Thomas Cook is dead, but these incredibly chic Cook hotels live on

Feb 8, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Thomas Cook’s demise took the travel world by storm in September 2019 when, after many months of insecurity, the company entered insolvency, canceling all bookings — both holidays and flight packages. Passengers were left stranded around the world, and the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority had to step in to bring British tourists back home on repatriation flights, one of which Nicky Kelvin of TPG U.K. got a seat on.

GRAN CANARIA AIRPORT, LAS PALMAS, SPAIN - 2018/04/16: Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia Airbus 330-300 landing at Las Palmas Gran Canaria airport. (Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Thomas Cook Airlines A330-300 landing at Las Palmas Gran Canaria airport. (Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

The company was the oldest travel group in the U.K. and had many subsidiaries, one of them being Condor Airlines, a Frankfurt-based air carrier that has continued to operate as normal. However, many of Thomas Cook’s other holdings, like German and U.K. tour agencies ceased operations when the company was left insolvent. But it seems that a few key Cook brands managed to live on through the collapse and even open up after, against all odds.

This Cook hotel opened just weeks after Thomas Cook collapsed

During a recent trip to El Gouna, Egypt, I spotted several billboards for a new hotel opening: Casa Cook El Gouna. Could it be that a hotel bearing part of the name of the Thomas Cook legacy had indeed opened a brand-new hotel just weeks after insolvency? It seemed so.

Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)
Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)

Additionally, Casa Cook El Gouna looked very different from the family-friendly, all-inclusive hotels Thomas Cook usually advertised. The hotel seemed luxe, sexy and youthful with a bohemian, laid-back vibe. I wondered — was I even cool enough to stay at Casa Cook El Gouna?

The Casa Cook El Gouna spa. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)
The Casa Cook El Gouna spa. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)

After further investigation, the advertised farm-to-table healthy food definitely caught my eye and there seemed to be an emphasis on fitness and relaxation, with yoga classes and personal trainers available. Plus, the dreamy images of Instagram-worthy beach swings, white-fringed hammocks and wicker décor had me easily imagining myself sprawled out on a sun lounger at the pool next to bikini-clad models.

Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)
Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)

But, I still didn’t get it. How did a company that had recently collapsed managed to not only maintain such a chic hotel brand, but even open a new property, post-insolvency? I decided to find out.

How Casa Cook and Cook’s Club (and some others) survived

After digging around, I realized that many Thomas Cook-owned hotels, like key Sunwing or Aldiana properties, are still operating as normal. Thanks to a loophole in shared ownership of some of the Cook hotel brands with Swiss investment company LMEY, as well as a name change (Thomas Cook Hotel Investments Ltd changed its name to Westfort Capital Ltd just before things went awry), many of these hotels escaped closure. Other travel agencies have now taken over booking these mostly all-inclusive properties for U.K. travelers. But several of the former Cook-owned hotel brands weren’t as lucky, such as Sentido Hotels, which has since closed its doors.

While average travelers may not realize that the Sunwing Hotel they’re booking in Tenerife was once part of Thomas Cook, it’s near impossible to stay at what was Thomas Cook’s newest hotel project, Casa Cook and Cook’s Club, like the one I spotted in Egypt, without spotting the connection to the brand, thanks to its prominent name.

However, I was informed by a representative at Orascom Hotels Management that, Cook’s Club El Gouna and Casa Cook El Gouna hotels are operated by Orascom Development, under a franchise name agreement. Thomas Cook has no shareholding interest or ownership of these hotels.”

Meanwhile, a representative at Westfort Capital Ltd explained that the former Casa Cook Ibiza and Casa Cook Kos are being rebranded as the OKU Ibiza (opening May 1) and the OKU Kos (opening on April 5). Many of the same staff will continue at the two hotels and the general vibe will remain the same. OKU Hotels is currently seeking to expand the brand to new hotels across destinations including Mykonos, Bali and even Miami.

