.
Online, we had applied and actually had our visas denied because the photo quality of the passports wasn’t good enough? So $50USD down the drain, for nothing. You can see the black photo below of my proof of payment online for that visa. Waste of money. Booerns.
At the airport? I swear to you, took literally four minutes.
Look for the yellow sign and make sure you have AMERICAN cash on you to pay the $25USD per person fee. The person at the desk didn’t even question anything, literally took the money and put the visa sticker in the passport. That was it.
The customs people were not difficult at all. Our luggage had already arrived on the carousel. I was pleasantly surprised, I had read that this airport can be chaotic, but that was just not our experience. Very speedy and organized.
We had pre-arranged pick up with our hotel – The St. Regis, Almasa.
Now, don’t confuse this with the St. Regis, Cairo. This was outside the city, took about an hour to drive there. The plan was that I wanted my boyfriend and I to be somewhere for two nights that wasn’t busy. Take time to adjust to the jet lag and relax.
We REALLY picked the right place for peace and quiet. This hotel was in the middle of nowhere. Because of the huge developments going on in the ‘New Capital’ for Cairo, the mass migration hadn’t begun to this area. The hotel is on a huge swath of land that is surrounded by other construction sites and new buildings that have no one in them yet.
Isolation, just like I wanted it.
This hotel was magnificent. The staff, the lobby, the restaurants, the service…. everything.
What was even crazier is that this was so big, you needed a golf cart to get around the property. Some of it wasn’t completed yet and was still under construction, but there was no noise during our time there and nothing near our room to disturb us.
We checked into our room, which was upgraded for free. Beautiful room.
After dropping our bags in the room we decided to get some food because we were very hungry after all our travels.
Tonight we ate at the hotels’ Egyptian restaurant named Al Khedewy.
Food was good. Price was REALLY good. Make sure you get the lamb, I really liked it. But the star of the evening was definitely the hummus. Best hummus I’ve ever tasted.
It was also great that we could just charge everything to the room, so it wasn’t necessary to carry cash or cards on us while on this huge property.
We took an extended walk back to our room so we could bask in how gorgeous the outside of the hotel was. The photos of the outdoor (heated) pool were exquisite. Look at this below. Just, wow.
Naturally, it was time for a drink.
Although the exterior of this hotel was beautiful, so was the lobby – which just so happened to have a bar.
Time for some rum and cokes!
This was the moment where we found out that alcohol in Egypt was FREAKING EXPENSIVE.
I mentioned how dinner was such a good price right? Yeah, alcohol? No. Not a good price.
The total for our two appetizers, two mains and two soft drinks I think came to $30CAD equivalent.
The total for TWO Malibu + Coke in the lobby? $66CAD equivalent.
SIXTY SIX DOLLARS.
FOR TWO DRINKS.
This lobby made Miami and The Bahamas look affordable. Holy crap.
Don’t get me wrong, the drinks were delicious. The Pepsi in Egypt tastes way better than anything we have here, but damn, it wasn’t even a heavy pour to justify that price. But, fancy pants hotel had to get us somewhere right? The room wasn’t expensive (to me) and either was the food. Damn you alcohol.
One cool thing that did happen once we got back to our room, after the shock of alcohol pricing, a nice surprise.
I had mentioned when I booked the room that my boyfriend and I were celebrating our anniversary, so while we were gone they put this complimentary tray of sweets and a cake in our room. Very nice.
Thursday, December 29th
We had this whole plan to wake up in the morning and hit up the all-you-can-eat breakfast at the hotel.
I think at noon, or so, we finally got up. The laziness was epic.
Because we missed breakfast, we decided to indulge in some room service and wowwwwwwww they didn’t disappoint.
$43CAD equivalent, with tip.
Heck of a breakfast spread and price for room service!
Then we took a little golf cart ride around the property, see more of it in daytime.
When they are finished there will be a: rotating restaurant, manmade beach, shopping mall, games place and pharmacy. I think there was a whole bunch of other things, but this is all my memory retained.
In the evening we had a couples massage booked the spa on the property.
