Shocking! This Resort Hotel is Selling Fake Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton Bags

When I was away visiting family, I had my travel laptop with me. One day while working on a post, I started going through some of the pictures I have stored on the laptop from my trip to Egypt last year. I came across one group of photos that reminded me of a shocking moment I experienced while staying in a nice resort hotel in Hurghada.

When my friend, Teresa, and I planned this trip to Egypt, we booked everything through a well-regarded travel company located in Egypt, a company I would not recommend for too many reasons to list here. During the trip, we had a 3-4 day rest stop planned at a beach resort in Hurghada named, Steigenberger Aldau Beach Hotel.

My view of the Red Sea from the Steigenberger Aldau Beach Resort

View from the Steigenberger Aldau Beach Resort, Egypt


As mentioned here at the blog before, I’m not much of a beach/pool person. I like walking along the beach or sitting outside enjoying the sea breezes on a pretty day, but I have zero interest in swimming in a pool or the ocean. So I spent much of my stay at the Steigenberger Aldau working on blog posts, catching up on my sleep and checking out the shopping inside the hotel. I did walk down to the beach to relax on one of the reclining chairs one afternoon, a decision I later regretted when I ended up with a million itchy bites all over my ankles and feet. Sand fleas, maybe? Ugh.

During one of my excursions exploring the shops inside the hotel, I came across one shop that truly shocked me, and not in a good way. From having read Dana Thomas’s book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, I thought these types of places only existed in hidden away, nondescript buildings, reachable via dark alleyways.

There, just next door to several shops selling typical hotel gift items and miscellaneous sundries was a shop filled to the brim with fake designer handbags. The bags were proudly and prominently displayed in the shop windows for all to see: Chanel bags sitting right next to Gucci bags, those sitting right next to Dior bags.

Fake Gucci, Chanel, Dior Bags for Sale, Steigenberger Aldau Hotel, Egypt


Of course, a shop displaying and selling fake designer bags is something you would never see in the United States or in many European countries since it’s completely illegal and will get you a huge fine and possibly even jail time. In France and some European countries, it’s not just the sellers who can find themselves in hot water. If caught buying a fake designer bag, one could face a huge fine. The only legit physical shop or store where you’ll ever find real Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Dior bags is in one of the brand’s own boutiques, or in the few stores that are authorized to stock them, like Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fake Designer Handbags Being Sold in Steigenberger Aldau


Trying to not show my obvious shock and dismay, I closed my gaping mouth and entered the shop to see which brands they were ripping off. I snapped a few photos to share with you, hoping I wasn’t being too obvious to the clerk sitting behind the small checkout counter.

Fake Louis Vuitton bags for sale, Steigenberger Aldau Hotel, Egypt


Some of the bags I recognized, like the fake Chanel Boy bag on the left, the fake Louis Vuitton bags on the right and the two fake Chloe Nile bags on the bottom shelf on the left. I asked the sales clerk if the bags were real, just to see how he would answer. To his credit, he admitted they were not, calling them “replicas.”

Fake Designer Chanel, Chloe Louis Vuitton bags for Sale, Steigenberger Aldau Hotel


They even had counterfeit Louis Vuitton suitcases.

Fake Counterfeit Louis Vuitton Suitcases


They were also ripping off Hermes with this fake Kelly bag.


I wonder if Hermes ever made a Kelly in this design? I always figured con artists focused on a designer brand’s most popular bags since those are the ones most purchased. I never imagined they would take the time and effort to make a limited edition bag since those would be so extremely rare and hard to get.

Fake Hermes Kelly for sale, Steigenberger Aldau Hotel


I could spend 10 more paragraphs explaining how wrong it is to buy a fake handbag, how it’s thought to fund organized crime and drug trafficking, how it violates the intellectual property rights of the designer and perhaps most importantly, how it hurts the person who buys it as they compromise their own integrity by walking around with a big fat lie on their arm or shoulder.

There are those who will foolishly say it doesn’t hurt the brands and actually helps/promotes their products—that it’s a victimless crime. To those people I would say the same thing I taught my son when he was growing up: It’s good to be open-minded, but don’t be so open-minded your brain falls out. The counterfeit handbag industry has been shown to fund terrorism. It’s even believed to have helped fund the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center! Google and you’ll find quite a bit of information online about that.

It’s never okay to cheat, steal or lie and anyone who buys or wears a fake handbag is doing all three. They are cheating themselves and the designers and manufacturers who created the true design. They are participating in the stealing of the designer’s intellectual property by purchasing the bag and they are lying to all those they encounter when wearing the bag.

