An Airbnb Oasis in the Middle of the Enchanting Egyptian Desert

This rustic-and-romantic Airbnb brings a dash of opulence – and a sexy sunken bathtub – to the Fayoum countryside.

By Layan Adham Ismail


As the Egyptian tourism landscape rapidly reaches new heights, fiercely forges through novel territory and gracefully gets the best facelift money can buy, several long-gate-kept getaways are finally getting the overdue recognition they deserve. Perhaps the most evasive and enticing of all the Egyptian hidden gems is a certain UNESCO World Heritage Site with expansive deserts, towering sand dunes, glittering lakes and vibrant pottery shops – Fayoum.

A daunting destination for those of us who are activity-averse and even more terrifying for those who are instantly sent into a spiral befitting a Y2K popstar if a singular mosquito so much as buzzes, Fayoum has long been a camping and hiking favourite amongst the local adventurous crowd. Yet, for those of us in dire need of modern comforts and luxurious lodgings, Fayoum has remained unattainable. Until some of the biggest hospitality giants decided to weigh in, that is.

Once a city for caps and cargo pants, Fayoum is now increasingly morphing into a “sun hats and linen sets” destination. This major revamp the city has been undergoing at the hands of globally renowned hoteliers, such as Steigenberger, and uber-luxurious camping ventures, like Remal El Rayan Glamp, has finally reached the world of Airbnbs in the form of the secluded, serene and seriously swanky Waterside Loft.

With an address in Fayoum’s Tunis Village, where rustic Nubian-style villas have been reigning supreme, Waterside Loft is most definitely a concrete-and-wood needle in a yellow-cement haystack.

As you leisurely stroll up the main village street, passing by famed feteer-making eatery Kom El Dikka, then step into a narrow alley lined with lush green farmlands and sweeping century-old trees, and finally push past the engraved wooden gate of Waterside Loft, you almost feel like the spirited heroine of a Jane Austen novel. While the walk up to the lodgings might be more reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennet and Co., the loft itself is just pure Darcy.

Dark wooden beams, colourful kilim rugs and rugged creme-coloured walls – the basic building blocks of the space are themselves an architectural ode to Fayoum’s ancient traditions of edifice design.

“The idea was to build a tent that blended with the Fayoum identity,” Jerome Geyer, the owner and designer of the lavish loft (as well as the famed Houseboat65 in Cairo’s Zamalek area), shares with SceneTraveller. “A little cocoon that breeds the horizon.”

The moment you walk into the snug embrace of the loft, you’re greeted by a built-in bed with a bench looking out at an intimate patio, where you and your chosen companion can sip your morning coffee and marvel at the poetic pinnacle of the outdoor area – the jacuzzi.

Now, if lounging in the great outdoors and basking in the warm sun is not your cup of tea (a collection of which is provided by Geyer, along with local fruits, insect repellents, hair straighteners, comfy robes and a million other things), you can either choose to warm up by the oh-so-chic-and-modern fireplace, or take a good, long bubble bath in the loft’s sexy sunken bathtub.

And, since it seems this particular Airbnb is on a quest to go above and beyond, the loft also comes with a full-fledged guide in the form of a thick binder, detailing everything in the surrounding area – from recommended restaurants and pottery workshops to nearby museums and historical sites.

Add the fact that it’s less than two hours away from the bustling capital city of Cairo to the mix, and you’ve got yourself an idyllic countryside getaway you and your paramour might never want to leave.


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