Just an hour and half’s drive away from my doorstop in Heliopolis, Jaz Little Venice, Ain Sokhna, offers a unique take on the typical resort experience in Egypt. Labeling itself a boutique hotel, it defies the comical stereotypes or pretensions most often associated with the concept.
First, the beautiful lobby is visually rewarding. An Islamic style central skylight clad in wood, draws the attention to the reinterpreted Islamic motifs of the lanterns. Coupled with the locally quarried and intricate marble floor work, there’s the immediate sense of warmth.
My short stay there was a truly superb example of how a vacation should go, according to my Golden Holiday Rules.
A. You should be spoilt, incessantly
Rooms are large enough for spoilt princesses. I was booked in for one night in a deluxe suite large enough to be considered a decent-sized palace wing. A kitchen area, living area and large en suite master bedroom all had direct views of the Jaz Little Venice resort. My bathroom was big enough for five people and L’Occitane en Provence toiletries were a nice touch.
As part of a residential compound now fully inhabited, there was something so serene about being nestled amongst views of the sea and palm trees.
Whereas my room was great for a couple’s romantic getaway, the resort’s superior rooms can sleep up to two adults and an infant, whilst the executive suites are composed of a double room partitioned for privacy between parents and children.
The room’s interiors have one of four themes: sand, sea, grass or sun. The rooms are bright and cheerful but at the same time give a sense of the intimacy of one’s home.
Chocolate treats sent up to my room to welcome me by the executive chef Ibrahim Okasha were delivered with my butler Mahmoud. Sweet-tempered and eager to please, Mahmoud insisted that he would be up the entire duration of my stay should I require anything. Could he arrange to drop me off at the beach at sunset for my yoga class? Absolutely.
Could he get two blouses ironed quickly? Without complaint.
B. You should relax in every way possible
The hotel’s gym is up and running, and offers personal training sessions upon request. A luxurious spa facility is in the works as part of the second phase of development.
Ninety more rooms will be added to the hotel by year’s end, and a 9-hole golf course designed by Sanford Golf Designs will create a challenging game for golf enthusiasts. Designed to accommodate a practice range, short game area and a putting green, the golf course will undoubtedly become a major resort attraction.
But in line with the boutique hotel’s emphasis on intimacy and originality is their yoga program. By booking your session in advance, a yoga instructor will lead you out on the pier through calming stretches and breathing exercises as the sun slowly dips into the water.
An avid yoga student myself, I found the session to be easy enough for anyone new to yoga and yet a good practice for regulars. The smell of the pier’s aging wooden planks, a chilly breeze, and the sound of water slapping against the dock was simply sublime as we cooled down and meditated afterwards.
The resort is creating several yoga retreat packages that range from one session day trips for city mothers with young children at school to weekend corporate retreats; there is a conference room available so you can justify a work and play vacation to your boss. Suitable for any time of the year, yoga by the beach only requires a shawl or sweater when practicing during winter because as the sun dips, it gets rather chilly.
The hotel’s beach is a kilometer-long stretch of soft sand and safe water with no jagged rocks or coral reefs close to shore. A beach bar is perhaps your only need when sunbathing all day.
The hotel is currently composed of 60 rooms. Three-storey buildings cluster around a central swimming pool area where a children’s pool and two adult pools (one of which is Ain Sokhna’s only heated pool) form a beautiful view and prompt a cozy and relaxed feel among guests. There is certainly privacy to be guaranteed, but as each room looks out to the pools and one can wave to their neighbors, nothing about the Jaz hotel is too imposing nor too sterile.
C. You should dine like a king
Leave it up to Chef Okasha to take care of you when it comes to meal times. Okasha is a master in the kitchen and extremely creative. The hotel offers two dining outlets, Mangiano is the main restaurant and the Terrazina Lounge is both a bar and light snack outlet.
Should you order off the menu, ask Chef Okasha to surprise you with a treat or two of his own. Salmon on apple slices with caviar and asparagus started off our meal, and each course afterwards was a reinterpretation of a classic dish with a contemporary twist. The grilled sea bass came in a divine sauce, the French fries shoestring slivers. All were artfully presented.
Dinner was a repeat gorgeous affair of good company and good food. Seafood seems to be Okasha’s strength but cooking seems to be Okasha’s overall gift. A seafood medley of salmon, shrimps and mussels were bathed in a light sauce, and afterwards a surprise chocolate dessert with fruit rounded off the meal well. You could dine on the terrace at night, and watch whole constellations twinkle at you throughout your meal.
Breakfast can be had on one’s terrace, with all arrangements taken care of by the butler.
Whether families with young children, couples in need of a getaway or just anyone in need of a break from the city, the Jaz Little Venice offers a lot thus far. With all the additions underway, it will certainly become the perfect beachside resort.
For rates, please call the Jaz Little Venice resort.
Jaz Little Venice,Kilometer 36Ain El Sukhna Port Suez Road,Ain El SukhnaRed Sea Riveria,EgyptTelephone: Hotline: 16416+2-016-667-7057/ 7263 +2-011-006-3516+2-016-6677-264