The Big Six: Luxury Egyptian escapes
Saturday 04 September 2010
Dahab Paradise, Dahab
On the south-east Sinai coast, Dahab is prized among divers and backpackers. Adding indulgent appeal is Dahab Paradise, a low-key resort of just 35 tasteful rooms (beaded lamps, carved wooden bedsteads) that overlook a palm-fringed pool and the Red Sea. The hotel has the requisite dive centre and also works with local Bedouin guides to provide insightful excursions to sites such as the National Nature Reserve of Ras Abu Galum.
Dahab Paradise, Blue Hole Coast Road, Dahab (00 20 107 002 527; dahabparadise.com). Doubles start at €47, including breakfast.
Adrere Amellal, Siwa
Residing in the vast Siwa Oasis in the midst of the Western Desert, Adrere Amellal follows the architectural vernacular of mud and salt brick walls that blend into the sandy surroundings. From above, the hotel looks like a whimsical sandcastle; inside its cool rooms are filled with artisan furniture and are lit with nothing but candles at night. Much of the organic food is grown on site, with more sourced nearby, and is used to create delectable dishes served by the pool or at a secluded spot of your choice.
Adrere Amellal, Siwa Oasis, Matruh (00 20 227 367 879; adrereamellal.net). Doubles start at US$605 (£403), full board.
Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary, Dakhla Oasis
Provençal-style furniture mixes with custom-made items here. Rooms might come with a fireplace, a plunge pool or terraces. A bar, library, dining room, pool and spa complete this retreat.
Al Tarfa Desert Sanctuary, Al-Mansoura, New Valley (00 20 929 105 007; altarfalodge.com). Doubles start at €246 (£203), including breakfast.
Tabuna Camp, Kharga oasis
At this luxurious desert camp, 20 wood and canvas tents overlook a ruined Roman fortress. They have proper beds, a bathroom and a deck to survey the sandy vista. Food is locally grown and bread comes fresh from the tabuna – a traditional stone oven.
Tabuna Camp, New Valley (00 20 224 193 451; desertinstyle.com). Packages through industours.co.uk
Villa Belle Epoque, Cairo
The capital's first boutique hotel is in a tranquil suburb beside the Nile, where stately homes were built for wealthy residents at the turn of the 20th century. This 1920s colonial villa is no exception and opened as a hotel last year after being sympathetically renovated with shutters, chandeliers and dark wood furniture by its Egyptian/Dutch owners. An elegant restaurant overlooks verdant gardens surrounding a pool, where breakfast can be served on sunny days. The hotel is half an hour away from the pyramids of Giza.
Villa Belle Epoque, Road 13, Villa 63, Maadi, Cairo (00 20 223 580 265; villabelleepoque.com). Doubles start at €180, including breakfast.
Hotel Al Moudira, Luxor
On the West Bank of the Nile near the Valley of the Kings, this palatial hotel is the creation of a globe-trotting photographer and jewellery designer. Decorative arches frame antique furniture, kilims and frescos while gardens filled with mango and palm trees radiate out towards the desert.
Hotel Al Moudira, West Bank, Luxor (00 20 123 251 307; moudira.com). Doubles from €189, with breakfast.
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