The Abandoned Villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh

By Victor and Irina

Autumn in Egypt is as colorful as in Europe, but we definitely prefer Egypt. What a sea color. Even the sand is bright. What a variety of colors under the sea!

One of the endless beaches of Taba Heights. Egypt.

One of the endless beaches of Taba Heights

A coral reef of Taba Heights, Egypt.

October-November might be the best time for visiting Egypt for snorkeling and excursions. It is not so hot in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Taba Heights, or Sharm El Sheikh, but the sea is still soft and warm.

This time, we decided to explore a tourist region new to us, and traveled to Taba Heights. This is the best place for excursions to Jordanian Petra and Israel. It is only 20-30 km to the border with Israel, and a ferry to Jordan is only 40 minutes. We were not able to deny ourselves such a pleasure.

Taba Heights, Egypt, is the best place for excursions to Israel and Jordanian Petra.

Taba Heights is the best place for excursions to Israel and Jordanian Petra

Taba Heights can be called an oasis of Sinai: beautiful hotels are surrounded by mountains, wide sandy beaches, and turquoise waters.

In contrast to the bustling Sharm El Sheikh, here is nirvana! No animation, no discotheques—complete relaxation for really tired people. The location of Taba Heights is very interesting. Living on one side of the Red Sea, you can contemplate three countries—Jordan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia—on the other one. Excellent views, especially at night, when the other side is lit up.

Snorkeling in Taba Heights is good enough. Near some hotels, you will find a rich coral reef and vibrant marine life: sea urchins, lionfish, clownfish, stingrays, moray eels, and a lot of young turtles. The shallow entry into the water is stony, but a golden sand begins after several meters.

Taba Heights coral reef, Red Sea, Egypt.

Masken Papageifisch. Taba Heights, Egypt.

Black Lionfish. Red Sea. Egypt.

Poisonous Black Lionfish. Red Sea. Egypt.

But the main story today is about a completely different place.

Since we can’t lie quietly on the beach for hours, and the desire for adventure does not leave us, we needed something new, something with a rich coral reef and a nice beach, something special…. We found it in Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh.

You might ask, what’s the attraction? The abandoned Sheraton villas. Most tourists never even heard about them, but we found it very interesting to jump back in time and explore Sheraton as it was in the middle of the last century.

The way to the old villas is simple—go to the hotel’s beach, turn right, and go straight ahead. We walked about 20 minutes. The beach was becoming more and more empty, which meant that we were close to our goal.

Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Keep in mind that the sun is fierce in Egypt, and you should not follow the example of Irina. She is highly resistant to sunburn and can allow herself a walk for half an hour with bare shoulders. For most people it can result in burning, but not for her.

Soon, you will see a bower on the right. From there, it is possible to reach the territory of the old Sheraton villas.

Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh

Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh

At first, a veranda with very unusual furniture. You can sit and imagine that this is your house by the sea, and there is a bucket with ice and a bottle of white wine near the table.

The abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh. Egypt.

The abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh. Egypt.

Armed with a flashlight you can go to inspect the inner rooms.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Hey, Genie! Are you here? Come out!

Sharm El Sheikh—a young city, just like the Sheraton Hotel, so you will not find medieval artifacts, as in France or Italy, but you will see already forgotten interiors of the last century. These trees inside are partly real, partly artificial—it is very difficult to distinguish.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Mosaics, lamps, oval grill, and even the great wash basins are well-preserved and kept their former luxury. It was so strange to see all that. We enjoyed this “journey through time,” walking through the old and beautiful walls, so mysterious and romantic. Such “antiquities” would have been stolen at some other places, but here, we can see the carved doors with colorful stained-glass windows, the kitchen furniture, wardrobes, stylish sconces, and elegant stair railings.

The wash basin in the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The interiors of the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In the abandoned villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

It seems the Sheraton was a hotel of a higher class in those days. However, now it is not bad as well. We were impressed by the endless Sheraton beach, and often went out to meet the sun on the empty morning beach, or to tell it goodbye at sunset time.

