My first visit to Egypt was one filled with excitement and a multitude of different expectations as it is very much one of the destinations surrounded by mystery and intrigue, being home to some of the world’s most coveted wonders — the Nile River, The Red Sea and of course, The Pyramids.
Our trip takes us into Hurghada, a coastal city along the Red Sea that enjoys a sub-tropical climate with very hot summers and warm winters. We drive 40 minutes from the city’s international airport to the self-contained community of Somabay boasting access to sandy beaches of the Red Sea and panoramic views of desert mountains.
Sitting upon 10million square metres of dedicated land, Somabay is a place where vacation is a constant state of mind, a way of life and all its elements are built towards creating a life that is centred around enjoyment. Just a 4-hour flight from Central Europe, with year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, Somabay offers vacationers an ideal Red Sea holiday.
Each aspect of the development demonstrates this, with colourful and vibrant experiences around each corner. Somabay is home to five luxury resort hotels and a signature portfolio of residential properties accompanied by a host of premium amenities and offerings to ensure a truly seamless and welcoming experience for all guests and prospective residents.
Things to Do
We are all well-acquainted with the concept of ‘fly and flop’ holidays. The industry and travellers alike have seen the evolution of the all-inclusive concept to lend itself to a more premium consumer base. Because in actuality, what is more luxurious than having all that you need pre-arranged and at your fingertips?
Somabay’s concept builds upon this notion and presents itself as a utopic and idyllic option within the holiday market where the sun always shines, activities and treatments are seemingly endless and all you need is ideally located within the confines of the development, accessed via designated shuttle vehicles and buggies.
Guests of Somabay will be spoilt for choice and outside of lounging around their hotel, can enjoy a full itinerary by venturing down to the beaches and marina or visiting the Somabay website to keep up to date on any upcoming events.
Here are some highlights to look out for when you’re in town:
● The Marina – This is perfect for views of the jetty, super yachts, access to restaurants, boutiques, nightlife, spas and sports as well as other essentials like supermarkets and pharmacies.
● Happy Turtle – Includes exclusive boat trips on a luxury yacht to the best spots in Somabay, which can include snorkelling trips and exploring the local marine life.
● Sobar Rooftop – A stylish rooftop bar and restaurant overlooking the marina and the area’s breathtaking mountain backdrop. This destination is perfect for a night out in Somabay.
Solasi Wellbeing Festival
Hosted annually on Egypt’s mesmerising Red Sea Riviera is the Solasi Wellbeing Festival, which takes place on S. Cape Beach. The festival has been conceptualised and brought to life in collaboration with Yes Yoga and Osana Family Wellness.
For three days, we were transported to an oasis of healing, wellness and a multitude of restorative practices whilst connecting and learning to interact harmoniously with our surroundings. The festival has been designed in such a manner which looks to address all key areas of well-being, with an abundant three-day schedule offering guided sessions and classes that range from anything such as sound healing and transformational workshops to your more frequently practised and recognisable Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, dance and movement classes.
The group sessions provide the perfect opportunity for finding community amongst other like-minded wellness seekers under the careful and considerate guidance of the festival’s practitioners who are all experts in their fields and accustomed to teaching on an international level. However, what elevates the Solasi Wellness Festival is the access to a selection of one-on-one holistic treatments, which include massage therapy, energy healing, traditional Chinese medicine, tarot reading and more.
Alongside dipping in and out of the whirlwind schedule of classes, swimming in the sea and chatting with all the partners, I opted for an Intuitive Healing Massage delivered by Nadiya Tsebro, a Ukrainian yoga teacher and wellness practitioner now residing in Egypt who specialises in the provision of treatments that are tailored to your lifestyle. Throughout the experience, Nadiya guided me through the treatment which includes a concentrated focus on lymphatic drainage whilst identifying and targeting key problem areas.
I was honest about my weekly habits of working from my bed or the sofa, and not having the greatest posture when seated at my desk. I laughed as I admitted to Nadiya that I could incorporate more movement into my routine and shared that I’ve flown roughly 14 times so far this year, which may be great for making memories and telling stories of my travels but not so great for the body.
