Adrère Amellal Ecolodge
We get so used to having all kinds of modern conveniences when we travel, it's hard to imagine a hotel without electricity, let alone internet access. Especially one as achingly beautiful as the Adrère Amellal Ecolodge in Siwa, Egypt. The dream of Cairo-based environmentalist Mounir Neamatallah, the hotel offers visitors a magical – and utterly unique – experience.
The buildings are Siwan houses, resurfaced with 'kershef', a mix of rock salt and mud that keeps temperatures down. Doors and windows are positioned to catch desert breezes, and roofs are lined in palm leaves. The swimming pool is a bubbling Roman spring. All herbs and vegetables are gathered from the resort's organic garden. No electricity means no lighting, apart from beeswax candles nestled in every nook. Every night you follow a trail of flames to your ever-changing dinner location. Want to call home? That's also out of the question – there are no phones. What energy there is at the lodge comes from solar and alternative energy sources, and everything that is used is recycled.
The hotel is located in the Adrère Amellal Oasis, 16km outside of Siwa's center, and a nine-hour drive across the Sahara desert from Cairo. It has 39 rooms, each with views of Siwa Lake (which is said to be as salty as the Dead Sea) and the Great Sand Sea. Prices start from around $400 a night.
Images © Adrere Amellal