I will never understand why anyone would forfeit their own integrity just to experience walking around with a “designer” bag on their shoulder. No handbag is ever worth that. And I will never understand why a resort hotel would be willing to sacrifice their own reputation to make a quick buck.

For a great read about the designer clothing/bag industry and the sad proliferation of fakes, check out Dana Thomas’s book here: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

Fake Designer Handbags Being Sold in Steigenberger Aldau


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  1. Have you checked out the dupes on Amazon?

  2. Not really surprising as fake bags and designer goods are everywhere. Many a $10 Rolex has been bought in Bali or Thailand. Although illegal to sell or bring into Australia, USA or parts of Europe there are dozens of countries that thrive on the trade. I saw lots of fake Dior in Russia whilst ‘Chanel’ sunglasses were all the go in the markets in Greece. Selling fake brand cosmetics is huge business in China. It is not just greed behind this trade as it is also a market stall holder trying to eek out a living from goods that are popular with tourists. Other than personally not buying these goods I don’t have the answer. There would never be global agreement to close down the factories.

    • Amazing how many countries allow it. I’m guessing they don’t have the resources to pursue the criminals making the bags so they just choose to ignore it. Good for you for not buying them, Alison. If more people did that, they would stop making them.

  3. Jean Sprimont says

    Oh Susan dear Susan, what joy to hear you speak up for what’s right, fair and proper! It is the rare individual who shares and proclaims the ethical and moral stance on which our country originated. I personally am too old to deal with any of these bags (except those I inherited), but am sick to death of so many justifying the less than honest behavior and practices that seem rampant today. We are all the lessor for accepting shortcuts and less than honorable merchandise and practices.

  4. I’ve read the book, Susan, and it’s a good one for anyone who contemplates buying a fake, or for anyone who doesn’t, for that matter. The penalty for dealing in counterfeit designer goods is far less than the penalty for selling illegal drugs. One of the things I learned that most surprised me after reading this book was that the manufacture and sales of counterfeit designer products is used to help fund terrorism. One of the things that most shocked and horrified me was the use and abuse of child labor.

    • I know, the terrorism part was new to me. I had previously read about some of the child labor places. People just need to stop buying the counterfeit bags and those horrible places would no longer have any business and would close.

    • Lisa, I was thinking about it again this morning and didn’t the author say that they even traced some of the funding for the 9/11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center back to the selling of counterfeit designer bags. That alone really brings how bad the support this type of illegal activity really is. The harm it can ultimately lead to is unfathomable!

  5. You are assuming some people had integrity to begin with. It’s like some have no problem stealing for a living. I did the ‘eye roll’ a couple of weeks ago when I found a Michael Kors designer fob that fell off a fake purse in the dollar store. People are even buying used fake purses in GoodWill.
    Thank you for taking the moral high road.

  6. This is shocking indeed! Well, on one hand, but not so shocking when you really think about it. I’m sure they had ‘luxury’ prices on those fake goods as well! Kudos to you for bringing this to our attention.

  7. Kirby Carespodi says

    I will admit that I wouldn’t know real from fake…but common sense tells me that someone selling handbags on a collapsible table is probably not on the up-and-up.

  8. Stand up and be counted!!! franki

  9. Michele M. / Finch Rest says

    I am absolutely slack-jawed, Susan.

    Shocking, just shocking.

  10. Susan – thanks so much for standing up for what’s right! It’s good to be reminded that this goes on, and what it really means. I truly appreciate your honor and your willingness to discuss it. The world needs people like you! Thank you!

  11. Amen. I hate fakes. It sends all the wrong messages. I would prefer a stained canvas bag fron The Dollar Store to a fake Gucci /Hermes/ Vuitoon etc.

  12. Such a great story, and thanks for sharing this is with all who’s really into designer fashion and hand bags. Such a shame for this resort boutique to do. I just feel all these designers has gone mad with the high prices, that it makes man kind, row, steal and distroy. It’s only going to get worst, the hell with getting better.

  13. Cheryl Weintraub says

    love this line: “It’s good to be open-minded, but don’t be so open-minded your brain falls out.” Unfortunately, it applies to so many things today.

  14. Great, great post, Susan. I had no idea about the terrorism funding, but it makes complete sense. I’m going to pass that on. Amazon is really a surprise — I would think they would police sellers better on illegal wares.

  15. You posted somewhere the place where you would trust buying a consigned bag. I cannot remember. I read through most of this but did not see. Could you please tell me again. Thanks Sandy

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