Monthly Archives: February 2013

All For Love

Despite political turbulence in Egypt, Egyptian hotels are preparing for an unforgettable Valentine’s night activities for Egyptian and foreign travellers.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At The First Residence in Giza offers a Bed and Breakfast package, dinners for two and sweet Spa treatments.

You can choose between several dining options at The Four Seasons Cairo Photo: Four Seasons Cairo At First Residence

You can choose between several dining options at The Four Seasons Cairo
Photo: Four Seasons Cairo At First Residence

For LE1200 per night, a guest can enjoy a luxurious accommodation in a superior room, breakfast for two, surprise Valentine’s amenities and 50 percent off parking fees.

Dinner options are various on that special night. For LE500 per person, inclusive of service charge and taxes, guests can choose from the menu of Seasons Restaurant or that of Lai Thai Restaurant. At Seasons, a guest will enjoy the four- course menu of executive chef Erwan Laurenceau, which begins with a lobster amuse – lobster ravioli with a lemongrass infusion sauce – followed by mouthwatering roasted sea bass, herb potato crust and young vegetable fricassee. The third course is lamb cannon and smoked potato calisson with an olive and tomato crumble. For dessert, Seasons presents a chocolate tulip flower, chocolate and ginger dome topped with a silky strawberry sauce.

Those who prefer a taste of Asia can head to La Thai restaurant, whose Valentine’s menu includes mouthwatering items such as prawn satay, grilled beef salad with roasted rice, sweet and sour soup and a variety of delectable main courses such as grilled jumbo prawn, chicken roll with lemongrass and penang curry sauce, and stir-fried mussels with chili and Thai ginger. For dessert, you can get a delicious pink water chestnut-ball in coconut milk.

For an intimate Valentine’s pampering session, guests can book Hot Coco Romance at the Spa.  This special two hour experience includes a chocolate covered massage – a natural aphrodisiac designed to leave skin soft and smooth, followed by a facial cleansing. Alternatively, the Sugar Rush treatment featuring a brown sugar body polish followed by a deep full body Balinese massage is another sweet treatment perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Don't miss the spa experiencePhoto: Four Seasons At The First Residence Hotel

Don’t miss the spa experience
Photo: Four Seasons At The First Residence Hotel

To conclude the Spa experience, guests can indulge in some romantic time together with lavish chocolate treats, delicious strawberries and a glass of bubbly in the private Nile-view couple’s suite.

The Hot Coco and Sugar Rush Spa treatments are each priced at LE 1250.00 per person or LE 2500.00 per couple and include a romantic setting, strawberries, chocolate and red roses.

For reservations call Hotel directly at 02-3567 1600.

InterContinental Cairo Citystars and Holiday Inn Cairo in Heliopolis are two other venues for a perfect Valentine’s Day. In InterContinental Cairo Citystars, you can enjoy a set menu at Al Bustan Grill accompanied by love songs from 6pm until midnight or you can sip special Valentine’s cocktails on the hotel’s ‘couples only night’ at Bellini Cocktail Lounge with a beautiful rose provided for the occasion from 7pm to midnight.

Enjoy the variety of food and activities at InterContinental Citystars HotelPhoto: InterContinenal Citystars Hotel

Enjoy the variety of food and activities at InterContinental Citystars Hotel
Photo: InterContinenal Citystars Hotel

Guests can also head to the buffet dinner at Esplanade Café Restaurant from 6:30pm to 11pm, or enjoy a Lebanese Valentine’s at Fayruz, where a welcoming cocktail, candles, roses and belly dancer create a unique glowing atmosphere

If you are for fine dining, then Maestro is the place. On the Valentine’s, in a special setting of heart shaped balloons, red napkins, candles and roses, guests will enjoy a sumptuous six-course set Italian menu, and a heart-shaped cake accompanied by piano tunes.

Photo: InterContinental Citystars Hotel

Photo: InterContinental Citystars Hotel

If you want an untraditional celebration, Windows at Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars provides a ‘live cooking’ buffet from 2pm to 11pm, while the Indian restaurant Indira sets the scene beautifully amid candles and red flowers for a memorable set menu occasion.

Valentine’s will not only be celebrated in Cairo, Alexandria hotels also have their own way to celebrate the occasion. For only LE300 per person, Sheraton Montazah Hotel offers guests a luxurious accommodation in a brightly decorated room overlooking the Mediterranean and the historical Montazah parks.

