Let your eyes wander to the depths of the sea while you discover Port Ghalib Marina – a lively place to have a morning coffee or evening fun. Relax surrounded by local divers and kite surfers. Finally you can stay late and not feel guilty about it. Port Ghalib hotels offer a lot of activities – diving, snorkelling, safari, spas, horse riding – could you ask for more? If you are feeling lazy, just chill in your air conditioned room snoozing with breathtaking sea views. Sounds good, doesnt it? Port Ghalib is home to numerous diving centers – it is a great place to finally take up a new hobby. You will definitely discover another kind of beauty.
Ghalib means “the victor” or “conqueror” in Arabic,
Port Ghalib twenty years ago was just a small stretch of uninhabited desert coastline but the Kuwaiti billionaire Nasser El Kharafi (who died in April 2011) invested one fifth of his own net wealth – two billion dollars – to turn it into the region’s largest tourist resort and marina complex.
Even after many visits to Port Ghalib, I still marvel at the amazing achievement of this highly eccentric business venture. It now covers 18km of desert coastline and 8 million square metres of desert – that’s vast – it’s almost the same area as all 2,482 Tesco supermarket stores in the United Kingdom combined.
But don’t let my weird comparisons lead you to get the wrong impression. This previously barren and windswept rocky desert has been transformed into a modern high tech oasis of hotels, trees, shops and sporting facilities. An engineering miracle made possible by a billionaire’s willingness to spend over half a million dollars a day on the project over the past decade.
What to do in port Ghalib:
Well there’s the souk: souk meaning a market, It’s home to a staggering 165 retail outlets although depending on the season, not all my be open. And don’t imagine that you will be competing with sheep and donkeys and stepping over chickens – No; this is a highly sanitized souk with prices to match.
But there is at least a great choice. You can find many boutique stores selling souvenirs, art, handicrafts, clothing, handbags, and watches and diving equipment. So if you are looking for a Bedouin tapestry this may be the most convenient (though perhaps not the cheapest) place to find one. However if in doubt about the price try to arrange an excursion to El Quseir where shop rents and prices are often lower.
Port Ghalib has a monopoly on several international restaurant chains so if you are a Pizza Hut, TGI Friday’s or Baskin Robbins fan then this is the only place for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. Many of these restaurants, including TGI Fridays, have tables with a view out across the marina. In addition to the big names you will also notice the Grand Cafe, usually with a TV screen for sports events, near the entrance to the Corniche and further away after the Harbour Master building, the Harbour Café, and you will find the camel yard restaurant, Red club, Hakuna Matata restaurant and café, and Al sultan Restaurant and lounge bar, and Divino port Ghalib marina, Wunder bar, BICAFE.