Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Egypt’s Somabay resort offers luxury AND leisure for less

Kempinski Soma Bay
Kempinski Soma Bay

Most folk have crossed Egypt off their dream holiday location list following the recent unexplained crash of the Egypt Air plane, which flew from Paris to Cairo.

But I visited the Somabay resort in Hurghada later the same week and didn’t feel any security threat or at risk of danger at all. If anything, the unfortunate incident has made the destination more accessible as the resort offers great value deals to entice visitors to the country’s unspoilt Red Sea shores. In fact, with so many reductions and freebies, a stay at this luxury resort looks like an all-inclusive holiday!

It’s fair to say the only moments of unease took place at Hurghada International Airport, when roughly 10 travel operators’ representatives loudly bartered with all arriving passengers for a visa to enter the country. This sticker, to be inserted in your passport before you can exit the airport, should cost just US$25. The only stand offering this value is a ‘bank’ kiosk with a flimsy A4 printed piece of paper tacked to the wall labelling it as such -so don’t be distracted by the intimidating salesmen!

Leaving the squawking promoters behind, I travelled the 45-minute car journey to the Somabay resort village. It’s amazing that after a six-hour flight from London Gatwick, you can be on the beach enjoying the sun in no time, without any jet lag! This desert retreat has so many activities and restaurants to try that there was no reason to leave during my stay.

Kempinski Soma Bay
Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay

I stayed at the Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay (one of five hotels at the resort) which is a beautiful hotel, designed to look like an ancient Moorish fortress.

Guests can paddle between the property’s multitude of lagoon pools and waterfalls, or take a stroll along the 400-metre sandy beach. Shelter from the year-round sizzling sun can be sought indoors in a number of cool spaces, restaurants or in your own spacious room.

For some rejuvenating TLC I visited one of the largest seawater spas in the world, the Cascades Spa & Thalasso Somabay. Alongside a generous 50% off all treatments, guests are being granted one free trip to the 750 square-metre Thalasso-Tonic Hydrotherapy Pool.

Cascades Spa & Thalasso Somabay
Cascades Spa & Thalasso Somabay

This is a warm seawater swimming pool divided into different corridors and lined with whirlpool jets at different levels, to stimulate different muscles as you wind your way around the course. You can either choose to go at your own pace or be coached by an exuberant trainer, who playfully insists you move your limbs up and down against the bubbling currents. This is all topped off with a vigorous final blast of seawater from a massage swan neck shower before you can relax in the last hot tub. It sounds obvious, but remember to keep your mouth and eyes shut for the fierce shower sluicing – and maybe hold onto your swimwear if you don’t want to lose it!

If the aquatonic experience isn’t energetic enough for you, book your free introductory kitesurfing lesson at the 7Bft Kite House. Somabay is one of the top spots in the world for kiting because of the bay’s flat water and perfect off-shore winds. You’ll learn how to fly the kite on land first, before an instructor takes you out into the sea without a board, for ‘body dragging’. As the name suggests, you hold onto an instructor’s harness and the wind takes you on a journey up and out of the water. This is very strenuous on the arms, so I can strongly advise against allowing a friend or partner to caterpillar on your harness too! You’ll definitely need a treatment at the spa after this!

Kite surfing at 7Bft Kite House
Kite surfing at 7Bft Kite House

For golf fans, it makes sense to take advantage of the free round of golf and 50% off equipment rental for resort guests at the nearby Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa. This hotel is home to an 18-hole par 72 championship course designed by American golfing legend Gary Player. I enjoyed my trip to the 60-bay driving range, with a coach who helped to improve my technique.

Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa
Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa

If you fancy a dip in the sea, the Orca Dive Centre (located at The Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge) caters for both scuba diving and snorkelling, offering access to the House Reef.

I was surprised to see so much marine life when I stepped off the 420-metre jetty into the turquoise lagoon of sheltered water. Short boat trips deliver divers and snorkelers to other giant coral formations in the region, including the Panorama Reef – the walls of which drop to over 100 metres. Qualified diving instructors are on hand at all times and your first introductory scuba diving lesson is free.

Somabay House Reef
Somabay House Reef

If there’s one thing to watch out for while you’re enjoying yourself, it’s the sun. Temperatures at this time of year are around 35-40°C but the wind from the sea is deceptively cooling, so don’t be tempted to go without suncream!

7 nights at the Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay on a bed and breakfast basis start from £525 per person including flights, transfers and taxes. 

Find out more about the Somabay Summer Experience Programme visit: http://www.holiday-designers.com or call 020 3384 0023. 

Visit the Somabay website to read more about what’s on offer: http://somabay.com


READ MORE

New theories over what caused EgyptAir disaster

The Red Sea Riviera is Egypt’s hot-spot for thrifty sun-worshippers