Your guide to this year’s hotspots in Sahel
by Omneya Makhlouf
W ith Ramadan behind us, the summer season is kicking into high gear, with the North Coast’s hottest venues ready to accommodate the change of pace. Clubs are reopening, while the beach chairs along this 1,200 km stretch of the Mediterranean Sea between Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh are already filling up. Egypt Today looks at Sahel’s best bets, whether you are looking to relax by the soothing pool or the swaying waves, party across the coast, or simply enjoy an outing with the family.
Kayak, Party of Two?
For all the newlyweds out there, Sahel has its share of romance and entertainment. Jaz Almaza Beach Resort, located 38 km west of Marsa Matrouh, boasts isolation and tranquility for the young couple in need of extended relaxation after the wedding reception. The more active can check out the tennis courts and kayaks, before unwinding in the Jacuzzi and sauna.
On the other side of Sahel, closer to Sidi Abdel Rahman, the seaside compounds let couples spend some private time at the beach while at the same time be close to family living nearby. La Vista comes recommended for its gardens and cozy eateries, as well as its reasonable rental prices, ranging from LE 5000 to LE 10,000 a week for a small chalet.
Hacienda Bay is another perfect location for couples to get away from the city. With hotels and rental cabanas, a pool overlooking the beach, a lagoon where you can get a cinnamon tan, shisha on the poolside, and a restaurant that serves guests at their chaise-lounges, Hacienda Bay will surely impress.
Party Till the Sun Comes Up
This year, the hottest clubs are returning to the Sahel scene — but with a twist. No longer do party-goers have to endure overbooked and overcrowded parties scheduled only on the weekends; now you have your choice of events happening throughout the entire week.
Ganzoury’s parties at Marassi’s Club M have taken a new form, with special themes three times a week instead of one. Club M is known for its exclusivity and its wild DJs, putting it high on the night owl’s must-go list. If you’re hoping to party on Marassi’s beach until the morning comes, make reservations a week in advance. Club M gives you the breeze of the night beach, the music of the Cairo clubs and a night to always remember.
Marassi’s Tabla is also hosting parties every night until the end of summer. On the rooftop of Marassi’s Beach Club, Tabla brings an oriental mood that we all know and love to the clubbing scene in Sahel, combined with the beach setting and hundreds of your closest friends.
Marina’s White Beach, which celebrated its grand opening on July 28 with DJ Yasser Elhariry, hosts one of the few beach parties that take place in the daylight. While other clubs boast of their exclusivity and appeal to young adults, White Beach gears its entertainment for all ages. This party is for the whole family, featuring special fitness classes throughout the day and a children’s area with games, while parents take a break by the beach.
With the food of Cairo’s Pub 28 and the cocktails of Amici, Bianchi’s recently opened El Villa poses a double threat to the other clubs on the coast. By day, El Villa is a beach lounge, by night, it’s party central. With a playlist of world music and a combination of various themes, El Villa looks like it’s going to become one of the hottest clubs in Sahel this summer, so reservations (made at Bianchi) are a must.
Surfing the Waves
The Mediterranean is the place for big waves, and many Sahel spots offer jet skiing, kite surfing, wake boarding and more. Compounds like Marina and Hacienda Bay provide instructors and equipment for people interested in taking lessons. Marina 7, Golf Porto Marina and Hacienda Bay all have jet skiing, but only Marina 7 has kite surfing and wake boarding. Golf Porto Marina is popular for parasailing.
In terms of budget, jet skiing ranges LE 700 – LE 800 for 30 minutes, wake boarding in Marina 7 is around LE 300 for 15 minutes and parasailing runs about LE 400 – 500.
Playtime for the Little Ones
Parents deserve a break too, and when you’ve got little ones, it is important to find something to keep them entertained. Marakia, located 51 km from Alexandria, has a small theme park with swing sets and merry-go-rounds for children while their parents go to the cinema or get a bite to eat. The compound also has several bazaars stocked with beach toys, clothing, jewelry, henna parlors, restaurants and cafes. Just down the road, the Mena 1 compound (kilometer 85) has multiple water slides suitable for different ages.
The Platform, in front of Marina 5 at kilometer 97, is a child’s paradise, with jumping castles, football pitches and go-kart tracks, among other activities. The facility also has a collection of restaurants familiar to those who have fled the capital for the summer.
Living in Luxury
For an A-class Sahel escape, Hacienda White is one of Sahel’s most luxurious compounds, with spacious chalets and tall villas, a private pool and beach-lined lagoons, a spa, boutique hotel and the high-fashion Il Corte Mall.
Marina 7 is home to the yacht marina, with some of the vessels available for rent. Even if you stay on land, it’s worth a stroll past the slips to admire these beautiful boats.
For a relaxing waterside afternoon, head over to Marassi for a round of golf, then hit Café Blanc, a luxurious lounge on one of the compound’s many man-made lakes.
Chillin’ Like A Villain
There is always a place for the young adults that simply need time to relax and chill, and partying is just not their scene. The 550 Complex located 1 km before Diplo 3 has several lounges and cafes where the late-teen/20-something set can have a nice meal, smoke shisha, and play cards or tawla (backgammon).
Diplo 3 has also brought in some of the capital’s favorite eateries. Cairo Kitchen recently opened in the compound’s clubhouse, offering a setting that is a mixture of an oriental and beach mood. Mori Sushi and Makany are also located in Diplo 3, where people may chill all hours of the night.
Golf Porto Marina also offers many of the big city’s restaurants with indoor and a la carte. But no matter where you end up, from Sidi Krir until Telal, Sahel has just about any type of cuisine from oriental to Italian to Asian to comfort food. Nothing can stand in the way of you getting your favorite meal at any hour of the day along the coast.