The Sinai has the full range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to Bedouin camps and more unusual options like monasteries and convents. The place you stay will have a big impact on who you meet and how you interact with the Sinai, so it’s important. From a trekking point-of-view Bedouin camps are best: they keep you close to the local community, through whom you’ll trek. But if you’re on the coasts, and want a few days relaxing on the beach, there are lots of alternatives to mix it up with.
LUXURY HOTELS With golden beaches, rich coral reefs and beautiful views out over the Red Sea, the Sinai’s luxury hotels are some of the best in Egypt, pulling in guests from all over the world. Most are in Sharm and most are big-brand international type hotels like the Ritz, Hilton and Four Seasons. Check ahead on their websites for good rates.
MID RANGE HOTELS These fill the gap between luxury hotels and cheaper hostels. Many are small, family-run businesses with a genuine personal touch. They’re found in Sharm, Dahab and Nuweiba and make some of the best places to stay in the Sinai.
HOSTELS Sharm has an International Youth Hostel. Dahab has cheap hotels and backpacker-type hostels, with single, double and dorm rooms all available at very cheap rates. In Nuweiba there isn’t much dorm-type accommodation. There’s an emphasis on beach hut camps, but these are just as cheap and can make for nice spots to stay. Take insect repellant whatever time of year you’re going to Nuweiba as mosquitoes are always active.
ECO LODGES There are a few of these in the Sinai today, including two in the High Mountain Region near St Katherine. They’re eco-friendly operations in every sense: they’re built with local stone to avoid trucking it in from outside. They’re lit with candles and have dry compost toilets so no water is wasted. They’re also staffed with local people. There’s one on the NORTHERN PEAKS CIRCUIT and another on the JEBEL UMM SHOMER trek.
BEDOUIN CAMPS These are mostly in St Katherine and they’re great for trekking, putting you close to the Bedouin. You can ask lots of questions about trekking, get new ideas, find guides and perhaps even meet fellow trekkers. ‘Camps’ is a bit of a misnomer as they all have basic rooms, although you CAN pitch a tent in some of them too. The best have real goat-hair Bedouin tents with fires which are always welcoming and fun places to be.
BEDOUIN ORCHARDS The mountains around St Katherine are dotted with Bedouin orchards: many of them dating back centuries. There are about 400 in the region but only about 30 remain active. Some of those that ARE still active are now shifting away from traditional activities and re-styling themselves as accommodation hubs for trekkers. There are a couple you can stay in less than a 45 minute walk from St Katherine. And you can visit more on the trail.
MONASTERIES The Monastery of St Katherine has been putting travellers and pilgrims up for centuries and its guesthouse is still going strong today. Staying here shows the monastery in the quiet, peaceful mode it should be seen in and it’s always beautiful, especially when it’s dimly lit at night. The Convent of Wadi Feiran – known as Deir Banat – also has a guesthouse, and it makes another good spot to stay. These places have an ancient Orthodox culture, very different to the Bedouin and Egyptian culture elsewhere in the Sinai.