Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor
14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Authentic Grand Tour Hotel, not so grand service
"The Old Winter Palace is a world away from its ugly and neglected extensions New Winter Palace and Pavilion Wing.
Sharing most facilities except restaurants, the cheapskate way of experiencing this grandeur is to stay in the New Winter Palace very cheaply, but use facilities of Old Winter Palace - it may not be for long, as a sister property, the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan, is now charging non-residents a scandalous 85 pound levy to sit in one of its bars - at about 25 pounds per drink, this might add up quickly, but in principle, they like to keep the common people out.
Many rooms are smaller than in the New Winter palace, not many have balconies, and can even look cramped and claustrophobic. They are quite nicely furnished, with a mixture of old and new, but the fitted carpets look totally out of place.
The Victoria Lounge and Royal Bar are empty most of the time and appear a bit fusty. There is no space to work, neither in the rooms nor in any of the communal areas, as this place seems to be geared a 100% towards holidaymakers, and there a no desks or even tables to do a bit of light work on, and neither could I see any internet connection materialize.
Of all the older colonial-style properties I have been to, this is probably one of the more disappointing, as its neither grand and luxurious (like the E&O or Raffles in the Far East) nor is it nicely stuck in a timewarp like the Palmyra in Lebanon. I'd stay again if teh price were right but rack rates are far too overpriced."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of June 2007
How could you stay anywhere else...?
"We stayed at the Old Winter Palace as part of a package deal before a 6 night cruise aboard the boat Alexander the Great. I had longed to stay at the Old Winter Palace just to sample the history and atmosphere and have to say that largely it did not disappoint.
We were allocated a Garden View Room which had superb views across the garden - we had a small balcony with a table and chairs which was a wonderful place to sit out and sample the hot Egyptian night, The room itself was spacious and clean with a large bed, wardrobes, a TV and a stocked mini bar with fresh fruit and petit fours left out for us. The bathroom too was large and clean. We met two other couples who were not so happy with their rooms - I can only suggest asking for another room as the majority of our party were very happy with the rooms they had and the hotel did not seem overly busy.
The terrace at the front of the hotel again had a wonderful view; perfect for sitting and watching the sun go down behind the Valley of the Kings whilst watching all the caleche drivers frantically searching for tourists. It was particularly hot whilst we were there (42c +) so sitting outside with a few cold beers was just bliss. The gardens were also a great place to walk around; they were lush and green and had a lovely pool, a restaurant and a sheesha bar.
We ate in the 1886 restaurant and this was the only disappointment of our stay - the restaurant was not as I had imagined, very small with only 4 or 5 tables. The problem however was the food - it was not particularly spectacular. My husband did not enjoy his main course and it just felt lacking somewhat given its billing as the best restaurant in Luxor. Saying that, we thought our bill was tiny (around Â£50 for 3 courses each plus drinks, water and a bottle of wine). It was not as good as we were expecting though.
Overall I would definitely stay there again. The hotels public rooms are so magnificent and reminiscent of a time gone by, and I am sure there is no better place to spend an afternoon than on the front terrace watching the world go by."
- Travel date: Sat 26th of May 2007
Location, Location, Location & Gardens
"This once grand hotel has a wonderful location in Luxor. The fascade is elegant as is the red carpet leading up the steps to the beautiful doors. Once in the front door, you are transported back into time. The British influence is everywhere, paintings, prints, gardens, library and of course Afternoon Tea. The English Garden is green and an oasis. What a wonderful place to sit and rest. The Chuchhill Suite where Winston stayed is to die for. The Gold facets in the bathroom are so cool. The balcony is 3 times the size of a hotel room. This hotel has a history. But I also saw fadded furniture, wallpaper peeling, and stained carpets. They need to put some money back into this hotel. Update the rooms. It's living off its name. Even the new wing..called the New Winter Palace isn't up to a Marriott or Hyatt quality. The rooms were too small and it was a long long walk from the elevators."
- Travel date: Wed 16th of May 2007
Old Winter Palace is amazing - and so is Luxor
"The Old Winter Palace is a wonderful hotel, with an atmosphere of faded colonial elegance. The gardens are outstanding and I would recommend a garden view rather than a Nile view, for two reasons : 1. The Nile view rooms tend to be quite noisy and 2. The gardens are stunning and you will get some lovely photos from your balcony! We had a superior garden view room and it was huuuge! Very comfy bed and luxurious amenities â the plumbing was a little temperamental, but nothing too problematic.
