I'm going to do the holiday report in short bursts otherwise it will end up like War & Peace and you'll all be bored to tears, so here's part one and hopefully you'll look forward to the next instalment(s).
We had two weeks in El Gouna, near Hurghada on the Red Sea, staying at The Three Corners Ocean View Hotel right on the Abu Tig Marina.
El Gouna had its beginnings in one man's search to find the most beautiful spot on Egypt's Red Sea coast to build a house and small boat jetty. Around two decades ago Samih Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Hotels & Development, El Gouna's parent company, found that beautiful spot, conveniently located just north of Hurghada on the west coast of the Red Sea. It wasn't long before Sawiris' friends, struck by the splendor of the azure waters and dramatic backdrop of mountains, asked to join him. In this way the town slowly blossomed into the vibrant community it is today, fulfilling Sawiris' and OHD's vision of "carving paradise out of the desert."
I hope you're not expecting a sightseeing tour of Egypt - we did that already, so if it's historical photos you're after click here to see our Nile Cruise and temple visits. This holiday was always going to be a relaxing one with lots of sun, swimming and gentle walking to help my knee recover - and it did!
Our flight should have taken off from Manchester at 2 p.m. but was delayed 3 1/2 hours (what a surprise - not), this meant that we wouldn't arrive at our hotel until 2 a.m. but we did get a free drink on the plane to compensate, which we added to of course!
On arrival we were banded (wrist band to show you're all inclusive) and shown to our room. I had asked for a ground floor room but we were given one on the first floor, luckily right near the lift so no problem there. We inspected the room whilst waiting for the luggage to be brought up and were quite pleased apart from (you girls will understand this part) there was NO hairdryer! It stated quite clearly that there was a hairdryer in the room so I hadn't packed one. I had packed the kitchen sink but no hairdryer. After I threw a hissy fit and threatened to be on the next flight home, MWM calmed me down and said "We'll go out and buy one at first light". By now the luggage had arrived and I had decided we'd stay so we unpacked. I don't know about you but no matter how tired I am I can't think about sleep until I've unpacked the luggage.
We managed about 3 hours sleep, this was partly due to wanting to explore our surroundings and the fact that my bed was a hollowed out log filled with pebbles and sand, with a pillow that can only be described as a boulder! MWM said I was exaggerating and offered me his bed but I tried it and his was the same, though to be fair I am used to a king size waterbed at home so anything less is uncomfortable.
As the day dawned the first thing I did was to look out of the window to check the sun was shining (you never know) and marvelled at the view. We quickly showered and covered ourselves in P20 (Once a Day sun protection - wouldn't use anything else) and went down to reception to ask for a hairdryer and a new pillow, which appeared in our room after we got back from breakfast, so that was a relief. We found the breakfast terrace and the buffet, had a leisurely breakfast then claimed a spot in the shade round the pool, we like the sun but are not daft enough to bake ourselves all day like some.
There were plenty of sunbeds round the pool and also a man made beach at the back of the pool with a jetty where you could get into the sea to swim. We were told this swimming area was good for snorkeling and there were lots of fish which had become used to being fed, so on the second day we took some bread and I snorkeled whilst MWM fed the fish (MWM doesn't swim).
The first day is always the busiest I find as there are the inevitable 'meetings' to aquaint you with the hotel and 'trips' available. These were quite informative and we were taken on a little walking tour around the hotel and adjacent marina. As I've said before I have no sense of direction so I thought this was a really good idea, however on the second day, even though I'd been on the tour, I got lost in the hotel and had to ask a member of staff where my room was - luckily I could remember the room number!
First impressions of the hotel, surroundings, food, staff etc., were favourable and I've put together a little slide show so you can see what we saw/did the first couple of days.