On the beach of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh. Egypt.

Meeting the sun on the beach of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh

The air temperature in the beginning of November is stable, +30, water +26. Sunny. The sea is calm.

The pontoon reef is not so interesting for snorkeling; a lot of fish, but nothing rare. However, we never snorkeled near the hotel; this time, we investigated the reef located near a wild beach and abandoned villas. The day before we left the hotel, this distant site in the sea prepared a royal gift for us.

Our first meeting with a manta ray

Irina continues the story:

That was the day when fish bustled near the shore from the very morning, and both of our cameras—the tried-and-true Sony covered with the underwater box, and a new friend, the underwater Canon–were very busy. When evening came, we decided to swim to the abandoned villas, and met a couple of snorkelers on our way–also fans of long swims. At five o’clock, we got stuck in the water just like the floats. Victor was shooting the reef, and I started to get impatient–it is cold to return after sunset!

For lack of anything better to do, I started to scan the bottom when suddenly I heard a woman’s horrible yell not so far away. I thought that somebody had attacked our neighbors. Victor kept on shooting.

Curious, I looked out of the water and saw that the couple was coming back at high speed! Then, I noticed a huge shadow moving in the deep parallel to the reef and drifting by the snorkelers.

In a moment, I swam up to Victor with bulging eyes and furious gesticulation, but he did not understand!!! With a gentle motion (fortunately, it is easy in the water) I turned him to the deep and gestured “shoot!” pushing him with all my strength toward the unknown creation. There was a big manta ray already drifting behind us with power and grace!

Manta Ray. Red Sea, Egypt.

This is our manta ray

A white nose, a white belly, a spotted spine, a lot greater than myself, 2-3 meters in diameter, she was magnificent as a Stealth! Now she was tracked by two more people. We had just a couple of minutes. I have never worked my flippers so hard, my legs cramped, but still we lagged behind the animal. Finally, the beautiful manta ray went into the depths.

Manta Ray

On our way back home, we noticed a little spotted eagle ray below. It was a day of surprises indeed!

Spotted Eagle Ray. Red Sea Egypt.

Spotted eagle ray

We visited Egypt three times, but it was the first time we saw such a miracle. We should return to this country. Today, it’s a hard time for Egypt, but the ancient pyramids saw even worse periods. All things will pass. Our whole lives lie ahead of us.

More about Egypt:
Fairytale about a Billionaire and His El Gouna in Egypt
Our first trip to Egypt: Sofitel Sharm El Sheikh

25 Responses to “The Abandoned Villa of Sheraton Sharm El Sheikh”

  1. Pam Says:

    Outstanding! The area looks incredibly beautiful and your stories are always interesting.

  2. Our Adventure in Croatia Says:

    wow those sheraton villas are quite spooky, and so beautiful, why did they abandon them? …. and you were so lucky with the rays!!!

  3. wolke205 Says:

    I am sooo jealous right now!! If we can afford it in the next years we want to visit Taba Heights :)

  4. Little Fingers Says:

    Amazing and beautiful..Loved them..

  5. Andrew Petcher Says:

    Looks great Victor, I have added it to my ‘to do list’!

  6. wordsfromanneli Says:

    Fabulous pictures, Victor.

  7. 0htheplacesyoullgo Says:

    Incredible entry! I’ve been living in Egypt for over a year now and I still haven’t made it to Sharm, but your pictures are really making me want to get down there! This was great to read, and your photos of the Red Sea really capture the vibrant color and underwater life that is such a striking contrast to the desert landscape above water. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Andy Says:

    A really great trip Victor and Irina. I have been told many great things about Sharm, and I have always wanted to visit a beautiful sea such as the Red Sea. You pictures have inspired me more! Thanks for posting you two!

  9. sammiegan Says:

    How beautiful, what you can find under the sea!

    Why have those Sheraton villa’s been abandoned, they look beautiful! I didn’t realise you could visit Petra from Egypt so easily- do you need a visa to take a trip like that?


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