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In an Egyptian resort that has something for everyone, from a ‘wonderful’ spa to ‘excellent’ food

When can being a ‘victim’ of pyramid sales be a good thing? When you go on holiday to Egypt.

For years, the tourist industry of the land of the pharaohs was like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Crisis after crisis has kept the country off the radar for many tourists; the 2011 uprising, Russian plane terrorists who crashed in 2015 claimed responsibility for the subsequent terror attacks and then the Covid pandemic, followed by the cancellation of flights.

After each blow, the industry stops, stutters, and then somehow finds a way to resurface in the international travel world, especially now with a good exchange rate and reestablished flight connections. I experienced that resilience firsthand while visiting the expansive Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso on the Soma Bay Peninsula with family and discovered a lot of fun about this hilltop oasis on the Red Sea.

Ian Walker and his family stayed at The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso (pictured) in Egypt’s Soma Bay and discovered there was ‘a lot to love’

Like many families, we are still mom and dad’s couch when it comes to holidays.

Our two boys are young adults, but not yet financially independent, so we like to take them on trips every now and then – my wife calls them the ‘luxury luggage’.

We prefer a more relaxing approach to vacations, while our sons enjoy the gym and outdoor activities. We haven’t been completely successful when it comes to pleasing everyone in the past, but were cautiously optimistic about The Cascades.

The 158-room hotel is just 45 minutes from Hurghada International Airport and two hours from Luxor. It has spacious rooms decorated in warm sand colors with tiled floors and a bijou private balcony overlooking the sea, the large beautiful swimming pool or the manicured Gary Player 18-hole par 72 championship golf course and the Red Sea mountains.

Ian describes the resort as a

Ian describes the resort as a “hilltop retreat on the Red Sea.” It is only 45 minutes from Hurghada International Airport and two hours from Luxor

'With a good exchange rate and restored flight connections' Egypt has recently become a more popular destination in the international travel world, reveals Ian

‘With a good exchange rate and restored flight connections’ Egypt has recently become a more popular destination in the international travel world, reveals Ian

Located at the highest point of the Soma Bay Peninsula, The Cascades has one of the largest and best-equipped thalassotherapy spas in the world.

The 830 cubic meters of foaming seawater is divided into a series of pools designed to focus on specific areas of the body. The powerful jets of water relieve tension and muscle aches, but the stunning architecture and striking sea colors of this beautiful mosaic water palace make it a tonic for the senses.

There are also 65 treatment rooms that offer a huge range of treatments from underwater massages to seaweed wraps.

Above, you can see the 'striking sea colors' of the resort's thalassotherapy spa, which has 65 treatment rooms and offers a huge range of treatments

Above, you can see the ‘striking sea colors’ of the resort’s thalassotherapy spa, which has 65 treatment rooms and offers a huge range of treatments

None of the family dared enough to try the underwater version, but we all tried a massage and were very happy with our therapists, who were happy to train our tired muscles mildly or hard. The guys had sports massages, I had a Swedish massage and my wife had a reflexology massage. Tailor-made packages are offered to guests who want a pure spa vacation, including weight loss treatments and special detox or low-calorie menus.

While we definitely didn’t sign up for weight-loss treatments, we felt like we “deserved” our massages after pushing ourselves at the gym, propelled by relentless bullying from the guys. They claimed it was encouragement – and gave various instructions such as, ‘No, don’t lift it like this, do it like this!’

The gym wasn’t huge, but perfectly 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.

Pictured is the resort’s ‘attractive’ pool. “In the past we haven’t quite been able to please everyone, but we were cautiously optimistic about The Cascades,” Ian says of his family vacation.

Beginner golf courses 'are freely available and very well managed' on the manicured Gary Player championship golf course (pictured)

Beginner golf courses ‘are freely available and very well managed’ on the manicured Gary Player championship golf course (pictured)

It also had a wide panoramic window overlooking the huge pool, which was both an incentive and a reward for getting through the workouts our sons put us through so carefully.

While my wife and I went to the gym daily, the boys also had the energy to play golf. Beginner courses are available free of charge and very well run, and we all enjoyed snorkelling with a boat trip to the nearby Seven Pillars (Tobia Arbaa), so named for the coral towers that rise almost to the surface from a depth of 12 meters (40ft) .

There is a resident Napoleon fish, as well as colorful corals, dozens of puffer fish, lizards, and lionfish, all vying for attention and making the area a popular underwater theater for snorkelers and divers.

The 158-room hotel has 'spacious rooms decorated in warm sand colors with tiled floors'

The 158-room hotel has ‘spacious rooms decorated in warm sand colors with tiled floors’

All the activities were worth it as the daily hardships allowed us to enjoy the excellent food during our stay guilt free.

The seemingly bottomless pits for the boys’ stomachs were often a point of friction during family vacations, so it was great to see them stay fully sated with great meal choices.

Dunes’ main buffet restaurant offered plenty of indoor and outdoor tables and a huge selection of dishes from around the world for breakfast and dinner, including chefs providing freshly cooked eggs, pasta, fish, meats and a range of different choices every night.

Ian and his family became regulars at the Eagles Nest lounge and bar, pictured - it's the 'perfect place to relax and enjoy an expertly crafted cocktail or a cold beer'

Ian and his family became regulars at the Eagles Nest lounge and bar, pictured – it’s the ‘perfect place to relax and enjoy an expertly crafted cocktail or a cold beer’

TRAVEL FACTS

Cascades Golf and Spa rates start from £128 (€142) per night for a standard king or double room on a half board basis.

For more information, visit thecascadeshotel.com or somabay.com.

The food range and quality was great, as was the service from the friendly and efficient staff.

Spikes, by the golf course, was only open for lunch and served mainly barbecue dishes and a good selection of salads, nice desserts and excellent coffee. One side of the L-shaped countertop around the kitchen borders the pool and serves as a casual bar where guests can order cocktails, coffee and snacks.

Our favorite casual eatery was Sea Shell on the beach, a five minute free shuttle from the hotel, serving excellent fresh seafood and pizza opposite a private beach reserved for guests of The Cascades.

We also became regulars at the Eagles Nest lounge and bar. With its beautiful terrace and views stretching over the Red Sea, it was a perfect place to relax and enjoy an expertly crafted cocktail or 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 those staying longer, or with more stamina, the hotel can organize tours by plane, bus or limousine to see those iconic pyramids – which is a perfect excuse for us to come back.

Of course, the ‘luxury luggage’ have already reserved their return seats.

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