The 1882 restaurant was nothing like I expected â I expected a large, grand room and very formal atmosphere, in fact it is a very small intimate restaurant, we had one of the only three occupied tables! The food was nice but not outstanding, nowhere near as impressive as the restaurant and food at the Old cataract in Aswan, but very reasonably priced and the service was excellent. Try the Royal bar for a cocktail before dinner â you will feel special!
We popped into the New Winter Palace for a few minutes after visiting the Luxor museum (five mins down the road and highly recommended). The New Winter Palace is a whole different ballgame. Thereâs nothing wrong with it, itâs just not special and luxurious like the Old.
Luxor is an amazing city with onion layers of history and we have already made up our minds to revisit. The temples of Karnak and Luxor are awesome and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings (we saw Ramses I, II and Thutmosis III) were mindblowing. We also took a balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings which involved a very early start but was one of the highlights of our trip. I recommend booking the balloon ride with Jolleys travel who are attached to the Old Winter Palace, we paid Â£35 per person as opposed to the Â£70 quoted to us by our tour operator.
A couple of word of warning â brace yourself for serious heat in Luxor â it went up to 44 degrees while we were there in May â and you will inevitably be hassled by caleshe and taxi drivers while out and about in Luxor, but a firm ânoâ should send them on their way. You will have a fabulous time â enjoy!"
- Travel date: Wed 16th of May 2007
a wonderful hotel, we wouldn't stay anywhere else in Luxor!
"We stayed at the Old Winter Palace for an all too brief 2 nights and wished we could have stayed a lot longer (couple and teenage daughter). Although we arrived at 8 am we were checked into our 2 rooms and what a delight. The hotel is spacious and gracious with oodles of old world charm. Don't stay there if you want a 21st century glass and steel hotel and brilliant new carpets. The corridors are filled with antiques and you feel steeped in history. The gardens are absolutely amazing and very well looked after with a very welcome swimming pool. When you pick up your towles the staff walk ahead of you to find you loungers. Everyone is extremely friendly.
It is in prime location across the road from the Nile and 5 minute walk to Luxor temple.
Keep all the 5 star hotels, nowhere holds a candle to this beautiful hotel!"
- Travel date: Wed 18th of April 2007
The style and charm of the old winter palace
"I first visited the Old Winter Palace Hotel, over seventeen years ago. Since that time I have been lucky enough to return three times, and I have loved every visit. The staff are utterly amazing, nothing being too much trouble, where else in the world would you arrive in the foya, to be greeted by the same concierge, a cool refreshing drink, and the warm greeting of "welcome home".
The whole experience is like stepping back in time, such is the style and ambience of this hotel. The 1886 restaurant is the place to eat in Luxor, and should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment, and the royal bar is a very pleasant place to sip a gin and tonic, and chat to fellow travellers. Whilst staying here my daughter needed to contact me urgently, the staff knew my exact whereabouts, and found me instantly. I have travelled and stayed in many 5 and even a seven star hotel around the world, but this hotel has a unique charm. So please keep it the way it is, I actually like the fact the carpets may be worn slightly, and that it has a faded decadance, and that you could imagine Agatha Christie, Howard Carter, and Winston Churchill sipping afternoon tea on the terrace. And for those who don't appreciate such style and old fashioned elegance, try macdonalds its just around the corner !!!!"
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of April 2007
The Worst Five Star hotel in the world
"I can't believe we had paid EGP 1750 to stay at a dump. The hotel has a fancy name and a lot of history, but after all the 5 star charges, it is still a dump. We had just got off the Sonesta St George Nile cruise to check into the hotel. The carpet must be at least 50 years old. If you have a shower, the whole bathroom would be flooded. The food at the hotel is poor and pricey, especially after the Nile cruise. The food at the Nile curise was so good that made our stay at the hotel a total rip off."
- Travel date: Tue 27th of March 2007
Classic, Old School Hotel
"This hotel has a magnificent past and is located on the eastern bank of the Nile, very close to the ruins of the Luxor Temple. There is an old wing that has older rooms and traditional restaurants and a newer wing. The hotel sits on a beautifully landscaped garden and has a very nice pool ringed with sunburnt Europeans.
The rooms in the new wing are very nice with all the amenities and are very comfortable. The Terrace View bar is great for watching the sunset over the Nile. The restaurant at the pool has excellent food and service. There is a restaurant that serves Middle Eastern food that has average food and service.
The service is great and they allowed us to have an early check-in. The location is great and is within easy walking distance of other restaurants.
Most people visit Luxor as part of a Nile cruise, but if you are planning on staying overnight in Luxor, this is a fine choice."
