Adrere Amellal or, in the Berber language, The White Mountain, is located in the Sahara, not far from the legendary Siwa Oasis. It's 70 km from the Libian border - in the northernmost part of Egypt, on the banks of a giant salt lake, at the foot of a white desert mountain. The local Siwa people have much lighter skin than the average Egyptian and blond curly hair. Adrere Amellal is the brainchild of the ecologist and archaeologist Dr Mounir Nematallah - a small and cosy hotel in the middle of the desert. The building is made of mud and salt (adhering to the traditional Siwa way of construction); everything is quite natural and authentic.
Water is taken form a natural desert spring. Rooms are very cosy even without electricity and the rest of the mod cons. (You will be surprised how comfortable that actually can be.) Featherbeds are covered with linen bed sheets, and to warm up the rooms at night a man in the light-coloured Siwa clothes brings a traditional hot water vessel. The only source of light at night is stars and thousands of pure bee wax candles. You feel like you were on a different planet, being taken care of by angels and getting ready for the next planetary level of existence. The food is fantastic, prepared specially for you and served depending on the time of day. Lunch, for example, is usually offered on the bank of the salt lake, with a view on the desert dunes. Candlelit supper will await you in one of the hotel rooms. Adrere Amellal boasts a beautiful naturally created swimming pool, Cleopatra's Bath, filled with water from the 230 springs of the oasis - it is located right next to an olive grove. Now and then a donkey may pass by.
The location is divine; this is truly a place to go if you are inclined to enjoy the exotic desert environment and the salt mountains that look as if they were sculpted by a genius. It's the perfect spot for a quiet and relaxing holiday. Do stay for 2-3 days, just don't forget that you will find yourselves in the middle of a desert with no other entertainment available.
It has to be said that you will be free to eat and drink your fill - no actual monetary transactions take place at the hotel. You can safely leave your wallet and credit cards in Cairo where you will pay in advance upon booking a room. Mind you, it's not going to be cheap. On the other hand, once the financial side of the matter has been settled and you finally arrive in Adrere Amellal (8 hour drive from Cairo, 6 hour drive from Alexandria), you will be able to forget the material aspect of your life and the world in general. Enjoy sophisticated and healthy food, catch up with your reading, contemplate your life - or perhaps do just the opposite, forget all about it.
Sidi al-Ja'afar, Siwa, Egypt
Keywords: Sahara, Egypt, hotel