Egypt: Eternal and Essential

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isramworld Ady Gelber, president and CEO of IsramWorld, takes comfort in the fact that, “while the bookings picture was off some 30 percent in November 2008 from the previous year for some destinations, Egypt fared far better. Egypt is a market that is always first to come back at every price level, but for now, the luxury market is the top seller. High-end travelers may be counting paper loses, but they haven’t changed their lifestyles.” And IsramWorld is well positioned for this market, with its recent addition of The Elite Travel Collection, geared to the ultra-sophisticated traveler and offering agents the convenience of a set itinerary with all of the attributes of a customized private luxury tour. “The Elite Series is all about a totally custom-made tour,” Gelber adds, “privately escorted and guided, with everything—and many extra special things—included.”

The 10-night Elite Egypt program—with prices starting at $9,290 pp dbl—features five nights in Cairo, staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza with Nile-view rooms, touring by private Mercedes limousine with Egyptologist-guide, private felucca candlelit dinner on the Nile, lunch at the Oberoi Mena House by the pyramids, and an evening driver at one’s disposal.

Clients should take some time in Cairo, Gelber says, “to have dinner by the pool at the Sonesta property, and an evening out at the elegant casino at the Marriott.”

After Cairo, clients take a leisurely 5-night Nile cruise aboard the new 35-suite M/S Antares, including a hot air balloon ride over the Luxor monuments.

Gelber says this balloon ride is a must. Other must-do’s, he says, include a visit to St. Catherine’s Monastery outside of Sharm el-Sheikh, with a sunrise climb up Mount Sinai.

artisans of leisure Egypt expert Leah Reilley explains Artisans of Leisure’s viewpoint on travel to Egypt. “We offer an unrivalled level of luxury, expert guidance, and insider’s access to the country’s vibrant culture. Our tours are customized to each traveler’s interests.”

For example, she says, “Clients may enjoy taking cooking lessons in a private home when in Cairo. Or, focusing on art and architecture is a good way to look at Cairo and Alexandria.”

The 11-night Highlights of Egypt is one of the company’s offerings, featuring two full days of private car touring in Cairo and the Pyramids—“don’t miss the informal Andrea restaurant in Giza, a place to go before or after visiting the Pyramids. It’s the place to have chicken on the spit, served with various mezze dishes,” says Reilley.

While in Cairo, clients have a choice of staying at the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza or the Four Seasons First Residence. The journey also includes a 4-night Nile cruise aboard Oberoi’s Philae or Sonesta’s Star Goddess and a 3-night stay at the Four Seasons Resort Sharm el Sheikh, with a private excursion to St. Catherine’s Monastery. The cost is $10,775 pp dbl.