SOFITEL WINTER PALACE
Check-in was fast and efficient and you are made to feel welcome - simply by how they seat you in the old antique furniture that lies around the lobby and bring everything needed for check-in to you.
ROOMS DAY 1:
We had two rooms booked (one for my parents and one for my brother and I) and we were given interconnecting rooms, which was nice. The twin beds were put right next to each other with no gap. These beds were quite harder than the usual Sofitel MyBed I have experienced at Sofitels in Melbourne, Dubai and Munich (to name a few). While they were not uncomfortable, they were much harder than the standard Sofitel bed I have experienced.
TV - was a small widescreen LCD with 30 channels and average reception. No DVD player in the room, though the TV did have HDMI input for those who want to connect their PC to the TV. No USB input however for external hard drives.
Bathroom - was tiny and cramped. The toilet was behind the door (no big deal) and it had a shower-over-bath combination.
The complimentary ethernet internet connection was extremely slow and kept cutting in and out. The Wifi in the room was not much better either.
We had Nile View rooms on the second floor. Note that while the view from these rooms is nice (trees do block some of the view being on the second floor - the third floor views are unobstructed) it is very noisy with the traffic going by and honking their horns like Egyptians do. The rooms on the garden view side would be much quieter.
Also there were a few mosquitoes buzzing and sucking our blood through the night. Don't bother trying to kill them either - the ceiling is like four meters high. We had to wear insect repellent to get to sleep.
There was no hot water on the first day for the entire day, which was a huge inconvenience after flying down from Cairo that day. The hotel did deliver platters of fruit and nibbles, but I didn't really want food - I wanted a hot shower.
ROOMS DAY 2:
Our hot water was working when I woke up at about 0530 the following morning, which was a relief. However the hot water was still not working in our parent's room when we left for the Valley of the Kings at about 0700.
Upon returning to the hotel at approximately 1400, the hot water was still not working in our parent's room and the hotel pre-empted any complaints or issues by saying they would upgrade them to a suite. As an added touch, they also upgraded my brother and I and we were all brought up to the Howard Carter Opera Suite! This room was on the third floor and was simply amazing with two bedrooms (one with a queen bed and the other with two singles) with a separate living room between them. Each bedroom had its own huge bathroom and television (the living room TV had a DVD player). The furniture was of very high quality. The shower in the bathroom was wall-mounted and positioned that if you turned it on with the curtain open a lot of water would end up on the floor.
We could not find the ethernet connection in this room for internet and the Wifi was stronger in this room, but still cut out for periods of time.
The view from the room was fantastic with unobstructed panoramic Nile views, but still came with the noises of traffic and people yelling at tourists to sell them horse chariot rides.
The hotel also extended us an invitation for afternoon tea in the Victoria Lounge, which was a fancy high tea with scones and little nibbles with very attentive service from our waitperson.
Breakfast was quite good with the usual large Sofitel spread of food. Each table has an Egg Menu and the eggs are fantastic! The hot foods changed day to day so I was a little disappointed the second morning there was no beef bacon, but the beef sausages were good too. There is a choice of about six teas on the table to choose from. There is also the usual selection of juices (both normal and diet), cereals, breads, fruits and yoghurts and desserts.
Room service at this hotel was surprisingly well priced and it was welcome to see that the cost on the menu was inclusive of all taxes and service charges (unlike every other hotel we have stayed at in Egypt which puts a 10% city tax and 12% service charge on all items). The food was a good quality and delivered promptly.
We did not dine in the restaurants (opted for room service) but the menus look good and are also decently priced for a five star hotel.
The garden at the back of the Palace is simply amazing to walk through. They employ a team of twelve gardeners and the garden is kept very tidy. Keep off the grass, of course.
The pool area is something out of a remote island resort. There is a 25m pool for lap swimming and there is a shallower pool with a swim-up bar and about 15 "stools" around it. There was about 40-50 deck chairs around the pool with very comfortable cushions. There is also a bar with seating and food options available poolside, as well as a sun lounge bar about ten meters away.
The pool water was far too cold for me to use (water temp was 22 degrees) and they closed the pool at 1700, which was quite early. On top of that, they had already started packing down the lounges and stacking the cushions when we got to the pool area at 1600 - it would have been nice if they waited to do this when the pool actually closed rather than before!
While the hot water being out hotelwide for an entire day was completely unacceptable - when the hot water in one of our rooms continued to still not work (there were a couple other small issues with their room too) the hotel pre-empted any complaints or scenes by upgrading us to a room that was simply amazing (and out of our budget at about $1500 per night).
The level of customer service shown to make our stay enjoyable and ensure we left with a smile was fantastic and the staff were real ambassadors of the Sofitel brand.
Lovely old building
Great customer service
Nice food at a reasonable price
Nile View rooms noisy from traffic - almost impossible to sleep until late
Internet very slow if you have a connection at all
Mosquitoes are a problem!
Pool not heated
No fitness centre (that we could find)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Winter Palace, built in 1886 on the Nile banks in a tropical garden is a magical experience of history luxury that hosted royalties and celebrities throughout the years. Winter Palace offers the mythical atmosphere with the modern decor comfort of a 5 star hotel. It is located in the city center, just minutes from Luxor Temple and the airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor Hotel Luxor
- Accor Winter Palace Luxor
- Winter Palace Luxor
- Sofitel Luxor
- Luxor Sofitel
- Old Winter Palace Luxor