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The Red Sea’s fastest-growing community

Article - June 3, 2015

Created and under development by ERC, Sahl Hasheesh offers an ideal destination for tourists and investors alike


Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC) is taking advantage of the growing excitement around Egypt’s tourism sector by capitalizing on what is perhaps the country’s most distinguished natural wonder: the Red Sea, a destination where 50% of tourists coming to Egypt fly directly. 

With an 8-mile long shoreline along the sultry Red Sea, under the sun that does not follow seasonal caprices but shines all year round, exists Sahl Hasheesh, ERC’s unique, purpose-built Red Sea destination and high quality integrated resort community located around 280 miles from Cairo. Spreading out across 7,900 acres – equivalent to approximately two-thirds the size of the island of Manhattan – Sahl Hasheesh is akin to a paradise: a year-round resort where tourists and residents alike can lose themselves in a world where protected natural beauty meets state-of-the-art infrastructure networks. Indeed, Sahl Hasheesh is currently one of the country’s leading travel destinations.

Egypt’s leading master developer of international-standard integrated communities, ERC acquires broad-acre land holdings in strategic locations and develops a comprehensive master plan in partnership with the world’s leading architectural and urban planning firms. By focusing on investing in avant-garde infrastructure, ERC attracts the interest of only top quality sub-developers in land plots that have been pre-designated for the development of specific purposes, such as residential communities, hotels and entertainment venues, office parks, schools and hospitals.

Since the company’s inception in 1995, it has worked hard, making decisions based on its refined philosophy along its journey to fulfill its mission: to redefine the standard of master planned development in Egypt. “When you have a combination of top-quality developers along with the fundamentals of a resort with beaches, ideal weather, proximity to the airport and a fully-controlled community standard by ERC, you have a winning formula,” says CEO Mohamed Kamel.

By virtue of its location, Sahl Hasheesh is a haven for those who wish to spend their holidays enjoying both sun and sea. As varied as human personalities, Sahl Hasheesh offers everything from water sports – such as wind and kite surfing, banana boats, jet-skiing – to the opportunity of exploring the underwater world by diving and snorkeling around Abu Hasheesh Island – a well known diving site off the bay of Sahl Hasheesh; or further still, taking a slow afternoon off by anchoring a yacht in the world-class marina that is surrounded by exclusive high-end property.

However, Sahl Hasheesh is not exclusively synonymous with the beach. In its plan to accommodate for those tourists and residents who are a little more culture inclined, ERC not only offers the services found in any cosmopolitan city – such as art, entertainment, fine dining and nightlife – but also fills each month with various events and activities, which encourages the community to get together and strengthen their bond. Some of the activities include weekly boardwalk parties, peaceful yoga retreats and horseback riding. Much to the organizer’s delight, these activities have been enticing a growing number of clients – both domestic and international – further establishing Sahl Hasheesh as more than just a resort center.

The streets of Sahl Hasheesh are in the process of being filled up by a number of al-fresco and fine dining restaurants, offering menus inspired by the infinite palates of the world: from traditional Egyptian dishes, to fish seafood delicacies or authentic Italian.

The entertainment scene not only includes successful opera events – such as the performance of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables – but also an increasing amount of clubs that are enriching the nightlife.

For a day of pampering and retail therapy, Old Town is the answer. Overlooking the seaside promenade, Old Town is Sahl Hasheesh’s downtown area, offering a multitude of retail and entertainment facilities along with a number of residential apartments. It is impossible to run out of shopping inspiration or ways of spoiling oneself with 188 retail shops, 23 food and beverage outlets, two spas and health clubs, and three movie theaters at one’s disposal.

The project’s fast-developing master plan is already proving to be a booming investment. “In the past four to five months, interest in Sahl Hasheesh from investors and developers alike has been so high that we have on occasion lacked the staff to show investors around,” Mr. Kamel admits.

The master plan is divided into three phases, two of which comprise 3,000 acres, with approximately 70% already sold and under development. “We currently have over 3,000 operating hotel rooms, more than 1,300 delivered residential units, and another 5,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential units under construction,” explains Mr. Kamel, adding, “I’d say in the next five years we’ll have 8,000 operating hotel rooms.” In fact, on completion in approximately the next 50 years, the CEO predicts a total of almost 30,000 hotel rooms and 30,000 residential units across Sahl Hasheesh.

Growing at a rate that is three times faster than that across Egypt and the Red Sea, Sahl Hasheesh is abundant with investment opportunities. These are spread across as many sectors as are necessary to further develop and maintain a self-sustaining community filled with a full spectrum of amenities, such as hotels and residences, golf courses and sports clubs, along with comprehensive community services including city administration, hospitals, schools, universities and research centers – all to be powered by a diverse workforce that forms an integral part of the Sahl Hasheesh community.

In the effort of providing the amenities to support Sahl Hasheesh’s growing bones, it is expected that this thriving community could employ some 90,000 to 100,000 people across in health care, entertainment, schools, business and retail.

The increasing interest in development projects is not solely due to Sahl Hasheesh’s charmingx location and growing population of both visitors and residents, but also due to investors’ trust in ERC. Being extremely well planned and managed in terms of design control and infrastructure, Sahl Hasheesh, as an investment, has all grounds covered.

“Investors know exactly what they are getting and what is being built because there are strict design guidelines and we have a strict compliance team,” explains the CEO. “On top of all that, building in Sahl Hasheesh means you’re not dealing with a government, but with ERC, a corporation that exists only to make this community a success. This is very important for many investors who do not have extensive experience operating in Egypt. We are responsible for everything. It’s a very attractive formula.”