At the Chedi El Gouna, lifting your sunglasses to squint lazily over the shimmering Red Sea is about the extent of the exertion involved. From golf buggies whisking you around desert-inspired gardens to an app for booking spa treatments, making the most of your stay here is effortless indeed. Earthy desert hues, Egyptian cotton and impeccable styling make it all easy on the eye, too. And when you’re ready to move, activities such as kite-surfing and quad-biking over the dunes can be arranged (with minimal effort, of course).
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink, plus a 30-minute extension to any 60-minute spa treatment you book
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £6475.38 ($8,198), including tax at 28.82 per cent.
Rates include an à la carte breakfast (or buffet during peak times).
From room service to spa treatments, you can order everything through the hotel’s downloadable app.
At the hotel
Private beach, free WiFi throughout, 24-hour front desk, concierge, spa, 24-hour gym with sauna and steam room, bicycle hire. In rooms: smart TV with premium content, free bottled water, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, minibar, bathrobes and slippers, Elemental Herbology bath products, and digitally controlled lighting and air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
We love the Beach Front Rooms, which either look right over the yellow sands from a first-floor balcony or offer direct access to the beach from the terrace.
You have a pick of two full-size pools, plus a lifeguard-attended toddler pool with a sun shade. All are amply encircled with loungers, parasols and canopied day-beds from where you can order drinks and bites. The main pool and the toddler pool are heated during the winter months.
The hotel’s spa comprises eight treatment rooms, each with its own spa feature, such as a whirlpool tub, steam shower or hammam. Treatments range from the detoxifying to the invigorating, all carried out with all-natural spa products.
El Gouna’s residents – known locally as ‘Gounies’ – like to glam it up, so if you’re planning dinner out pack something with pizzazz.
The Chedi El Gouna offers one room adapted for mobility-impaired guests located close to reception, plus all restaurants have accessible bathrooms.
There might not be any kid-specific organised activities, but with a dedicated splash pool and private beach, there’s plenty of fun to be had for little Smiths. Connecting Garden Rooms are great for families, and extra beds and cots are free of charge..
Sparkling eco-credentials: solar energy is used to heat water, filtered drinking water comes in refillable glass bottles and more than 85 per cent of the hotel’s waste is recycled. Nearly half of the restaurant’s food is produced locally and sustainably, too.
From sunny waterside terraces to rooftop patios, finding a great table isn’t hard here – but it doesn’t get much better than lazily ordering food from the comfort of your poolside lounger.
Soggy swimsuits are de rigueur for the Beach House, but opt for crisp (Egyptian) cotton for staying cool and smart for balmy dinner dates.
Simply called the Restaurant, the hotel’s main eatery is a big bright space that opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All offer à la carte or set menus (apart from breakfast buffet service when it gets too busy), with a well-rounded selection of international and local favourites. Stand-out dishes include the three-mushroom risotto, US-style tenderloin beef and, for the slightly more adventurous, Egyptian stuffed pigeon. An open kitchen and live-cooking stations mean you can watch the sizzling action, or if you’d rather have a quieter meal, head out to the poolside terrace. When you don’t want to interrupt that poolside mood, pad over in your flip-flops to the Beach House for a chilled-out, sand-in-the-toes atmosphere. Tacos, burgers and healthier Mediterranean-style fare are on offer here during the day, along with colourful cocktails and Caribbean music. For a dinner accompanied by sweeping sea views, rooftop-terrace dining at Nihon is a real treat. The menu is Japanese and pan-Asian fine dining, with freshly prepped sushi and grilled meats served under the stars.
All three restaurants have their own bar area, serving the usual choice of international wines, beers and premium spirits, together with a decent cocktail menu. The Lounge is the hotel’s only dedicated bar space, with a hushed atmosphere and a walk-in humidor offering a curated selection of cigars from around the world.
The Restaurant serves breakfast from 7am–11am; lunch is 1pm–4pm; dinner is 7pm–10pm. Dinner at Nihon is 6pm–12am; light bites at the Beach House are from 11am–6pm, and drinks are served 9am–11pm. The Lounge pours drinks from 8am–11pm.
From breakfast-in-bed to midnight munchies, in-room dining can be ordered up 24/7. The main menu covers everything from the Restaurant, with a separate pared-down late-night version.
The Chedi sits overlooking the Red Sea in the purpose-built resort town of El Gouna, about a half-hour drive north from Hurghada.
Hurghada International is the closest airport to the hotel at 30-40 minutes away by road. Car or minibus transfers can be arranged through the hotel, though book at least a couple of days before arrival.
If you’re hoping to explore beyond El Gouna, you can easily hire your own wheels at the airport. Brace yourself for the possibility of some hairy driving conditions or alternatively just consider hiring a driver for the day – it’s the done thing around these parts.
Worth getting out of bed for
Once little more than a humble fishing village, El Gouna’s transformation into a Red Sea holiday hotspot came courtesy of billionaire construction tycoon Samih Sawiris setting his sights on the place. The sprawling resort is not best explored on foot, but two fun ways of getting around are by zippy tuk-tuk or a taxi-boat via its network of artificial canals and lagoons. Practically surrounded by sea and with a private beach, there are unsurprisingly watersports aplenty on offer here and the often-blustery conditions make it ideal for wind-propelled pursuits such as kitesurfing. Being on the Red Sea also means no shortage of dive centres and some super scuba opportunities – the Sha’ab Abu Nuhas ship graveyard is a wreck-diving must-do. If you’d rather stick to (very) dry land, you can bump and race across the desert dunes in an off-road drive or quad-bike, or take the more sedate option on horseback. El Gouna is also within day-tripping distance of Luxor and its bucket-list-worthy ancient Egyptian structures.
If you fancy a stroll to dinner, La Playa is one of the few within walking distance of the hotel and offers a lovely beach-side terrace (hence the name), as well as seating on the sand. The menu is unpretentious, holiday-friendly fare such as stone-oven-baked pizza and handmade pasta at prices that won’t dent your budget. Alternatively, jump in one of El Gouna’s bright pink tuk-tuks to the marina for a pick of eateries. One of the fancier spots is Pier 88, with a menu centred around Italian cuisine and cooked-to-perfection steaks. And for some of the finest seafood around, marina-side Al Sammak Restaurant is the place, serving up everything from sea snake to fried snapper.
For nightlife, heading to the marina again is your best bet. The Smugglers is a popular haunt where locals and tourists rub shoulders in a cosy, pub-style setting. For something a little more lively, tuk-tuk it to Zouni Lounge Bar, which has regular live music, friendly barkeeps and some of the most colourful cocktails in town.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beachfront hotel in El Gouna and unpacked their kohl eyeliner and dried dates, a full account of their Red Sea break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Chedi El Gouna in Egypt…
The transformation of dusty desert dunes and rugged Red Sea coast into an elegant network of meandering canals, shimmering lagoons and golden beaches – the resort town of El Gouna is nothing short of astonishing. And with its sprawling palatial design and impeccably understated style, the Chedi El Gouna claims a prime position among it all. Dusky tones reflect the surrounding desert-scape, architectural accents draw from local tradition and Sahara-inspired gardens all add to the hotel’s wonderfully self-contained, impeccably luxe world. With a choice of sea-view swimming pools, a trio of restaurants, a sumptuous spa and even a private beach – despite an endless array of sand- and water-based activities on your doorstep – you just might struggle to find much need to venture beyond it.