It was my first travel to Egypt in my entire life. I did not want to travel far like to Asia or the Caribbean but I was looking for the sun.
I simply bought package holidays with a Travel Agency called Itaka: https://www.itaka.pl/
I flew directly from Katowice to Marsa Alam. Please be aware that Marsa Alam airport is tiny.
Be prepared for very restricted security control. First, when you land you need to buy an Egyptian visa. If you go on the right, to a middle-man they will charge an additional $ but it will be faster however there is no need to speed up the process because the bus must wait for all. I advise you to stand in the long queue on the left and buy a visa. Once you get it, you need to fill out the form and go to Security Control to have your visa stamped. After this procedure, an Officer checks if the stamp is there (I know zero logic but that is how it is). Finally, you can go and collect your luggage. However, it is not the end. At the end you need to go through the scan again, thank God a man is helping to put the luggage on the belt but you need to pick it up yourself.
This is the end; you can exit the arrival hall and go to the travel agency representative to find out which bus will take you to your hotel.
Marsa Alam is in the middle of the desert. Hotels are in the middle of nowhere. You cannot go anywhere for a walk. Of course, the resort area is huge, and walking around takes time but still, you are limited and feel like in prison, a beautiful prison.
I chose 5* Sataya Resort Marsa Alam: https://satayaresort.com/
Egyptian 5* is not equal to European 5* standard. Officially, the hotel opened in 2020 however it does look outdated and requires refreshing, some paint will work.
I had a very spacious room however it would be nice if the main door and furniture were replaced. They look old. Generally, the hotel looks like being built in 2000 not in 2020. The staff is extremely helpful but they are looking for tips, bring with you notes of $1 or €1 coin. Baskseesh is welcome. 99% of the staff are men. What is different than in Europe, in a beach restaurant or any restaurant, you need to have clothes on, no bikini or swimsuits. It is nice not to see almost naked people eating beside you but it looked like most of the guests forgot about this rule. They were kindly asked to put clothes on.
This hotel did not serve wine in any of the pool or beach bars, just-drinks. It was not a problem for me but some might find it bizarre. The food was very tasty and the choice was spectacular. I had absolutely zero gastric problems. Of course, I brushed my teeth using bottled water. The hotel provides daily bottled water. The room is also cleaned every day and the towels are changed. There is a Spa where you can relax and try many different massages. I recommend Layla. Her hands made magic.
I was in Egypt over Christmas time and the hotel prepared an outstanding Christmas dinner. All waiters were elegantly dressed up, food was superb. It was the most spectacular Christmas dinner I took part in.
I decided to do an excursion by visiting the Bedouin village, drinking coffee, and listening about Bedouin habits. I had an opportunity to drive a quad through the desert and ride a camel. It was an amazing day I started with tea and finished with a local lunch.
On the other day, I went to Port Ghalib. I had to book a taxi/driver. It is a beautiful little harbour with cafes and restaurants. Smoking is common in Egypt. They offer you cigarettes. Just be careful, if you are a woman travelling I would advise not accepting a cigarette, especially from an opened packet.
Please be advised that despite the sun over the day, there is a cold wind and the water is cold. I recommend a wet suit to the sea. Snorkelling is super fun in the Red Sea.
There is one more piece of advice for your return to the airport. Have a printed copy of your reservation with you. It is the first thing that is required with your passport. Then you and your luggage will be scanned and then you might be requested by Customs before you even check-in your luggage and get your boarding card.
Overall, it was a great experience and a fantastic spot for snorkelling.
Egypt-in the middle of the desert