She provided me with a few tips and a gentle reminder to incorporate movement wherever possible and after 60 minutes I walk across the sand back to the main festival area feeling as if I’m in a different body. One that is lighter moves more easily and freely — ready for Yin Yoga practice by the sea, followed by that evening’s dance ceremony.
The festival prioritises championing local produce and encourages balanced and mindful eating throughout the three days with the on-site Osana Whole Food Cafe providing delicious vegan and vegetarian meals and quite frankly, some of the best smoothies I’ve ever tasted. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting, ask for Mango and Cardamom — you won’t regret it.
Where to stay — The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa and Thalasso
The Somabay development houses a range of high-end accommodation options to suit all tastes that are just a short ride away from all of the area’s main attractions and many offer a complimentary shuttle service, which ferries guests to and from these points so that you can focus all your attention on enjoying your stay.
Our home away from home during our visit to Somabay is The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso, whose grounds are also home to the only spa with Thalasso-Tonic seawater-based therapy in the Red Sea.
In addition to its world-class, award-winning spa facilities, The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa and Thalasso frequently hosts keen golfers from all over the world and boasts a championship course that offers spectacular and uninterrupted vistas. With the option of poolside and garden views, or the backdrop of a magnificent course and even grander sea, the resort offers 166 luxurious rooms and suites that all come equipped with key amenities such as spacious bathrooms with a bathtub and separate shower, private balcony, satellite TV, stocked mini-bar, mini-safe and air-conditioning.
Mealtimes at The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa and Thalasso are an activity in their own right as the property houses a number of options to suit whatever your mood may be on the day. For rotating international cuisine, with fresh ingredients and live cooking stations, the main restaurant is an obvious choice with a diligent team to take you through the dishes of the day and offer guidance on local wines that will pair best with your meal. The main restaurant is open for all meals of the day and perfect for guests looking for that minimal-fuss, all-inclusive experience without compromising on quality and most importantly, taste.
The Cascades’ alternative dining options — Spikes Bar and The Seashell are the perfect casual dining spots for days when the itinerary consists of finally reading that novel you’ve been trying to get through by the pool or beach. Both offer open-air seating so you can still enjoy the heat and sun whilst enjoying a leisurely lunch. Be advised that the menus lean towards simple, so expect club sandwiches, a variety of salads, seafood pasta and other poolside favourites, which can be accompanied by a list of cocktails and mocktails.
For the evenings that are spent on the property, I recommend taking the elevator up to Eagle’s Bar — the hotel’s British-style pub which is located on the top floor and leads out into a majestic burnt-orange terrace that overlooks the grounds whilst sitting beneath an unspoiled desert night sky.
One of the largest spa facilities on Earth
The highlight of our stay is definitely our spa morning spent at the coveted Spa and Thalasso, spanning over 7500 square metres and over 65 treatment rooms, and making it one of the largest in the world. We began our experience in the 750m2 Thalasso-Tonic Hydrotherapy.
The pool truly looks palatial and features grand archways and intricate tile-constructed patterns. The pool contains 830m3 of seawater which is divided into several distinct zones with water jets, currents and counter-currents, showers and bubble baths, designed to restore, regenerate and tone a specific part of your body. We make our way around the maze-like pool, revelling and marvelling at the healing powers of water before ending with a few minutes in the jacuzzi and a few laps in the pool’s lazy river with currents gently pushing us around its course.
Our spa morning progresses as we are led to individual treatment rooms to enjoy a sample of the extensive menu on offer to guests. The massages range in intensity and technique, with The Cascades Spa offering an array of local treatments alongside traditional Eastern and Western methods. I enjoy a 50-minute Swedish Massage, where the pressure is perfect, the oils are fragrant and I feel relaxed enough to drift off into a short nap before awakening rejuvenated for another day of exploring the area.
For guests of the hotel and spa, the Thalasso is an absolute must, especially if it is your first experience as it will certainly reform your outlook on wellness.
Lead-in rates for The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso start at £96 per night for a double room on a Bed & Breakfast basis. To book, visit: thecascadeshotel.com.
To discover more, visit: somabay.com
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All imagery courtesy of Somabay.