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Al Tarfa

Listed under Lodges and Ranches in Egypt.

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In the pristine oasis of Dakhla in Egypt’s Western Desert, the Al Tarfa eco-luxury lodge attracts those who seek to reconnect with nature in utmost privacy. At first glance, the “eco” part of “eco-luxury” is most evident: the lodge’s free-standing rooms and suites are built of mud brick—not concrete coated in mud just for show—and tiny rays of light make their way through roofs crafted of woven palm leaves atop wood beams, yet they don’t compromise on creature comforts such as air-conditioning; some even have a private pool. Visitors quickly learn that wireless internet access is still a work in progress and that a mobile phone signal can only be found on top of a hill behind the hotel lounge. There, the sight of bright green fields nestled at the foot of smooth golden dunes immediately convinced me that the world beyond the rose mountain range framing the oasis could wait.

Mealtime at Al Tarfa is nothing less than charming with local specialties presented in elegant silverware and enjoyed in a pleasant open-air spot, in the Qasr Al Mansura formal dining room, the Dar Al-Mona lounge featuring an open fireplace, or anywhere else guests might fancy. Activities at hand include horseback riding, visiting Pharaonic, Roman, and Ottoman ruins, indulging in spa treatments, or simply relaxing to the sound of buzzing insects and braying donkeys. The desert is spectacular and the amenities are excellent, but the crowning touch is the lodge’s flawless, personalized service. Remoteness combined with genuine hospitality make Al Tarfa one of Egypt’s leading desert retreat; its guest list has included actors Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel as well as heir Nicola Bulgari.

Written by  Francoise Ohayon.

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