adrere amellal indigenous eco hotel in egypt by EQI
adrere amellal indigenous eco hotel in egypt by EQI adrere amellal indigenous eco hotel in egypt by EQI
may 30, 2013

adrere amellal indigenous eco hotel in egypt by EQI

the siwa oasis is located at the banks of the self-titled lake in egypt around 50 km east of the libyan border – a desert land of rock and sand that has been inhabited by various civilizations for over 10,000 years and still holds vestiges of evidence. the ancient siwan houses, crumbling over years of abandon, have been restored and extended using traditional methods to create the ‘adrere amellal hotel‘, an eco-lodge so sensitive to its environment it does not offer wifi, phone service, electricity,  or the usual trappings of contemporary comfort. instead, a visit to the hotel frees you from the industrialized world and presents a window into history, it allows you to experience the night sky, lake breeze, and desert landscape as it has always been enjoyed.


renovated by the environmental quality international (EQI), the structures are made of a combination of kershef (a mixture of rock salt and mud), stone masonry, and carved out dwellings from the large mountain that hosts the lodge. returning to the fundamentals of design, all aspects of the buildings are aimed at naturally maintaining basic comforts. the thick earthen walls absorb heat during the day and maintain a cool interior, then radiate heat at night when the temperature drops. all windows are sized and placed specifically to  catch the desert breezes and eliminating the need for air conditioning – heat is obtained through wood-burning braziers.

‘adrere amellal hotel’ by environmental quality international (EQI), siwa, egypt
image © omar hikal | all images courtesy of adrere amellal hotel



oil lamps and candles are the only source for light after the sun sets, transforming the interior into a more cavernous protected environment with constant flickering light that highlights the various textures of the masonry construction and natural plaster finishes. a series of exterior courtyards connect the satellite buildings and encourage its residents to sit outdoors and become more in tune with the land. the most notable feature of the hotel, however, is the revival of the disappearing craftsman who have shaped the area for thousands of years. the beds are made of rammed cotton and the simple furnishings made by hand using ancient techniques. more than a hospitable temporary accommodation, the adrere amellal hotel is a testament to local material, labor, and methods preserved through its renovation.

structure blends with the landscape
image © omar hikal



‘the famous oasis of siwa…cannot be said to have fallen from its high estate…only it has stood still while the world went on.’ -wilfred jennings-bramly in a visit to the siwa oasis, 1896.

view towards the lake
image © omar hikal



mud and masonry construction with wooden beam substructure as per tradition
image © khaled nagy



series of exterior courtyards
image © khaled nagy



various wall finishes in line with the desert landscape
images © khaled nagy



image © toufic araman



(left) illuminated by natural light
(right) illuminated by candle light
images © toufic araman



image © toufic araman



interior lounge area
image © khaled nagy



image © omar hikal



image © khaled nagy



illuminated orange hues against the dusk sky
image © omar hikal



image © khaled nagy



view from the top of the mountain
image © omar hikal



image © omar hikal



  • kerosene lights pollute the air…. I know. I grew up with them.
    LED lights now come in warm white…. cast a soft light…. are easy to install
    a few solar panels…. an easy installation
    and you have the best of both worlds and are doing the environment a favor

    Paedra says:
  • Fantastic I appreciate you sharing these images, night sky is obviously the highlight of coming to such a place it takes time to appreciate the desert, cooking and excellent atmosphere you forget about your problems seated inside the oasis.

    molow says:

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