Sahl Hasheesh Resort in Egypt
Sahl Hasheesh Resort is another example of the new policy of the Egyptian authorities in the development of tourism business. In the 90's the government decided to move to the practice of organized development of the Red Sea coast, for which development companies began to be created. So the resorts of El Gouna and Soma Bay were born. Sahl Hasheesh is the newest of such projects in the country, located 20 kilometers south of Hurghada airport.
A bit of history
Some sites on the Internet tell us that once on this site was an ancient Egyptian city that sank like Atlantis. While no evidence was found, in ancient times this area did not have any strategic or economic significance.
Perhaps, such fables are born under the impression of a local tourist attraction - a "sunken city". These buildings under the water in the ancient Egyptian style are built here artificially for fans of diving.
The history of this place began in the early 90's, when the tourism industry in Egypt was in crisis. It became clear that at the main resorts of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, there were almost no places for hotel construction, and Egyptians need to open and develop new resorts in their country.
Development companies began to open, and the government began to allocate sections of the Red Sea coast. The company "Egyptian Resorts Company" got a stretch of coast in the south from Hurghada, between Hurghada itself and the resort of Makadi Bay . The company received tax incentives for 10 years and began to develop a plan for the development of a new resort.
The plan was written grandiose, Sahl Hasheesh was to become a big city with dozens of hotels, diving and yacht clubs, luxury villas and apartments, gardens and parks. The phrase Sahl Hasheesh from Arabic translates as "grassy plain", in Russian "meadows". The word "hashish" in Arabic translates as "grass", does not it look like anything?
In 2007, the first hotels were opened, and the resort began to function.
This article was written in 2015, and no meadows, gardens and parks here and did not appear. Totally there are 9 hotels and the central part of the resort with shops and restaurants.
Characteristics of the resort Sahl Hasheesh
Let's start with the location. Tourists arrive at the international airport of Hurghada and travel to the hotels by bus 15 minutes. Taxis can be hired for 40 Egyptian pounds in one direction, if you bargain. If you do not bargain, then 100 pounds. If you order a transfer via the Internet, the prices start at 20 US dollars. This location of the resort can be safely called successful and can be attributed to its undoubted advantages.
Another plus is the good knowledge of the Russian language by the staff of the Sahl Hasheesh hotels. The majority of hotel workers know Russian at the basic level, the reception staff speak quite tolerably.
And, of course, the main plus in the rest at the resort of Sahl Hasheesh is the sea. Each hotel has a large strip of the coast, and places in the sea are enough for all tourists, even if the hotel is "chock-full".
Due to the low density of tourists, the sea is cleaner than the popular Egyptian resorts. Marine animals on reefs are more that will please fans to dive with a mask and snorkel. Fish often swim directly to the beach and you can feel like you are swimming in a giant aquarium.
The next feature is considered to be pluses, but with some negative shades. In the center of the resort Sahl Hasheesh, near the Premier Romance Boutique hotel there is Piazza and Old Town. The phrase "Old Town" translates as "old town", but this place is not "drawn to the city", and there is nothing old in it, it's just that name.
Here there are shops, excursion bureaus, restaurants, bars and discos. You can say that this is the local center of life.
Unfortunately, most guides knowingly keep silent about the existence of this place. They do not want tourists to go to Old Town and find out the real prices for excursions. They want tourists to book trips for them for shopping, buying in stores where they have a personal interest. As a result, most vacationers spend their entire vacation in Sahl Hasheesh, never having once been to Old Town.
Sahl Hasheesh Resort is large enough, and some hotels are more than three kilometers away from Old Town. You have to use a taxi, and taxi drivers ask for a trip up to 50 Egyptian pounds, depending on the distance, which is not cheap.
If you continue the topic of delusions, then in many reviews of local hotels you can find phrases "on the outskirts of Hurghada" or "terrible periphery" and the like. Sahl Hasheesh is perceived by tourists not as a separate resort, but as part of Hurghada, and not the best.
The search systems of tours and hotels think the same way, most of them do not know such a resort, and hotels in Sahl Hasheesh consider part of Hurghada.
There is nothing surprising. Firstly, the resort administration almost does not advertise it. Apparently they think that tourists should learn in a telepathic way all the "coolness" of this place.
Secondly, they never built the promised gardens and parks here. If at least 50% of their plan was implemented, then everyone would know about Sahl Hasheesh, and travelers would dream of being here. But, of the planned there are only a few objects built.
Since in Sahl Hasheesh there are no sights, the administration decided to artificially create them. What tourists are primarily interested in from Egyptian attractions? Of course, objects from ancient Egypt.
Of course, the exact copy of the Egyptian pyramids was not built here, which is for the better. We decided to use objects of a smaller size.
At the entrance to the central district there are two columns - copies of the obelisks of the Karnak temple . Nearby there is an alley from the sphinxes, as in the Luxor temple . The road was planted with palm trees to add greens.
But the most interesting is a copy of the temple of Edfu , dedicated to the god Mountain. It is built under the water, although it protrudes slightly above the surface.