We had this whole place to ourselves as well. There is a women’s floor and a men’s floor. It is very clean and spacious. The changeroom attendant in the women’s area was literally standing nearby when I got out of the hot tub, just to hand me a towel.
One small funny story about getting the couples massage.
I put my robe on and went downstairs to the room where my boyfriend was already laying down on his massage table ….. and MY masseuse said ‘ok take off your robe and lay down‘.
Me, being slightly confused as to why I would be naked in front of two male masseuses was like ????????
And my boyfriend immediately yelled ‘I KNEW YOU’D COME DOWN WITH NO DAMN CLOTHES ON!!!‘
Clearly, in my excitement to get ready and put the robe on, I had missed the disposable bra and panties they put in the locker for us to wear to our massages Here I was, walking around very naked under my robe, because when I get massaged in Toronto – I usually don’t have clothes on. My mistake. Won’t happen again. Very embarrassing.
Obviously I ran upstairs and put the disposable underwear on asap and I have to tell you, that shit barely made any difference anyways. The bra and panties they provide are for, lets say, less full figured women. Not me. Not 5’9 232lbs of Bosnian. But, at least now I was prepared to be massaged without being kicked out of the country.
Great massage. Again, GREAT price and the service was amazing. This hotel could do no wrong in the service and cleanliness category. Make sure to hop in the heated pool after, or use their very fancy pants gym, if that is your thing on vacation.
Following the spa time we went to La Sponda, also on the hotel property. I know, eating Italian food in Egypt? But the restaurant ended up being really good. The bread and dips they give you at the beginning were so soft and tasty. The pasta was good. To me, the highlight was their delicious panna cotta. It was so good, I have no pictures of it because I inhaled it. Yep.
Jet lag was beating my ass still because after this nice massage and dinner, I was having a really hard time sleeping. With the time difference, the Dallas Cowboys were playing at 3am in Egypt time. So I ended up staying awake and just watching NFL until sunrise and our time to fly to another city.
Friday, December 30th
With my no sleep, it was time to go back to Cairo International and fly from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh.
It was only a 40-minute flight, so not much to say about it. The views were amazing landing there.
Like Cairo International, I had read some unflattering things about the airport in Sharm El Sheikh. People wrote that there was too many checkpoints and that the security was too strict. Maybe because we came on a domestic flight, it was different? We landed, picked up luggage and were on our way pretty damn quickly.
The hotel we were going to quoted us $80USD for the roundtrip pick up and drop off to the airport, I wasn’t paying that. So I booked our pick up and drop off on Viator for $27CAD each way instead. You can find the link here for that service. Because $80USD is a lot of money, for not a particularly far drive. No way.
We arrived at our next stay – Solymar, Naama Bay.
This was an all-inclusive hotel and our room was the Superior Queen Room with Pool View.
Now, this place isn’t fancy pants. Not fancy pants one bit. After the St. Regis, especially.
The room was spacious, the bathroom is very basic and the view from the balcony over the pool was great.
The wi-fi does suck, bad. Be aware of that, the only place you can access internet is at the lobby. I live on my Rogers Roam Like Home, so I don’t care. But some of you may be thinking of escaping and being able to work while traveling? No chance here. The staff at the hotel do work very hard to keep everything clean and neat. The entertainment staff is awesome (shout out to Anastasia) and the wonderful people at the eating area were QUICK AS HECK.
Speaking of eating, it was time for lunch.
When I tell you, it doesn’t matter than this isn’t a fancy hotel or that it isn’t expensive, the food quality was soooo good. Outside of Jamaica, the best all-inclusive food I’ve had. My boyfriend has never been to an all-inclusive, this was his first. I now worry that when we do end up at some all-inclusive resort in DR or Cuba one day, he will be SO underwhelmed. Because wow. The selection and the freshness?
They had some really good fish every day, there was also fresh shawarmas being made and the DESSERT TABLE? OH THE DESSSERT TABLE. Never ever let me down.
I chose this hotel because of all the reviews I read about their food. They didn’t disappoint. Not a single bad meal was had.
