The Red Sea is world-renowned for its array of tourist hotspots, with the likes of Sharm el-Sheikh proving a huge draw for holidaymakers looking for a cheap deal in a fantastic climate.
However, there is one destination that is subtly making waves as a top holiday spot, while remaining largely unknown to the massed ranks of package deal devotees.
Welcome to Soma Bay. No, not the home of long-running Aussie soap Home and Away, but a pristine peninsula with a fantastic amount to tempt travellers of all tastes.
Undeveloped as recently as 1991, this sun-soaked setting, a 20-minute drive from Hurghada, now boasts five top hotels in one resort village known as Somabay, all offering something different.
Couples can revel in romantic twilight strolls on the white beaches, while families can take advantage of the amazing activities laid on. Watersports remain the big attraction for most, as Somabay CEO Ibrahim El Missiri knows full well.
“One of our main attributes is the diving facilities. We’ve got a house reef where you can basically drive a golf cart up our 500m-long jetty and just dive off the edge of a cliff onto this beautiful reef wall,” he says.
“Being a peninsula, and offshore from mainland Egypt, we are lucky to have 300 days of wind per year and this makes Soma Bay an ideal location for kitesurfing. Most of the Red Sea is known for its reef and beautiful scenery, but this is actually an obstacle when it comes to kitesurfing, so the fact that we’ve got a sandy beach makes it quite unique. Plus the surfing is done parallel to the sea, so it makes for great viewing.”
Missiri is rightly proud of the peninsula’s self-sufficiency, but what really brings a smile to his face is the sheer level of repeat guests, which he says is “actually much higher than you’d normally find elsewhere”.
Three top hotels
Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay
A simply stunning venue with a spa widely regarded as Egypt’s finest.
From Dhs415 per room, per night. www.kempinski.com/en/soma-bay.
This friendly diving and surfing lodge is the ideal base for any watersports fan.
From Dhs215 per room, per night. www.thebreakers-somabay.com.
Sheraton Soma Bay Resort
It has a wonderful 800m beach and architecture inspired by Karnak Temple.
From Dhs265 per room, per night. www.sheraton-somabay.com.