As Egyptians plan their escapes from jam-packed Cairo during weekends, or for the lucky ones, extended weekends, more and more are looking to head to new locations that put serenity and peace at the heart of the trip.
And many are planning to escape to their country’s own beauty spots, in order to remind themselves that Egypt is more than just soul-crushing, overpopulated streets.
Sahl Hasheesh, a private resort-complex just outside Hurghada, is just that – a newer resort that is hoping to attract locals and well as foreign beach-lovers.
The resort features six hotels with different themes and 12.5 kilometres of sandy beaches. It will also feature activities ranging from diving to golf to horse riding on the beach, some of which are available now and some of which are coming soon.
It’s also becoming known as a perfect resort for young honeymooners who are looking for a tranquil getaway spot.
Planning your trip
Sahl Hasheesh is a mere 12-minute drive from Hurghada’s international airport, so flying is an easy option.
Travelling by car from Cairo is also straightforward, and takes around five to six hours. It’s a bit of a dull trip; the maximum entertainment is a brief stop for coffee at the overcrowded Ain Sokhna petrol station.
The 32-million square mile complex is home to six different hotels, each with a different style: Baron, Old Palace, Pyramisa, Premier Le Reve, Premier Romance, and Tropitel.
Ahram Online opted for Premier Le Reve, and we were met with a glamorous sea-front setting that allowed us to take in the real beauty of the Red Sea location – and we were reminded that the hotel identifies itself as a honeymooners’ escape, so no children under 16 are allowed.
At Premier Le Reve, a deluxe double room with views of either the sea or one of the pools will set you back around EGP 2,000 per night for two people.
Waking up the next day, we understood why their strict “no children” policy was enforced, with holidaymakers enjoying the calm atmosphere whether by sunbathing, talking to their loved ones, or just reading their favorite books – or the latest gossip magazines -- at the pool…all in peace.
The hotel beach is home to spacious sun beds, and is a great spot for those looking for complete relaxation away from the pool, where the animation team would in theory provide entertainment.
Having said that, the animation team seemed to be quite low-key and on Ahram Online’s visit could not be spotted, leaving guests at the pool to relax with their own music on iPods or MP3 players instead.
But for those with energy to burn, there are plenty of other activities on offer that will get you up off the sun-lounger.
You can roam the whole resort on rented bikes, or strap on your scuba gear for an unforgettable experience exploring the nearby coral reefs.
And for those after the maximum amount of relaxation, there is the hotel spa, with special rates for Egyptians that include a discount of around 50 percent; with that discount, a whole body scrub and massage will cost you a maximum of EGP 700.
For us, the problem was that the spa’s staff were a bit too intrusive, bringing us out of our chilled mood to advertise their services.
We had to assert multiple times that our trip was a short one so we wouldn’t be able to look into their offers, but they just kept coming!