Who cares if flying abroad for a spot of self-indulgence is more trouble than it is worth these days? With some of the world’s most desirable ‘staycations’ available right on your doorstep, let yourself be indulged and pampered closer to home.
Of course, luxury means different things to each of us, so our top picks cater to many tastes, with some of the best rates you have come across in quite a while.
Sofitel Legend Old Cataract
Add a sublime climate to stunning scenery, sprinkle in a good measure of history, spice it up with local culture, then top it off with sumptuous surroundings that conjure up the stuff that the best novels are made of, and you have the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan.
Our choice of room: For us, it would have to be a Luxury Room in The Palace, where we could enjoy the balcony and garden view while soaking up the atmosphere.
To while away our time: If we could tear ourselves away from the idyllic view of the Nile directly before us, we would venture out to explore Aswan’s many beauties, the spice souq, the Nubian Museum and nearby Philae.
Can’t miss out on: A leisurely late afternoon felucca cruise, before evening cocktails.
Insider tip: Do spend time enjoying the interior of this iconic hotel. Try dinner at 1902, or enjoy a cool drink at the historic bar, absorbing the atmosphere of when it hosted celebrities, world leaders and travelers from near and far.
St. Regis Cairo
In the heart of Cairo, yet somehow in a world of its own, the sumptuous St. Regis rolls out an experience to restore the spirits of even the most jaded bon-vivant. With personal butler service, stunning interiors, spectacular views and insanely tempting food and beverage options we could happily spend at least a few days… or more.
Our choice of room: The St. Regis Suite of course. Who could miss out on such panoramic views over the Nile and the sparkling lights of Cairo?
To while away our time: A relaxing splash in the indoor pool after a luxurious afternoon at the Iridium Spa. What more could you ask for?
Can’t miss out on: The amazing cuisine. We would head for J&G Steakhouse for the excellent beef and lamb, or to Tianma for an authentic Singaporean experience.
Insider tip: If you just want to chill and be pampered, acquaint yourself with the Butler Service.
Al Moudira Luxor
Nestled on the West bank of the Nile in historic Luxor, Al Moudira is a few minutes from the astounding Valley of the Kings. Set amongst verdant countryside and small villages, the understated boutique style hotel offers intimacy and personalized attention.
Our choice of room: Each room is totally different, and all have a unique charm.
To while away our time: We would explore the marvelous sights of the West Bank, and definitely visit the local artisan workshops for beautifully crafted wood, alabaster and pottery pieces to take home.
Can’t miss out on: Tea in the courtyard.
Insider tip: After a morning’s sightseeing, relax in the Turkish bath.
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Sahl Hasheesh
This exquisitely designed 5 star hotel property enjoys 48 acres on the dazzling Red Sea shore, giving you all the space you need to unwind. Light and airy, it abounds in traditional design elements; with opulent suites with unrestricted ocean views, memorable cuisine and water sports. And of course, Oberoi hospitality at its finest.
Our choice of room: Grand Suite with private pool.
With traditional high-domed ceilings and unrestricted Red Sea views, the suites include a king size bedroom, a marble bathroom with a sunken bathtub, a living area and a private pool flanked by sun loungers and parasols.
To while away our time: When we could tear ourselves away from the private pool we would head for the spa to try the range of Balinese, Thai and signature Oberoi treatments. We also love the sound of the unique, luxury suite for couples, with a steam room in the private garden.
Can’t miss out on: A romantic dinner for two on The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh’s private pier. Your own private moments, secluded under a wooden canopy floating upon the Red Sea’s gentle waters, where you can indulge in mouthwatering dishes chosen from international menus, or created by master chefs, to suit the occasion.
Insider tip: A relaxed dinner at Zaafran, with authentic Indian cuisine at candlelit tables, under a silver leaf ceiling dotted with tiny spotlights that glitter like stars. That is the stuff dreams are made of.
Sharm El Sheikh
Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh
Capturing the essence of traditional architecture, simplicity meets luxury at this serene hotel property. Set in close proximity to at least 76 fascinating dive sites, it is a water lover’s paradise.
Our choice of room: The Premier Sea-View room. Who could miss out on the amazing views and cooling sea breeze?
To while away our time: With four magnificent pools to choose from, we would stock up on some good reading material and laze.
Can’t miss out on: One of the best ways to enjoy local culture, a journey across the Sinai Desert on a family-friendly camel tour, just in time to catch an unmissable sunset.
Insider tip: Enquire about arranging a dinner with the local Bedouins. Discover their food, hospitality and culture, and leave with memories to last a lifetime.