Soma Bay – The Perfect Getaway

Soma Bay camel on the beach with mountains across the Red Sea
Kempinski Hotel, Soma Bay

Soma Bay

For those desperate to escape the bitter weather and leaden skies of the most savage British winter for decades – and who, post-Christmas, doesn’t feel like that? – then little known Soma Bay in Egypt makes for an idyllic holiday.

One of the Red Sea’s newest resorts and located on its western shore, Soma Bay has an upmarket feel lacking in all but the most expensive hotels in the popular Sharm El Sheikh. And for those who feel the cheap-and-cheerful ambience of Hurghada, known as a party town, is a bit too cheap and cheerful, Soma Bay, just 45km away, offers luxury and fine dining in place of loud music and tequila shots.

Moreover, this bit of the coastline isn’t being stalked by aggressive white-tip sharks although, as the Egyptian Tourist Authority cautions, that is no reason for complacency, and swimmers must seek advice before entering the water, and follow all directives from hotel management and lifeguards. Certainly, the publicity means that now is as good a time as any to pick up a bargain holiday here.

A desert peninsula, once owned by the Egyptian military, Soma Bay is being developed in association with several leading hotel chains as a premier holiday and sporting destination. The 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course, designed by Gary Player, cuts a velvety green swathe through the dusty landscape and is attached to the Cascades Golf Academy. There is scuba diving and snorkeling on some of the world’s best coral reefs, and a steady offshore wind ensures excellent wind- and kite-surfing.

One of Soma Bay’s biggest attractions is a spectacular spa and thalasso centre, Les Thermes Marins des Cascades, where the focus is on the health properties of mineral-rich seawater and seaweed.

This is very much a hotel-based holiday, as Soma Bay is a kitsch-free zone with not a bar or bazaar outside hotel perimeters. Nightlife is restricted to the hotels and revolves around crooners, belly dancers and Egyptian music. However, for those prone to cabin fever or for whom a sun lounger and a good book are not quite enough, there are a range of excursions, from the Temple of Seti I at Kanais and the Emerald Mines at Marsa Alam, to a day trip to Luxor.

Travel with…

Easyjet from Gatwick, Thomas Cook from Manchester and from November, Thomas cook will now be flying from Glasgow to Hurghada International Airport. Flights depart Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Stay at…

Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, a 325-room, five-star beachfront hotel, styled as a Moorish fortress surrounded by lovely gardens and water features or the equally beautiful Sheraton Soma Bay

Spend the morning…

At the beach, of course. Let your sun-deprived body soak it up and boost your vitamin-D levels. But make sure you slap on a high-factor cream. Temperatures from November until March range between 22C and 27C, with an average eight hours per day of sunshine.

Have lunch at…

The poolside Al Mar restaurant where the menu offers everything from authentic Middle Eastern fare to panini and healthy salads. Snack lunches can be ordered from your sunlounger, courtesy of the Beach Comber Bar.

Spend the afternoon…

Exploring Soma Bay. If you can tear yourself away from the white sands, catch the shuttlebus (every 10-12 minutes) for a quick tour of local attractions (limited, admittedly, as parts of the resort are a work in progress with more hotels, apartments and villas under construction). This shouldn’t put you off, however, as once you are in your hotel, you wouldn’t know what was happening elsewhere.

Dine out…

On Asian fusion cuisine, including first class sushi dishes, at the Bamboo Shoot at the Kempinski Hotel. Away from the main hotel complex, the restaurant has a pleasing air of calm. (Guests who are not on full- or half-board arrangements can dine at any restaurant in any of Soma Bay’s hotels and charge it back to their account at the hotel they are staying at.)


Sunset cycle with my son in Soma Bay (July 2017)

5 Hotels In Soma Bay

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