Egypt’s latest resort is taking shape on the Red Sea’s coast

Located at Marsa Alam, 67 km south of Quseir City along the Southern Red Sea Coral Coast of Egypt, Port Ghalib is shaping up to be one of Egypt’s largest construction projects.

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By  Colin Foreman Published  August 7, 2005

Egypt’s latest resort is taking shape on the Red Sea’s coast|~|Night-view-corniche200.jpg|~|The first phase of the marina is already finished and the second phase — which will add another 500 berths — is due for completion in 2006.|~|Developed by the M.A. Kharafi Group, Port Ghalib covers a total area of 8 million m2 and stretches along 18 km of virgin shoreline. With a total investment value of US $1.2 billion, the project is split into three distinct sections: the hotel complex, the retail and residential complex, and the expansion of the Marsa Alam airport. The three hotels are: Citadel and Royal Palace Resort and Spa; Caravans Saray; and Desert Village. With 300 rooms the Citadel Royal Palace Resort and Spa will be a luxury hotel offering commanding views over the entrance of Port Ghalib’s marina. Nestled between a lush landscape and a lagoon-pool, the Caravans Saray Hotel has been designed to create a different experience that will offer its guests an Arabian adventure experience. The Desert Village hotel has been designed to create the ambience of a traditional Bedouin settlement, with tented and shaded structures and a spring providing the water supply for the pools, lagoons and aqueducts of Port Ghalib. Work on the three resort hotels began in June 2004, when local outfit Mediterranean Contracting was awarded the main contract for all three of the hotels. “We have tried to go with local contractors because we have designed the resort based on Egyptian architectural themes. The building materials come from Egypt so importation is relatively limited; it only really applies to things like air conditioning and some of the electrical and mechanical installations like elevators,” says James Pringle, senior counsellor, M.A. Kharafi Group. “The three hotels are resort hotels that will be thematically different but interlinked and served by the same back of house area. Altogether the properties will offer 950 keys,” he adds. According to Pringle, construction work is currently on schedule and set to meet its late 2006 completion date. The Marina Village is also under construction with local firm SIAC the main contractor. It is also set for completion in late 2006. This part of the project is made up of roughly 400 apartments, a large retail and entertainment area with approximately 165 shops and 22 food and beverage outlets; and a conference and exhibition centre. The development sits around Egypt’s first private marina that provides 500 yacht berths and basic services such as a harbour master, customs and immigration office, fuel supply, ship repair yard, ferry terminal, electricity and water supply and medical attendance. A second phase is now under construction and will provide berths for an additional 500 yachts. Once complete the Marina Village will form part of a residential area spread over a number of villages that include the Port Ghalib Waterfront, Coral Reef Village, Canals Village, Ridge Line Quarter, Tower Village, Wadi Ghalib Village, Lagoon Valley, Highland Golf estates and the VIP compound. Altogether these offer 43 000 residential units and 8800 timeshare beds. Before any of these works could begin, the developers had to install the necessary infrastructure for both the construction work and the actual properties once they open. “We have already invested $200 million in infrastructure, and that includes district cooling plants, roads, a sewage system, a sewage treatment plant, a 25mW power plant, and of course the airport expansion,” says Pringle. The airport expansion accounts for $50 million of the infrastructure costs. When completed in November 2001, the airport terminal’s first expansion was not scheduled in the original model until 2011. But with the speed of development in the area this process was accelerated and the terminal expansion — which will double the airport’s capacity to 1200 passengers per hour — will now be complete in December 2006. Like Dubai International Airport, the airport is under the operational management of Aéroports de Paris, working with other lead consultants like Netherlands Airports Consultants as the designers and Scott Wilson Resources Consultants as environmental consultants. The airport is a vital part of the overall project as it has been the main driving force behind development in the area. “Before the airport opened there were about 1000 rooms in the area and today there are around 7000 rooms. The airport has really stimulated a lot of resort development,” says Pringle.||**||

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