Enjoy the sun, reefs and Walli the whale at the private Red Sea resort in Egypt's Soma Bay

The resort is on a private Red Sea peninsula 28 miles south of Hurghada, and is home to five luxury hotels, sandy beaches and some of the best coral reefs in the world.

We stayed at the 5H Sheraton, which is on a private beach and comes with pools, an aqua splash park for the kids, watersports centre and tennis courts.

The all-inclusive resort is large with stunning sea views and lovely gardens as well as spacious, modern rooms.

Our four-day break began with a walk down Soma Bay’s 1,500ft wooden jetty that takes divers and snorkellers right out over the area’s spectacular house reef.

Jumping into the turquoise waves for a spot of snorkelling, nothing could have prepared us for the magical underwater kingdom that lay just feet beneath the surface.

Thousands of fish, in colours, shapes and sizes that Walt Disney would have struggled to imagine, flirted with us as we swam with them through the 25C water.

Some came to within inches of our faces, as fascinated with us as we were with them.

The snorkelling whet our appetite so next it was on to Soma Bay’s Orca dive centre.

It’s one of the largest and most well-equipped in the Red Sea and offering everything from training for beginners to advanced courses.

Kitted up, we were taken out to explore the first-class diving spots including the Seven Pillars, a reef just five minutes’ away by boat and home to a friendly whale shark named Walli.

Experienced divers can take on more technical diving, including night dives which let you move among the shyest of sea creatures.

After an amazing afternoon under the sea, we headed back to our hotel ready for a good meal.

The main restaurant, L’Abydos Brasserie, serves a comprehensive buffet of local and international food.

We loved the Egyptian specials including the grilled courgettes, hummus and tagines.

After dinner we checked out the rooftop bar, where the friendly waiters brought us local wine as dancers twirled on the poolside stage below us.

The next day we took the free shuttle bus five minutes down the road to check out the Cascades Golf Resort and Spa.

As well as a challenging 18-hole golf course at the highest point of the Soma Bay peninsula with sweeping views across the Red Sea — and the occasional camel-rider on the sands — the beachfront hotel is known for its spa.


GETTING / STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Sheraton Soma Bay is from £760pp including flights from Gatwick, 20kg baggage allowance, Egyptian visa, private transfers and airport meet-and-greet service.


To book, see holiday-designers.com or call 020 3384 0023.

MORE INFO: For more on the Soma Bay area and its hotels and activities, see somabay.com.

Here, we spent 90 minutes in their vast Thalasso tonic hydrotherapy pool, where a therapist guided us through dozens of sea water zones with jets, currents and showers designed to regenerate and tone a different area of the body.

After a refreshing hibiscus tea, the pampering continued with a warm sea water massage.

Utterly relaxed, we snoozed by the outdoor pool for the rest of the afternoon.

We were ready the next day to take on a challenge and headed for Soma Bay’s Kitehouse.

This is one of the top three kite-surfing sites in the world, and is just an eight-minute drive from the hotel.

Here, thrill-seeking holiday makers can take advantage of the flat water and strong offshore wind to learn how to kite surf in just three days — with teachers and safety boats in abundance.

As well as learning how to use the club’s state-of-the-art rental equipment, there is a restaurant and bar to relax in, as well as the chance to take part in the volleyball tournaments, or try wake-boarding, paddle-boarding, and even have a go on the resident banana boat.

After a morning on the sand, we checked out life at the 4H Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge — the most relaxed of the hotels in Soma Bay.

Here, time is one hour ahead so that guests can make the most of the shorter winter days.

We spend an hour or two relaxing at the hotel’s reef bar, where exhausted divers enjoy a cocktail after a day in the deep, before catching a movie at the rooftop open-air cinema.

The hotel’s motto is that “life is better in flip flops” — and there are no stuffy rules about evening dress codes or strict timings on food service.

After another day snorkelling and swimming along the house reef, we head to the 5H Kempinski Hotel for a final meal.

Here we sit on the panoramic terrace which overlooks the lagoon-style pool and listen to live music as the sun sets over the mountains.

Looking out over the Red Sea, the golf course, dive centre, kiting club and the numerous hotels it is obvious Soma Bay’s slogan is right — it’s the bay with 1,000 possibilities

Source: Read Full Article