Adrere Amellal Oasis
A beacon of conservation, this spare Berber-style hotel on the Siwa Oasis was constructed as part of a local sustainable-development plan. An eight-hour drive west of Cairo, the fortress-like compound of 40 rooms is made of kershef, a heat-resistant mixture of rock salt and clay, and has stylish palm-beam roofs, beeswax candles, and stone floors covered in locally woven rugs. Since there is no electricity, pathways are lantern-lit at night, and braziers keep things warm. Underground Roman springs feed the pool. When the dunes of the bordering Great Sand Sea beckon, guides are available to lead Toyota Land Cruiser excursions; once in the middle of the undulating landscape, the driver will cut the engine and prepare a late-afternoon pot of mint tea, brewed with leaves grown organically on hotel grounds.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.