Nile Palace Hotel (previously the Meridien)
Nile Palace hotel
|Official local rating||5 star|
|Typical UK rating||5 star|
|TV & Fridge in all rooms|
|2 cafés / snack bars|
|15 minute walk from centre|
|Phone||+20 95 236 6999|
|Address||Khaled Ben El-Walid St.,
Luxor 85111, Egypt
One of Luxor's top 5 hotels. Bigger and less glitzy than the Sonesta.
Ways to book this hotel
The following agencies can book rooms for you at this hotel. Click on the logo (below) to go to their web site. The ones listed first usually offer the best deals.
Nile Palace hotel from the Nile
The Steigenberger Nile Palace, formerly just known as the Nile Palace and before that the Meridien, is sometimes given awards as one of the best hotels not only in Luxor but in Egypt or even in the whole of Africa. In Luxor it is usually considered amongst the best seven, jostling for position with the Old Winter Palace, the Pavilon Winter, the Sonesta St George, the Jolie Ville (formerly the Mövenpick), the Karnak Sofitel and the Hilton.
Three of these challengers, the Jolie Ville, Hilton and Sofitel are out of town, and so will probably attract customers looking for a different kind of holiday. The Old Winter Palace is rarely a realistic alternative for cost reasons. Guests wanting to be in the town, rather than in the hotel enclave to the south, may prefer the Pavilon Winter. The competition for tourists looking for the best hotel in the 'southern cluster', i.e. close to town but not right in there, is usually between the Nile Palace and the almost neighbouring Sonesta.
Inner courtyard at the Nile Palace
looking past Cafe des dellices (left) towards the Casa Di Napoli
At 304 rooms, the Nile Palace is quite a large hotel by Luxor standards. From the Nile side it is obvious that it dwarfs its neighbours but it does not look so large from the front, either outside or when you first enter. There have been a few modifications since the hotel was the Meridien, but a central open courtyard with cafe type seating remains and retains a slightly French feel. The courtyard is home to a the Cafe des Dellices, concentrating on drinks and ice creams, Casa di Napoli, an Italian restaurant, and Al Tarbouche, a Lebonese restaurant. This is also a performance area for the evening singers and other in-house entertainment. The courtyard is accessed through the small but smart lobby area, where a doorman in traditional uniform sets a good first impression.
The main restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating is called the Nubian. It's name describes its decor rather than its menu, which offers traditional local and international breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other restaurants are the Tropicana poolside snack bar and the tented Arabesque with pasties, grills and shisha. Throughout the hotel's restaurants the food is fine for those who prefer to dine in, but unsurprisingly expensive compared with similar meals outside and not special enough to keep you in or bring you in from outside, unless you want to take advantage of a rare opportunity to try Lebanese food in Luxor. There are plenty of restaurants within a few minutes walk so if you are prepared to tolerate the attention of the taxi, caleche and other touts the moment you emerge from the hotel, we think it is better to stay on a bed and breakfast basis and to eat out.
As well as a good choice of restaurants to look after your appetite, there are several opportunities to look after your body, with a well-equipped gym, sauna and steam room as well as the outdoor heated clover-shaped pool. A tennis court is planned for the roof in case you a feeling really energetic.
Outside, the grounds are disappointingly small for a hotel of this size. There is a fair sized pool with surrounding loungers and a path to a paved area beside the Nile. There is very little else, however, and certainly nothing to compete with the Sheraton; with the out-of-town hotels (the Sofitel, and Maritim Jolie Ville) or the central hotels; Winter Palace, Pavilion Winter and El Luxor.
The rooms themselves are smart, light and still reasonably fresh. Most of them are standard rooms with views to the city (cheapest rooms), or the courtyard (next cheapest) or, for a bit more, to the Nile. Most Nile view rooms have a view of the Nile at an angle from the balcony and from areas within the room, or are set back in the central part of the hotel so that the panorama is limited. A full Nile view from the Nile frontage of the hotel is available for an additional supplement. For a great deal more you can choose one of 29 'superior' rooms and 19 suites but the costs of these are massive. If you are buying a package holiday and do want any of the upgrades, it is worth getting a quote from the hotel direct for the upgrade element (see the contact information above) as this is often cheaper than buying the upgrade through a package tour company. If you are booking through a hotel agent (see the list in the column in the right) the hotel will be less likely to beat the agency price.
The Nile Palace and Sonesta St George each have their fans and their detractors. Lack of favour amongst UK tourists for the Nile Palace may be due in some part to its past association with the Meridien group and its French ambience. We think the hotel and the hands-on staff are just as good and the management staff much less pretentious than the Sonesta's. If you can get a room with some kind of Nile view for the same price, we think the Nile Palace is well worth considering as an alternative to the Sonesta and we prefer it to the Isis and Iberotel.