While many continue mourn the state of tourism in Egypt, others choose to see the glass as half full. Egypt's coastlines boast some of the most naturally beautiful stretches in the world, with Red Sea destinations standing out as some of the most popular amongst both Egyptians and foreigners. Hurgahda has long been a hub for holidaymakers, with the marinas of El Gouna also charming visitors into many returns.
But the two seaside spots have some very serious competition in the form of Sahl Hasheesh. Located just 18km from Hurghada, the luxury resort is very quickly becoming one of the most desirable beachside locations in the country. Though the political and social instability of the last few years has slowed down development, Sahl Hasheesh has emerged as a hotspot for sun worshippers, families and the country's young clubbing contingent.
Though still essentially very young in its existence, the resort is already home to a host of hotels, both of the luxury boutique and large family kinds, including the Pyramisa, Premier Le Reve, Sunset Pearl, Tropitel among others, with the Baron's Palace slated to open soon and an impressive ten others still under construction.
The number of hotels pays tribute to the vast amount of land that Sahl Hasheesh covers. Encompassing an area of around 41 million square meters, the resort is said to be roughly two-thirds the size of Manhattan, with different districts each given a subtle, chic theme.
It all fits in the very deliberate plurality that Sahl Hasheesh aims for; whether you want to indulge in the luxury of fine dining, enjoy nightlife or spend your visit being active, Sahl Hasheesh aims to cater for all needs. The Sahl Hasheesh Bay offers a fantastic spot for diving, while horse riding is also available via the Sea Horse and Camel Riding Club.
Golf fans have something to look forward to as well, with two full, professional golf courses currently in the works and two more 'desert style' course planned for construction. Things are looking good for the shopaholics among us, too, with a range of shopping options also available and expanding by the month – the north east headland-situated precinct of Old Town being a particular hotbed of shopping.
In recent months, Sahl Hasheesh has appeared on the radars of some of the country's top event organisers, and weekly beachside party, Boardwalk, regularly attracts weekend holidaymakers from across the country.
Top spa treatments are also on offer at Sahl Hasheesh's hotels; Haras Spa, Premier Spa and Tropitel Spa all boast state-of-the-art facilities. Speaking of which, rechargeable electric golf buggies are offered for a daily charge as a means of transportation around the resort, with recharging stations located sporadically throughout the areas.
But for all the glitz and glam, at the heart of Sahl Hasheesh's attraction is the area's natural beauty. From the Red Sea's gorgeous reefs to the visible Sinai Mountains, maintaining the irreplaceable nature of Sahl Hasheesh is the number one priority; this is a development that takes environmental protection very seriously, because beyond the hotels and the restaurants, it's the area's stunning landscape that has elevated Sahl Hasheesh as a unique and enviable destination.
So much so, that the architecture around Sahl Hasheesh seems to have been inspired by the unique scenery. The Arrivals Plaza encapsulates this, fusing inspiration from the surrounding mountainous forms and unembellished sands with simple, traditional Arabesque design, and is often used to host events, holding 2500 seated guests and up to 15000 standing guests.
An almost 500-metre long pier stretching over Old Town and the Bay also pays tribute to the simple, chic, natural design and provides an unmatchable view of the sun set – if you're into that soppy, romantic stuff. The explorer inside of you can also inspect the Sunken City; a complex of Pharaonic ruins that grounds you in the fact that yes, despite what many will say, Egypt is beautiful.