I have heard about Desert Paradise Lodge (DPL) first by owners of another guesthouse, Bet-el-Kerem, in Aswan.
So, I have contacted Fareda and we (my mother and myself) spent 10 nights in DPL for Christmas 2011 and the New Year.
We did not want to be at home in the holiday season, but wanted to go somewhere there is warmer and more sunny than in Hungary, and we did not want any Christmas gala dinner and/or New Year’s eve party and so. Nice surprise for us, in DPL no supplement to pay for Christmas and/or New Year days.
We spent 10 nights there, paid for 9, one night was free.
My mother is 78 years old, not cripple or handicapped, but wanted to save her feet and energies for tombs and temples climbing – no worry, in DPL max. 8 stairs to climb, from rooms 3-9 to garden, up and down. Rooms 1-2 are on the first floor, so more stairs to climb. We had room 9, with bath, toilet, sleeping room and sitting room. Ashraf has alabaster factory, so all decoration in the room is alabaster: lampshades, the grip-button of the cupboard, vase, candle holder… very beautiful all! From room 9 window we could look at the Theban mountains, that are very close.
Rooms were cleaned every day, as a general rule, where there is a garden, one must take care not leaving any food in the room, because ants come.
If one goes there in winter, take in consideration, we are in the desert, so temperature difference can be big between day and night!
December we had some chilly nights, but no problem, we got an electric heater, so no freezing nights for us.
We wanted to be individual, so we could use the minibus and driver of the lodge for our trips, and if not, Ashraf organized car + driver + guide, as we wanted. We think the prices for such tours are very good, compared to what travel agencies ask. Our most expensive trip was to Dendera, car + driver + guide 400.- LE, for we 2 from ca. 9h until ca. 13h. The car + driver + guide prices depend on if East Bank or West Bank tour one make and also the duration; we just had either morning or afternoon trips.
We had 8 full days, visited Karnak and Luxor temple (again) and also many new things: Deir-el-Medina, the workers village with tombs, nobles tombs, Ramasseum and the temple of Sethi I., Medinet Habu and Merenptah temple. Compared to 2003 the Luxor Museum is extended, we spent ca. 2h only in the new part of it; also visited the Mumification Museum, which is very-very interesting.
2 trips we shared with other guests, so we shared the car + driver + guide price as well.
Our New Year’s Eve party was to go to Karnak Sound and Light show!
We had all our meals in DPL, did no go to eat anywhere else!
Our Hungarian stomach is ready for spices, so we loved the Egyptian tastes Ahmed was preparing for the guests. I don’t how they make it, but the coated aubergines were sweet, here at home always bitter… Beside aubergines, we got tomatoes, cheese, cucumber + bread for lunch. Also soup is possible. Their “balady” (local, pita-like) bread is very good! For dinner we got chicken, “kufta”, beef and liver, roasted, with spices – hmmm… very nice! Always with salad and also soup, when we wanted.
It was no problem to get beer, wine is better to ask for, maybe one day earlier, and it was no problem to bring our own wine to dinner.
All the food, breakfast, lunch, dinner was very good, very healthy and absolutely safe to eat, no digestive problems! (We both are physicians, so very critical concerning this field.)
Unfortunately, we could not make our planned visit to Abydos.
Ashraf and Fareda ment, that is not a good idea to go there now, since the revolution. Otherwise it was absolutely safe to go everywhere, not even a loud sneezing took place in Luxor… One must go and visit now, not so many tourists (unfortunate for them), easy to get in all the sites. Don’t believe all in the media, simply experience by yourself and be sure: Ashraf, Fareda and their crew will be there 100% for your safety and will always know what is not recommended!
We also recommend to visit “Balady handicraft”, very nice things to buy (for self and presents), made by local people in the village. Not “tourist robbery” prices and I think it is nice idea to support the local handicraft industry once we are there, outside of the “big tourist industry”.
There are so many things left, even 8 days were not enough to explore everything and missed Abydos is a definitive reason to go back! I think we are more advanced Egypt travelers, but still – many new things to see, excavations go on, always something new pop up! We will go back for sure and if Luxor, then Desert Paradise Lodge, nothing else!
Thanks a lot for Ashraf, Fareda and their crew and all the best for 2012!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.