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Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera: 5 luxurious Somabay hotels

The sun almost always shines on the Somabay peninsula, a welcoming sub-tropical finger bathing in the warmth of the Red Sea. Even in the depths of the cold and dark European winter visitors still pick-up a tan on the shores of the Red Sea. Hurghada’s modern airport quickly sends visitors on their way on a dual carriageway heading south. Often it is a mere 40-minute transfer to the collection of luxurious hotels dotted along the Somabay coastline. The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso Surrounded by emerald green fairways and greens this hotel provides impeccable 5* service. The Moorish architecture of ochre walkways, lit by Arabic lamps, is given a colonial twist by wicker furniture on the verandas. The star attraction is The Cascades Spa & Thalasso, named after the sea god, which offers a range of water-based treatments. An hour long Aquatonic treatment, with a succession of warm water jets – moving up the body from toes to head – plus floating along lazy rivers – is blissfully relaxing. Also, on offer is an astounding range of indulgent pampering massage treatments in the centre’s 65 treatment rooms. Sipping a cocktail, look out from the Eagles’ Nest bar, over the fairways leading up to the Clubhouse, as the sunsets. The Cascades Championship Golf Course, designed by Gary Player, is a testing 18-hole links course running along the breezy and beautiful Red Sea coastline. The Academy with three coaching professionals, the 18-hole course and a Par 3 nine-hole course for honing the short game, provides the perfect base for a golfing holiday. The Kempinski Hotel Somabay This is a supremely elegant 5* Hotel, a regal paean to the best of Moorish and Spanish architecture. There’s a palatial grandeur to the decor with two-metre high original oil paintings, of traditional Arabic scenes, gracing the ivy draped walls. Curving tributaries lead off from the main pool allowing guests to swim around the generously proportioned site, sloping down to an idyllic beach. As well as a restaurant offering a variety of international buffets and a beachside restaurant for lunch, there is also Bamboo Shoots, an oriental restaurant, and Pergola with an Italian menu. Guests booking a suite enjoy a tranquil Club Lounge which provides extensive buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cocktails are served at sunset. The Sheraton Somabay Resort Two Sphinx-like stone statues guard the entrance to the resort, followed by a lengthy guard of honour of yet more lions. Architecture is based on the style of Luxor and the temples discovered in The Valley of the Kings. Ideal for families, the welcoming hotel features the Somasplash waterpark. The most daring ride is the Wacky Boomerang for brave adrenaline junkies whilst there is a gentler trip on offer through the Rain Fortress. Somabay hotels’ dine-around concept, backed by a network of shuttle buses, allows guests to pick and choose from the five hotels’ restaurants. Fans of Egyptian cuisine will be able to find several Egyptian nights, often with music and belly-dancing, to keep them entertained. The Breakers Surfing and Diving Resort With a laid-back surfer culture, the 4* hotel under the genial leadership of charismatic Stefan Reichl provides a unique definition of luxury: freedom for guests to do what they want, when they want. Featuring the Orca Dive Centre, many of the guests head out along the jetty to either dive or snorkel over the coral reef. Boats depart regularly for prime diving and snorkelling sites whilst guests can also try their hand at Deep Sea fishing. A regular shuttle bus serves the Kite House. Most days, at 4pm, visitors to Somabay can enjoy a free Kite Surfing lesson to see if this is their sport. Though they are unlikely to break Somabay’s speed record of 64 kmph. Robinson Club Somabay This hotel with children’s pool, full-board options and inter-connecting rooms is a popular family choice, particularly with German tourists seeking winter sun. For most guests the beach is the focal point with the beach bar at the hub of the action. An esoteric collection of bean bags, hammocks and beach furniture invites guests to kick-back as the DJ plays a chilled set. Borrow a backgammon set from the bar to keep the brain ticking over. There’s an Ibiza-like club vibe around and an aroma of coconut sun-oil drifting on the warm Red Sea breeze. As the blood orange sun drops down behind the jagged peaks of the Red Sea Mountains, over the DJ’s left shoulder, there is a golden Instagram opportunity.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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    1. Cindy you are right there are a huge variety of treatments available. There’s a Swedish Body massage, a detox massage, Lift 6 which is facial gymnastics and a Cryotherapy Facial. There are loads more but as I opted for the specialist golf massage to focus on my back and shoulders I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember much more than those.

  1. That picture of the jetty going out into the Red Sea is amazing. I thought you only got scenes like that in the Maldives and the Seychelles. The Red Sea’s got a lot more going for it than I thought.

  2. After some heavy investment in hours of coaching and new clubs I feel that it’s time to test my game on some of these championship courses. From that picture on the green with the flag blowing and the palm trees blowing it looks as if a strong wind is going to be the main factor.

    1. Yes, the wind is the main problem. I don’t understand the weather patterns but oddly when you get close to the coast your ball gets blown towards the Red Sea. Also, as it is a championship course, some of the holes are quite long. It’s a monstrous 614 yards from Championship tee to hole on the Par 5 third hole. Challenging but beautiful too.

  3. I often get bored eating at the same restaurant for 7 nights so the dine where you like concept must be great. Of course there are nights when you’ve been out on a trip when you would just want to eat in your hotel. I find it exciting that you can not just go to different hotels but different brands too. I expect there would be some supplements to pay, from my experience the Kempinski is quite upmarket but at least you have some choices. It’s also great that the hotels take care of the transport with the shuttles so that you don’t have to worry about getting a taxi.

  4. At the moment I’d like to think that I’m a surfing dude who’d feel at home at laid-back Breakers. It must be a great place to dive from. Anything with an adrenaline buzz is my kind of thing so I’d give the Kite-surfing a go.

    Who knows I might even grow up over the next decade or two? I’d like to think that maybe one day I’d be sophisticated enough to go for all the luxury at Kempinski.

  5. I love the architecture of the Cascades resort, that’s so impressive! The spa offerings are definitely appealing for some serious relaxation but it’s crazy there are 65 treatment rooms. I wonder how many of those are ever occupied at once? The waters around the Kempinski hotel look too good to be true. It’s so beautiful there, and it’s good to see a variety of food offerings with buffets and international dishes. I’ve found on a few occasions when holidaying that food choices have been rather limited so it’s something I’m more picky about now when booking a trip. The Sheraton Somabay has a good idea with the shuttle bus and a choice of different restaurants; I wonder how far apart they are to need a bus, considering they’re owned by the hotel rather than being partner restaurants?

    1. It’s not too far to walk to any of the other hotels, though if you’ve had a busy day of golf or diving you would probably prefer to take the bus. Also at the end of the evening it’s good to have the option of a lift back.

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