This relaxed little place, built among the palm trees in the fields below the town of Tunis, may be a little rough around the edges for some. Built around a grassy courtyard, most of the rooms are of the "bathroom down the hall" variety, but in this case, the hall is outside, and the bathrooms are rather big and comfortless. The most comfortable accommodations are the four cottage suites, essentially double rooms with their own bathrooms. These are charming and rustic, tucked into the jasmine of the garden, with reed ceilings and plaster walls. Bedclothes are good-quality cotton, and the bathrooms are sufficient.
The pool is small but perfect for a dip in the warmth of the Fayum afternoon. They also have a number of well-fed and nicely behaved horses. Riding is probably the best way to see the area around Tunis and the lake, and it'll cost you about LE35 ($6.35/£3.25) per hour.
The restaurant is, apart from the Helnan, which is a good 20km (12 miles) down the road, the only place to eat on this side of the Fayum. The menu is basic -- meat and chicken cooked over a wood grill -- but tasty, and reckon on the food taking at least 30 minutes to get to your table.
The lodge is within easy walking distance of the long sandy beach on the edge of the lake and Tunis. The journey to the latter is a short climb up a bath that runs next to a series of private gardens; you'll find yourself in the back of the village and ready to do a tour of the various potters selling their wares.
- © Frommer's 2013