The Red Sea Riviera: Soma Bay, Egypt

A walkway through the azure seas Sunbathing on the banks of The Red Sea, Soma Bay is an Egyptian treasure that is largely an undiscovered gem. An easy 30 minutes transfer south of Hurghada airport, Soma Bay is a sophisticated escape from the chill European weather, a warm winter playground.

From the name you gather that Cascades Championship Golf Resort, Spa and Thalasso has plenty to offer everyone. Gary Player, the legendary South African golfer designed a course – used annually for the Egyptian Championship – that is both aesthetically beautiful and tantalisingly challenging. If you stay on the immaculate korai grass fairways and chip precisely on to the velvety greens then there are no problems. But if you fail to hit across the Red Sea on the fifth hole or encounter a few of the myriad of deep clingy bunkers or plop a shot into one of the water hazards it can be a tough course.

World class facilities at Cascades Championship golf Course With warm water twice as salty as the Red Sea, the Thalasso treatment is both relaxing and invigorating. Starting from the soles of your feet, water jets massage your body, steadily progressing to your head as you round the pool of blue mosaic Finally you float around a lazy river at 5kmph looking out through the picture window to serene views of the palm-fringed shoreline.

Then there are 65 rooms offering a whole range of treatments. I opted for the Golf Massage to ease my aching shoulders and tight calf muscles. Not only had I played 18 holes, admittedly with a buggy, but I had also hit scores of balls at the Golf Academy and sharpened my short game on the nine-hole Par 3 course.

Superbly landscaped grounds at the Kempinski Soma Bay As well as Cascades Golf Resort, Thalasso and Spa there are four other hotels within Soma Bay’s gated community. The Kempinski Soma Bay offers top-end 5* luxury with a blissfully peaceful wing for Club Lounge guests. While the Sheraton Soma Bay Resort signposts its architectural tribute to Ancient Egypt’s Valley of the Kings with two Giant Sphinxes at its entrance. There’s a party vibe to Robinson Club Soma Bay with a DJ and volleyball on its beach.

You probably weren’t expecting surfing but The Breakers Diving Resort and Surf Lodge is the base to make the most of the Red Sea – both above and below the waves. Regular diving and snorkelling trips depart in search of the 1,200 species that live on a coral reef that is 1,230 miles long. For a macho Hemingway Old-Man-and-The-Sea moment there is always Deep Sea fishing too.

Kite Surfing at speeds up to 64 kmph Soma Bay has a dial-up minibus service so guests can easily travel to The Kite House. If you’ve never tried Kite Surfing before, there’s a free and exhilarating introductory lesson most afternoons. A Woo app available to record your speed: 64kmph is Soma Bay’s current record if you want to go for it.

Come the evening the minibus service helps guests make the most of Soma Bay’s dine-around concept and the hotels are only a few minutes apart. At the Kempinski there are two must-try restaurants: Bamboo Shoot, featuring Asian cuisine, and La Pergola stylishly Italian. Each of the hotels has various theme nights so you can almost always track down an Egyptian feast.

Beach life Alternatively, you can walk along the beachside pathway to your chosen restaurant. Maybe stopping for a cocktail overlooking the marina, as the sun slips down behind the pink tinged Red Sea Mountains. Then, after dinner, you can order a minibus for the return journey.

Steadily, the world is discovering Soma Bay. There’s a grandeur and palatial sense of space to the hotels, giving guests a welcome sense of privacy. Diving or snorkelling in the Red Sea you feel as if you are in the Maldives or Seychelles even though it is just a five-and-half-hour flight from London.

Visit somabay.com to see all that Soma Bay has to offer.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Classic Collection Holidays who feature the Sheraton Soma Bay Resort.

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Michael Edwards

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