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03 Jul 2017

BY Abra Dunsby


On Our Radar: Laid-back luxury in Somabay

Abra Dunsby discovers why Somabay is one of Egypt’s best-kept secrets


Life’s a beach in Somabay, which is surely reason enough to start packing a suitcase. While winters on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera average in the mid-20s, summers can reach the low 30s.


It’s not just the weather that draws clients in, though, as I discovered over dinner last month.


The resort peninsula on the Red Sea Riviera has been designed to celebrate the best elements of the sun and sea, with pristine beaches and fantastic conditions for diving, windsurfing and sailing.


Somabay has also been rated one of the world’s best kite surfing spots with calm, clear waters and strong side-shore winds to keep even the pros entertained.


Just 28 miles from the bustle of Hurghada and its airport, Somabay has its own distinct ambience, offering a laid-back form of luxury.


“Somabay is one of Egypt’s best-kept secrets and appeals to all ages,” says Mohamed Fawzy, director of hospitality operations at Somabay. “It’s also easily accessible from the UK and offers great value for money.”


While Sharm El Sheikh has suffered due to enduring Foreign Office travel warnings, Hurghada and neighbouring Somabay continue to do well with the British crowd.


“Visitor numbers have been increasing throughout the year, and we saw a 78% increase in room bookings for May 2017,” says Fawzy.


“Airlines are also responding to the increased demand for Hurghada-based holidays, with Thomas Cook launching a new flight route from Glasgow to Hurghada in October.”


Of Somabay’s five hotels, the newest is the five-star Westin Soma Bay Golf Resort & Spa, which opened in 2015.


True to its name, it caters to the golf crowd thanks to its 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course, designed by golfing legend Gary Player, while spa-seekers will find their zen via a bespoke programme at the Cascades Spa & Thalasso.


Clients with kids should consider Kempinski Hotel Somabay (above), which comes with its own sandy beach and a kids’ club, as well as the 348-room Robinson Club Soma Bay, which was renovated last July and offers tennis, a fitness centre, spa, and kids’ entertainment programme.


The Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge is the most laidback of the hotels, and the resort’s only four-star option. Its 173 rooms all look out over Soma Bay’s sparkling waters and house reef – the largest in the Red Sea. There’s also a waterside restaurant and a trendy roof garden.


New for Somabay this summer is the Somasplash Waterpark (above), a family-friendly acquatic playground offering plenty of thrills and spills, from adrenaline-pumping rides to more leisurely experiences.


Somabay is also making a name for itself as a music hotspot, having hosted various concerts and festivals. Earlier this year, the Somabay Music Festival welcomed the Gypsy Kings and the Dire Straits Experience, while Ace of Base performed at Reunion Weekend last year.


It will be music to the ears of clients seeking sun, sea, sand – and plenty more besides.

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