Travco Properties recently launched its latest project, Cavo Sokhna, the Egyptian extension of the highly acclaimed Cavo Tagoo Mykonos and Cavo Tagoo Santorini. The brainchild of Hamed El Chiaty, Chairman of Travco Group Holding, Cavo Sokhna will include a seaside hotel and residential space strategically located in Sokhna’s stunning mountainous terrain overlooking Egypt’s beautiful Red Sea. Enigma’s Farida El Sayed sat down with Paris Liakos, the architect behind the Cavo Tagoo franchises in Greece, as well as Omar Abdel Ghaffar, Managing Director of Travco Properties and Omar El Dewey, Commercial Executive Officer of Travco Properties, to learn more from them about this exciting project expected to transform the resort landscape in Sokhna.
Head Architect of Cavo Sokhna and CEO of Liakos Associates & Architects
What is the concept behind Cavo Sokhna?
It’s all about the island lifestyle; the resort will be surrounded by the sea and will have a very modern aesthetic.
What made you decide to have a Cavo in Egypt?
We have designed more than 280 hotels in the Mediterranean area, so we were very interested to extend the meaning and the feeling of Cavo to Egypt. This is a special project we are confident that it will succeed.
How is Cavo Sokhna going to be different than those in Greece?
The main idea will be the same, of course, in the sense that there will still be the Mediterranean lifestyle that we have over there on the islands. I understand it’s difficult to make it exactly the same, but we will create a beautiful hotel which will be very family oriented, and the residential side will be infused with the local lifestyle. The ability of the hotel to service the residents of the compound creates a unique experience.
Do you plan on doing future projects with Travco Properties?
I would love it if I worked with the whole family of Travco again. The relationship I have with Travco runs very big and deep; and what I like about them is that they know what they want. I hope I can continue working with them.
What do you think of your visit to Egypt?
It’s not my first time; I came three years ago. This trip was exciting and I’m very happy being here. Even though it was a short stay, I feel that I understand the way of thinking in Egypt, and I understand the local life a bit better.
Omar Abdel Ghaffar
Managing Director of Travco Properties
Omar El Dewey
Commercial Executive Officer of Travco Properties
What makes Cavo Sokhna unique amongst so many other options in the market?
Omar Abdel Ghaffar: Cavo Sokhna is going to be a premium luxury hotel with around 250 rooms. We’re also going to have residential town houses, villas and apartments, all with beautiful views, on top of the mountains. We believe that Sokhna is going to be a very promising destination, especially now with the new capital 60-70 km away from Sokhna. It will become seamless with the city in the next decade. A lot of people who will be working in the new capital may consider Sokhna, a convenient location not just for a secondary home, but for a primary one as well. We will be focusing on providing fine dining experiences in our restaurants in the hotel and we’ll build our real estate around it.
Omar El Dewey: What is unique about Cavo Sokhna is that it will combine hospitality with residential real estate. While the two are not approached the same way, they can co-exist. Having Travco Properties as a sister company of Travco Tourism allows us to present a unique proposition. As a result, Cavo Sokhna’s hotel is going to fully service all the units within the project. So, we’re not just saying that residents will have a hotel they can go to, but that the residents will be plugged into all the services of the hotel, at a cost of course.
Why was it important to hire a foreign architect for the project?
OG: The mountainous terrain of the location is difficult, and since Egyptians are not very familiar with it, we brought in a Greek architect.They are experts on building on mountainous terrain.
OD: We brought the architect who built Cavo Tagoo Mykonos and Cavo Tagoo Santorini, which are signature hotels in Greece. When he came and saw the land, he said that this was something he was very familiar with. He was able to produce a fantastic project while respecting the environment and the existing terrain. He gave us a beautiful project, where 80% of the project has unobstructed sea views. Whatever doesn’t have a sea view is compensated by the pools.
What is your vision for Travco Properties?
OG: Our vision is to keep expanding Almaza on the Mediterranean and Sokhna on the Red Sea. We also have a land bank in Soma Bay and Makadi. We are focusing on resorts and secondary homes, and then getting into the primary market. But we want our projects to have a story to tell. There is so much clutter in the market, that you always have to identify yourself by being a little bit unique.
OD: We want to be able to do boutique projects, where every client counts and where we can focus on the details. It’s easier to deliver a unique experience to 1,000 people rather than to 5,000 people. We’re excited to see ourselves continuing on this path.
Can you tell us more about your team?
OG: What’s nice is that we have a young team that is enthusiastic, and always in tune with what’s going on in the market. It’s refreshing to work with young talent. A lot of our people studied abroad, so they bring that knowledge to Egypt and execute it. They have so much to offer on all levels.
OD: For the most part we are a very close-knit team. We have a very casual approach to doing work, but casual doesn’t mean we’re lazy. It means we have an open-door policy, where ideas are welcome. Also, we are able to make decisions much faster than in a usual company. Another nice thing is that we have a very like-minded team; we all travel, and we all have similar backgrounds and similar interests. Obviously, each character is different, but when you put us all together in a room, it really feels like a team.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
OG: It’s waking up everyday and feeling that there is something new to do. I enjoy very much working with architects, looking at designs, and getting a kick from the sales numbers once they start coming in. I can’t lie, I also enjoy spending a lot of time in Almaza.
OD: What excites me daily is to be able to interact with the team. I think we have a fantastic team. I’m not just talking about the sales and marketing team, I’m talking about the entire company with all its departments. When you work somewhere where your personal values go hand in hand with the values and the culture of the company you’re in, you’re a very happy person. That’s what really excites me, that’s what brings me every day to work, knowing that we are going to get somewhere.