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Soma Bay: the secret gem of the Red Sea coast.

Where is Soma Bay? I'm quite ashamed to say that I can point to whereMontenegro or the Faroe Islands are located on the map, but I do not know how to get to Soma Bay in Egypt.

While I was in a taxi on the 60km drive from Hurghada Airport to Soma Bay, I thought to myself: "why haven't I come here before?"

Soma Bay is considered the new face of Hurghada and promises something different when compared to other popular areas, such as El Gouna and Sahl Hasheesh.

Once you enter Soma Bay, you will see how it stands out from among the other famous places in Hurghada. Surrounded by high walls, the gate opens to a private city, which represents more of a tourist complex than a city. Various hotel chains are linked by a network of roads, the Red Sea beach, and a golf course designed by the legend Gary Player, one of the most important golfers in the history of the sport.

Some of my German friends told me that they fly into Hurghada to play golf for a long-weekend during the winter period. Winters are mild on the Red Sea, especially compared to the chilly weather in Europe.

However, I didn't come here to play golf. I came to see the Dire Straits Experience in concert. The band--comprised of original member Chris White and six fantastic musicians--was actually staying in the same hotel as me: the Westin Hotel, the first of this chain in Egypt. Staying at the Westin was a completely different experience compared to other hotels I have stayed at.

The "lifestyle" in the hotel revolves around the idea of having a healthy, enjoyable environment, and improving your well-being .The fresh air in Soma Bay and the ebb and flow of the Red Sea will make you feel healthier after just a couple of days.

I was wandering around the hotel on the off-chance that I might bump into a band member, but then I got lost. A staff member told me that I was by the Cascades Spa, before offering me a tour. I discovered that this spa is the largest in the Middle East, spanning 7,500 sqm over 65 rooms. A team from Thailand, Morocco, Indonesia, and the Philippines offers spa services with the most up-to-date equipment. How can this expansive, luxurious retreat have remained a secret for so long?

Soma Bay has another hidden gem that was reminiscent of my recent trip to Luxor. The Sheraton Hotel here is inspired by the Temple of Karnak, complete with intricate details, from Pharaonic designs to the statues of Horus, and the stars on the ceilings.

With just a few hours remaining until theconcert, I went back to the hotel to change. Imagine my surprise when I bumped into Chris White himself. As he is a famous saxophonist, I wasn't expecting him to stop and chat but he graciously spoke to me for a few minutes, even before I introduced myself as a journalist.

He told me that this is hisfirst visit to Egypt. Initially he was looking forward to seeing the Pyramids, but his visit to Soma Bay showed him what a different kind of holiday could be like in Egypt. He is seriously considering coming back with his family on holiday.

After a fantastic concert of classic Dire Straits songs, I returned to my room with one question inmind: how did I not know about this place before? With its beauty, facilities, and relaxing atmosphere, Soma Bay should be inundated with visitors from all over the world. Though it has not yet reached that level of popularity, it is certainly more than qualified.

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:May 22, 2016
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