History, culture, the romance of travel and 21st century diversity all await you in the ancient destination of Egypt – home to the only remaining entry on the list of the original Seven Wonders of the World, not to mention other archaeological and architectural marvels, markets and local cuisine and lifestyle.
And you can explore Egypt’s antique wonders and modern life in style at three Four Seasons hotels in key Egyptian destinations; including exclusive signature Four Seasons experiences that elevate your visit to create your own wondrous memories.
Cairo: Center of Antiquity and Change
Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
The 4500-year old Pyramids of Giza at the outskirts of Cairo are the only remaining of the antique Seven Wonders of the World, still the major attraction, along with the Sphinx, for any first-time visitor to Egypt.
The Step Pyramid at Djoser has recently reopened after a 14 year-restoration and the centre of a tomb complex that is older even than the Pyramids of Giza by several hundred years.
Returning visitors are looking forward to the delayed opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. None other than Ramses II (in the form of a 36-foot statue carved 32 centuries ago) welcomes visitors to the largest archaeological museum in the world. The striking contemporary building houses most of the treasures unearthed a century ago in King Tut's tomb, plus more than 100,000 additional artifacts spanning 7,000 years of Egyptian history and culture. GEM is partially open now, with an expected grand opening later in 2023.
No visit to the city is complete without a trip the Moez area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Khan El Khalili, the 1,000-year-old markets, in search of everything from artisan pieces to funky souvenirs. Then as the sun sets, a leisurely cruise on calm waters of the Nile in a traditional felucca takes you past illuminated landmarks.
The Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza offers guests a unique way to experience the pyramids, even if they have been to Egypt before.
A private dinner under the stars at the Giza pyramids is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
The hotel also offers a door-to-door day trip to Luxor and the paradise city of Arwan, including limo transfers and a hotels escort through the airport. Then, after your short flight, Four Seasons guests are met by guide who will be at your side for the entire day before returning to Cairo that evening or the next day. Often called the world's greatest open air museum, this is where you walk in the footsteps of the Pharaohs through temples and monuments, visit the famous Valley of the Kings, and tour museums that tell the stories of ancient Egypt.
Alexandria: The Pearl of the Mediterranean
Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano
Relatively youthful in comparison to Cairo, Alexandria was founded by, and named for, Alexander the Great in 331 BC. The arrival of the Macedonians in Egypt was just another moment in a long history of cross-cultural influences in this city on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Pompey's Pillar, for example, was erected to honour the Roman Emperor Diocletian around 300 AD. A visit to the Roman Amphitheatre takes you through the remains of the ancient city of Alexandria during the Roman Period.
Then, venture on a tour of where the legendary Pharos Lighthouse once stood - The Citadel Qaitbay. The 15th-century landmark is now a naval museum with lookout towers and a unique collection of weapons.
While the famous Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of classical antiquity and considered to have amassed the largest collection of written knowledge in the Western World at the time, has been lost to history, the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina is one of the major cultural centres in the world with space for eight million books and four museums, 15 permanent art galleries, a planetarium, and a manuscript restoration laboratory.
Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano can arrange for guests an expert guide through the magnificent rooms and priceless treasures on display at Alexandria’s Royal Jewelry Museum. Artefacts include gold objects and jewels once worn by the queens and princesses of Egypt's royal family. A private evening tour of the palace is followed by dinner and live music in the Royal Gardens.
Of course, you’ll also want to factor in time to enjoy the pleasures of the Mediterranean seaside at the hotel.
Sharm El Sheikh: An Oasis for Adventurers
Hotel: Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh
Egypt isn’t all antiquities and bustling cities. Don’t miss the country’s Red Sea resort area, Sharm El Sheikh. The waters surrounding the southern tip of Egypt’s Peninsula are teeming with marine life and shipwrecks, making it popular with divers and snorkellers of all levels.
Visitors at the Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh can drop by the resort’s new dive center for training, outfitting, and first glimpses of colourful aquatic life diving at its private reef.
From there, you can sign up for escorted trips and yacht charters to over 75 recognized dive sites day or night - where you may see bioluminescent effects. No worries if you don’t dive – you’ll enjoy water activities on a sea kayak and a stand-up paddle boarding.
Recently expanded to double its original size, Four Seasons now offers numerous pools, a dozen culinary experiences, a new spa fitness center with floor-to-ceiling windows, tennis and squash courts.
For those who want to expand their horizons, there's as much to do in the desert as at the beach. Quad biking the dunes, a sunset camel safari, or a Bedouin-style dinner under the stars are all easily arranged, and the region's historic sites, including the biblical Mount Sinai, as well as the Old Market for souvenirs, spices and local handicrafts are worth visiting, too.
The hotel company has recently announced plans for a new hotel in New Cairo Capital, along with the first Four Seasons hotel in Luxor.
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Image(s) courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts