Four Seasons Egypt Life After the Pyramids and Tombs. Living the Ultimate Pharaoh Lifestyle!

Egypt is a dream destination, my last pre-Covid Journey was to Egypt and Jordan, and I would return a heartbeat for another visit. Once is not enough! The country is safe, open to travelers and is amid a hotel renaissance, and the new Egyptian Museum is scheduled for a fall opening.  

Giza, Egypt

While Egypt has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, enjoying a classic felucca boat down the Nile, marveling at the Pyramids, exploring the spectacles of Luxor, one can now add on a dazzling visit to the renovated Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh.

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence

There are two stylish Four Seasons in Cairo and I would suggest you stay at both – you will arrive and most likely depart from Cairo with a Nile River tour decadently sandwiched between your Nile sojourn.  Four Seasons at The First Residence is located in Giza, between the Nile River and the Giza Zoo and enjoys impressive views of Cairo’s skyline and the Pyramids. Giza is a great location in terms of being near the Pyramids and zoo, but the remainder of the tourist sites (Tahrir Square, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Khan al-Khalili market, Zamalek) are closer to the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza and are on the far side of the Nile. That said, the location of the Four Seasons at The First Residence has a local authenticity in the surroundings which you don’t experience in the surrounds of the Nile Plaza. Choices, as individual as our fingerprint, there is the perfect hotel for every Journey!

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city’s metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life, and is titled “the city of a thousand minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a “Beta +” classification according to GaWC. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University

On the Pyramids!

The Four Seasons First Residence is located on the western bank of the Nile in the historic suburb of Giza, the hotel is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring Cairo. From the zoological gardens that lie just outside our doors to the shopping and entertainment within our very own First Place complex, you won’t have to go far to find plenty to see and do. Observe unique works of art at the nearby Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, or we can arrange an unforgettable horseback-riding adventure by the pyramids, multiple exclusive options can be arranged. A palatial sanctuary that boasts stunning views, flanked by zoological gardens and the western bank of the Nile, the address in Giza’s prestigious First Place complex puts you in the center of it all. Catch a glimpse of the river or the Great Pyramids from your suite as you head out to explore the ancient wonders, or spend the day by the surprisingly quiet pool, indulging in an aromatic massage once reserved for Egyptian royalty. Or opt for shopping in the high-end boutiques at the First Mall or experience the best of gastronomy aboard the First Nile Boat, offering panoramic Nile views and brilliant international cuisine. Busy mornings exploring buzzy Cairo are best rewarded by a late afternoon poolside and with a visit to the decadent spa.

Exclusive Experiences: Behold the illuminated Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza under a starry sky. Then relax in your private tent, where the view of the enigmatic pyramids and live music flavor the dinner of your choice.

The First Residence offers 262 luxury rooms and 50 suites, the décor is a soothing palate of light hues and pay homage to the French Empire in their elegant décor. Exquisite views of the Nile and pyramids are the hotel’s blockbuster element. I spent my last 10 hours in Cairo here, the hotel deserves a few days- but I ran out of time! Enjoy a suite which guarantees stunning panoramic views of the ancient city, my Ambassador suite included a wraparound corner terrace. It can extend to three bedrooms, with eye-catching views of the Nile, pyramids and Botanical Gardens, these three-bedroom suites easily adapt to your travel style, with plenty of room for the kiddos and family members.

Four Seasons at Nile Plaza

Located on the highest floor, the Royal Suite is a state-of-the-art living area that redefines luxury. The penthouse suite boasts a private dining area that can host up to 10 guests, as well a master bedroom that showcases a bespoke walk-in closet. It also comes with a 52-inch LCD satellite television, iMac computer, DVD player, and Bose music system, ensuring you can leave all your tech equipment at home.

Exclusive Options: Royal Feast. The glistening gilded walls and lavish décor of Manial Palace create a one-of-a-kind setting for a private, Four Seasons-catered dinner you won’t soon forget. This palace complex, built by the uncle of King Farouk, Prince Mohammed Ali, in the early 20th century. Its interiors and architecture are a fascinating merging of Ottoman, Moorish, Persian and European rococo styles, while the gardens planted with rare tropical plants collected by the prince.

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

An intimate oasis at the pool in an elevated setting, the chaos of Cairo is left behind on the wide sunny terraces surrounding the pool. Snack on charcoal grilled specialties and Middle Eastern mezze at the Aura poolside restaurant or plop in the afternoon sun or under a dappled umbrella, the mezze is scrumptious!

Discover the First Nile Boat, a Four Seasons culinary destination with a Brazilian grill, a pan-Asian restaurant and a Greek taverna, all with panoramic Nile views. Welcome to a world of taste, comfort and luxury on First Nile Boat, a trendy lifestyle spot in the Egyptian capital. Docked opposite Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence, the boat combines energetic restaurants, a lounge and event spaces perfect for your next gathering.

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh. Cascading down the hillside from the desert to the Red Sea, Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh welcomes you to an Arabian fairytale with year-round sun; sleek, modern accommodations; over 3,000 palm trees and panoramic sea views. Limestone cliffs embrace an almost a mile long private beachfront with crystal-clear waters and access to a protected marine reserve. Now transformed after a major expansion, the Resort rises to new levels of world-class luxury. Spacious new guest rooms and oversized suites – with a choice of modern design or traditional Arabian décor. Delight in a multitude of al fresco dining options, new playgrounds for leisure or business, and authentic desert and sea adventures where every detail is elevated with thoughtful Four Seasons care.

