In September 2021, I visited Egypt (Luxor and Cairo), along with Dave and four other friends. One or more of the friends had arranged all of the details of the trip before I came on board, including the sites, the hotels and the tour guide, so I went along for the ride, so to speak.
The flights from JFK to Cairo were on Qatar Airways which I enjoyed immensely (see, QSuites Review). We also flew on Egypt Air from Cairo to Luxor.
Our travels included stays at four different hotels (reviews coming soon): Le Méridien Cairo Airport (Marriott) (1 night); Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor Hotel (Accor) (2 nights); Mena House, Giza, Cairo (Marriott) (1 night); and The Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo (Marriott) (2 nights)
The Sofitel Winter Palace, part of the Accor Hotel chain, is a historic British colonial-era 5-star luxury hotel located on the banks of the River Nile in Luxor, Egypt, just south of Luxor Temple. It is truly palatial! Walking into the building, I felt the grandeur and splendor of the hotel from times past.
We walked into the hotel, and were seated at antique desks and served tea while we checked in.
I had pre-booked a Superior Room – King Size Bed, Nile View, which included breakfast. We paid a little over $300 for the two nights. We were upgraded to their Luxury room, Nile View. Everything worked well in the room, except the wi-fi was intermittent.
There was a plate of fruit and a very nice welcome note in the room.
I forgot to take photos of the bathroom – so I borrowed these from my friend Susan:
In Egypt, you pay a premium for a balcony facing the Nile. I could see why! These were views from our balcony.
The night view of the Nile is spectacular!
This room, on the ground floor of the hotel is obviously used for events, meetings or celebrations, but, probably due to the pandemic, it was empty.
This is actually part of the hotel bar, which looks more like a living room than a bar.
We were even treated to music in the lobby one evening:
If you walk out the back door of the hotel, you are suddenly surrounded by lush gardens, as well as the hotel pool area.
The front of the hotel is so pretty, but it is on a street, and I felt uncomfortable being repeatedly approached by locals who persisted in offering to get me a taxi or arrange a tour.
We had breakfast each morning in the hotel restaurant. It was buffet-style with an ample selection of traditional and middle eastern breakfast foods. When else can you have falafel for breakfast?
One evening, my friends and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The hotel has two restaurants in the same space, a French restaurant and a Steak restaurant. My friends wanted the French menu restaurant, but we were given the Steak restaurant menu. It was a bit odd but we persevered.
The setting and required attire is very formal, so much so, that they insisted on loaning Dave a jacket for the meal.
Although I enjoyed the company of my friends, the food and service at the restaurant was mediocre at best.
We were primarily busy the whole time with sightseeing, but one morning Dave and I went our walking down some local streets near the hotel. As always, he was in search of a SIM card for his phone.
The hotel is beautiful and memorable. Nevertheless, I generally prefer new and modern hotels over older, historic ones – even ones that once housed royalty – but that’s just me. In another post, I will share photos of the sights of Luxor.