Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh review

February 25, 2016

 

Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel review

   

Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh review – what we did, where we ate, and if I’d go again… 

So I recently had my first all-inclusive holiday experience. I used to have a slightly negative view of package holidays as they had cheap and cheerful connotations. However, the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel was anything but.
After a rather hectic time, hubby and I were determined to have a relaxing getaway. We’d done the city breaks (Paris, Rome, Hong Kong and Singapore), the adventure holidays (Iceland and Morocco) and the monument hunts (Cambodia), so a break doing not much at all was very welcome indeed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Sharm El Sheikh as it was our first trip to Egypt, however, I have to say, based on the hospitality at the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel, the service was up there with some of the best in Asia, though they didn’t quite have the efficiency of their highly lauded eastern counterparts, at least on our first day.

Our hotel was about 20 minutes from the station, and a short cab ride from the main tourist areas of Soho Square and Narma Bay which had shops, restaurants and bars.

Narma Bay is just miles from Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel

Media scare stories about Egypt

While I had slight reservations about visiting Sharm el Sheikh (the media has a habit of putting the fear factor into holiday goers, and at the time of writing, flights to the resort from the UK are still suspended) I was pleased to say that Sharm El Sheikh felt incredibly secure.  Our resort, which was situated in its own gated community, had a government-run security checkpoint on arrival and our bags were scanned as we entered the hotel. This airport style security is commonplace throughout the whole area, and adds reassurance to any nervous guests.

Arriving at the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh

After going through security, there was a slight wait upon arrival. As the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel is relatively new, having taken over from the Ritz Carlton, there were perhaps a few teething problems, but nothing too
major.
We were in the Royal part of the complex, which was adults only, had its own private lounge and a few other add-ons which I’ll go into shortly. But as a result of our Regal-ness, we had a couple of check-ins at the main lobby, as
well as the Royal Lounge. However, we were given two welcome drinks while we waited in both suites, and generously presented with a welcome plate of fruit and biscuits once in our room.
We were then given wristbands to wear which identified us as Royal guests, which we had to wear all week and they were cut off at the end. I thought this was quite strange, having to wear an ID band at all times. But then I realised that this was the norm in Sharm el Sheikh, as every holiday goer on every resort seemed to be sporting a different coloured band.


The mod cons at the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel


Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh has a private beach

 

As expected from a five star, the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel offers a stunning beach with private access, five a la carte restaurants offering different cuisine – Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian and Japanese, and a late night buffet which serves food until around 4am. There were also several bars located on the beach which offered drinks and ice cream on tap, plus an outdoor restaurant which offered burgers and fries all day, before switching to grilled
seafood in the evening.
There is an onsite spa which has a gym, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, which Royal guests can use throughout their stay, and all other guests can have a 45 minute session for free. Other treatments, such as a Cleopatra massage is
also available for an additional fee.
Entertainment is provided outside every night, we managed to catch some of a show which involved one of the entertainers balancing guests on his back whilst resting his eyes on two poles. Sounds gruesome but it was pretty
impressive.
Oh and if you’re feeling sporty, there’s a tennis court, which I was tempted to use, but the desert heat made me decide otherwise.


The Royal Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel experience

So what did we get for going for the Royal Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel option?

Breakfast at the Royal Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh

 

The main thing was the private lounge and the private beach, which had its own beach cabanas. The private lounge served breakfast and lunch and snacks throughout the day, all in the plush surroundings of a Mandarin Oriental style
room. As part of the Royal concept, staff at the lounge would also book your restaurant reservations for the evening, in any one of the five on-site restaurants serving different cuisines.
In fact, the staff were as welcoming and as accommodating as could be. Poolside, we were offered welcome pancakes, staff would often come and offer us drinks and ensure that our every need was catered for. Another huge plus of the Royal experience was that we had a late checkout for free, whereas regular guests would have to pay extra. We’ve been in situations where we haven’t had a late checkout, such as our stay at the Sirayane Hotel and Spa in Marrakech, and we had to hang around the main areas of the hotel like bad smells in the baking heat.

The Royal lounge loves a bit of mash

 

One point I have to make however, is that the food served up at the Royal lounge was a bit bland.  I figured that in Sharm El Sheikh, they loved their mashed potato and sautéed carrots and cucumber, as that was on the menu every day, along with some beef and chicken. However, the concierge at the Royal lounge once asked my opinion of the food, and when I suggested they cook the potatoes another way, the very next day we were served with potato wedges.  Now that is speedy service.
So in a nutshell, the Royal Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel just gave us that extra bit of service and luxury.  But that didn’t stop us sampling lunch at the other places on site, which leads me onto my next point…

Food at the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel


Beef carpaccio served at the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel
Now, being a natural foodie, there is no way that this review can go without a mention of what we ate. And I’m sorry to say, it wasn’t that great. But I don’t think that this is necessarily a criticism of the Royal Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel in particular, it’s just that the food in Egypt wasn’t my cup of tea.

Some foodie misfires

Being brought up on flavour and spice, Egyptian food is just too bland for my liking. There were five restaurants on site, each serving different cuisine. On our first night, we went to the Italian, as it had rave reviews.  I ordered a soup, which was good, followed by a beef carpaccio, which I then learnt was raw meat.  Oh dear.
I then opted for a safer version of lasagne, which you can’t really get wrong, can you? Well, it turns out you can. Beautifully presented, the lasagne meat lacked salt, garlic, tomatoes, pepper, or any other flavour.  In fact it looked and tasted like boiled mince.
The following night we ventured into the Lebanese restaurant, which was better, though the skewered meats were cooked to crisps.  We also tried the Indian restaurant, which was better, perhaps because Indian cuisine dictates that you must have some flavour.
Though it wasn’t all bad, we ended up trotting to the beach hut to have chips and burgers, which you really can’t go wrong with.
To be fair, I think that the resort was catering to its largest customer base of Russians, who make up for around 85% of their guests. This is true across all of Sharm El Sheikh, so I imagine that the food would have been similar had we stayed elsewhere.
So it wasn’t the foodie holiday I had hoped.  But nonetheless, the Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh Hotel gave us the R&R we desperately needed, and we got to mix up the break with an excursion to Cairo, which you can read all about here.
HalimaBobs

About the Author

HalimaBobs

I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.

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