E-to-the-effin’-G-Y-P-T people! It’s been 10 days since I’ve been back from chillaxing on the shores of the glorious Red Sea, and I’m still in complete awe of myself that I actually managed to win this ridiculously cool vacation! I know I know I need to snap myself out of it and shift my laser focus to the big fat main prize and to kick start that focus (and appease the Twitterati who’ve been hounding me for my post on Egypt), herewith lies my little itty bitty review of Reef Oasis Beach Resort, a 5-star all inclusive resort on the coast of the Red Sea in Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh.
(and holy crap, I shit you not, I just typed Beef Resort. Hello, my name is Catty and I am a food blogger.)
and ps. in case you didn’t realise, this review is part of Qype’s Word On The Beach competition so please…
I have to say, the “vibe” of the holiday started like a monkey shot up on meth-amphetamine let loose with a set of bongo drums. It’s amazing how once you have children, your entire existence revolves around the way they eat and sleep and sh*t (because I have recently been enlightened by the mother of a new baby that the health of your baby lies 110% in the consistency of their poop, but hey, y’all didn’t really need to know that) and more importantly, your entire year revolves around when your children have school holidays.
Well. Given that we don’t have any children, Panu and I have not a clue when school holidays begin and end and so it was with such whizz bang genius accuracy that we planned our getaway for the first goddamn day of school holidays, on a plane which resembled something of a menagerie full of erratic, squawking birds. Un-fun.
5.5 hours later and my eyes are on stalks, my ears are bleeding and my nails, my nails are actually ok because I’m vain and it’s all about good nails, baby.
We land in Sharm el Sheikh and step off the plane into a veil of heat and humidity which smacks us in the face at 30 degrees Celcius, at TEN O’CLOCK AT NIGHT. It’s a welcome heat though because it’s been 10 long months since I last saw a beach and as we’re coached along the bustling streets of Sharm, I feel the vibe start to mellow and await the unfolding of my little beach vacation, which I can now sum up as:
… and delicious…
Insider News Flash! Getting off the plane with every elementary school child in all of England, we thought we’d be swamped with nasty, stinky, noisy children but Reef Oasis is something of a wonder. Spread over 220,000 square meters, they may be housing hundreds of guests but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The peace and quiet astounded me and the relaxing vibe hits you as soon as you arrive to the moment you’re back at the airport and plunged back into reality. And the menagerie.
Makin’ a Splash!
Firstly, Egypt HAS A BEACH. I know this sounds ridiculous to explain but you would not believe the number of people (including me!) who until Google Maps explained that Egypt isn’t all pyramids and deserts thought that Egypt was well, all pyramids and deserts! But no sirree it ain’t.
Egypt has pyramids and deserts and beaches, and Sharm el Sheikh in particular is situated in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and has miles and miles of coastline which play footsies with none other than the Red Sea. For those visual people amongst us, you might want to check this out:
You might have also noticed that we had us a couple of Kodak Playsports to play with, courtesy of we-love-you-Qype! These babies are super resilient underwater video/still cams and are A Heap Of Fun. Pity we can’t aim good.
Anyway aside from stalking fishies, we took the Playsport to Reef Oasis’ 23 (TWENTY-THREE, two. three. For realz) pools scattered across its grounds. Between lazing by the pool, cooling off with a dip, snacking at the pool side bar and being provided with the most refreshing mint-chilled towelettes, we managed to have a little bit more fun. In case you never knew what it looked like to come down a slippery slide…
To say that I didn’t thrive in three straight days of sun soaking goodness would be an outright lie. Reef Oasis makes lazing in the sun insanely easy with their expansive private beach and billions of pools but people, be sun smart! I applied SPF 40+ constantly, because a wrinkly tan just ain’t cool. And wear sun glasses. And a hat.
And yes, I wore a different bikini every day.
You ask why? I ask why not?
Insider News Flash! The Red Sea is also known as Allah’s Aquarium, for its abundance of stunning ocean-life. Snorkel gear at Reef Oasis costs LE40 (about £4.50) a day so if you have it, bring your own! Also, instead of jumping into expensive pre-purchased diving tours, wait til you get there, there are dozens to choose from, including free 30 minute dives off the pontoon!
After the Sunset…
Now before I go on, if y’all are after a review of how the partying went down in Sharm, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to break it to you but the only partying I did was with the fireflies. Panu and I had all the intentions of a peanut to maybe if we’re bored we’ll go check out Na’ama Bay, Sharm’s party HQ, but we’d been so over worked and in need of relaxation and also… not to make you regurgitate your last meal or anything, but we wanted to be romantic.
