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The Three Corners El Wekala Golf Resort (Taba, Egypt)

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The Three Corners El Wekala Resort occupies prime location in the Taba Heights Resort and is breathtakingly situated between the red coloured mountains of the Sinai and the sapphire waters of the Red Sea. In front of El Wekala is the 18 hole golf course which rolls out its greens towards the beautiful and secluded beaches.

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      20.05.2006 23:24
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      a cheap, picturesque and stylish base for a Red Sea holiday

      When you bring the image of Egypt to mind, you automatically think of seas of golden sand dunes rolling off into a distant horizon, and whilst that maybe representative of the Western Desert, there is a whole other aspect of the country waiting to be discovered further east. The Eastern Desert and the Sinai peninsular contains a different aspect, which is only just beginning to gain momentum as a tourist spot. The mountains and rough open plains of the Red Sea coast offers another avenue of Egypt to be explored, very diverse from the dunes of the west but no less beautiful in its own way. The other added attraction of the Eastern part of the country is the Red Sea itself, a haven for divers from beginners to experts and boasting some of the top dive sites on the planet. To respond to the growing numbers of tourists holidaying here each year, new hotels are appearing at a rapid rate of knots, and one of the most recent is the Three Corners in Taba Heights.

      Taba is the closest Egyptian town to the Israeli border, almost within shouting distance of Elat, with the Jordanian port of Aqaba visible beyond that. About half an hour south of Taba is the resort of Taba Heights nestling snugly between the red mountains and the azure waters of the Sinai coast. The resort is completely tourist orientated, that is to say that there is no local settlement in the immediate vicinity except for the dwellings of those employed at the resort. The handful of hotels that make up the resort form a boundary around a small golf course which, as I write, is not yet open to the public. The Three Corners is the hotel that will eventually cater specifically for those who have opted for a golfing holiday, but as yet normal tourists populate it.

      The Three Corners, in keeping with the other hotels at the resort, is a stylish affair. A collection of mainly one and two storey buildings are connected by courtyards and green-bordered walkways, fountains and walled garden features softening the earth tones of the complex. The overall look of the place is very Egyptian. Not the real Egypt however, but almost what we in the west would like to think an Arab palace should look like. It may not be a totally authentic look, but then it's a holiday resort and with that in mind the look and feel of the hotel fits the bill amicably. As the hotel is on a slope at the base of the mountains, one nice touch is that the accommodation rises in height from the front of the hotel to the back, meaning that most of the rooms have a great view of the sea. The view is of the Gulf of Aqaba, the narrow stretch of water that forms on of the northern forks of the Red Sea. Opposite is the northern coast of Saudi Arabia to the right and outlying port facilities of Jordan's only waterfront to the left. The port isn't intrusive to the view during the day and at night is lit up like a Christmas tree giving an attractive free light show.

      The rooms are surprisingly spacious, cool with good air conditioning and a veranda. A T.V. supplies you with a mixture of Middle Eastern and American programs, but then you're not here to watch the telly are you. A well kitted out bathroom with a luxurious and powerful walk in shower room completed the accommodation nicely. The room service was good and there is a laundry service available. The rooms also contain a programmable safe for your valuables, which avoids the need to check stuff in and out of reception when you need them.

      All meals are taken in the one main restaurant, which is divided into three sections. A small indoor area provides a shaded and enclosed eating area. There is also a outdoor area open sided but sheltered by a high roof allowing the best of both eating outside but not having to subject yourself to the full glare of the Egyptian sun. Finally the veranda is the popular choice for evening looking out to the twinkling lights across from Jordan and aired by a cool breeze coming off of the water. Food is in the form of a self-service buffet. Starters comprise a wide range of fruits, salads, grains, pulses and sauces, cheese and cold meats and various types of bread. The one criticism I do have is of the main meals. Based very much in a European style, a fair range of meat and vegetables are available along with rice, potatoes and pasta. Whilst the food is good the variety is lacking somewhat. By the time you get a few days in to the stay, the food will become a bit predictable. However the desserts do help make up for that slight grumble. One thing that the place seems to do well is in the sweet department, often a dozen different types of cake or pudding are on offer and of course the advantage of self serve is that you can go back as many times as you like.

      At the current time, all packages run using this hotel are full board and all inclusive, which means that all meals and drinks are free. Whilst this seems like a good deal it is not all it is made out to be for the simple reason that after you've had your evening meal, there really is very little to do. There is a small English style bar, which is included in the "all-in" deal but it is not the most salubrious of surroundings and the selection of drink options is fairly limited. If you are willing to step outside the already paid for deal the options open up a bit more. Each of the hotels has an independent restaurant, which you are allowed to guest at, but obviously you will have to pay your own way if you use them. There is often a range of styles available, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, but oddly no Egyptian food on offer. On the drinks front, you can use any of the bars at the nearby hotels as a paying guest. There is a nice little bar next to the Three Corners itself called the Bar Pol where all of the normal range of drinks can be ordered at pretty much UK prices, as well as having Shisha pipes available at a small cost for those that want to get into the spirit of the place. Other attractions are a small casino at the nearby Hyatt Regency and most hotels have some form of in house dance show or entertainment.

      Although the area is currently quite quiet, especially as I say, at night, it becomes apparent that a few years down the line, after the golf course is open there are will be a lot more on offer to the visitor. Already there are many nearly complete buildings that presumably will house a range of cafes and nightspots. The Three Corners does no well on the shopping front however. There are about a dozen tourist shops within the centre of the complex, a small mini-mart and even a pharmacy. I the shops all of the usual gifts and souvenirs are available without the hard sell and haggling that you experience in the outside world. Papyruses, pipes, statues, clothes, perfume, metal ware, leather and the like are all on offer but do shop around before committing yourselves.

      The big advantage of the location of the resort is that it makes an excellent base of operations for some fantastic trips. Although Cairo is about 5-6 hours away by coach its still worth doing an overnight trip to see all of the obvious sites, the pyramids, the Egyptian Museum, The Citadel and the Old Market. Even if you don't manage to travel that far a field, there is a lot to do in the vicinity. Petra is only a few hours away, as is Elat where you can swim with dolphins. In Egypt itself is Mount Sinai, the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments and St Catherine's Monastery that sits in its shadow. Diving is excellent both in the form of organised trips or just off of the shallow waters in front of the hotel.

      If you are looking for a more interesting nightlife then you probably need to be looking at Sharm El Sheik in the southern tip of Sinai. If you are interested in water sports then Dahab further down the coast may be a better destination. If however you are happy with a quieter life but like being in a prime location to venture into the surrounding countries as well as Egypt itself, then Taba Heights will fit the bill and the Three Corners is as good a hotel as any in the area. First Choice and Longwood seem to be the main operators in the area and due to the fact that the resort is yet to take off, there are some good deals to be had. I managed to book a 2-week holiday, for two people, all-inclusive with flight for less than £1000. The excursions available are fairly reasonably priced as well so you will not need much spending money on top of your initial payment.

      Try seeing the forgotten end of Egypt, the area is as rich in history and wonders as the better known Nile region and has a stark beauty all of its own. Much of the Sinai coast is also a nature reserve so that beauty is being preserved for the future. Visit the region before everyone catches on to its cheap attraction and push the prices up. And if you chose to stay at the Three Corners then you will be guaranteed a peaceful stay in a tranquil environment and it won't break the bank.

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