Looking for an all-inclusive resort in a location that combines diverse coral reefs with stunning desert landscapes? The Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula is the perfect playground for a sunny vacation.
My husband, Brad, and I wanted to include a relaxing stop on our two-week trip to Egypt. After a busy few days in Cairo, we were ready to recharge our batteries on a sandy beach with some tasty drinks!
We spent three full days at the Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort before continuing to Luxor. Below you will find my review of the resort including our excursion to Ras Mohammed National Park.
DISCLAIMER: We traveled in January 2021, during the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, not all restaurants and services were available at the resort. Various procedures were in place during our stay to protect guests and staff. Check out this post to see more information about our experience traveling to Egypt during COVID-19.
We flew into Sharm El Sheikh International Airport since driving is not recommended by the U.S. State Department due to terrorism in the upper region of the Sinai Peninsula. Check out their website for more information about travel safety in Egypt.
The only airline available was Egyptair due to COVID-19. Flight time was one hour from Cairo and we received a complimentary amenity kit onboard which was a nice touch. Viewing the mountainous desert landscape and turquoise water of the Red Sea from above was breathtaking!
The airport is small and very easy to navigate. Taxis, hotel shuttles, and private transfers await passengers directly outside. We paid 200 LE ($12 USD) for a fifteen-minute taxi ride after a bit of bargaining.
The Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort is located off of Sharks Bay, which is a more tranquil location compared to other areas in Sharm El Sheikh. If you want to be close to nightlife and downtown I would suggest staying in Naama Bay.
A lot of resorts in Naama Bay and Sharks Bay have access to private piers for snorkeling, which was one of my must-haves! We didn't plan on leaving the resort and chose Sharks Bay for a relaxing stay.
The property is flanked by resorts and the entrance is off of a quiet road. Pulling up to the main entrance was a welcomed sight!
Upon arrival, a bellhop took our bags and ushered us inside to a table in the lobby. We were given a refreshing limeade welcome drink while we completed a few check-in documents.
Before long we were given a tour of the property on a golf cart! The driver informed us about the restaurants, amenities, and entertainment schedule as we cruised towards our room. Talk about a great first impression!
We booked an all-inclusive Superior Room for four nights. To our surprise we were upgraded to a Deluxe Room for free! BONUS! We didn't ask for this change, but I suspect it was because of the low guest occupancy due to COVID-19.
The room was spacious with two comfortable queen beds, a separate sitting area, huge walk-in shower bathroom, and patio overlooking a pool. The cream colors and natural wood furniture provided a familiar feeling of comfort.
Our favorite amenities included the bath robes (which we took on our snorkeling excursion to Ras Mohammed National Park), clothesline in the shower (to hang our wet swimsuits), and kettle (for making hot tea). We had no issues with the free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, or LED TV.
I appreciated the variety of toiletries and stocked mini-fridge. Bottled water was delivered to our room daily because the tap water in Egypt isn't safe to drink. A fruit plate was also waiting for us.
We opted to forgo housekeeping due to COVID-19, but the staff brought us any items we needed during our stay such as fresh towels.
I highly recommend the laundry and dry cleaning services. For $38 USD we had 30 items washed: 5 shirts, 3 sweaters, 3 pants, 2 tanks, 14 undergarments, and 3 pairs of socks. Our clothes were returned the next day in pristine condition!
I've been to resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, and Grenada, but the grounds of the Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort take the cake! I felt as if I was in paradise as I looked out at the Red Sea and Tiran Island from my patio.
The unique cacti, lush flowers, and soaring palm trees juxtapose perfectly against the white architecture. The resort is equally stunning during the day and night with its varying elevations and colorful lighting.
The Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort has four beautiful pools to choose from and offers rooms with swim-up pools if you desire a bit of privacy. All of the pools are heated and have comfortable loungers. The only downside is there are no hot tubs.
Each pool has its own vibe. The main pool is the largest with a swim-up bar and is conveniently located next to the buffet restaurant. There is a kid-friendly pool with slides and a quiet adults-only pool. An exclusive pool with pink cabanas is available to guests with Royal Club access.
The resort has a clean private beach with white thatched umbrellas and loungers. The beach is spacious with gorgeous views, especially at sunset. A snack bar is close by for cocktails and small bites.
Just a heads up...you won’t find white sand beaches in the Sinai Peninsula. I stubbed my toe on a stretch of rock when I first entered the Red Sea. OUCH! The sand is coarse and the coral reefs in the area make it difficult to casually walk into the water.
