The Retreat

The building is approached through a long avenue of palm trees, the axis of which is architecturally designed to have an astrological relationship with the sun whereby the light of the sun will flood the retreat’s inner courtyard with its square 'Lotus pond' following the times of the solstice.

The pond itself is embraced by the multi-domed structure of the building.  The composite of the rounded circle of the base of the dome and the square shape of the dome is the "octagon"- an intermediate symbol between earth and heaven. The octagon is a significant mythological symbol of Hermopolis, the city that witnessed the marriage between the eight contradictory procreative forces to enable 'harmony to be born'.

Eco-friendly…

In keeping with the symbolic eight, the building itself consists of 16 studios that have a capacity for 40 visitors. It is made of limestone using old techniques of building. The retreat follows ecological principles in its building. Insulation and ventilation are maximised through the use of stone, the layout of doors and windows and the shape of domes and vaults. It is also run on the basis of preserving water and energy and all the heating throughout the retreat is provided by solar energy. There is rubbish recycling area and all light fittings in the rooms are made from recycled iron by a young Egyptian artist.



The studios...

Each studio consists of two joining rooms with vaulted ceilings. All have their own ensuite facilities and are tastefully furnished and decorated using local material handicrafts.  Twelve studios are designed to sleep 2 residents and four of them can accommodate up to 4 residents. Please note that we do not have single rooms but individuals are free to request their own individual studios at a higher rate. There are also no televisions or telephones in the rooms as the retreat is ideal for those in search of peace and tranquility and designed to provide a space for reflection, meditation and inspiration. Hence all the studios are named after some of the writers and thinkers connected with the intellectual heritage of Hermopolis from ancient times to our present day.  However for those who are unable to escape completely from modern technology, there is good mobile phone network coverage and currently working on providing WIFI too.

Cultural space and facilities...

The studios are served by a large welcoming lounge that offers various seating areas and provides a multifunctional facility for training, Yoga practice and cultural activities in addition to this there is a library/conference facility. This space aims to house seminars and workshops and relatively big conferences when it opens into the adjacent dining room. Both the library and the dining room embrace another courtyard with a swimming pool (limited functioning) with a big seating area for sunbathing and alfresco dining. There is also a small Egyptian herbal garden designed in the shape of a Djed, the symbol of stability and equilibrium in ancient Egypt. This garden lies opposite to a room that is planned in the near future to be a 'Spa and wellness centre' exploring ancient healing techniques with its holistic approach to body, mind and the soul.