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Alt News
New Hotel In Egypt Is Alcohol Free & Has A Women Only Floor
May 14, 2013
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Report by Al Arabiya

A new hotel that's promoting a "new kind of tourism" has just opened opened in Egypt, on the coast of the Red Sea.

The Les Rois hotel in the city of Hurghada is being billed as the first hotel in Egypt that doesn't serve alcohol, and you won't find pork on the menu either.

In fact, the hotel won't offer any products or services that violate Islamic law - hoping to attract more Arab tourism.

The owners have also set up a "women only" floor, featuring female security guards, a restaurant, and a dance lounge. And there are separate male and female swimming pools.

The women only level is on the top floor in order to reduce the risk of violating "female modesty", the owners say.

Owner and manager Yasser Kamal tells the BBC he's been dreaming of a hotel like this for years - pointing out there is no smoking, "no bad habits" as he puts it.

But he played down any religious or political overtones.

"The idea of launching a hotel without alcohol is not to adhere to any particular movement, but rather to provide a new kind of tourism. Tourists have alcohol in their countries, and they must find other alternatives in Hurghada for the purpose of diversity," he told the MENA state news agency.

He added that the hotel was open for all nationalities and both Muslim and Christian Egyptians.

Italian sunbathers enjoy the Red Sea Coast

The city of Hurghada is a major tourist draw with long stretches of sandy beaches, and has traditionally been popular with Europeans. However, with the political turmoil in Egypt, the number of European visitors has dropped.

So, the Executive Director of Les Rois Abdel Baset Amr says "we need to replace those numbers with tourists from other Arab countries" such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and other parts of Egypt.

As reports, tourism is a big part of Egypt's economy, accounting for more than 11 per cent of its GDP, and nearly 13% of its jobs.

Hesham Zazou, Egypt's Minister of Tourism, says three million tourists visited Egypt during the first quarter of this year, up more than 14% from last year.

As well, the hotel executive director Abdel Baset Amr says he won't stop tourists from bringing in their own alcohol, and the hotel allows men and women to mingle in private rooms.


Hani El-Shaer, the Deputy Chair of the Chamber of Red Sea Hotels, says he doesn't think any of this will hurt business. If the hotel is well run, people of all nationalities will stay there, he says. And if they want to drink, he says they'll go to a nearby bar or nightclub.

El-Shaer says any controversy is simply because "we are living under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood".

He adds that he doesn't ike the Les Rois being called an 'Islamic' hotel, "because it means that the rest of our hotels and resorts are somehow less Islamic. Furthermore, some hotels in Europe ban smoking, which is also prohibited under Sharia - are they therefore any more Islamic?"

As well, the Director of Tourism for Hurghada, Ahmed Aldor, says there are plenty of other resorts in the city which serve alcohol and aren't as strict with respect to Islamic law.

"We are a cosmopolitan city," he tells the BBC.


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