We just returned from a one-week vacation to Luxor. We have not been to Egypt and, for that matter, Luxor before, and - as many others presumably - we were somewhat unsure what to expect and what we will get into. Our skepticism proved completely unfounded: we had an absolutely wonderful stay, which, among other things, is due to the fantastic hotel we stayed at: the pavilion at the Winter Palace. While the pavilion itself is not a 5-star venue (in contrast to the Old Winter Palace - even though we did not see the rooms) - it is a good and perfectly fine 4-star hotel - the setting in combination with the absolutely divine Old Winter Palace (lounge, saloon, just looking at it), the gardens (to die for!), the pool area, and the many nice details made our stay a 5-star and very-good-value-for-money experience. Sure, as others pointed out here, there are details that can be improved - e.g., the pool area may need some updating here and there - but this was more than compensated by the many lovely aspects of the setting and, last but not least, the impeccable service and super friendliness of the staff.
Some things - Sofitel note - could be better though: Wifi maybe for free (at least make sure it works in the lobby - thanks)? We tried both restaurants of the Winter Palace and were not impressed with the cooking (service super though!), in particular the non-oriental ("French") food. The cooking is very old-fashioned and the menu needs to rejuvenated. A modern twist to oriental / fusion cooking combined with a less stuffy setting can't be so difficult, can't it? Prices are somewhat too high, too, given the competition. On a positive note, we also had tea and high tea and tried the bar - all very nice!
All in all, many thanks to the staff for a wonderful stay - we will certainly come back.
Just a note on the hassling issue in Luxor - an issue that concerned us beforehand. We found the hassling much less worse than expected - at least in Luxor itself (not so at the West Bank sites though!). A friendly couple of thank you's and smiles worked for us, and, through being "hassled", we got in touch with a helpful caleche guy, who facilitated a taxi trip to the West Bank and a very nice felluca experience for us - all very good value. We also experienced that life is tough for many in Luxor due to the low tourist numbers - so go now and spent you well-earned Euros or dollars!
Dinner-wise we strongly recommend Salahadeen at Mara's House - see our review.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the banks of the River Nile in the midst of a tropical garden in the city centre, near the luxor Temple and other attractions such as the Karnak Temple, the Luxor museum, the International Convention Centre and the Mummification Museum. The Pavillon Winter Palace features three restaurants, two bars and a swimming pool. We apologize for any inconvenience that may occur due to the construction work taking place nearby the hotel as of June 14 th 2008 for a period of 6 months. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pavillon Winter Luxor Hotel Luxor
- Pavillon Winter Hotel Luxor
- Luxor Pavillon Winter Hotel
- New Winter Palace Luxor
- Luxor Sofitel
- Winter Palace Hotel Luxor