The private pier provides swimming and snorkeling access to guests. For a small fee you can rent snorkeling equipment from the dive center on the south end of the beach. We went for about 30 minutes and saw lionfish, parrotfish, urchins, barracudas, and angelfish. The coral reef was impressive and I was thrilled to see a variety of creatures! The deep water can be choppy, but a lifeguard is on duty to monitor the buoyed perimeter.
Restaurants and Buffets
Food can often make or break an all-inclusive experience for me and be the deciding factor if I return. The Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort did not disappoint! The buffets and restaurants have a variety of cuisines to keep you satisfied.
The buffet was open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dinner buffet had themed nights, such as Mexican and Egyptian, to mix it up. Outside there were several stations serving grilled chicken, shawarma, and made-to-order pasta.
The only option for breakfast was the buffet which had a wide selection of hot and cold dishes. I usually started my mornings with fruit, yogurt, croissants, and coffee to keep it light. It was a solid spread.
For lunch we enjoyed dining at the Basilico beach bar which had tasty salads, grilled wraps, and pizza. In notorious beach bum fashion we were too lazy to walk to the buffet on the other side of the resort. However, there is a convenient shuttle that circles the grounds every ten minutes throughout the day if you'd like a ride!
Since we had a casual breakfast and lunch experience every day, we made reservations every night to try one of their signature restaurants. With fewer guests, only two restaurants were open each night. I highly recommend the restaurants for the best food!
Our favorite was Manohar, an Indian restaurant. We had spicy coconut soup, chicken tikka masala, shrimp curry, paneer, and naan. It was AMAZING and some of the best Indian food I've had!
We dined at Mai Thai for Asian fusion. Our bellies were stuffed after a feast of chicken satay, fried shrimp rolls, tom yum soup, noodles, pineapple chicken, and fried bananas for dessert.
We had a flavorful Greek meal at Poseidon. The pita bread, vegetable salad, spanakopita (spinach pie), and hearty pot roast were delicious.
Alcohol is hit or miss, specifically the wine. I preferred the cocktails overall. The Churchill bar in the lobby has an extensive drink menu and comfy chairs to enjoy libations. Cheers!
Our busy trip around Egypt prompted a bit of relaxation at the spa...or so we hoped. We booked a two-hour Romeo and Juliet couples spa package which included a sauna, steam room, sugar scrub on a hot stone bed, jacuzzi, and massage.
The spa facilities are clean and spacious with a very attentive staff. However, there were a few mishaps. After the sauna, Brad and I were taken to a large stone bed where they applied the sugar scrub. The stone bed was highly uncomfortable and so hot that it burned our skin. We notified the staff and noticed we had bright red marks on our backs afterward. YIKES! Luckily the marks disappeared the next day. The massage table also had rough towels instead of soft sheets. Minor details, but overall it wasn't the type of experience I am used to in the United States.
The resort offers nightly entertainment, kid-friendly experiences, and water activities. We were often too tired to make it to any of the evening shows, but it was great to have options available. After eating so much food there was no way I was up for a dance party!
We booked a full-day boat excursion through Memphis Tours to snorkel in three spots around Ras Mohammed National Park. It is known as one of the top coral reef destinations in the world and by far the best location I have ever snorkeled.
Cruising on the teal water of the Red Sea with the stunning views of the shoreline in the distance was awe-inspiring. The sea life was even more impressive. I saw various species including blowfish, stingrays, and blue tangs. WOW!
Other popular excursions include a trip to hike up Mount Sinai, tour of St. Catherine's Monastery, ATV ride in the desert, private fishing charter, camel ride, star gazing, and so much more! Check out Tripadvisor for more information.
Safety and Security
The Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort takes the safety of its guests seriously. Our taxi driver had to provide identification in order to pass through the gated entrance. Upon entry into the lobby, we had to walk through a metal detector and get our luggage screened.
I always felt safe around the resort which is monitored by video surveillance. We used the small safe inside the room to store our valuables.
The staff at the Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort is top-notch! The service is fast, efficient, and delivered with a smile. Employees were constantly taking drink orders at the pool and beach, asking if we needed anything, and making sure we were happy. The friendly service was definitely a highlight of the stay.
Overall we enjoyed our stay at the Sunrise Grand Select Arabian Beach Resort. The grounds, snorkeling area, and friendly staff were the best I've ever experienced at a resort. Egyptian hospitality is in a league of its own. You will not regret visiting Sharm El Sheikh during your trip to Egypt!