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh

Forget the mirage of a dusty desert location, this property is an oasis facing the Red Sea. Considered Egypt’s diving capital, the Red Sea is home to 76 recognized dive sites – many only a few minutes from the Resort. The pinnacle of Arabian sophistication, the amazing signature suites host leading politicians, royalty, and our VIP Clients! Each suite is a stand-alone residence, steps from the beach, lavished with luxurious furnishings and the latest technology. Remarkable features include 24-hour butler service, expansive gardens, private pools and even a private beach.Fantasy interiors matched with modern interpretation of Arabian designs and Arabesque details, views from arched windows.

Travel outside the Four Seasons oasis and head into the wilderness of the desert. Feel the wind in your hair during a quad biking adventure, exploring the spectacular hills and mountains of Sharm El Sheikh. Or journey across the desert on a camel tour, catching the sun as it sets below the horizon.

A look at Cairo

“If One Had But A Single Glance To Give To The World, One Should Gaze on Istanbul.” Alphonse de Lamartine 

In 2010, from a post on my website: I am still attempting to master the path of professional gypsy, more practice is necessary; but until then, please enjoy my latest adventure to the beguiling city of Istanbul. Adventure beckons and a random invitation from an old dear friend, Gwenda come with me, leads me back to Istanbul. All our original clients visited, it was kind of a joke, that many would pass each other in the Blue Mosque.

For centuries described as the intoxicating meeting between East and West, Istanbul has served as the capital of three of the greatest empires in Western history and is on the legendary gateway between Europe and Asia. These days, the city is on the thrilling edge of age-old tradition and modernity.
Wherever I travel, I’ve always been obsessed with ancient colorful tiles, in Portugal, a museum is devoted to tiles. Spanish floor tiles with vibrant splashes of color, geometric swirls, and patterns. Italian tiles have long been regarded as some of the most beautiful in the world. Arabian influences and pottery design influenced many European countries. Turkish ceramics are among the oldest in the world and greatly influenced both the design world and global manufacturing methods. In the 13th Century, tiles were used to decorate only the important places of prominence, such as palaces, mosques, and tombs. Tiles were extensively used in places of worship; the floor and wall tiles used in Mosques helped the sound resonate during prayer. The specific type of tiles used for this purpose were usually Iznik tiles.

This tile panel is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It dates back to the second half of the 16th century from Iznik, Turkey during the Ottoman Empire

The most popular sites in Istanbul brimming with tiles include: Hagia Sophia – filled with 30 Million Gold Tiles. A little smaller and harder to find is the Rustem Pasha Mosque. One of the smaller mosques in the city, it was built by Rustem Pasa in 1561 and is noted for the very fine tiles covering the interior and exterior walls. An  Ottoman mosque located in the Hasırcılar Çarşısı (Strawmat Weavers Market) in the Tahtakale neighborhood of the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey, near the Spice Bazaar.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul by Oldypak lp
Haig Sophia

The Rüstem Pasha Mosque is famous for its large quantities of İznik tiles in a very wide variety of floral and geometric designs, which cover not only the façade of the porch but also the mihrab, minbar and walls. There are approximately 2300 tiles arranged in around 80 different patterns. These tiles exhibit the early use of Armenian bole, a tomato-red pigment that would become characteristic of İznik pottery. While this red hue is applied more thinly on most of the tiles, it was applied heavily on the tiles near the qibla wall and appeared scarlet in color.  The bright emerald green color is only used in a panel added above an exterior doorway later, and a study of the qibla tiling indicates that turquoise was the greenest hue available to the mosque’s builders prior to the addition of that emerald green. Some of the tiles, particularly those in a large panel under the portico to the left main entrance, are decorated with sage green and dark manganese purple that are characteristic of the earlier ‘Damascus ware’ color scheme.  No other mosque makes such a lavish use of İznik tiles; with later mosques Sinan used tiles more sparingly.

Tile Panel in Rüstem Paşa Mosque

After you’ve sorted through the trinkets and textiles in the Grand Bazaar, mosey to the Spice Market.  Rustem Pasha Mosque (Rüstem Paşa Camii) is a hidden gem of a mosque that some describe as a miniature Blue Mosque, without the crowds. It’s a little tricky to find but it’s well worth it – the stunning beauty of the interior is matched by the feeling of finding a little oasis amid a hectic area.
The mosque is open from 10 am-6 pm every day but is closed to visitors during prayer times. There is no Rustem Pasha Mosque ticket price, but donations are welcome.

Rüstem Paşa Mosque

Finding Rüstem Paşa Mosque isn’t obvious, but it also isn’t impossible.  Head past Yeni Camii (New Mosque) towards the entrance of the Spice Bazaar, but turn right when you reach Mehmet Efendi Kurukahveci (Turkish coffee shop). At the end of this road, there is a small entrance to the mosque on the right-hand side that you will have to climb stairs to reach.

Arriving in Istanbul for the first time, one is unprepared for the dazzling mosques and minarets, the sparkling Bosphorus Strait, your grade school history classes come to life: Constantinople, Byzantine architecture, the supremely elegant Sultan Palaces, Mosques with a dizzying array of blue tiles, soaring vaulted ceilings; oh, and did I mention the muezzin calling out the five-time daily call to prayer. In Istanbul, many of the mosques do not use a taped prayer call; each haunting rendition is individually sung, I find it very calming and reflective. Here, finally, I was allowed to visit a mosque.
Excellent restaurants, the Spice Market, exploring the Grand Bazaar, a week covers all of Istanbul, if you have more days, we can add Cappadocia and many other fascinating beautiful sites in Turkey. Sufi dancers mesmerize audiences in a small venue, music underground in an ancient water cistern, ancient hammam, a temple to the ancient soak and scrub ritual – so many activities besides enjoying the historic venues.