“Beautiful beach but overpriced, patronising and with some obnoxious staff - June '11”
In a nutshell:
Don't consider staying here if you aren't Egyptian or an Egyptian resident - there are plenty of other places not too far away with cheap food and obliging, fun staff. Basata is by no means the only camp with a good stretch of beach.
If you are Egyptian or a resident, get a hut by the beach, but bring as much of your own food as you can - that way you'll swerve the worst of the outrageous charges they levy. As the best thing is the beach and the huts' tranquility, you'll want to spend most of your time there anyway, thus handily avoiding the weird, 'insular yet free love' vibe rocking the main area.
Quote of the trip:
'You're checking out? Good.' (Receptionist/Kitchen dude)
I'm not an eco-freak by any means and I'm wary of places that tout themselves as 'ecolodges': I've often seen the worst kind of hypocrisy shown by some hotels in this category. The ones that work - like Siwa's 'Adrere Amelia' - are unforgettable. Basata isn't the worst, but it certainly isn't nearly as eco-cool as it claims to be and its much touted (and shaky) eco status comes at a steep price which just leaves a bad taste and highlights its flaws.
I'm an Egyptian resident and was traveling with my Egyptian partner. The base accommodation costs are cheap if you're a resident foreigner/Egyptian (60LE each for a hut by the beach; 350 LE for a 3 bed chalet further back); much steeper for non-resident foreigners at 18Euros for the huts. If you stay here you'll be given a run-down of the system ('the talk'), essentially a hippy, 'we're all family', 'make-your-own-and-clean-up-after-yourself' situation. Extremely overpriced ingredients are provided (plus 15% tax, also added to everything else, from candles to scuba masks), with a note inscribed on the price list on the kitchen wall 'Please make sure you eat, drink, consume at least 50LE per day.' Not difficult - you'll find that food and drink will constitute the bulk of your bill here, even if you just help yourself to cartons of strawberry milk, Cokes or the Twixes thoughtfully provided by the big corporation hating management. You write what you take, then pay at the end. Laptops are banned in the main space (although we saw the staff using one with no issue), but you're free to charge up your phone or lappy in the kitchen. The main space has seating, a small library (mostly German books) and some board games.
The huts are basic but comfortable, and soft bedding and candles are provided. The beach is stunning and defo the main attraction of the place. The bathrooms are at each end of the camp and are new and clean. Although we found the owners, Sherif and Maria, to be friendly and obliging, what really detracted from our enjoyment of the place was the arrogant attitude of some of the staff. There is an optional communal dinner for 70-100LE every evening; when we declined this it was clear the guy working there was not happy. We didn't stay long in the kitchen/main seating area as we found the atmosphere very unwelcoming - we felt like we were uninvited guests at a party, with stares from some residents who seemed to have been staying there for a while. Another couple staying there at the same time said they'd noticed the same thing and had avoided the place except for at breakfast. We also heard this place doesn't accept Israelis, which is strange, not only because it's Sinai and most places are pretty free and easy in that respect, but also because Israel is only 40 miles up the road.
As far as ecological awareness goes - and you'll be made aware of it as it's a central part of 'the talk' - it's a bit of a mixed bag. There's plenty of recycling and 'non-waste' taps in the bathrooms, but when we wandered around the site we noticed bags of plastics/cardboard/glass just dumped in the middle of nowhere, definitely not waiting for the plastics/cardboard/glass man to come along. Overall the place seems geared more towards screwing causal visitors out of their money to fund their other projects. We won't be returning to Basata or recommending it to anyone heading to that part of Sinai, irrespective of how long they've been around and how many Mars bars they give the local Bedouin kids during breaktime. Eco-cool thumbs down man.
Have residency or be Egyptian!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.