TRAVEL: Melia Sharm
Lovely warm days and long Egyptian nights. The shimmering resort of Melia Sharm was a snowflake free zone for Fiona Dryden
WE may be well into the winter months but in Egypt the sun really does shine all year. With temperatures dipping to a mere 18 degrees at their lowest at this time of the year, and the 40s at high season, it is a place for sun lovers to visit any time.
The resort of Sharm El Sheikh is a 10-minute transfer from the airport. Thanks to its expansive range of hotels, there's plenty of choice for the discerning traveller, depending on budget.
But for those who want to splash out, go no further than Melia Sharm – a 5-star spa resort with panoramic views of the Red Sea and a private beach to lounge on when the mood takes you.
With stunning views over Tiran Island, it is the place to be seen as you relax and put your feet up.
Melia Sharm has five top-class pools to choose from and a selection of restaurants to suit all tastes.
Should you choose a package deal through Jet2 Holidays then drinks and food are part and parcel and may well prove to be a money-saver for a visit to Sharm El Sheikh.
The hotel has only been open four months, but as far as service is concerned, Melia Sharm is impeccably run by staff keen to please guests.
Its rooms are bright and airy and come with all the latest mod cons, including flat screen TV, air conditioning, and 24-hour room service.
For those who really want to push the boat out there's a junior and presidential suite to choose from.
Whether it's endless days by the pool you're after, or more action – Sharm El Sheikh has everything to offer – from diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea with its clear blue coral reefs and colourful marine life to camel riding in the desert and dining al fresco with the Bedouins.
The latter provides the ultimate star-gazing experience as the lack of pollution allows the naked eye to take in even the Milky Way.
Na'ama Bay is the lively heart of this sunshine resort.
A hang out of most local Egyptians, it's geared up to make the most of tourists with plentiful souvenirs to choose from and some hidden gems if you're willing to look a little harder.
Just make sure you're willing to haggle.
Advice includes halving the asking price and sticking to your top offer. At any rate, it can be quite fun if you take it in the spirit of adventure.
Other nearby attractions are Ras Mohamed National Park, St Catherine's Monastery and Mount Moses.
Hurghada is an up and coming coastal destination just south of Sharm El Sheikh – a 40-minute plane hop away.
Numerous hotels line the Red Sea with their private beaches, while the city itself has cheaper options available.
Visitors can wander into Hurghada and experience a truer taste of Egyptian life here.
The city comes to life at night with shops opening until the early hours, so whether it's trying the local brew, a shisha pipe, or cool glass of wine while the hustle and bustle of life goes on around you, it's well worth a visit.
Egyptian tourism thrives on its guaranteed weather and diving. Hurghada is no different. Split into districts, it consists of the old city centre where local markets (souks), stores and the fish market invite you for strolls and shopping. There is also the old port to wander around and take in one of the many restaurants as well as stunning views.
Far from the bustling capital of Cairo and the pyramids, Hurghada offers the tranquility and beauty of a sandy resort, with all the vibrancy of a city. It really is the best of both worlds.
Fiona Dryden was a guest of Jet2holidays which offers holidays to Egypt, including the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. She flew with leisure airline Jet2.com. Return flights and hotel transfers start from £399 per person. She stayed at the Melia Sharm hotel, available as a value package holiday through Jet2holidays. Packages from East Midlands (weekly) and other airports, start from £699pp, all inclusive, seven nights – includes resort transfers and 22kgs luggage.