That’s right, collective *awwwwww* and then – PUKE. Thanks.
Reef Oasis is absolutely magical by night. As the sun dips below the horizon, the resort becomes remarkably still and slowly, as the heat of the day dissipates and becomes a comfortable warmth, sun soaked revellers emerge from their air conditioned bungalows to take in the twilight.
And with the sun safely below the horizon, the resort truly becomes mystical and really, where is everyone? Ok don’t answer that, they’re probably out partying at Na’ama Bay where my geriatric butt could not go, but you know what? I didn’t really care. Panu and I had the run of our money in the enormous resort that was all ours, strolling through the moonlit grounds, stopping for iced tea and dipping our feet into the sun warmed pools…
I mean seriously, can you say tranquil?
Oh check it out, we managed to find everyone else! The resort puts on nightly “animation” shows and hey, they’re all watching Michael Jackson 😉
Insider News Flash! Reef Oasis spray their ma-hooo-sive grounds with a non-intrusive mosquito repellent which you and I can’t see or smell but heck do they kill them pesky buggers good and proper! Luckily, they don’t kill the dragonflies because we do love our dragonflies.
Ok so Qype didn’t ask us to write about the food but really, did you think I was going to do a whole ginormous blog post without writing about food? Puh-lease.
Reef Oasis Beach Resort is the KING of all All Inclusive resorts. I’ve been to some resorts where you maybe get a couple of meals at the same buffet included and even then it’s pasta and pasta and potato and if you’re really lucky, rice. Reef Oasis’ all inclusive covers everything from numerous restaurants and cafés serving both buffet and a la carte and even snacks and drinks (soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, bottled water) around the clock. Yes, that’s 24 hours people. And it’s all free! (we do like us a bit of free over here).
And the food is good, with fresh seafood and tenderly cooked meats to perfect little burgers! I mean seriously, I’d totally pay for this food.
Situated overlooking the beach, La Citadel Grill Restaurant specialises in seafood and… seafood. The freshest, sweetest crabs, squid, fish, mussels, clams, oysters ~ all you can eat, all for the cost of nothing! God I love it. In order to maintain some level of normalcy, I decided against piling my plate to the brink and ate in “courses” instead, starting with crab and squid cooked in a chilli sauce, followed by whole baked fish with cous cous and vegetables.
And the desserts. Oh my LORD the desserts. Fruits, cake and sorbet, but look at my poor little sorbet all melted in this 30-degrees-at-10pm heat.
Towards the entrance of the resort is La Gioconda Italian Restaurant which, no prizes for guessing, served up Italian, buffet style. Granted that I’d been eating non-stop, I opted to go very very easy on this buffet and in light of the amazing food on offer, I managed to avoid the pasta bar all together.
Check out the generous serve of duck orange. They’d charge £15 for that here in London, and that’s a bargain. Desserts at La Gioconda were particularly impressive ~ a selection of delicious and suspiciously authentic Italian sweets and biscuits.
The Main Restaurant offers an outdoor BBQ as well as indoor buffet and doesn’t really have a theme, just a mish mash of all kinds of cuisines. Probably my least favourite of the three restaurants, but the grilled octopus was just a little bit to die for.
Scattered across Reef Oasis are also numerous bars and cafés which serve free food all day long. There’s even a café at the beach providing snacks like fried chicken – because anytime is fried chicken time!…
… but we were especially impressed with the Patio Snack Bar down by our favourite pool, which served a la carte snack food all day, including salads, burgers and toasted focaccias.
Of course, if you actually want to pay for your meals Reef Oasis also have two fine dining restaurants on site ~ Moonlight Restaurant and Senses Restaurant. But don’t ask me how they were because I was quite happy not paying a cent 🙂
Insider News Flash! Everyone who goes to Egypt prays to their new found God of Everything that they don’t get “Egypt belly”. There are a few things you can do to avoid the dreaded e-belly, including constantly sanitising your hands (the money apparently is inconceivably dirty) and only drinking bottled water. In fact, make sure you even brush your teeth with bottled water. The great thing about Reef Oasis though is that they offer mineral bottled water on demand and even make their ice with mineral water, so you should be a-ok. In the event that you aren’t a-ok, there’s a 24 hour pharmacy on site and hey, if you really struggle, Sinai hospital is just down the road!
ANYWAY, thank you for staying with me til the end of this very very long review! Just one more thing! I WANT TO WIN THIS COMPETITION and right now I’m losing to a fat guy in a mankini, so please, if you could…
And finally, a BIG thank you to:
and the excellent company I had in the form of my boyfriend. Who took photos of me when I was sleeping.