Travel: Sharm El Sheikh is the closest thing to Paradise from Manchester Airport
John Siddle tastes the high life in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh
SHARM El Sheikh was once a tiny fishing village home to a handful of Bedouins. But in recent years the resort has exploded in a fountain of opportunism to become the Red Sea’s hottest destination.
It sprawls along the coastline, separating the lunar-like landscape of the Egyptian desert from the crystal-clear waters.
Its man-made falseness is not something I would usually sign up for; it is stark rather than beautiful.
But preconceptions are often misconceptions – this is the closest thing to paradise you’ll find on a six-hour flight out of Manchester airport.
Nothing is lacking in Sharm, least not the weather (you’ll be unlucky if it drops beneath 25 degrees) which makes it a wonderful year-round destination.
The place has had to hold its own in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. The rioting in Cairo – 700 miles away – in January 2011 hit tourism and many hotels have slashed their room rates in a bid to attract Brits.
That means there’s a deal to be had, putting this playground firmly within reach of the ordinary family.
The Savoy resort layers down from on high, with five swimming pools, four bars and seven restaurants, all cascading towards the Red Sea and its coral reefs.
I stayed in the Royal Savoy, an exclusive club wing replete with extra private pools and a bar. If the rest of the stunning complex is sumptuous, then this annexe is opulent.
Celebrities, heads of state – and even Peter Andre – have graced the massive rooms, their indoor hot tubs and private balconies which overlook the fabulously maintained grounds – not an easy task given the desert terrain.
The Savoy prides itself on unfailingly immaculate five-star service and the best thing about it is, while it’s always pretty busy, you get the impression you are the only person there.
An aura of seclusion and tranquility pervades the place.
That’s until you step outside in Soho Square, a half-mile long stretch of restaurants, bars, clubs and shops.
The nighttime here is entirely, unashamedly artificial.
There’s a pub called the Queen Vic pub, which upstairs houses a French-style steak house and Japanese Tepanyaki restaurant (where the chef cooks your grub in front of you).
The ice-skating rink adjoins a cinema and bowling alley, and next door is Africa's very first bar made completely from ice.
You get the picture.
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