Stepping into #CooksClubElGouna is like stepping into a catalogue..
An avid traveler, I am always looking for a reason to escape Cairo and its hectic and time-consuming lifestyle, and my favourite spots always tend to border the Red Sea. Because of that, I’ve stayed at more than my fair share of hotels and hostels in El Gouna and around the world over the years, and this time I was invited to stay at the newest and hippest addition to the sea-side’s Downtown: Cook’s Club Hotel El Gouna.
With over 4000 km² of the most diverse and abundant coral reef ecosystems on the planet, the Red Sea is one of the hottest snorkeling, diving and kite-surfing spots in the world, and El Gouna was built to complement that with luxurious homes, hotels, golf resorts and nightclubs.
Designed exclusively for the modern adult traveller - and I do mean exclusively; it's an adult-only hotel! No children allowed! - this cosy gem of a hotel looks like it came straight out of a catalogue. The walls are covered in serene arrangements of my personal favourite palette - beige, cream and stone-grey - with various shapes and sizes of cacti breaking the monochrome with shades of green.
With Bedouin-inspired upholstery and décor alongside a modern self-serve system where you just charge your card (E-wallet) upon arrival and can recharge it whenever, and use it throughout your stay for immediate and easier purchase, it’s the perfect mix between old and new. Despite a minimalistic interior design and a communal, laid-back hostel feel, the hotel still gives off a vibe of luxurious hospitality.
Navigation was a breeze! It was easy to find a place to park, and the quick 2-5 minute walk to the main entrance was super convenient.
When I stepped into the lobby to check in to the hotel, I was welcomed with nothing but smiling faces. Everything ran smoothly. But even when there was a hold-up, which was inevitable given the rush of guests arriving all at once, I enjoyed roaming around the premise, Instagrammable as it was, in the blissful childless chaos.
Eventually escorted to my room, I stepped into what would be my haven for the next two days, the bellhop put my bag down, turned on the AC, and showed me where everything was – down to the fully stocked tea and coffee bar. I was taken aback by a huge sink near my bed, which flew in the face of that sacred unspoken code of keeping sinks in the bathroom. Sheltering a towel basket underneath it proved to be a hassle when I later jumped into the bathroom to take a shower, only to remember - soaking wet - that the towels were outside.
My second-floor room window looked straight through the dancing leaves of the palm trees lining the premises. I had a view of both the pool and the saltwater lagoon, side by side. With the windows open, I could hear the music playing lying in my bed, where complimentary salmon and blue robes were laid out. There was even the cutest body lotion dispenser that sat on the table between the twin beds and was so irresistible that I returned to Cairo with a clear mind and even clearer skin.
The day progressed and the pool-side DJ got the party started. The water was singing and the sun was dancing; all the ingredients of a good time were in place. And while I thought my favourite doughnut was the milk chocolate one from TBS, I was pleased to find one even more delicious I could dive into… into the pool. A jovial display of splashing and fooling around, the release of the floaties added a splash of colour to the scene.
The day was slow and the music loud, and the breeze hitting the pool-side shaded bar didn’t really encourage much movement or effort, which no one minded. And why would they, when everyone was idling by with sweet pineapple-spiked Cook’s Special Cocktails and crowd-favorite minty Mojitos in their hands.
Not only were the bar’s drinks spectacularly put together by the best certified mixologists in town, trained by Berlin’s globally renowned mixologist David Wiedemann himself, their food failed to disappoint, with their pizza cheesy and crispy with a cute fresh basil leaf to top it all off, their fries juicy and just the right amount of oily, and their burgers… heavenly.
As I spent the evening going in and out of my room, I noticed that whenever I’d return, no matter how many hours later, the room remained cool. It stayed that way even with the AC turned off and the windows closed – so chapeau on the ventilation! And with the one light bulb between the twin beds and a mirror light as my only sources of illumination, I was immediately reminded to take a break and relax, which made the bed hard to resist.
While we're on the subject of my room, my favourite feature at this hotel – as silly as this may sound – was the mind-blowing liquid-absorbant floors and I’m not even sure that’s a thing. But for some reason that's beyond me, whenever I’d take a drink up to my room, it would end up on the floor. Somehow, through some unfathomable mechanism unknown to man, my elbow would make contact with my drink so that it would always get knocked off my bedside table. Hurrying to clean the mess, I realized after the first couple of times that the floor dried itself in less than thirty minutes.
As the sun set and everyone headed back to take their showers and prepare for the night’s affairs, a bunch of us took a few beers to the lagoon-side beach and blasted some music, settling down for an end-of-the-day recap to plan our evening shenanigans.
One of my favourite memories from this whole experience was when I decided to walk onto the pier that stretched into the lagoon and keep walking in the moonlight until I reached its precipice. Basking in the silence, I could look out onto the dark waters beneath me, up at the stars above me and back at those huddled on the shore. The whole experience made for a perfect getaway. I feel like here is where I reiterate that this is an adult-only hotel. Sometimes, you just need some time to yourself. And despite my short visit, at Cook's Club Hotel El Gouna, I had all the time in the world.