However, if you’re a drinker? Eh.
The quality of alcohol wasn’t so awesome. My boyfriend said the Arabic beer ‘Stella’ was decent but again, I am a rum and coke drinker. The rum they had at the hotel was from Russia (I think) and it only got good when you were at least six glasses in, you know? After that, MOST things taste fine. But those first couple of sips will have you squinting your eyes. Don’t expect to see Heineken, Smirnoff or Johnny Walker etc. Fair warning.
We went for a little walk after lunch. Sharm El Sheikh is very clean and you can tell they do a lot of landscaping and maintenance in the city. This is designed to be very very touristy. Majority of the tourists we met were from Italy, Russia, Palestine and the UK.
During this walk we made friends with an old man who took us to his shop and then helped us book two tours for the time we would be in Sharm. Successful walk.
Also, it is late December so note that it isn’t HOT outside, but it was very nice nonetheless. During the day it would get to about 24 degrees Celsius, but at night it would dip to around 10. Coming from cold ass Canada, this worked just fine for us. It was warm enough to go swimming and walk around in shorts.
Just to note here – I had no issues with any clothing I wore in Egypt. I know a big question is ‘what is appropriate to wear as a woman in Egypt?’ I really wore whatever the heck I wanted. No issue.
In Sharm El Sheikh, being a resort town, most people are in shorts and tank tops. In Cairo, I did see women in shorts and tank tops as well. Just don’t have your ass cheeks or boobies hanging out, and you will be OK. Modest is always better, but yes, you can show arms and calves. Remember I was in the company of a man the whole time, so if you are traveling alone maybe your experience might be different. But mine was totally fine, no comments and no weird shit on the streets.
Eventually we made our way back to the hotel for dinner.
This is the area where I will explain some issues we did run into while in Sharm El Sheikh.
People from a certain country (I won’t name it, because I don’t think it’s fair to the other people from said country who may be lovely people), but, are fucking racist.
Where do you have the audacity to travel to AFRICA and be racist towards a Black person? In this case, a Black man. My boyfriend. Some of the behaviour and stares that we encountered were disgusting. Now, racism is bullshit everywhere, but wow, this was….. something. It was blatant, it was rude and persistent as well. While the Egyptian locals were wonderful to him in both Cairo and Sharm, some of these tourists? Not so much.
We did meet some incredible fellow tourists from Britain and from Denmark that we had a BALL with. Partied with. Went to dinner with. But, unfortunately one group from one country had a serious attitude and staring problem when seeing a Black person. I hope all of those bad people we encountered never have a good day in their life, they should be ashamed of themselves and their ugly ass children for their racist behaviour.
Saturday, December 31st
New day, hopefully less assholes.
Ha. Nope. Whole new set of assholes.
Today we were going on a trip on the water. My boyfriend and I were the first to get picked up in our tour van. When we arrived in the next hotel to pick a new group up – five people got on. From another unnamed country.
When they got in they had BIG BIG laughs and speaking in their native language and saying ‘KUTA KINTE KUTA KINTE’!
If you don’t know who that is, well, there’s Google. Know, it was some racist shit, again.
So I loudly said, in English, because I presumed everyone in that van understood English, “Ha. I wonder what Kuta Kinte means in their language, because I sure know what it is in English!“
They proceeded to shut the fuck at that point. No more giggles or speaking. That’s what I thought, assholes.
Once those people stopped behaving like vermin, we continued the drive to the port to get on our boat.
We slowly made our way to Ras Muhammad and The White Island aka Egyptian Maldives.
The water was beautiful. The ride was VERY long though. Prepare yourself that getting there takes 90 minutes on the boat and so does returning.
I enjoyed the views and when we got to The White Island, the tide was high so you couldn’t really see the sand coming up out of the water. But it was still cool to be somewhat floating-walking on water in the middle of the ocean. Not so sure that comparing it to the Maldives was….. accurate. I’ve been to the Maldives, let’s just say this is very nice.
Don’t do the comparison.
