An authentic bed made from rock salt covered in fine Egyptian cotton defines the style at Adrère Amellal, an eco-lodge at the foot of ‘the white mountain’ in the desert town of Siwa.
Each room reflects the local houses; walls are coated with salt and tiny dormers, with olivewood shutters, offer a view of the shimmering salt lake by day and scattergun of stars by night.
Artisan touches are everywhere you look, from the locally woven Berber carpets to the yellow beeswax candles that provide the only source of light. More than two thousand are lit every evening to create a flickering spectacle in the grounds of this real-life sandcastle that blends into its rocky landscape and is not dependent on electricity.
The 40-room hotel lies by some 230 freshwater springs fed by the Nubian aquifer famed as the location of the Oracle of Amon, whom Alexander the Great consulted before continuing his Persian conquest. Little has changed in this oasis from the towering rocks, lush groves, and salt lakes.
An organic garden on site provides a menu of date soufflé and hibiscus risotto among other dishes which are served in traditional honey-glazed pots. Lunch can be enjoyed in the shade of the palm grove near the swimming pool.
Adrère Amellal is perfectly placed for excursions to Siwa’s historic temples, and mountain burial sites. Cleopatra’s water spring can be found on the path that leads to the Temple of Amun. Many guests choose to take out a 4x4 to experience the ever-changing dunes of the Great Sand Sea.