I am going to cheat a little here and simply agree 100%, yes 100% with everything Halo44 has written about this wonderful gem of a find on the West Bank. Every element of that review fits my experience. Though I did not have the same guide, mine is called Said, he was also excellent.
I came to Egypt for the first time not as the usual sightseeing, beach, cruise tourist but to finally fulfill a life long yearning to visit the country of ancient Egypt that has fascinated me since as a 12 year old I purchased the penguin book on Tutankhamen by C. Desroches-Noblecourt. The stories, the history, the monuments, the images, the aesthetic, the grandeur and mysticism of that civilization has fascinated me all my life.
So as you can imagine this trip for me was more than a holiday it was loaded with expectation and a degree of childhood emotion.
As I planned this 7day trip with a view to immersing myself in as much of the ancient past as possible I had to find a base that was close to the areas I wanted to visit. On my tight budget where to stay? I checked out all the Luxor hotels, some West Bank hotels and as an avid trip advisor reader I stumbled upon the Desert Paradise Lodge (DPL). Its reviews were incredible. Could it really be that good? Well it was far, far better than I had dared to expect. When I travel I like my money to go to the local community as much as possible. I am no fan of the big impersonal hotels so DPL certainly ticked the invest in the local economy box. The email booking with Fareda was uncomplicated. I would be met at the airport by Hamade in the air conditioned minibus. So it was and I arrived in the 40C heat and was taken the 40min ride to DPL where I was made very welcome by both Ashraf and Fareda. At the end of my first day and as a direct result of experiencing the DPL I decided to extend my stay from 7 to 14 nights.
In my first evening there I mentioned that I wanted to do a Ballon trip. Within an hour it had been arranged for the next day. It was a great flight over all the key areas: Valley of the Kings, Queens, Habu, Hatshepsut etc. The best possible introduction to the area and start to this trip.
This very quickly proved to be the perfect base for all my trips. Initially with a guide as an introduction and then I revisited the sites alone in my second week to explore at my own pace. The DPL arranged all my trips as well a taking me to the ferry area to go across to Luxor. The staff and service were attentive and excellent throughout my stay. My meals were mainly at the DPL and were a good balance of carbs, meat, fish and salads great fuel for the next day. In my room I also had room Nr 1, the bed was made every day, cotton sheets, fresh towels, it was clean, airconditioned which I struggled to get used to and had a relaxing atmosphere. Just perfect for the pm snooz I needed after the early start and 7 hours on site. Early starts to beat the heat were not an issue. I like to walk the local peaks so a light snack at 5am before I set off was not a problem. On my last days DPL arranged to take me to the start of the walk up to the peak overlooking the Valley of the Kings via Hatshepsut at 6am. Nothing was too much trouble. Even on the last day when I got a stomach bug Fareda helped me with local medication which dealt with it immediately.
This was my little trip of a lifetime realizing a childhood dream and the DPL along with a wonderful swiss couple who eased me into the Egyptian culture helped make it simply perfect.
Finally Egypt is going through the birth pangs of democracy at the moment and I left on the day the first round of presidential elections took place. I was alone on this trip and with my hat etc looked typically european but In all my time in both Luxor walking alone and on the West Bank I always felt safe and never experienced any problems.
I will be going back to the Desert Paradise Lodge and Luxor hopefully again later this year.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Desert Paradise Lodge is the ideal starting point to explore and experience Egypt on your own, away from the crowds and the noise of Luxor. In the immediate vicinity you will find unspoiled countryside, and experience the local culture. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Desert Paradise Hotel Luxor