First of all, I want to say that the west bank of Luxor is the place to be. When I first came to Luxor in 1971, it was a peaceful country town. One could linger on a park bench on the grassy bank of the Nile and chat with Luxor's charming children. By the time I visited in 1988 Luxor had become a roaring city. The bank of the Nile is all concrete these days. The children are just as pretty and charming though.
The west bank still retains the pastoral feeling that Luxor proper lost long ago. On the west bank, the walk from the Nile to the farm fields is about 3 city blocks. The shop keepers and residents are very friendly and there is definitely a small town feel.
El Mesala Hotel is a lovely place to spend one's time in that setting. It has a very light and airy feeling. Its pretty tile floors are kept in a pristine state of cleanliness as is the hotel in general.
We purposely targeted small, family run hotels for our visit to Egypt as we wanted to be closer to the people of Egypt. It is perfectly possible to stay in an international, corporate hotel with staff that is impeccably polite in a rule bound way in Egypt. When you are in those hotels, you wouldn't know you weren't in the Hyatt Regency in some American or European city. It's like you never left home.
El Mesala Hotel is not at all like that. The staff is genuinely friendly. You can have real conversations with them about their lives and ideas. They pay attention and are interested in who you are. For example, they noticed us giving our daughter presents for her eleventh birthday one morning. That night, the staff showed up after our dinner with a delicious, custom made, birthday layer cake for her. It was a touching gesture.
We had a two bedroom one bath suite for our family of four. It was clean and comfortable. It had a good sized refrigerator which was great for storing bottled water and other drinks. While it was winter during our stay, the temperature outside was 80 degrees F or so. The air conditioning kept the room at a nice cool level. The swimming pool was also pretty and well cared for. My kids did find it a little too cold for very long swims. We took advantage of the laundry services and did a couple of tour arrangements as well. We just wanted drivers, not guides, and they were able to provide that service with no hassle at all.
The roof top restaurant did not have a big menu, but the meals were well prepared and very reasonably priced. I think they will accommodate special requests. They had a number of outstanding fruit juice drinks. The breakfast included in the price of the room was light and nutritious (yogurt, fresh fruit, omelet, tea/coffee, bread). The ambiance was matchless. The view of the Nile and the Temple Luxor was unimpeded and exotically beautiful. It was a pleasant place to hang out in during the afternoon with a drink and a book.
I have traveled very extensively both for pleasure and business over the years. I don't think I have ever stayed in a more memorable and pleasant hotel in all that time. I am left with a feeling of affection for the staff and the place. El Mesala Hotel is more than a good value for the very reasonable price. It is a memory worth having.
Stayed at hotel March 2013
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