Cook's Club El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Cook's Club)
Cook’s Club El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Cook’s Club)

Although travelers that had booked stays at the Casa Cook or Cook’s Club properties (or any of the joint Thomas Cook/LMEY-owned brands) through a Thomas Cook package found their stays canceled post-collapse, if you booked the hotel on your own, your booking was, and still should be, honored.

Casa Cook and Cook’s Club are different

The brands Casa Cook and Cook’s Club differ wildly from Sunwing and many of the other previously Thomas Cook-owned hotel chains. It almost feels like Thomas Cook was trying to start anew, targeting a younger, more carefree customer that may not have even known the original Thomas Cook brand to begin with, except perhaps as a distant memory of a package holiday in Lanzarote with their parents age 6.

Casa Cook Rhodes in Greece. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook).
Casa Cook Rhodes in Greece. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)

The Casa Cook brand suggests guests do things like “explore the island like a local with the best offbeat activities and hidden island nooks,” a far cry from many of the other Thomas Cook hotel brands, which were (and those that remain still are) your run-of-the-mill, all-inclusive, never leave the property type of package holiday resorts.

Farm-to-table cuisine at the Casa Cook in Mallorca. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)
Farm-to-table cuisine at the Casa Cook Sa Torre in Mallorca. (Photo courtesy of Casa Cook)

Casa Cook properties are found in trendier destinations popular with the younger set, such as Mallorca (reportedly opening in spring of 2020), Egypt and Greece. The Casa Cook hotels seem ideal for relaxation or for couples wanting a stylish retreat.

Cook’s Club properties, located in Egypt, Bulgaria and Mallorca, have more of a scene, with DJs spinning lounge beats at the pool. The brand advertises a hedonistic lifestyle, and its hotels boast luxe-minimalist décor. These adults-only resorts are geared toward university students, hen parties and groups of friends, as well as general party animals and active travelers that enjoy water sports.

Cook's Club Sunny Beach in Bulgaria. (Photo courtesy of Cook's Club).
Cook’s Club Sunny Beach in Bulgaria. (Photo courtesy of Cook’s Club)

Lodging options at these hotels range from bed-and-breakfast to half-board. Prices start at about $130 per night at the Cook’s Club Sunny Beach in Bulgaria and are upward of $650 per night for a two-bedroom villa with private pool at Casa Cook El Gouna in Egypt.

Cook's Club Palma Beach in Mallorca. (Photo courtesy of Cook's Club).
Cook’s Club Palma Beach in Mallorca. (Photo courtesy of Cook’s Club).

But should you stay there? Will these hotels close?

The Casa Cook and Cook’s Club hotels currently remain open and it is possible to book directly — meaning anyone can stay at these new, chic hotels. But should you book them?

A representative from Orascom Hotel Management told TPG that Cook’s Club El Gouna and Casa Cook El Gouna “will remain open indefinitely. Both hotels are performing very well in their first year of operation.”

Cook's Club El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Cook's Club)
Cook’s Club El Gouna in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Cook’s Club)

While that news seems positive, TPG suggests booking these properties at your own risk. It may also be best to reserve directly and avoid agencies or package deals so that if something does go wrong, you can still visit your destination and simply rebook another hotel. And of course, make sure to have travel insurance, especially if you pay upfront.

An easy way to book is to reserve a cancelable rate, allowing you to book now and pay later, meaning you’d be off the hook if the hotel closed or anything went wrong before your stay. You could even consider booking a backup hotel that also has a cancelable rate, covering yourself in the case of closure.

Bottom line

Although the future of these stylish hotels is uncertain, we certainly hope they’ll remain open. For now though, those Casa Cook poolside chaise loungers sure do look inviting — so I may just take the risk — at least for the Instagram clout.

This post has been updated with comments from Westfort Capital Ltd and Orascom Hotel Management.

Feature image courtesy of Cook’s Club 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.