Andy Mossack experiences Cascades Resort and Spa at Somabay, beside the Egyptian Red Sea.
For any winter sun devotee or aspiring windsurfer, Egypt’s Red Sea might well be near the top of their list, but if you factor in the new Somabay development, it becomes the Promised Land. This new development, taking up a whole peninsular of Red Sea coastline, has water lapping on all three sides of it, and lording over it all is the Cascades Resort and Spa.
The footprint of the Cascades Resort and Spa is impressive; a large low-rise ochre-tinted building wrapped around a huge swimming pool and encircled by the Somabay desert-style golf links. Its elevated position offers up some exceptional panoramic views of the Somabay peninsula. White desert framed by the azure waters of the Red Sea.
This resort was one of the first to be constructed on this exclusive new community, which now boasts five hotels including a very fine Kempinski and Sheraton, but this one is surrounded by the Gary Player-designed Somabay championship golf course and just steps away from the first tee.
I arrived at the Cascades Resort and Spa late in the evening so the thrill of such a majestic view was delayed until the next morning after I stepped onto a warm balcony flooded in sunlight. Early morning swimmers were out doing pre-breakfast lengths of the giant pool, birdsong and wild rosemary scent filled the air, while the views of the sea in the distance offered up the perfect backdrop.
My room overlooked the far side of the pool, a generous space of sandy-coloured tones with a high ceiling, king bed and settee area that could sleep three comfortably. A hardwood floor led to a large bathroom with a shower, separate bath, and high-end toiletries.
I have to admit a deep fondness for middle eastern cuisine and the lavish buffet breakfast in the main restaurant didn’t disappoint. Local staples such as foul mesdames, falafel, labneh and plenty of fresh salads comfortably held hands with all kinds of standard western fare for an ample feast fit for pharaohs.
I was on a full board, all-inclusive stay which included local alcoholic drinks and admission to the Executive Lounge, a comfy quiet retreat with light bites during the day. Alternatively, there was the outdoor Spikes restaurant next to the 18th hole for a quality lunch menu, or over at the Seashell, the hotel’s beach restaurant, for all-day feeding and watering with that comfortable sea breeze, a regular feature around these parts. When it comes to sundowners and a late-night vibe, the focus switches to the lofty Eagle’s Nest bar, providing some glorious evening views across the peninsular. Perfect for a cocktail or three before and after dinner.
The hotel provides a regular free shuttle to its private beach – just a three-minute ride away. Very comfortable beds with umbrellas, towels and water are provided together with Seashell’s culinary hospitality. You could even grab some wind and kite surfing lessons, in a place frequented by most of the sport’s professionals who flock here to train in perfect laboratory conditions.
There’s a 3-kilometre promenade running along the beach; at one end is the small Marina with its shops and restaurants, and the other leads to the Orca Dive Centre for scuba and snorkelling around the coral and colourful Red Sea marine life.
Back at Cascades after a morning relaxing at the beach followed by a light lunch, I burned off some calories with a much-needed exercise session at the well-stocked gym in readiness for my aquatronic session over at the Thalasso Spa.
This, along with the superb golf facilities, is the crown jewel in the Cascades crown. Cascades’ giant spa really is a world-class facility. Thalasso is a form of hydrotherapy where heated sea water is used to jet wash various muscles across your body using different forms of water pressure. The aquatronic pool contains fifteen separate zones in a circuit designed to access and massage all of your body’s muscles and trust me, all of mine knew about it.
Under the expert guidance of Thalasso therapist Mahmoud, I was put through my Thalasso paces with gusto. And, I have to confess, I did feel pretty exhilarated by the end of it. Just as well really as next up was a relaxing signature massage, the polar opposite of what I’d just experienced.
There are sixty-five treatment rooms in the spa, extending over 7,500 square metres and each specific treatment area is represented by the traditional architecture of its origin country, be it Balinese, Thai, or Indian. Within this giant complex, there was also a traditional hammam, steam, sauna and plunge pool.
Needless to say, my Cascades Relaxation massage was the perfect antidote to my previous Thalasso experience, but both combined to ensure I slept the sleep of angels that night.
There’s no doubt in my mind the Cascades Resort and Spa has sport front and centre. The golf course and additional golf facilities are outstanding. There’s also squash, tennis and footgolf available too. It’s a set-up tailor-made for sports lovers at unbeatable prices. But for those who are not lovers of anything remotely athletic, there’s plenty of sun-worshipping on offer down by the beach and around the pool, a kids club, a playground for toddlers, and supervised free activities every day.
You could also take day trips to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings if you feel like discovering some of Egypt’s iconic history.
With the exchange rate of the Egyptian pound working in our favour at the time of writing, this is a luxurious break at outstanding value for money. Perhaps this really could be the Promised Land.
Tell me more about Cascades Resort and Spa at Somabay.
Cascades Resort and Spa, Somabay P.O. Box 403 Hurghada. Egypt
T: +20 65 3562600 F: +20 65 3562672 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
From £92 per night for a double room on a Half-Board basis
From £145 per night for a standard double room on an all-inclusive basis.
easyJet flies a regular service to Hurghada airport which is 30 minutes from Somabay.
Visas to enter Egypt are US$25 available at the airport. Be sure to carry the exact amount in dollars to avoid paying any higher fees in local currency.