Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, will once again be top of the global map when it hosts COP27, 7-18 November 2022. I was reminded of the destination’s history when looking a mere two kilometres across the so-blue Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran, a catalyst for the Six Days War in 1967. Today the sovereignty of the 80 sq km Tiran Island, seemingly guarding the area, is overseen by Saudi Arabia.
But all is peaceful at the sun-drenched Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, which should be on luxury globalists’ map year-round. On 2nd March, in time for a significant Egyptian wedding buy-out, it doubles in size, adding yet more two-floor, sand-coloured villas to give a total of 315 rooms and suites.
I was first guest, trying out 250 sqm Imperial Suite #3016. Two ensuite bedrooms and a spacious living room and kitchen showed off Wimberly Interiors’ pale taupe interiors, complemented by wall-hung colour-free outline art. Nothing grates in what could be called a theatre of natural discretion.
I looked over one of my three ample terraces at a vista of fuchsia bougainvillea, manicured lawns and some of the 3,000-plus Royal Palms, all numbered (planting, explains GM Sam Ioannidis (pictured), was started several years ago). Beyond are sandy beaches, two of the four hotel jetties, and the Sea.
The entire complex spans 34 sq kms and because of the steep lie of what was originally all sand, there are two funiculars to move between levels, on-demand, in Swiss cabins. You can also, as many fit visitors do, take dozens of well-signposted steps, up to the three-floor reception and eatertainment block, above, and down to pools and other eatertainment, below.
Somewhere up there, too, is a well-patronised indoor-outdoor Technogym, and a 12-room spa – Kiko from Bali does a specially-rewarding post-flight back massage with local jasmine-rose oil.
An equally-chic instructor from St. Petersburg (the Russian one) offers daybreak yoga, on a quiet grassy headland with waves, and the occasional falcon as accompaniment. Sit outside for a breakfast buffet that includes dozens of cheeses through to taste-heavy strawberries, and omelettes to whim. Sam Ioannidis is a foodie who once ran his own restaurant back in Toronto, and it shows. Themed main-meal venues include Egyptian, Italian, Peruvian and seafood-and-more. At Pan Asian-Yatai go for a Saketini before North Coast cuttlefish and tuna prepared by a Japanese master. Egyptian wines are remarkably good, by the way, thanks to French winemakers turning grapes from the Alexandria area into such labels as Ch de Granville 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.
Absolutely do not miss a half-day tour to an authentic Bedouin village. Tear through an endless all-sand desert dotted with jagged mountains, on Japanese quad bikes. At a few traditional tents, with outdoor red and white checked lounging cushions, a local Gen-Y awaits, head swathed, body loosely wrapped in flowing white. He smiles, pours hot coffee from bird-beak copper pots. He makes a ball of dough, rolls it paper-thin, lights a single flame under an upturned hemispherical dish, and three minutes later there’s browned bread, to dip into dark brown honey.
Other experiences? There’s a couple of millennial-old nearby monuments. Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh’s building an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones course across the road. Or do as so many do, stay on-campus, dining and diving, swimming, relaxing. In your room, soak deep and long, in a tub perfumed with Red Sea salts and rose petals, as you, here in Egypt, look through palms across to Saudi Arabia.
Mary Gostelow publishes the daily girlahead.com and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, both part of Almont Global.
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