These artificial ruins were planned as entertainment for divers. It was this place, called the "sunken city", which became the source of fables about the fact that there was once a large ancient Egyptian city.
If you dive to the "sunken city" at least in a mask for a small depth, then immediately realize that this is an artificial structure. It looks very new. If you look at the real sunken cities, you can see how quickly the stone is being grinded and the majestic columns and statues are turning into "remnants". For example, there is no need to go far, in Turkey there is a sunken Roman city of Kekova . During this Turkish excursion you can dive to the present ancient flooded city, and see how it should look.
When a new dam on the Nile River was built in the city of Aswan in Egypt, the Abu Simbel temple (pictured left) was under threat of flooding. Then the scientists decided that if the temple was flooded, then the ancient inscriptions would disappear after 200 years. Some archaeologists called an even smaller number.
It is clear that if the city of Isis, which local guides talk about, did exist and was flooded, then there would not be much left of it.
Interest Ask. Guides that tell such stories, do they really believe or intend to lie? We do not know the answer to this question, but we sincerely hope for the first option. We think that we have brought enough scientific facts to convince readers not to believe in these "tales."
Another feature is the local "all inclusive". Each hotel in the resort Sahl Hasheesh comes up with its own type of this system - Premium AI, Royal AI, 24H AI, Deluxe AI and other types. What is hidden under each of them, you need to learn separately. Moreover, we do not recommend using hotel sites, they may contain inaccurate information. It is better to read the reviews of tourists about hotels, and you will understand that the specific type "all inclusive" means exactly in this hotel.
The disadvantages of the resort Sahl Hasheesh are enough. First of all, outside the hotel there is nothing to see and nothing to do. Leaving the hotel, you will see a large sandy wasteland and nothing more. If you're lucky, then instead of a vacant lot you'll see a picturesque Egyptian construction site.
Shops in hotels do not always satisfy tourists with prices and assortment, and it is not so easy to find another store - you need to go to the Old Town area or to Hurghada.
The level of service in local hotels is quite low, considering that almost all of them are classified as "five". The equipment in the rooms and the appearance of the buildings have already grown old, and the administration does not remember the repairs.
Sahl Hasheesh was planned as an expensive resort, but it was not destined to become such. As a result, hotels simply do not justify investors' expectations, and no one wants to invest in them further. Hence all the troubles of this resort.
And, of course, the standard set of shortcomings of Egyptian hotels. It's no secret that alcohol in Egypt is of poor quality, while hotels spill only local drinks and choose the cheapest kinds.
The assortment of dishes on the buffet is rather narrow. Meat or fish dishes are few. However, the Egyptian cuisine itself does not abound with meat or fish. The main dish of most hotels in Egypt you can see on the left in the photo.
Obsessive Arabs, staff shortages, leading to chronic littering of the territory, and slowness of waiters. All these problems are the same in all Egyptian resorts. Somewhere all this is felt sharper, somewhere the situation is slightly better.
Hotels and Rates
At the time of publication of this review, 9 hotels operate at the resort of Sahl Hasheesh. Five of them boast 8 of them. Only one Time Suites Azzurra is classified as a "four".
If you compare with similar hotels in neighboring Hurghada, the prices in Sahl Hasheesh are 25-50% higher.
Of course, there are very expensive hotels. The most respectable - Baron Palace (pictured right). The prices for the rest in this hotel look at this picture .
Of all man-made resorts created in Egypt recently, Sahl Hasheesh is the most inexpensive. Prices in El Gouna or Soma Bay are even higher.
Another 8 hotels are under construction. Perhaps, they will be more interesting for tourists. The fact is that they will be classified according to the new "star system", which was adopted by the Ministry of Tourism of Egypt in 2010. The requirements were toughened, and the quality of service should be higher than that of the already constructed hotels.
Where to go and what to do
A set of entertainment in the resort Sahl Hasheesh is quite standard. Here they arrange safaris in the desert with riding on camels, jeeps, buggies and quad bikes. Arrange tours to Cairo by bus or plane. By bus, you can go to Luxor, but we do not recommend a day trip, since here to Luxor 280 kilometers. 4 hours drive there and 4 back on the bus in one day is not an easy test.
Half of the hotels have their own SPA centers. The resort has four clubs for diving, where you can rent equipment.
None of the planned four golf courses have been built yet. But, separately it is worth noting stables and a riding school, which recently started its work.
Night life here is almost absent, even in the area of Old Town disco does not work every night. For such entertainment you need to go to Hurghada.
The situation with bars and restaurants is much better. There are 14 different bars and 25 restaurants in the area of Old Town. There are even restaurants of Indian and Mexican cuisine. Agree, for a resort with only 9 open hotels, the numbers are simply stunning.
Also in Old Town is constantly open more than 30 stores. Of course, the prices here are quite high, and many tourists prefer to buy souvenirs from Egypt in Hurghada.
To go here or not, it's up to you. We told everything that we ourselves know about the resort of Sahl Hasheesh. Read about other resorts in Egypt in our articles ( links below ).
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