20170115_143504I didn’t expect to find myself flying to the Red Sea for a winter golf break in the middle of January during one of UK’s coldest winter spells but any excuse to get away was more the motive than the excuse. What surprised me on my arrival at Hurghada airport was discovering the old decrepit airport no-longer existed and had been replaced by an enormous state-of-the-art, spotlessly clean new building. My next surprise was discovering the delights of my first visit to the Somabay resort conveniently less than 45 minute drive from the airport. I was booked into the Westin Hotel as part of a golf package, the Cascades Golf and Country resort is next door and for my troubles was given a comfortable suite boasting a small balcony overlooking the hotel’s large infinity pool.

somabay-1aThe 18 hole par 72 Championship course is designed by golf legend Gary Player and next to the hotel while the Cascades Spa centre short walk away where all kinds of wonderful pampering beauty and therapeutic treatments can be enjoyed. Waking up each morning to cloudless blue skies was another reason I realised why I needed to to get away from our winter blues. .

20170117_162835During the winter months temperatures in this region of Egypt range between 20 to 24 degrees perfect for golf. Each morning over my al fresco breakfast I enjoyed more than anything the resort’s tranquillity while watching the sun slowly rise over the ‘Red’ sea, sometimes in the company of a small group of tiny sparrow type birds patiently waiting to pick at leftover titbits.

On my first day my first tee time had been arranged mid-morning by the ‘Major’, an endearing character who runs the golf club and who first agreed to drive me round the course for a familiarization tour before my arranged tee time, pointing out signature holes and the difficult sloping green on the 6th perilously near to the sea, as well as the challenging 10th bearing all hallmarks of a typical Gary Player design. Fortunately my two friendly golf companions had previously played the course which proved an additional bonus in understanding its many intricacies but be warned, accuracy on this course is vital if you want  to avoid losing balls that easily ricochet off rocks in any direction. As this was my first day of golf I choose to go round in a buggy although my two companions preferred walking, which I discovered later was easier than first thought.

After golf a late but quick light lunch in club’s restaurant followed by a visit to the spa found me dashing off for one of three spa treatments booked prior to my arrival. This treatment was in Thalassa tonic pool spa, (remember to bring my swimming costume) and takes place in a huge square salt water swimming pool divided into a number of sections where strategically placed water jets pummel your body from top to bottom, Certainly an experience not to be missed. The most of following day was spent relaxing by the pool lapping up the warm sunshine before playing the 9 hole par 3 course next to the golf academy and practice range.

With the Red Sea part of the resort’s attraction, I enjoyed the day spent on board a motorboat full of scuber divers and snorkelers accompanied by watchful trained supervisors. The Somabay water sports centre is where anything from paragliding to snorkelling and scuba diving is arranged. A few hours later back on terra firma , it was time for my second of my spa treatments, an hour and half’s sports massage and one of the best I’ve experienced in years. Another round of golf was on the cards but this time I walked and what a pleasure that was.

By all accounts this was an incredible golf, gourmet and spa experience, and I enjoyed every minute of my stay.

For golf email; major@thecascades.com  or www.somabay.com.

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