The Movenpick Resort El Quseir offers a laid-back elegance with some incredible scuba diving. And it makes the perfect Red Sea getaway.
This place is different.
There’s a white vase filled with a garland of wild basil in the rooms. And it’s the perfect example of the unpretenscious luxury at the Movenpick Resort El Quseir.
On Google Maps, the hotel is nestled somewhere between Safaga and Marsa Alam. It looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere.
But a Red Sea getaway at this stunning resort will convince you it’s worth the trip.
The check-in is so pleasant you’ll hardly know when it’s over. The airy lobby is full of potted palms and you sip a fruity cocktail while the clerk hands you the paperwork.
The spacious property has stunning views of the sea. Designed by two disciples of Hassan Fathy — Egypt’s influential ‘barefoot architect’ — the Movenpick Resort El Quseir is airy and suited to its environment with its sandy-colored, domed rooms.
It’s a far cry from the towering commercial resorts of the Red Sea.
The architects first made a topographical map of the site. And they put every room on a different level, depending on the curvature of the land, with Fathi’s trademark minimal curves.
Many rooms have a terrace that faces the shore, where you’ll hear the waves when you leave the door open.
The dome above each room gives the space an open feel.
The floors are bare and cool. The bathroom has all the state-of-the-art amenities and bowls of soap topped with blossoms of frangipani.
The result is effortless and unassuming luxury.
Snorkeling at the Movenpick Resort El Quseir
The swimming pool is surrounded by blossoming cacti and views of the sea.
There’s a flight of stairs that leads to the seashore and the hotel boasts its own private reef. Floating on the salty water, you’ll spot yellow and black fish as they swim around bits of coral reef.
This is the hotel’s main attraction: a gorgeous coral reef for snorkeling that’s right on the property and doesn’t require a long boat trip.
There’s also a diving center on site that has a cult following among expats.
The historical bay has a 5,000-year-old history. In ancient times it welcomed spices, tea and cotton from Asia, which were loaded on camels and transported to the Nile River.
Today the bay is archaeologically protected and only allows a certain number of divers at a time. The aquatic life here is special: you’ll see seahorses, rare mouse fish, eagle rays and dolphins.
If diving isn’t your thing, there’s tennis and basketball, walkways for strolls and jogging, a gym, jacuzzi and sauna, and a library where you can trade in your beach reads for a new novel.
The Movenpick at El Quseir isn’t Egypt’s most popular resort. But that’s part of its appeal.
It has a dedicated clientele of repeat visitors – and those who stay 10 or more times have an olive tree planted at the resort in their name.
The hotel would rather be a niche market for Egypt, the general manager tells me. It gets Egyptian divers and repeat visitors, honeymooners who want to get away from the crowds, and people who are into birdwatching and photography.
Dinner at Seagull’s Restaurant
The hotel’s Seagull’s Restaurant offers dinner overlooking the sea. You can hear the waves crashing as you dig into appetizers like spicy beetroot atop crunchy bread.
Try the Sundried Tomato Consomme with Porcini Dumplings for a multi-faceted dish. Or the Pan-Seared Red Sea Fish, which is juicy and flavorful.
There’s also a stand with a huge array of ice cream – the Movenpick brand, of course.
The menus at the hotel’s restaurants are fresh, light on the cream and butter and seasonal.
Only the salmon and apples are imported. The rest of the ingredients come in fresh from nearby markets and the local fishermen. The hotel also has a fruit and vegetable garden and makes its own sundried tomatoes.
There’s a bar that’s great for a beer overlooking the water.
There are quiet couples enjoying a romantic evening, and larger groups of friends.
Further off a woman sits alone immersed in a book. It’s a final testament of this hotel’s unobtrusive service and unique charm.