You know that old chesnut, "Be careful what you wish for"?
Well, Im here to tell you that sometimes what you wish for is exactly what you get.
Let me take you back a blog or two when I was looking forward to some pool time and time to myself. Id been building up Adrere Amellal in my mind as the ultimate get away from it all. Nothing speaks paradise more than a desert oasis in the middle of nowhere, right? For those of you who already googled it - great; everyone else - let me give you a minute to have a look, because my next point will blow your mind.
I HAVE THE WHOLE THING TO MYSELF!!!!!!
Without a shadow of a lie I am the only guest at Adrere Amellal and at last count I had a dozen men waiting on me hand and foot!!!!! Talk about the stuff of fiction.
I have to admit, when I first arrived here I was a little scared. It didnt help that I was delirious from ten hours in the Coach from Hell, but let me tell you, the silence out here was deafening. Echoes of chainsaws, screeching, over-extended airconditioning and high revved engines still throbbed in my eardrums. Beyond that.... nothing. No thing.
It all started with the trek from the bus station. After a drive through the backstreets of Siwa and then bumbling along a goat-track, I really thought I was being taken for a ride. The hotel doesnt announce itself. At all. No signage, no idea you are here till youre right on top of it. It literally morphs out of the mud, hidden behind White Mountain.
The only staff member Id met was Ahmed who came in with me from the station. He joked I was the only guest. Yeah right. Though it was 7am and eerily quiet, I just assumed people were sleeping in or out on the included excursions. Ahmed seemed to have a bit of trouble working out which was my room, that had me a little spooked (did he really work here or have we picked up some random guy in a white dress?)
He settled on a cute villa at the base of the mountain overlooking Lake Siwa. Nice. He spoke little English but I think we agreed I would have a shower and meet for breakfast in 20 mins (he was mumbling that "cookie" wasnt here yet). Ok.
After 5 minutes of holding my hands under ice cold water, reality struck:
I was stuck out in the middle of nowhere, with no hot water, no electricity, no transport, and no one but Ahmed-the-random-dude that didnt speak English!!!!! The bottom lip quivered. Before panic set in I found Ahmed, setting the breakfast table (things were looking up), who promptly fixed the hot water (things getting better).
Breakfast was a delight! Perched on a verandah with linen napery and silver service, fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, hot tea, condiments, CREPES, and an omlete!! By this time there were three men hovering around, replenishing tea, serving food, pouring water. What a turn around from the hotel experiences of the past few weeks!! A girl could get used to this.
Following breakfast I was given a tour of the site, including a wander through Prince Charles' chalet (hope he doesnt mind). Gotta tell you about the second floor ensuite, where Charlie can sit on the throne and wave to whoever is fortunate enough to be climbing the mountain. "Good morning Your Highness, nice day for it." Indeed.
There are numerous "restaurants" and "bars" scattered throughout the hotel. The whole site is one organic labyrinth with little outcrops of buildings that turn in on themselves and over several levels. Its easy to get lost. I think thats the idea! Even if there were other people here I could always find a grotto or niche to be alone. The pool and lunch area is located in a palm grove. The pool is built around a 10m deep natural spring that bubbles ever so slowly. Like a spa on Prozac.
Fading fast myself, I retreated to my room for a power nap. I feel like Im on the set of Gilligans Island. The doors and window shutters are made from date palm stems, trimmed with rope, and with hand made timber joinery, including hinges. There is no glass. The ceiling is also date palm, the floor and bathroom stone, my king sized bed a couple of massive salt slabs donned with a plump doona and feather pillows. Everything is natural and hand crafted. Beautiful.
Lunch was a three course affair. I wish Id known that before Id pigged out on the dill and broad bean risotto. Didnt leave enough room for the beetroot main course and poached orange with coconut dessert. After lunch I struggled to work out what to do. I had over one hundred poolside chairs, day beds and banana lounges to choose from. Maybe I should try them all? Sliding into the spring water is like slipping into a silk neglege. Luxurious.
Fatigue and delirium soon gave way to the realisation that I was the luckiest girl on the planet. This is a lotto win right here. I have to pinch myself.
Dinner time. Mohamed (another one, head waiter here), led me into a passage off the side of the breakfast verandah, and into a domed salt-rock cave, lit with dozens of candles. The roof is open to the sky where the cresent moon is displayed in all its glory. This space is so romantic!! I feel like a Princess, in this special space, being lavished with fine food and service. A couple more days of this is just what I need.
Part 2 next installment.