There are many eco-lodges across the world, but few like AdrÃ¨re Amellal. Situated in Siwa, one of the most remote desert locations on Earth, guests can expect to feel uncomfortable and possibly even out-of-sorts after the long nine-hour drive from the bustling city of Cairo as they journey into a sea of nothingness. But soon the stark land mesmerizes and captures the spirit, unfolding into a picturesque desertscape speckled with ancient olive and palm groves, great dunes and the glossy reflection of swirling sands bouncing from the massive salt lake.
Writer, Benedict Allen of Harper’s Abroad wrote that “At night it is so quiet that you begin to hear the stars.” The resort sits at the edge of Lake Siwa, Egypt’s largest and most remote desert oasis. There is no electricity, only the light from beeswax candles, oil lamps, the moon and the Milky Way. The lodge’s 40 heat-resistant rooms, constructed from restored and renovated Siwan houses, combine the elemental beauty of the surrounding landscape, with lavish amenities and the romantic sensuality of the oasis.
AdrÃ¨re Amellal uses solar and alternative energy to recycle all of its waste and water. Food is locally sourced and organic, and the pool is infused with water from underground Roman springs.
Relaxation is at the forefront of things to do here, but if one becomes bored with the dauntingly beautiful vistas, The Independent suggests these not-to-be-missed excursions: “Visit the remains of the Temple of Amun, the oracle reputedly consulted by Alexander the Great. Wander through the crumbling ruins of the Shali or old town, the Cleopatra Baths and the Mountain of the Dead. The highlight is a 4×4 trip into the desert with the charismatic desert guide Abdullah. Take a dip in a hot spring, career down near-vertical sand slopes and see the sun set over Libya.”
Photos: Adrere Amellal