Life & StyleTravel

Get away, for the day

The pull of local political news, combined with constantly changing safety levels on the streets, may cause you to think twice before packing up for an extended vacation. Despite a great need to take a holiday, I’m often hesitant to commit to anything that requires me to spend the night outside the comfort of my home.

This is why my new focus is on the biggest possible change within the smallest possible distance… A chance to get away–but just for the day.

30 minutes and you’re by the pool

Check yourself in for "day use" at a swanky hotel for a sit by the pool and possibly use of the room. Munch on fries or sip a cold cocktail while you bask in the sun and forget, if only momentarily, the 7000 things you have to do. Although prices vary, you can always compare the price of your mini-vacay to, let's say, a plane ride and four nights in another country. Cheaper, right? Some recommendations include the Fairmont Nile City, the Conrad Hilton or the Marriott in Zamalek. Call for rates and in case they’ve forgotten, remind hotels that you may be their only guest for the next few months.

30 minutes and you’re on a massage table (with use of the spa for the rest of the day)

Book a massage at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza or the Four Seasons Giza for a real treat. Their masseurs are trained in a number of techniques and, post or pre-massage, you are at liberty to take a dip in their jacuzzi, exfoliate in the steam room or sweat it out in the sauna. Bring creams and masks and turn it into a girly event–the massage/spa area is outfitted with fluffy robes and blow driers/hair products to keep everyone entertained. Step out and get a mani/pedi or an oil treatment and haircut at Mohamed al-Sagheer, and by early evening you’ll be totally relaxed and decked out for a nice (curfew restricted) evening on the town.

One hour and a half to land in Ain Sokhna

Pack up early and head out to the beach for your day of relaxation. Ain Sokhna is approximately 130km away from Carrefour Maadi, which would make it 140-145km away from everybody else around Cairo. Check out March day-use rates for Stella di Mare–LE280 per person including lunch, and add 250 for the use of a room–and Jaz at Little Venice–LE350 per double room for use during the day. There are a number of compounds in Ain Sokhna, so whether you go to stay in a house or at a hotel you can fit in a good 4-5 hours on the beach and be home by 9 PM.  

Three hours to Alexandria

If you are an early riser, jump on the 8 AM train to Alexandria and be in a beautiful atmosphere by 11 AM. Stroll by the beach or take a seat in a corniche cafe for a nice morning coffee. You can lunch at the Greek Club–enjoy the clean air and take a book or your laptop if you’re vacationing alone. Small private beaches like the one at the Four Seasons San Stefano or Palestine Hotel in Montazah can be accessed through day use rates. New restaurant Orchid has opened on the beach front in the Loran district as an alternate lunch spot.

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