Service at the Sonesta Resort (not to be confused with the sister "Sonesta Club" across the street) was really outstanding. In general, service in Egypt ranges from totally brutal to barely average compared with other major destinations, but I really was impressed with the staff at this property.
Lots of smiles, greetings, and a real effort to welcome and entertain guests. The Sonesta is by no means perfect, but they are way above the curve based on my recent experience.
After reading reviews on Tripadvisor before my arrival, I expected to see mostly Russian guests battling for pole position in bar lines and stealing entire cakes from the dessert trays, but that was not at all my experience.
There was a fairly equal mix of Russian, German, British and Swiss-German guests, with the majority being Italian. I didn't notice any particularly rude action anywhere during my stay, but I admit that one very obvious item stood out in a big way -- topless sunbathing.
Coming from Cairo where most women wear the Hijab (veil), seeing the plethora of bikinis in Sharm was a welcome distraction.
The Sonesta Resort, however, was literally over-run by European ladies tanning topless by the pools, on the beach...everywhere. If I was in Europe I would happily expect to see this, but Egypt is an Islamic nation so I was quite surprised that so many guests would still whip off their tops in plain view of the countless Egyptian employees and other Muslim guests.
Bikinis and booze is already a stretch for many Egyptians, but it's a natural part of a "contained" international resort experience. Call me old-school, but I really did think that bathing topless pushed the line too far and was in poor taste for Sharm El Sheikh.
The employees at the Sonesta whom I spoke with were quick to explain that the resort beach is not clothing-optional, but it's just too awkward for them to mention it to anyone so they just shake their heads and smile on.
Naturally my un-comfort level didn't stop me from snapping a few pics of the beach topless-tanning action (just point your camera in any direction), and I also snapped some pics from the Cairo Airport en route to Sharm to show why I felt a wave of inappropriateness amongst the sea of skin, when other guests in other resort destinations wouldn't even bat an eyelash (including me).
I couldn't help but wonder whether scenarios like this were part of the reason why a British family sued a Greek resort (and won damages) for catering extensively to German guests!