The ride back to the port was awful. When the sun left? It was freeeezing on the boat and we were all wet. So make sure to bring a full sweater and pants with you. The 90 minutes of floating home while soaking wet and cold was brutal. Do not recommend. I am shocked I wasn’t sick the following day.
We got back to the hotel and there was a cute surprise in our room. My boyfriend had talked to the cleaners and they made this fun towel sculpture for our anniversary. They did another one later in our stay, next one was a towel alligator.
After some rest, we went over to the dinner area to check out the spread for New Years Eve.
Cocktail hour. Abundance of sweets. There was damn near a whole lamb. They really did good work to put all this together for the guests. The meal was great and so was the after party in the bar above the reception lobby.
We brought in 2023 at the bar at the hotel with our new pals from Copenhagen.
Then a group of 20 or so of us, walked down the street to go to this famous and popular nightclub called Space.
One thing about the entertainment staff at all the hotels/resorts in Sharm El Sheikh, they always have hook ups for the clubs. If you ever need tickets or VIP or transport, they can get it for you. We just had to buy it off of them.
Unfortunately, this club sucked, so bad. I asked before we bought the tickets if they would play a mix of music, or would it just be that techno stuff. I’d seen videos of this club before we got to Sharm, and I got the idea that this was more techno and EDM music, which is not our scene at all. The people we were with said it would be a mix, so we went.
Disappointing. It was all EDM music. It was really crowded. The cost of a rum and coke in there was $16USD. And yes, it was the shitty rum.
The shittiest thing? You’re allowed to smoke inside establishments in Egypt. This place was full of chain smokers. I could barely breathe inside and my hair and clothes ended up smelling like it. I also got burned like four times from people being drunk and dancing with their cigarettes lit in hand.
Possibly lasted one hour at the club, and then my boyfriend and I walked back to the hotel to go to sleep. Yay 2023!
Sunday, January 1st
I had told my boyfriend I had a nice surprise for him to begin the new year. He just didn’t know what it was.
A few weeks before we were leaving on the trip, I ran across photos of this resort. I had to book it. Nice little anniversary gift for him.
We left our hotel and headed over to – Sunrise White Hills Resort.
It was better than ANY photo or video I had seen of it.
First cool thing – when you walk in, there are these QR codes you can scan to have WhatsApp contact in your respective language with the staff.
Second cool thing – they have their own APP! You would get your room key and this personal QR code to scan and connect to their app on your phone. On this app you can contact them for any issues, see a map of the resort, book your a la carte reservations. Super cool.
Third cool thing – they had a serve yourself mimosa bar when you enter the lobby so you literally could walk by and get some champagne and orange juice going whenever you want.
Basically, another very impressive Egyptian all-inclusive and it was only two months old! It opened in November 2022.
Because it was four hours before check-in, they gave us our wristbands and let us go have breakfast during our room being prepared. I saw Nutella. I saw pancakes. What else did I need?
After an hour or so eating breakfast and admiring the property, we were able to check-in early to our room.
Let’s talk about the room before you see these photos.
Unless your room is directly by the lobby, you will likely be taking a golf cart to it. We had to take a golf cart to our room. There are a LOT of stairs at this resort. We did see some elevators, but to get to the front lobby and to go eat, you will be walking quite the distance.
For one night, I booked us the Junior Jacuzzi Suite.
Cost: $634.00 CAD
I know. That sounds outrageous right? Just for one night? That cost more I think than the five nights we were booked into Solymar.
Do I regret it? HELL NO. This was by far, the nicest room I had ever stayed in. Once my boyfriend saw it, even when I told him the price, he considered booking another night in this exact room. Yes, that nice.
The room was tidy. Beautiful. Had a sick shower. The robes. The small balcony overlooking the pools below. Oh, and a rooftop patio that had our own private jacuzzi! Please see below.
We wanted to go check out the rest of the resort, so we put our bathing suits on and headed to the beach. See, Solymar only had a pool but this resort had a whole beach to frolic on (and like, 19 pools).
