On trips for the Hideaway Report, our primary mission is to assess new hotels and resorts, but sometimes we are also taking the temperature of a place, trying to decide whether travel to that part of the world can currently be recommended. This issue contains an account of a journey up the Nile Valley from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. For decades, Egypt was a classic destination for American travelers. If you had the means, it was a place you simply had to see.
But as a result of the Arab Spring in 2011 and the ensuing revolution and counterrevolution, the number of tourists declined dramatically. However, the first six months of 2018 saw an increase in visitor numbers of 41 percent over the same period in 2017. Once again, the upscale Nile cruise boats are full. The Egyptian government is clearly desperate to protect its tourist industry. And statistically, the risks to American travelers are minimal. But, alas, such slight threats do still exist.
While in Egypt we had little success in finding new boutique hotels — though Al Moudira near Luxor is not without merit — and the highlight of our visit was the wonderful Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan hotel, the Palace Wing of which opened in 1899.
In neighboring Israel, however, we had greater success. In particular, we loved our stay at The Jaffa, a hotel designed in part by John Pawson, an architect known for his refined minimalist aesthetic. The core of the property is a 19th-century French hospital, to which Pawson has added a modern extension. The ambitious project was financed by New York real estate tycoon Aby Rosen, owner of (among numerous other things) the Seagram Building in Manhattan. The 4,000-year-old city of Jaffa — nowadays a southern extension of Tel Aviv — has suddenly acquired a youthful persona, and after decades of comparative decline, it is suddenly buzzing and fashionable, with a rapidly expanding roster of restaurants, cafés, galleries and boutiques.
This month we also report on two properties in Colorado, both of which we are pleased to recommend. At the end of the 19th century, the building that now houses Scarp Ridge Lodge in Crested Butte was the headquarters of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America. Today it is an atmospheric six-room inn, with efficient and affable young staff. And just outside of town, Taylor River Lodge is a high-end fishing camp set on an eight-acre estate, with six one-bedroom log cabins, each of which is named after a famous trout fly. Nearby, the lightly fished Taylor River is considered among the top spots in the state for trophy browns, rainbows and cutthroats.