Volume I, Number 3 August 1st, 2000
The Old Winter Palace
The Winter Palace in Luxor, operated by Sofitel, is not nearly as famous as its sister hotel, the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan. Yet it were the guests of this hotel, from a posting on their bulletin board, who were first informed of Howard Carter's great discovery of Tut's treasures. The great Egyptologists was staying at the hotel upon his world awakening discovery, and even though he had a residence built on the West Bank, he continued frequenting the hotel up almost until his death. He was often seen sitting in self imposed isolation in the hotel's gardens.
Built in 1886 to attract the nobility of Europe, the Winter Palace is more continental English in atmosphere than the Old Cataract in Aswan. One does not get the feeling of Egypt so much as of an oasis of European flavor and Victorian charm.
In fact, the ultimate privilege is said to have had one's own yacht moored along the quayside, opposite the Winter Palace. Such notables as King Farouk stayed here and even had his own apartment. French President George Clemenceau, as well as many crown prices and princesses from European and Oriental Royal families made it their preferred place of residence, as have such celebrates as Jane Fonda.
It is said that the Winter Palace had once been somewhat run down, but none of that is visible today, or even easy to believe. All is in perfect order, with modern fixtures necessary for comfort coexisting alongside antiques, fine wood and sand cast glass.
Each guest room is different, with high ceilings, beautiful fixtures, as well as all the modern amenities and comforts. Along the hall, one will see boxed exhibitions of old clothing and other turn of the century artifacts. The great lobby is subdued, with its detailed ironworks and grand chandelier.
As with the Cataract Hotel in Aswan, the Winter Palace also is home to one of the best known restaurants in Egypt, the "1886", a place of elegant, and specifically formal dining. So if one plans on a stay, this is one reason to pack something that few tourist to Egypt every do, a coat and tie.
The 1886 Restaurant Also like the Cataract, there is a New Winter Palace, and while comfortable, this is not the Old Winter Palace and does not have the charm. However, it is where several of the restaurants are located, along with the hotel Pool. Together, the New and Old Winter Palaces offer five restaurants, five bars, the swimming pool, two tennis counts, a health club and squash court.
The Old Winter Palace
Cornish El Nile, Luxor, Egypt
Fax: +20 95/384087
Budget and Independent Travel to Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn
Historical Hotels in Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn
Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes
Book ReviewsVarious Editors
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich
Hotel Reviews By Juergen Stryjak
Egyptian Exhibitions By deTraci Regula
Restaurant ReviewsVarious Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Medical Advice in Egypt By Omar Ragab
Last Updated: June 7th, 2011