This beach was so clean, the water was a beautiful colour, there were staff bringing you drinks to your beach chair and there was also a DJ playing music. I mean??? Hello? Plus, the beach chairs were probably the most comfortable I’d ever laid on.
Next to the area for relaxing on the sand, there is also a restaurant. I thought we had to pay for it, that it was one of the small a la carte’s, but nope. You could order whatever you want from that restaurant and it was included as part of the all-inclusive plan. I never ever wanted to leave. They even brought me a pina colada in a whole pineapple to my beach chair!
At this moment, I was really regretting just booking ONE night here.
As the sun began to set, we unanimously decided that we should watch it happen in the jacuzzi. Because it got cooler at night, the jacuzzi was a great decision. It was 39 degrees Celsius in there. You could turn the lights on. So sick.
Once our skin was like prunes and fully relaxed, we went to get some dinner.
This resort ended up having good all-inclusive food as well. Probably one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever tried. However, I found the variety to not be as good as Solymar, even though this was way more luxurious. I think I had been spoiled by all the dessert choices at the other place, while this one had maybe two cupcakes and some fruit. I realize there is more to food than just being excited for dessert, but, I have a huge sweet tooth dammit.
Later in the evening we made our way to a nightclub called Pacha, with the entertainment staff from Sunrise. It was $60USD per person for transport to and from the hotel, VIP section and three drinks each. After spending $16USD for one rum and coke at Space, this seemed like a heck of a deal to me.
On Sundays the party at Pacha was called ‘Swagga’ so it was a lot of Hip Hop and R&B. Thank goodness, no more of that oontz oontz nonsense.
There was smoking inside this club as well, but because it was partially with no roof and due to us being above in the VIP section, it was way easier to withstand.
Loved this club. Had an awesome time. The other party people were great and so was the DJ. It was funny because at 230am the entertainment staff was like ‘we need to take you home now‘ and we said nope. So we said don’t worry about it, you can leave without us and we continued partying until 4am.
Look at us, old people partying late.
One issue was that we had run out of cash at this point though, so make sure you have enough cash to get yourself home. At this time of night on a Sunday, the ATM’s nearby were out of money. It took us some walking to finally find one with some cash in it to pay for our cab home. Made it back to the resort all safe and sound by 5am.
Monday, January 2nd
After such a night, naturally, we woke up super late. We had asked for late check out and were told that it was no issue, we could stay in the room until 2pm! How awesome is that? Extra three hours.
With having woken up so late and being hungover, we didn’t even want to leave our room to walk all the way to the breakfast area. We ordered room service off the app.
Four omelets, Nutella waffles, orange juice and fruit. Total? $28.19 CAD equivalent, with tip.
I LOVE ROOM SERVICE IN EGYPT.
Enjoyed a nice little meal on our lower balcony until check out time. Perfect.
Took a cab back to Solymar just in time for another tour. My friend Darren had bought me a birthday gift that consisted of going on a tour of the old marketplace in Sharm and to go to a popular bar after with a private driver/tour person.
You have to make time to go to the market in old town Sharm El Sheikh. The mosque is beautiful. There are so many amazing views as well, with the waterfall and rocks nearby.
The fish market is around there as well, so I managed to take a photo of the largest fish I had ever seen caught. They were my height. Ridiculous. Also, be really careful with the tea and spice places here. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean it in a ‘you might spend every last dollar because everything smells amazing‘-type way. Not even sure how much we spent here on spices and teas to bring home. But, it was very much worth it.
I had been watching this place on Instagram for MONTHS. It was time to head to Farsha Mountain Lounge. This was a part of the tour and a total bucket list place I wanted to see while in Sharm El Sheikh.
The photos really don’t do it justice. I’ve never ever seen a lounge/bar like this before. You have to see it in person, for yourself.
It was busy and beautiful. And the best part? Cheap as heck.
The menu had everything from tea and alcohol to ice cream, pizza and shisha. You wanted it, they had it.
We had one shisha, two alcoholic drinks and a tea and it came to about $30CAD equivalent, with tip. My boyfriend and I were so in awe of this place that a couple of hours flew by in an instant.