Sharm El Sheikh is one of the easiest places to visit from Ukraine (where I am from) due to package tours. There are tons of hotels in Sharm El Sheikh that offer all inclusive deals to Ukraine and other European countries. Such tours are the easiest and the cheapest way to spend your holiday abroad, so probably every second person has used it. I myself have visited Sharm El Sheikh a few times including one summer when I worked at one of the hotels. This time we chose Sharm EL Sheikh since it was open (during COVID-19) and we wanted to get our PADI Open Water certificate. We specifically chose the Sharks Bay location since it was close to the diving center and it has a few nice hotels. Our choice was Hilton Sharks Bay where we spent seven days (mostly evenings since we were diving during the day).
I am going to tell you a little bit how the “all inclusive” package works and how much it costs. We bought a tour for $700 per two people. The price included 7 days staying at Hilton Sharks Bay in one room, all the meals, alcohol, transfer from the airport and back to the airport, travel insurance, and direct flight. Same deal for one person (alone in a room) costs $400.
As you see such a tour is pretty convenient and super cheap. We even didn’t need to fill out our own immigration cards, the travel agency did all that and presented us with a package of documents needed for travel.
Hilton Sharks Bay is located fairly close to the airport and therefore it is quite cheap to take a taxi if you need one. Although you need to remember that you always need to negotiate in Egypt. The price should not be more than 50 EGP.
There are also lots of blue mini buses on Sharm El Sheikh roads that you can use to get anywhere you need. The price for the minibus is about 6-8 EGP.
As I already mentioned Hilton Sharks Bay is located in Sharks Bay which is a great area for diving and snorkeling. What I didn’t mention is that this is a SOHO area full of stores and some restaurants. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 during our stay, most of the places were closed.
There are also a few other hotels that are located in the same area: Savoy, Concorde, Four Seasons, and Siva Sharm. Most of these hotels have a good rating in case you want to stay in Sharks Bay but not in Hilton. The location is a definite positive of the hotel.
Hilton Sharks Bay has quite a standard reception hall with a few chairs, coffee tables, and a few stores where you can get your snorkeling mask or sunscreen. It is also quite convenient that there is an ATM next to the reception. The reception hall leads you to the open terrace with a few chairs as well.
Hilton Sharks Bay has a few different restaurants, but unfortunately due to Covid-19 all of them except the main one were closed down. Personally I didn’t understand this decision since such action created a huge hungry crowd at one place.
There is a big public area in Hilton Sharks Bay. It includes one big pool and two small pools. There is a pool bar at the main pool where you can get cold and warm beverages. On the side of the pool bar there are a few tables hidden in the shade of a building. The public area also includes a pingpong table and quite a nice gym next to the main swimming pool.
Hilton Sharks Bay has also a multi level beach terrace with sunbeds and umbrellas. There are no sand beaches in Sharm El Sheikh (just a few exceptions). You will have to walk on the pontoon all the way where the coral wall drops and swim from there. Of course it is not a great thing if you don’t know how to swim or you’re travelling with kids. Although it is quite amazing for snorkeling and freediving since there are usually many beautiful corals and a lot of colorful fish around. Right next to the Hilton private beach there is a stand where you can get fresh beach towels and another bar to get your drinks.
Check-in in Sharm El Sheikh is a big thing. Why? Well, if you want to get a nice room where everything works and the room has a nice view you are expected to pay $20. Just put the money in your passport before giving it at the reception, smile and ask for a good room with a view. This will make your life easier.
In case you don’t want to give bribes you might meet some resistance with getting what you need. And I am telling you this because that has happened to me before. I’ll be honest, it does seem unfair to pay more to get a better room, but remember, most people book the absolute cheapest package. Therefore, for $20 in the passport you’re really saving money compared to just buying a nicer room in the beginning.
We got a room on the third floor with a nice view of the Red sea and the pool. Our room had a comfortable queen sized bed, a flat screen TV, one big wardrobe, a table and two chairs in the room, and a small balcony with a table and two chairs outside.
The bathroom had a shower cabin (no bathtub), a big counter with a sink, and a toilet of course. Every day we were given a lot of bath amenities, and fresh big and soft towels.
The room overall was average size but comfortable. The other thing that is worth mentioning is that Sharks Bay Hotel is quite old and for a while now it wasn’t renovated, however everything in the room was clean.
I am going to tell you a bit about the main restaurant where we got all our meals, except when we went to Farsha cafe. The main restaurant is quite big and has many tables. It is buffet style where you used to take your food and eat it. Now, due to Covid-19, the waiter takes your plate and puts the food you want. There are a few things that make this process annoying. First, since there are not a lot of waiters, the whole process is very slow which creates long lines. Second, the staff sometimes puts a tiny piece of something you want and you always have to tell them “more please”, which makes me feel like I am begging for food. This would happen to me every morning when I would try to get falafel and the waiter would put just one or two pieces on a plate. And third, sometimes they put too much on a plate and you cannot finish your food, and I hate wasting food.
Breakfast at Hilton Sharks Bay wasn’t the best. They served porridge and eggs, bread and pastry, falafel, beans and sausages, and it seems like that should be enough and it should be if the quality of the food is good. I tasted most of the things and at the end ended up eating just falafel, boiled egg, cucumbers, and pastry with coffee.
I always hated the sausages they serve in Sharm El Sheikh (in every hotel the same kinds of sausage), but I usually like beans, but not in Hilton Sharks Bay. The salads that were offered for breakfast were leftovers from dinner and looked horrible. So, overall not not the best review of the breakfast food front.
We actually had lunch just the first day of our vacation and we ran to the restaurant almost before it was closed. So, of course there wasn’t much to choose from, but we managed to get some rice, chicken and vegetables.
The lunch in Hilton Sharks Bay starts at 1 PM and lasts until 3 PM.
Dinner was our main meal of the day. We usually would come a few minutes before the restaurant was open (6:30 PM – 9 PM) just to get into the restaurant and get a table. Why? Around 7 PM the door of the restaurant was closed and people had to wait until someone would exit the place to get inside. You also can come to the restaurant closer to 9 PM, but we just hate eating so late.
For dinner there usually was a big variety of food: fried fish, grilled chicken, shish kebab, baked lamb or beef. As a side dish you could choose between rice, couscous, potatoes, pasta and more.
The place was full of different types of salads, breads, and desserts (cakes, cookies, Egyptian desserts). They also served at least two types of fruits plus some dry fruits like dates, apricots, prunes and more.
Overall the dinner food was quite good, although the long lines were sometimes unbearable so I would just give up and get something else instead of what I wanted. I would say overall the food was mediocre at best, but that’s generally expected when doing all inclusive in Egypt. Remember, for such a cheap vacation, you really can’t expect much. I think that’s the thing most people from my country forget…you aren’t paying for premium so don’t expect anything great.
Price: $45/night (remember that if you buy an all inclusive tour (like we did), the price per night is going to be smaller)
Air-Conditioned Rooms: Yes, the room had air conditioning, although a very old one.
Breakfast Included: Yes
Pool On-Site: Yes.
Maid Service: Yes
Recommended To Stay Here: Yes, but do note that if you are expecting proper Hilton quality (for such a cheap price) you will be disappointed.
Disclaimer: Jet Set Together was not paid for a stay at the Hilton Sharks Bay resort in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and did not accept any payment for a good review. The words expressed in this article are my honest opinion.