As I explained, we spent 47 Days of Hotels in Egypt for $0. See, the points hotels in Egypt are mostly category 1 and 2 hotels.
This means that the Hilton we stayed at was 5,000 points a night. The 80,000 point credit card would get you 16 nights, not including 5th night free. Our favorite Club Carlson hotel in Egypt was 9,000 points a night. At these rates, we could essentially spend 47 nights on points, for the cost of 9 nights at a top tiered hotel.
That being said, I didn’t exactly enjoy every hotel. Some of them were great, and one was borderline terrible.
I’ll break it down into three sections
If you’re interested in the cost of the hotels and how many nights we were there, check out the post; 47 Days of Hotels in Egypt for $0.
1) El Quseir, Marsa Alam, and Hurghada
Getting from one town to another required a $15 – $20 taxi ride. Which is super cheap considering it was over an hour to get anywhere.
Radisson Blu El Quseir
9,000 Club Carlson points a night
This hotel is an absolute steal for 9,000 points. Like, there is something seriously wrong here. The hotel was fantastic. I think this was the prettiest beach and scenery of all the hotels we stayed at.
The grounds were awesome, the rooms were unique, and the long beach front was incredibly scenic. Way more beach space than you’d get at any other location. Still shallow unless you jump off the pier, past the coral.
However, this was the most expensive snorkel rental, something like 10 Euros a day, when the other places were a few dollars a day.
Without a doubt, it was the most money we spent on food. You are truly in the middle of nowhere. I said that about the Hilton Waterfalls in Sharm, but I could walk and get a cheaper water if I wanted. Here, there was only one option, and it was the hotel.
We got room service every night, mostly pasta, and it still came out to be a decent amount of money. Around $35/day.
Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort – all inclusive
20,000 Hilton HHonors points a night (no 5th night free on all-inclusives)
There are so many amazing things to say about this hotel, but first I should acknowledge that it was 4 times more than most of the other Hilton hotels we stayed at. That being said, 20,000 points is not a lot!
First, we got a huge suite, and it was without a doubt the nicest hotel room we got in Egypt. It felt like a real 5 star hotel.
Then there’s the obvious: the fact that all the food is included. The food quality is not as terrible as I’d expect based on the other Hiltons, but it’s not fine dining (like the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica). Some good, some bad, and few local things I thought were interesting. So I’d start with very small quantities of anything to taste before getting a real plate.
But the best part was the snorkeling.
We saw lots of lionfish, and even a few small sting rays. Apparently a few turtles were hanging out in the center of the bay, but we didn’t have any luck finding them.
The best off the beach snorkeling of all the Egypt hotels, and better than a lot of other places we’ve been for snorkeling. Seriously, when we would tell people we were touring around Egypt and that we like to snorkel, a number of people told us we must go to Marsa Alam. We originally weren’t planning on burning 80,000 points on a 4 night stay (given that 40,000 points got us 10 nights at the Waterfalls), but it was well worth it.
I really enjoyed El Quseir and Marsa Alam the most, and while the Radisson Blu El Quseir was a better deal on points (you can’t beat 9,000 Club Carlson points for a nice hotel!), we spent a lot of money on food. In Marsa Alam we had an even better experience and spent zero dollars on food. Instead, we paid more in points.
The more expensive problem with Marsa Alam is that it is further south, and therefore costs more money to get to. Easily $30+ and 2 hours each way from Hurghada (the closest airport)… but that’s less than a day’s worth of food in El Quseir, and it still takes $15+ to get there.
(Note that Marsa Alam does have an airport – RMF – and there are flights on Egypt Air. But when searching United.com I found award availability was pretty rare).
Hilton Hurghada Resort
5,000 Hilton HHonors points a night
This was a terrible hotel with nice rooms. The beach water is dirty because you’re near the main piers, the wifi is non-existent, the food, our room service plates would sit outside our room for more than 24 hours, etc…
The good news is that there was a Thai restaurant nearby. 😀 A good break.
Don’t bother with this hotel, really. You won’t want to swim in the water here if you saw the next two hotels.
2) Sharm El Sheikh
Sharm is a diving town and for a lot of people this is the real draw.
The entire Red Sea is covered with cheap all-inclusive hotels. And when I say cheap, I mean it both in price and quality. A guy I met outside a hotel at dinner told me that most hotels spend between $2 and $3 a day per person on all food and drinks with an all-inclusive plan. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but after the breakfast I had there… it was totally believable.
I’ll go through the hotels we stayed at chronologically.
Hilton Dreams Resort Sharm El Sheikh
5,000 Hilton HHonors points a night
I read on FlyerTalk that some people prefer the Dreams over the Waterfalls, so I gave the hotel 5 nights instead of spending all 15 at the Waterfalls. When I saw the difference, I wanted to punch the person who said that.
First, the hotel is across the street from the hotels on the water. So you have to walk over to and through the Hilton Fayrouz‘s beach… which is terrible. Out of all the hotels, this is the worst water as it’s full of more boat traffic and it’s in the center of town. In fairness, I didn’t actually get in the water here.
The hotel itself felt like a motel, with all the rooms facing into the pool area.
The room was a normal beach hotel room, and I thought it was fine. The food was absolutely terrible, almost not worth eating breakfast. But then I found out that Gold/Diamond members get a different breakfast option with crazy things like eggs made with real eggs. Crazy. So that was a welcome surprise.
