Now is the time to visit Egypt thanks to good exchange rates and restored flight routes… and this Red Sea resort has something for the whole family, from a ‘stunning’ spa to ‘excellent’ food
- Ian Walker and his family stayed at The Cascades Golf and Spa – a ‘hill-top haven’ on the Soma Bay Peninsula
- He finds that the resort boasts ‘one of the largest and best-equipped thalasso therapy spas in the world’
- The family sees ‘scores of puffer, lizard and lionfish’ while snorkelling on a boat trip to the Seven Pillars site
When can being a ‘victim’ of pyramid selling be a good thing? When you are going on holiday to Egypt.
For years the tourist industry of land of the pharaohs has been like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Crisis after crisis has kept the country off the radar for many tourists; the uprising of 2011, the 2015 Russian airliner crash terrorists claimed responsibility for, subsequent terror attacks and then the Covid pandemic followed by the cancellation of flights.
After every blow, the industry stops, stutters, then somehow finds a way to pop back up onto the international travel scene particularly now with a good exchange rate and flight connections restored. I experienced that resilience first-hand during a family visit to the sprawling Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso on the Soma Bay Peninsula and discovered a lot to like about this hill-top haven by the Red Sea.
Ian Walker and his family stayed at The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso (pictured) in Egypt’s Soma Bay and discovered that there was ‘a lot to like’
Like many families, we are still the ‘bank of mum and dad’ when it comes to holidays.
Our two boys are young adults but not yet financially independent, so we are happy to bring them on the occasional trip – my wife refers to them as the ‘luxury luggage’.
We prefer a more restful approach to holidays, whereas our sons enjoy the gym and outdoor activities. In the past, we have not been entirely successful when it comes to pleasing everyone, but were cautiously optimistic about The Cascades.
Situated just 45 minutes from Hurghada International Airport and two hours from Luxor, the 158-room hotel has spacious rooms decorated in colours of warm sand with tiled floors and bijou private balconies with views of the sea, the large attractive pool area, or the manicured Gary Player 18-hole, par 72-course championship golf course and the Red Sea Mountains.
Ian describes the resort as a ‘hill-top haven by the Red Sea’. It lies just 45 minutes from Hurghada International Airport and two hours from Luxor
‘With a good exchange rate and flight connections restored’, Egypt has recently become a more popular destination on the international travel scene, Ian reveals
The Cascades sits at the highest point of the Soma Bay Peninsula and boasts one of the largest and best-equipped thalasso therapy spas in the world.
The 830 cubic metres of frothing seawater is divided into a series of pools designed to focus on specific areas of the body. The powerful water jets ease tension and muscular aches and pains, but the stunning architecture and striking marine colours of this beautiful mosaic water palace make it a tonic for the senses.
There are also 65 treatment rooms offering an immense range of treatments, from underwater massages to seaweed wraps.
Above are the ‘striking marine colours’ of the resort’s thalasso therapy spa, which features 65 treatment rooms offering an immense range of treatments
None of the family was daring enough to try the underwater version, but we all tried a massage, and were very happy with our therapists, who were happy to do either mild medium or hard pummeling of our tired muscles. The boys had sports massages, I had a Swedish massage and my wife had a reflexology massage. Tailored packages are on offer to guests wanting a pure spa holiday, including slimming treatments and special detox or low-calorie menus.
Although we definitely were not signing up for any slimming treatments we felt we ‘earned’ our massages after pushing ourselves in the gym, driven on by unrelenting harassment from the boys. They claimed it was encouragement – and offered various instructions such as, ‘No, don’t lift it like that, do it like this!’
The fitness room was not large, but was perfectly well equipped for my wife and I with cross trainers, treadmills and bikes and, for the boys, an Olympic bar and free weights.
Pictured is the resort’s ‘attractive’ pool area. ‘In the past, we have not been entirely successful when it comes to pleasing everyone, but were cautiously optimistic about The Cascades,’ Ian says of his family holiday
Beginner’s golf courses ‘are freely available and very well run’ at the manicured Gary Player championship golf course (pictured)
It also had a wide panoramic window overlooking the huge pool, acting as both incentive and reward to get through the workouts our sons so thoughtfully put us through.
While my wife and I managed a daily trip to the gym the boys also had the energy for golf. Beginner’s courses are freely available and very well run, and we all enjoyed snorkelling with a boat trip to the nearby Seven Pillars (Tobia Arbaa), so named due to the coral towers that rise almost to the surface from a depth of 12 metres (40ft).
There is a resident Napoleon fish, as well as colourful corals, scores of puffer, lizard and lionfish, all vying for attention and making the area a popular underwater theatre for snorkelers and divers.
The 158-room hotel has ‘spacious rooms decorated in colours of warm sand with tiled floors’
All the activity was worth it, as the daily rigours made for guilt-free enjoyment of the excellent food throughout our stay.
The boys’ seemingly bottomless pits for stomachs have often been a point of friction on family breaks so it was wonderful to see them kept fully satiated with great meal choices.
The Dunes main buffet restaurant offered plenty of indoor and outdoor tables and a huge selection of cuisine from around the world for breakfast and dinner, including chef stations offering freshly cooked eggs, pasta, fish, meat and a range of different choices each evening.
Ian and his family became regulars at the Eagles Nest lounge and bar, pictured – it’s the ‘perfect spot to relax in and enjoy an expertly made cocktail or a cold beer’
The Cascades Golf and Spa’s rates start from £128 (€142) per night for a standard king or twin room on a half board basis.
For more information visit thecascadeshotel.com or somabay.com.
The array of food on offer and the quality was superb, as was the service from the friendly and efficient staff.
Spikes, by the golf course, was open just for lunch and served mostly BBQ food and a good selection of salads, pretty desserts and excellent coffee. One side of the L-shaped counter around the kitchen is adjacent to the pool and serves as an informal bar where guests can order cocktails, coffee and snacks.
Our favourite informal food haunt was Sea Shell by the beach, a five-minute free shuttle ride from the hotel, serving excellent fresh seafood and pizzas opposite a private beach area reserved for guests from The Cascades.
We also became regulars at the Eagles Nest lounge and bar. With its beautiful terrace and views stretching out over the Red Sea it was a perfect spot to relax and enjoy an expertly made cocktail or a cold beer, although the pool table and plasma screens showing Premier League football matches were probably more of a lure for the boys than the view!
For guests staying longer, or with more stamina, the hotel can organise tours by plane, bus, or limousine to see those iconic pyramids – which is a perfect excuse for us to come back.
Naturally, the ‘luxury luggage’ have already reserved their return seats.
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