In addition, guests can also enjoy sauna and body treats and live night entertainment. Guests can indulge in the Valentine’s gala party and dinner at Caesar Bar where romance begins with the love songs of the duo Sameh and Soha, followed by a mouthwatering menu.

Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

If you want to spend a calm Valentine’s, you can pamper yourself with an energizing experience at the Fitness Center enjoying a rejuvenating sauna or a relaxing massage using premium oils.

Special discounted rates in Sheraton Montazah Hotel for the readers of The Road to Kemet blog. 

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Categories: Cairo, Egypt, Giza, Hotels, Mediterranean Cities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter campaign launch at Sheraton Montazah

As part of its commitment to the society, Sheraton Montazah Hotel Alexandria launches every year a special campaign targeting unprivileged communities in the areas surrounding the hotel. This year, hotel associates donated a big number of brand new blankets to help the needy cope with the harsh winter in the Mediterranean city.

Sheraton Montazah associates preparing for the campaign launch.Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

Sheraton Montazah associates preparing for the campaign launch.
Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

The hotel’s public relations together with the community help team in the hotel worked on identifying the right beneficiaries to donate them the blankets, collecting donations and purchasing good quality blankets. This came amongst other community service plans that will take place during 2013 to provide aid to sick people, senior citizens and street children.

Facade of Sheraton Montazah HotelPhoto: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

Facade of Sheraton Montazah Hotel
Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

A Presidential SuitePhoto: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

A Presidential Suite
Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

A room at Sheraton Montazah Hotel.Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

A room at Sheraton Montazah Hotel.
Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

Sheraton Montazah Hotel is located in Alexandria, which is renowned for its magnificent beaches, archaeological and cultural attractions. The hotel is 15 km from Nozha airport and 220 km from Cairo. It overlooks King’s Farouk Palace and gardens on one side and the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean on the other. It features 289 rooms and suites. It provides six Presidential suites, 13 Junior and Hospitality suites.

Sheraton Montazah Hotel BeachPhoto: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

Sheraton Montazah Hotel Beach
Photo: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

The Pool at the hotelPhoto: Sheraton Montazah Hotel

For more information on Sheraton Montazah Hotel, visit http://www.sheratonmontazah.com/

Categories: Egypt, Hotels, Mediterranean Cities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hooked on the Nile

For the adventurer with a taste for the serene, Lake Nasser fishing safaris are a bright spot in a sea of temples and ruins.

Have you ever considered spending the night on Lake Nasser in a fishing boat? Some travellers come to Egypt to do just that. No luxury hotels or air-conditioned buses here, just the symphony of nature and the unassuming splash of the lake’s abundant game.

It seems that not all tourists come to Egypt to do the culture thing; some come just to enjoy nature — and they are prepared to rough it. While the devotion of those who delight in casting a line — often without success for hours on end — is something non-enthusiasts can never share, these are adventure travellers, and the lake is the limit of their holiday terrain.

No matter if the day’s results are nothing more than a tale about the one that got away. This is a hobby, or even a passion, and having sampled the pristine beauty of Lake Nasser and its desert terrain, enthusiasts come again and again. Still predominantly a trip for die-hard anglers, tour operators are keeping their eyes on the trend with hopes that fishing safaris will flourish like other specialty tours, including desert safaris and deep-sea diving.

Photo: The African Angler

Photo: The African Angler

Although fishing trips are not offered by most travel agencies, African Angler, an Australian company, is sampling the potential. It could take off as a tourist draw; it may generate limited interest. Either way, the trips have introduced a fresh alternative for travellers to Egypt who have either traipsed the Luxor colonnades enough or for whom a civilisation dead for thousands of years doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

“I have been working in tourism in Egypt for a long time and I have always been interested in the potential of Lake Nasser,” said Tim Baily of African Angler. “When I first started looking into the possibility of launching an attraction to anglers, I learned that the lake was under military control.”

African Angler approached the governor and military officials in Aswan and was granted special permission to organise big game fresh-water fishing safaris. Like a desert or mountain-climbing safari, it’s not a trip you can go alone. Other than permission, you need transportation, provisions, professional guides, fishing and supply boats as well as sleeping bags and tents.

“We are not near a hospital, we cannot call an ambulance, so we have to take care to stay in contact with one another. In case of emergency, we have radios and can communicate with the police in Aswan, or get the military if help is needed,” Baily said.

