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Kempinski
Soma Bay, Egypt | www.somabay.com/

Roadside Soma Bay is the postcard Egypt I have in my head as we near the end of the 45-minute transfer from the airport: sand, more sand and a camel-like creature in the distance that perhaps also is actually just a clump of sand. Abi, Carrie and I spill out onto the doorstep of La Résidence des Cascades, atop our bikinis-and-GoPro-laden luggage and realise, that we’ve possibly spent a little too long in that van (which was air-conditioned, if I’m not wrong) and ended up imagining one collective oasis.

Two nights later we have the exact same occurrence, except this time at the doorstep of Hotel Kempinski, two minutes down the Soma Bay strip on the shuttle and thirty minutes since a glorious buffet breakfast. Surely that isn’t enough time to cook up a heat-stroke? Here, the oasis is quite literal, complete with: a myriad of swimming pools, lagoons, bridges over lazy (swimmable!) rivers and a herd of gazelles by the watering hole (may or may not have been a water-acrobatics class…). It was clear, the five hotels of the Soma Bay  were gatekeepers of the amazing technicolour dream-coast, only accessible through a hotel lobby of sorts. The Kempinski ‘gate’ boasts a rather theatrical mix of Moorish fortress interiors with a tinge of influence from the East, with the unquestionable white Egyptian sun streaming through the dark wood lattice.

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Dress and straw bag – H&M. Fedora – Hoss Intropia.

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Sunglasses – Westward Leaning. Roll-on fragrance – Bjork & Berries. Phonecase – Casetify. Rings – Monica Vinader.

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The rooms are sufficient, decorated with familiar time-honoured ‘luxury’, with mint-blue soft-furnishing that cools the overall orange tones of the wood and tiles. Abi and I unlatch the door that divides the two rooms and I use her terrace door as a shortcut to the beach for the next two days. The real luxury of Soma Bay, I feel, is the bespoke nature of setting the day’s pace at your will. A slow morning by Kempinski’s white beach followed by adrenalin-fuelled kite-surfing afternoon at The Kite House, and star-gazing at the Cascades golf course – all five-minute shuttle-rides away. In fact, water sports at Soma Bay is reason I’d return in the future, the waves reportedly best quality in the region. For now, I am content riding a strawberry margherita wave on the sky bar singing surfbort, surfbort while watching the experts flaunt at sea.

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Great for: Couples. Fly & Flop with room for impromptu change in lifestyle (i.e couch potato to potential surfboard spud). Snorkelling in the Red Sea is interesting too, but watch out for sea urchins.

Park & Cube was a guest of Soma Bay, all views and opinions are my own.

Scarf worn as dress – Nazanin Rose Matin.

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Bikini-top – Victoria’s Secret. Straw bag – H&M Home. Paleo – Tallulah & Hope. Necklace – Monica Vinader

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La RÉsidence des Cascades
Soma Bay, Egypt | www.somabay.com/

“Well this is perfect”, I said – the minute we stepped into Soma Bay’s La Résidence des Cascades lobby – in a voice best sounding like my father. Then I gave my apple-scented e-cigarette a long drag and tottered around patting my beer belly. You see, my father’s a classic Korean middle-aged man who keeps an emergency golf club in his trunk – not for roadside mischief or helping the neighbour’s boy retrieve his basketball from under the car – but for practicing his downswings in the car park before the next meeting. One of the larger hotels on the Soma Bay strip, the Cascades, in its terracotta-orange walls and latticed-corridor goodness overlooks a vast 18-hole par-72 championship golf course. It’s dad heaven. Don’t ask me what those numbers mean because for the past fifteen years I’ve waved off golf lessons for club sandwiches.

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Top – Mango. Leather shorts – H&M. Bag – L.K.Bennett Rosamund. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Rings – Monica Vinader.

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It’s a classic fly-and-flop destination, especially when drab-coloured midwinter skies of London is your origin and a fiery red sunset is the destination. For those who, like me, think ‘18-hole’ is something to do with a nice big donut, will probably choose to appreciate the abundant Egyptian sun, Red-by-name-but-very-blue Sea, and a rather vigorous (?) dip in the Thalasso-tonic Hydrotherapy pool. Also if you’re travelling with buddies like Carrie and Abi you may end up spending the whole afternoon horsing off in the pool with the entire hotel’s balconies as audience…

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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Thalasso-tonic Hydrotherapy pool containing 830 m3 of sea water

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Great for: family fun, golfing, and overflowing breakfast buffet.

Park & Cube was a guest of Soma Bay, all views and opinions are my own.

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Hat – Hoss Intropia. Top – American Apparel. Floral shirt – Zara shirt worn as skirt.

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