The appeal to this hotel is that you can walk places to get cheaper food. Not worth it to me given the experience, how the price difference is small, and I went to Sharm to swim in nice water.
I wouldn’t go back to the Hilton Dreams or Fayrouz if there was a mistake fare that paid me $5 a night.
Hilton Waterfalls Resort Sharm El Sheikh
5,000 Hilton HHonors points a night
This is way south of town and in the middle of nowhere. It’s a good walk to find any cheap food, although there is a little place to buy things like chips nearby.
But the hotel was the best in Sharm, although there were some perks to the Radisson Blu.
It was definitely the most beautiful hotel, with the rocky cliffs breaking up the beach, and the beautiful water. The hotel is also unique, like the elevator that went down the middle (then again, it was slow and a glass box without AC, so we only used it once).
The beaches are broken up by cliffs, which also means the beaches are tiny. More scenic but smaller beaches. And there is very very little area to swim because the coral goes all the way to the beach, and the water is very shallow. Therefore you have to walk on a little floating bridge thing past the coral.
I thought it was cool, but I could see how you would prefer a big beach to more easily jump in the water.
My only complaints would be that the internet is super slow, and I had to ask for a router to be in my room, which they didn’t have available the first day. And that you were trapped eating the hotel’s food. We ordered room service so we could work and eat, and because it was the cheapest option. Plus, the guy at the Italian restaurant was relentless in upselling us on other things.
But over all, it was a good stay. Room was nice, view was nice, and it was scenic.
Park Inn Sharm El Sheikh
15,000 Club Carlson points a night
This hotel is similar to the Dreams hotel, where you have to walk to a partner hotel with a beach. The difference is that the rooms feel like a $20 motel room, there is no wifi at all in the rooms (only in the lobby), and somehow they managed to have the worst breakfast. I didn’t think one could be worse than another, but it’s true. The food was terrible.
No beach, crappy rooms, crappy everything. It’s not worth writing anymore.
Please, do not go there!
Radisson Blu Sharm El Sheikh
15,000 Club Carlson points a night
This hotel had the best “beach”, although it still had shallow water. But you could go to the end of the pier, where the drop off at the end of the reef was deep.
As far as a nice hotel and nice view, I might prefer the Hilton Waterfalls. But this has a few other perks.
By far it has the best wifi, with a router in the room without asking (although the dreams did for Gold members as well). The location is away from town but it still has local businesses all around. So for dinner we walked half a block north and there was a little cafe on the left side. It had a “chicken swarma” that was not like any I’ve had. Lots of interesting spices and it was less than $2.
The hotel beach is, as I mentioned, the opposite of the Hilton Waterfalls. No cliffs and more actual beach. And the staff isn’t pushy.
Breakfast is an absolute mad house. Crazy.
We would get a seat, and we’d put our drinks down and then go up to get food… and when we’d get back, our stuff was cleared and someone else was sitting there.
I saw a couple put entire plates down, get up to go get something and when they came back all their food was gone because the guy cleared it to seat someone else. It was like that non-stop.
3) Sofitel Luxor, and Hilton Cairo
Luxor and Cairo were actually my favorite destinations despite spending the least amount of time there. We spent two days in Luxor and 4 in Cairo. Luxor was the first time we got to have real local food, and it was cheap and tasty. We ate on the street and didn’t get sick, but I know that’s a YMMV situation.
Sofitel Winter Palace, Luxor
As you may recall, we used Orbitz points to book the Sofitel Winter Pavilion, which was half the price of the Winter Palace, at about $60 a night. But it was closed and we got upgraded to the Sofitel Winter Palace, which was great. An actually luxurious and historic hotel, so we lucked out.
And if you get my monthly newsletter, you’ll know that I earned $80+ on our free stay. So it was very free.
If you have Orbitz points and want to go to Luxor, this hotel is a great location and it is truly an experience, which is pretty rare.
Also, it’s walking distance to the Luxor temple, and on the city side of the temple and near the mosque is a bunch of tasty street food. Not a joke, a sandwich would cost 2 Egyptian Pounds, which is about 25 cents. Not bad for something tasty and local. We liked the shakshuka – an egg, tomota and onion dish, and a kind of eggplant salad sandwich.
10,000 Hilton HHonors points a night
The hotel is definitely old and worn down a little, but I actually enjoyed our stay.
We had a room overlooking the river, and when it was clear you could see the Pyramids.
But the best part was the breakfast on the top floor, which Gold members get for free (gotten from the credit card). It was the best breakfast of the month (by a long shot) and it was a small room where we got seated next to the giant glass windows. We had an amazing view and would sit even after we were finished eating, just drinking coffee and enjoying the view.
We also got access to the lounge, but we didn’t eat much in the lounge. It looked better than most lounges in Central America, but it’s nothing to write home about. Some finger foods and chicken was available, as well as a lot of deserts. In a more expensive country it would have been our dinner.
Highlights for me are:
The Radisson Blu El Quseir for only 9,000 Club Carlson points (and we paid half because of the now dead promotion with the credit card). It was a nice property and a great price. If we could have saved on food somehow, and packed our own snorkel gear, it could have been cheaper.
The Hilton Marsa Alam had the best snorkeling and free food. Can’t beat that.
Sofitel Winter Palace was very free, so that helps, but it was a great hotel in an ancient city. Cool experience.