Stretching between Aswan and northern Sudan, with some areas over 12 kilometres in width, Lake Nasser is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. A controversial outcome of the construction of the High Dam in the 1960s, the lake now nurtures a vibrant aquatic life, including Nile perch, tiger fish and vundu catfish, making it a splendid venue for fresh-water fishing.

“Most anglers who visit the lake for the first time will find themselves hauling in the biggest fresh-water fish of their lives,” said Baily.

Big catches have made a name for the lake as having a lot of potential, explains Baily. Two world records have been set at Lake Nasser, including a Nile perch weighing 213 pounds (about 97kg). When Larry Dahlberg, a famous American fisherman, went on a fishing safari with African Angler, he made a film about fishing on Lake Nasser. The safaris have also been featured on BBC2 and Thai television.

Lake fly caught record 67lbs- Jonathan BoultonPhoto: The African Angler

Lake fly caught record 67lbs- Jonathan Boulton
Photo: The African Angler

Another big catchPhoto: The African Angler

Another big catch
Photo: The African Angler

Photo: The African Angler

Photo: The African Angler

For those interested in the details, a safari trip usually includes one supply boat and two specially equipped fishing boats that accommodate six to eight anglers. The supply boat carries all the required equipment, provisions, fuel and shore staff. With its own built-in kitchen, dining facilities and large ice boxes, the boat enables the group to set up comfortable camps on shore, close to the best fishing areas, even when the shore-line is rocky or inhospitable. “In effect, it is a moving camp,” Baily notes.

Boat safari camp, mother ship and live aboard boats.Photo: African Angler

Boat safari camp, mother ship and live aboard boats.
Photo: African Angler

As for the two fishing boats, they serve as a mobile home and fishing platform. Each can accommodate from two to four persons and they have been designed “for tough work in remote areas.” Meals are prepared by the Nubian safari staff who, according to Baily, “have the ability to cook food in the middle of nowhere. They even bake fresh bread every morning.”

Safari crew camp; guides – party time.Photo: African Angler

Safari crew camp; guides – party time.
Photo: African Angler

The fishing boats are no luxury cruise vessel, but each has comfortable and functional on-board facilities, with two bunks enclosed by strong canvas tenting at night. In place of organised entertainment in the evenings, the only diversion is feeding left-overs from dinner to the animals that live around the lake.

One of the issues that concerns Baily is the conservation of the lake and the need to keep the water clear and unpolluted, not just to protect the different species of fish, but because the region is rich in flora and fauna. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded in the area, as well as crocodiles, Dorcas gazelles, jackals and desert foxes. Laws prohibiting hunting on the lake have never been seriously enforced. “I am extremely upset that hunting is allowed at the lake,” Baily says. “Hunting is destroying wildlife.”

Baily explained that African Angler has adopted a firm policy. “We look after the lake,” he said. “We never kill all fish we catch. We keep one or two for our meals, but release all other catches alive … for future visitors.”

Pelicans settling in for the night, isolate islands are used to escape predators.Photo: The African Angler

Pelicans settling in for the night, isolate islands are used to escape predators.
Photo: The African Angler

A typical day on Lake Nasser involves getting up at first light for a couple of hours of shore-fishing, followed by breakfast, explains Baily. The boats then set off for a day of trolling and shore-fishing.

“When we venture far from camp, a picnic is taken and the boats often meet up for lunch to exchange success stories. We then fish again until the sun sets,” says Baily. “At night, sitting in the desert camp beneath a canopy of stars, one hears the sounds of frogs and crickets, the call of an owl, howling jackals, night birds and the tantalising sound of a splash made by big fish feeding near the camp.”

Plovers competing for territory with a young crocodile.Photo: The African Angler

Plovers competing for territory with a young crocodile.
Photo: The African Angler

So, how successful are fishing safaris? Baily, who brings roughly 500 anglers from different parts of the world annually, believes that Lake Nasser has excellent potential. “Once anglers discover a good place to fish, they come back again and again,” Baily says, explaining that 47 per cent of his business is repeated business. But he concedes that there are a number of obstacles.

“Months of tiresome delay, red tape and bureaucracy are needed to get through five governmental departments for various permits,” he groans. “It’s all very time-consuming … and costly.”

For more information about African Angler, please visit their website, http://www.african-angler.co.uk/

Categories: Egypt, Environement, Uncategorized, Upper Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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