The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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Castle Zaman: Nuweiba Lounge and Retreat

Castle Zaman: Nuweiba Lounge and Retreat
    written by
    Soraya Morayef

    Perched on a desert hill on the coast of
    Nuweiba between the Taba Check Point and Basata, Castle Zaman glitters
    prominently in the evening like a lighthouse on the Red
    Sea. Veteran travellers to the area view Castle Zaman as a rite of
    passage: if you’ve been to Nuweiba often enough, you must have visited Castle
    Zaman.

    Located just minutes away from the always
    popular and crowded Basata and several decent Nuweiba camps (we recommend The
    Good Life
    , Sondos, Sawa, Makati and Bawaki), Castle Zaman offers pristine views, cool
    cocktails and a swimming pool surrounded by comfortable bean bags to lounge on.

    You can spend a long and relaxed day at the castle, which you probably should
    do to get your money’s worth: the venue imposes a 100LE-minimum charge at
    entrance and requires reservations several days in advance on busy weekends and
    national holidays. The venue’s
    management is absolutely adamant about not allowing anyone in without paying
    the minimum charge, even if just for a quick look around.

    Guests are also asked to sign a
    no-substance-abuse waiver at the door, meaning that if you’re caught consuming
    mind-altering substances on the premises, you will be asked to leave. That
    being said, you come to Castle Zaman for the drinks (seeing as it’s the closest
    bar for the many Nuweiba campers) and for the excellent slow-roast meals, which take up to three and a half hours to be cooked.

    Ideally, you show up at the castles around midday
    for a long, relaxing day of swimming in the stone pool and sunbathing with an
    ice-cold drink while waiting for your dinner. The bar serves juice, cold beers and cocktails made with fresh juice. Cocktails with local liquor will cost around 30LE, while mixing with
    imported liquor will raise the price tag to around 68LE (try their lemon-mint tequila or guava-mango vodka). Drinks are served in
    rather small blown-glass cups; so you may need to top up your drink in
    another hour or so.

    The kitchen menu is limited: you can order
    seafood, fish, lamb, veal or turkey. Each dish can easily feed up to three
    people and comes with brown rice or barley as well as some roasted vegetables.
    Our order of lamb was accompanied by a large bowl of brown rice surrounding a
    healthy serving of molokheya.

    None of these meals come cheap: one dish
    will start at around 120LE, so if you’re sharing a meal with two other friends
    or more and have had a few drinks, be prepared to pay around 300LE each for the
    whole day in total.

    The meals are served in quaint pottery
    dishes, either in the semi-open dining room or outside along the castle’s
    terrace. Chairs and tables are fashioned out of tree bark, the ground is
    scattered with pebbles and dark tiles, and the castle’s walls are made out of stone from the nearby mountains.

    Every aesthetic of the Castle, every
    aspect of its decor and ambiance remind you that you are in the midst of
    nature. The castle has tried as much as possible not to disturb the serenity of
    its surroundings; that’s why the colours used are muted, and the
    materials are all either recycled or natural.

    Aside from the view, the food and the
    wonderful pool, Castle Zaman also offers free Wi-Fi and decent changing rooms
    with showers. You can rent out a towel for the pool for 10LE, or
    browse through their lower-level gift shop for some Red
    Sea memorabilia. At the end of your evening, it’s worth hanging
    around the terrace and enjoying the view of the boats on
    the Red Sea. Be sure to order their mermereya
    tea before heading back to your camp: the tea is served in a quaint ceramic
    kettle with a camel-shaped nozzle and cute little tea cups emblazoned with
    camel motifs.

    The venue can be rented out for private
    parties, but you need to notify them several months ahead, and the
    Castle is quite strict about not allowing in kids under the age of six, as the
    venue is not child-friendly.

    When you’re tired of the lazy life and lounging
    in your Nuweiba camp, Castle Zaman is a refreshing alternative and a great spot
    for a romantic dinner or fun day out with your friends.

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