Hotel rooms are so 2000. Who wants to suffer the mass, cattle-like experience of a resort when you can rent a stranger's place and do it your way? From the adventurous, to the luxurious, to the extreme, accommodation has never looked so interesting...
From authentic mud houses in Siwa, to bohemian beachfront homes, to Bedouin villas in a hidden Sinai village, Airbnb homes and apartments offer a more genuine way for you to spend holidays, whether it's for those on a budget or those looking for a more intimate feel rather than the mass experience of resort hotels. The site is a collaborative platform that allows home owners to rent their apartments while they are away, which in Egypt means you can either sleep in a luxury villa or spend the night in a mud cave. As we gear up to escape Cairo's madness for Eid, we've listed 19 Airbnb finds for an authentic getaway.
*The values listed are indicated as minimum for each accomodation, but they may vary according to the date.
This is probably the ideal spot for a couple looking to get away from it all – especially given Egypt’s restrictive hotel rules for unmarried couples *ahem*. It has a dome roof, open kitchen and a pool – all perfect for your romantic holidays. Or you can just bring your mom. If you are staying the week, there is an 8 percent discount.
The spot is especially apt for a girls getaway, as it houses six people in its three rooms. It has a sea view, its own garden, and a private swimming pool – need we give more hints for a summer house party? After all, we can always split the daily $255 six ways.
Though it’s not ideal if you get seasick, sleeping on a sailboat is nothing short of adventurous. The boat, called Baraka, is moored in front of Fanadir hotel, 10 minutes away from the Abu Tig marina. One of the perks of the stay is that Ahmed, the owner, can handle all things sailing for you and can even organise day trips to an island. So you won't sink or anything.
If you want to feel like Aladdin’s Jasmine - or just want some fanciness for a change - this luxury villa is located right on the shore of the Azure lagoon. The price may scare you off (463 per night), but the owner cuts the price by nearly half if you stay more than four days, and it can accommodate eight people.
You may feel like you are on a Greek island. Or a Sicilian beach. You may even start speaking Italian at this Roman-style apartment, which has a private pool and direct access to the lagoon. The entire villa houses 12 people, so either you rent it for your kickass gang holiday, or you tell teita to bring the whole family.
Styled by artists and furnished with locally sourced recycled objects, driftwood furniture and Bedouin art, this flat is a catch. It overlooks the sea, set on the shore of Assalah Beach and Eel Garden Reef. What’s perhaps even more striking is the price: $67 for six guests.
Sleeping on a bed that lights up may not have been on your bucket list but it sure as hell is now - that’s what happens when you find a construction made of salt brick. With furniture made of local palm trees and henna lamps, the bed bases and feature walls are constructed from salt brick from Siwa, not only lighting up our fairy-tale fantasies but it also apparently has benefits to your health.
There's no boho-chic in Dahab. Either you go full-on Bohemian or you stay home. This cozy apartment is located three minutes away from Dahab’s Lighthouse and has two different floors for rent, one of which houses an artist atelier. The place, which kind of looks like an oasis, has an outdoor yoga space and a small pool to cool off day and night. Renting one of the floors costs $75.
Want to go extreme and live like the locals? This genuine mud house, built at the foot of the Shali Fortress, offers an authentic, uncensored experience of what it is like to live off nature. Sleeping on mattresses on the floor and provided with minimum services - just the basics, really - this stay may not be luxurious, but it will likely change your outlook on life.
Not sure you really want to go that wild? A more comfortable deluxe version of Siwa's mud houses, the Siwa villa is a very cute second choice. We are not going to lie: more a guesthouse than a real-life inhabited house, the spot was however created by a couple who moved to Siwa seven years ago and built the villa according to Beber culture. A night's stay for eight guests is $139.
Located directly across from the Nile, which means you need to take a boat when you arrive, the apartment has no luxuries but the real feel of a home - there is even a barbecue in the garden. The spot is located on the third floor of a small apartment building, so the terrace has incredible views of the Nile and the temples. The flat accomodates four people for $27. We doubt you can find something better than that.
The spot screams oriental: hand-made mashrabeya window-shutters, hand carved inset door-panels, exotic tiles, and original paintings by the owner, who is an artist. You are practically renting a museum for $50 for two people. Located on the edge of a quiet village, the ground floor flat has domed ceilings, while the floor is of the same Egyptian sandstone used in the legendary temples. There are even fountains in the gardens!
Though these are probably not real homes where Nubian people live, the guest house is certainly run, built and - most importantly - painted by Nubians in their traditional colorful style. Run by a local family, the guest house offers rooms from $35, as well as traditional home-made cuisine. One of the perks is that hosts will be eager to organise fishing trips or camel rides to boost your stay.
These enchanting colourful houses look as if they were taken straight from a fairy-tale cartoon. Nubians are known for their hospitality, but when it comes to accommodation, no one beats Anakato’s charming mood.
SHARM EL SHEIKH
Equipped with a tempting jacuzzi and a spectacular terrace with a swimming pool overlooking the mountains, this flat blends the hotel luxury you like to spoil yourself with, with the privacy and practicality of an entire apartment suited to your needs. Equipped with two bedrooms at $150, the house can accommodate four - although if you ask us, we don't mind sleeping in the couch for a dip in that hot tub.
The owner, a 29-year-old Italian who travels the world, describes it as tempting as it can be; "the villa is delicious," she says. The private apartment is located inside the Coral Bay resort, which basically means you can cook on those days you want to pretend you are an awesome self-made chef, or use the resort's Italian restaurants and beauty spas when you want to spoil yourself. It costs $195 per night, but it can host six guests.
Bet you’ve never heard of Rowasett, a village designed by an architect that homes a vibrant mix of Egyptian, European, and Bedouin dwellers. Villa Haya, located in this quirky hidden desert village, is built in Bedouin style and can accommodate eight people for $23. Set in the middle of the desert, wrapped in Bedouin-style atmosphere, just steps away from the Red Sea. Getting the hint?
Nothing screams Fayoum more than yoga, pottery and the lakes. Located close to Qarun Lake, the villa is located on the first floor and has its own veranda with a BBQ. The perfect spot for a family or a group trip, the $162-per-night spot allows for sandboarding trips, pottery classes, and horse rides.
Artsy and utterly delicious for those who love the simple life, this house caters for artists, yoga practitioners and bird watchers. Many artists actually travel to the Fayoum oasis specifically to teach or learn. Built along the road to Qaroun Lake, the spot hosts six guests for $130.