From jewelry designer Francesca Visconti.
“My husband and I cruised by motorcycle through the Libyan Desert, and crossing through the Egyptian border, we came across one of the most extraordinary oases. Home to a small village, it is called Siwa and is about 350 miles from Cairo, Egypt. It is a magical place. We arrived as the sun was setting and giving off its warm orange glow. The Adrère Amellal hotel was lit only by lanterns and torches. At first, you don’t even see the hotel, because it is part of nature and appears to be built into a mountain.
“Siwa is where Alexander the Great came in 331 BC to consult the oracle. It is the location of the first ecolodge in Egypt, built by owners Laila and Mounir Neamatalla, both environmentalists, using mud and rock salt. It’s set at the foot of a white tabletop mountain that looks down at the azure salt-lake oasis.
“The cuisine is very fresh and healthy, from their local garden. As the sun comes out, you can have breakfast out on the terrace, overlooking palm trees and the desert. Each bedroom is different and very cozy and clean. The staff is attentive to your needs and quite friendly. For dinner you eat by candlelight outside under the stars and the moon.
“The best time to go is between November and March before the invasion of the mosquitoes.”
I first heard about Siwa from some well-traveled London friends a few years ago, who said that it was the most remarkable place they’d ever stayed. It’s been on my list of places to visit ever since. Melissa Biggs Bradley
Read about authentic eco-lodges around the world
Read a Q&A with Celine Cousteau
Read about a member’s family adventure in Egypt, Tanzania and Kenya
Read Egypt: Why To Go Now
Read a member postcard on going off the beaten path in Egypt
Read our Cairo Cheat Sheet