I gave the St Joseph Hotel a short review in October 2009 (“Another great review”) and stayed there again for about a month last June/July. Moreover, I regularly used its restaurants and bar on two trips in between. My last comments were brief because most other reviewers also like the place and there was little to add. However, now it looks like a few things need detail.
The St Joseph is one of three ‘budget’ hotels in Luxor’s main tourist district. The other two are the New Pola and the Gaddis where I have also stayed. All are supposedly 3-star but some of their furniture may have seen better days, Cleanliness in all three, however, is of an excellent standard and their staffs are helpful and attentive. Considering the ill-mannered behaviour of the odd tourist or two, this itself warrants a commendation but the St Joseph’s tops the list because most of the people who work there seem genuinely hospitable and, if and when necessary, willing to “go the extra mile”.
As far as food goes, the St Joseph’s is the clear winner. Breakfast anywhere can be mundane but the New Pola and the Gaddis have reduced this to a science. Breakfast at the St Joseph’s has a variety only exceeded by the more expensive hotels and a taste that can be as good or sometimes even better. The same is true for its restaurants. The St Joseph’s snack bar is beside a nice rooftop swimming pool and has a lovely Nile view. It serves good local and western dishes at fair prices. You can find many of the same things cheaper but, for the same quality, you have to leave the main tourist area and lose the view.
As for the main (ground floor) restaurant, if you peruse the menu carefully for the right local or western dishes, it’s as good as or better than many of the tourist-oriented places nearby. It can also be cheaper. As a tip; the steak here and elsewhere in Luxor is very good but (assuming you are not partial to flour-based sludge) avoid the choice of an accompanying sauce unless you are sure what you are going to get.
Air conditioning can be important and all three hotels are OK but I’ve stayed at the St Joseph’s in high summer when the temperature can reach 50° or more. The room was nicely conditioned but, if you want cool air everywhere in the building, stay across the road at the Sonesta which (for a higher room rate) can sometimes be like walking into a refrigerator.
As for the bar, the St Joseph’s tries (not altogether unsuccessfully) to duplicate an old-fashioned British pub. The music is not always to my taste and sometimes the bar is populated with “drunken tourists” who take advantage of its twice-nightly Happy Hours. (On occasion, I may have been one of them.) It is, however, in a tourist hotel and there aren’t that many other customer bases available in a country where alcohol is generally proscribed. Like any bar anywhere, I have had good times and sometimes been bored to tears. Often it’s a quiet family-type bar and occasionally I have been its only customer. In short, drunken behaviour is the exception, not the rule. Most importantly, I have never seen anything like a violent incident or the sort of ugly/unruly behaviour that can be all too typical of pubs/bars in the US/UK today.
For the record, I have stayed at higher rated Luxor hotels and eaten in some of its better ranked restaurants. Some differences from the St Joseph are apparent but many of the important ones are not always easy to tell. If finance is not a problem, pick any hotel you like but do try a drink on the St Joseph’s rooftop or visit its bar. If, however, you are on a budget and want a decent, well-managed and centrally located hotel, then it would be hard to do better than the St Joseph.
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- Also Known As:
- Saint Joseph Luxor
- Hotel Saint Joseph
- St Joseph Hotel Luxor