- Travel date: Tue 13th of March 2007
There must be something better in Luxor
"My husband and I spent one night at the Sofitel Old Winter Palace in Luxor, Egypt before a Nile cruise. Sofitel should be ashamed of itself. The Old Winter Palace has great possibilities. It is perfectly located facing the Nile in Luxor with beautiful gardens in back. It is a beautiful old palace with a lovely entrance foyer and grand staircase and many large rooms but the place is filthy and run down. Sofitel should pay more attention or sell it to a company that can do justice to such a beautiful old building.
Whatever renovations were done in the two different rooms we were in were cheap and shoddy. The rooms were also filthy. Before going to bed I took a washcloth from the bathroom to wipe the top of the headboard and the picture frames above the bed. When I finished, the washcloth was black with greasy dirt. It was revolting. I didn't look at the rest of the room because if I had, I would have had to spend the night cleaning. The bathroom renovations were done with no thought given to convenience. In the stall shower there were no shelves on which to place the soap or shampoo so we used the floor. While standing at the sink I heard a crash and the next thing I knew large pieces of plaster fell into the sink. Upon looking up I saw that a recessed light had fallen out of the ceiling and was hanging by its cord while the surrounding plaster was in the sink.
The pillows provided were rock hard and lumpy so we requested down filled pillows only to be told that down filled pillows were only available in the large suites. Finally after much persistence on our part , two down pillows were delivered to our room.
The breakfast and dinner in the hotel were fair with disinterested servers and average food although the room was reasonably attractive.
We were happy to be leaving after only one night. There must be better alternatives in Luxor."
- Travel date: Wed 7th of March 2007
"We only stayed here for one night, before a cruise.
The room overlooked the lovely gardens and had a good sized balcony.
The food at dinner was only OK; it was as though the chef had aspirations beyond his capabilities; nougat ice cream with bits of beetroot in it was quite odd! Breakfast was very ordinary.
The atmosphere was good and the staff friendly, but it isn't a place for gourmets!"
- Travel date: Wed 31st of January 2007
A delightful Nile view room in the tower...
"A delightful Nile view room in the tower block, with free dressing gowns! What a great start to our holiday.
Clean, comfortable upgraded room - and wonderful value from Cosmos, even though we did not see the rep at all. We chose not to go to the 'welcome meeting', but no other contact was made, not even a comments sheet on the way home!
The hotel was busy this year, but too many guests seemed ill-at-ease with Luxor, preferring to huddle in the lobby at night, looking bored. What a shame! Part of Luxor's charm is strolling along the Corniche in the evening, like all the locals.
Some guests also felt the need to 'book' sunbeds with their own towels. The NWP, like every other 5* hotel in Egypt, gives you free (clean) towels every day by the pool, but at times it was a little like Spain in the 1970s...
Once a week the hotel is offering the chance to enjoy an Egyptian evening of entertainment and a buffet, in a beautifully decorated setting in the garden. Sadly few bothered to dress up or join in and so missed the chance to really enjoy themselves!
Used local travel agents to visit Aswan, booked a fabulous balloon flight direct with Sindbad for Â£25 each, and toured the lesser known Temples of Medinet Habu, Seti I and the Ramasseum using the ferry and a local cab. Also visited the 'new' temple of Merneptah: worth LE10 but expect to pay out more in tips as there are 4 separate buildings to be unlocked - 2 with painted reliefs, one with statues and a small 'museum'.
Looking forward to returning!"
- Travel date: Wed 29th of August 2007
We arrived for the first time in Egypt n...
"We arrived for the first time in Egypt not knowing what to expect. It was a bit hectic as we were not told that we needed a visa, and judging by the number of other people who had to get one before entering who travelled with Thompson's, they hadn't been told either.
That was the only down side to the holiday. The rest was first class the hotel was fantastic the gardens and the pool area were also fantastic.
The Egyptians are really nice people (the only grumpy ones we meet were at the airport) they have a great sense of fun. The old winter palace is lovely there is a restaurant called 1886 it is a must (wine very pricey) the gents have to wear a shirt and tie, Lady's have to be dresses up to. Your meal is served on Silver platters and itâs all much civilised.
The Nile is a stoneâs throw away and it is lovely. The Egyptians like to haggle and they try to get you into their taxis and horse drawn carriages. A tip just say maybe tomorrow and they will leave you alone, there isn't any need to been rude to them because they are lovely people...
Hotel rooms are really nice the towels are changed twice a day and your bed is turned down on a night for you itâs all just great stuff.
I would go back time and time again to the same hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 21st of June 2007