12.05.2010 39 °C
With at least 50 different hotels a year under our hats we could run our own tripadvisor website. Our No.1 pick would be a mid-range hotel with local character and a swimming pool – essential in tropical climes. We would definitely stay away from backpacker’s hovels, as well as pricey multi-nationals where only the bit of local bric-a-brac in the lobby and the bellboy’s name reminds us that we are not in Vancouver.
However, Egypt has been a challenge. The seemingly few hotels matching our criteria cater to the package tour crowd and there are still boatloads of tourists being shipped in and out daily. However, with the season ending, and the world still mired in recession, the bottom has dropped out of the top-end of the market. Luxury heritage hotels are in free fall and are grasping at the likes of us to fill empty beds.
So, where are we staying?
We are in Luxor, geographically and historically the centre of Egypt, and we have put down roots for the week at this hotel, on the banks of the Nile; a hotel made famous by the likes of Agatha Christie and Noel Coward.
Many mid-range hotel rooms don’t have enough room to swing a dead cat, but in our suite here we could comfortably swing a dead camel. And, for a little baksheesh, our bellboy even gave us a personal tour of King Farouk’s royal suite - $4,000 US a night – a suite which has hosted Nicholas Sarkozy, Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice, in addition to the king himself. (Although, for what it’s worth, we thought it was a little overpriced!).
Here is the pool …
The manicured gardens are exquisite; exotic flowers scent the air while we are surrounded by tropical fruit trees laden with dates, bananas, papayas and oranges.
Here is Sheila at breakfast in the garden restaurant ...…
And here we are having dinner au plein aire...
After dinner we were entertained by belly dancers and Sufi whirling dervishes.
So for competition lovers – This week’s question is: What is the name of our famous hotel?
The winners will receive one complimentary buffet breakfast at this hotel, (airfare, taxes and gratuities not included). Note that we try to be consistent with the value of our prizes – You may recall that the previous prize was a week’s holiday for two in Benidorm!