A Dream of a Thousand and One Nights
The Al Moudira, a New 5 Star Hotel in Luxor
by Sonny Stengle
Forget all about 5-star hotels you may know or you might have been in on one of your trips to Egypt! Forget all about these marble and mirror palaces you may have stayed on your holiday! But, if you are prepared to take a step back in time to the grandeur of an old Beirut palace, a Turkish harem or perhaps a Moroccan royal estate.. then follow me. Yes, there is something like this around, just a few miles south of the Royal Valleys on the West Bank of Luxor (ancient Thebes). The 5-star hotel AL MOUDIRA opened up just a few short months ago. AL MOUDIRA has been designed with traditionally-styled architecture incorporating actual pieces saved from old Egyptian buildings. Designed by Egyptian architects and constructed using local material, AL MOUDIRA took almost two-and-a-half years to build. Ninety-nine
percent of its dcor is comprised of Egyptian-made items including artifacts from souks, antique shops, bazaars, galleries and handicrafts by local artisans. The result is as though a fairytale palace was dropped in the middle of a rural Egyptian village. A local Qurnaui artist that I have known for several years told me once that he worked on that project, so I took the opportunity in March of this year to visit that place not knowing if the hotel had opened yet. My wife and my son, who works for one of the worlds leading hotels, joined me. We did not know what to expect and what we saw was like a dream of a thousand and one nights come to life. General Manager Denis Carta, former manager of the Old Winterpalace in Luxor, showed us around. Situated on 10 feddans, AL MOUDIRA has a panoramic backdrop of mountains and the Valley of the Queens, bordered by the desert on one side and agricultural land on the other. The hotel offers a unique blend of pollution-free atmosphere, serenity and majestic splendor, all within proximity of major tourist attractions.Each room is as spacious as a Throne Room, the beds are grand enough for royalty. The walls are decorated with frescoes. Every bathroom is a personal Hammam.
The 54 rooms in the hotel are grouped into units of four or more which open onto a private courtyard with lush greenery, a fountain and a comfortable shaded sitting area. Each room carries a different Arab theme or period, including pharaonic designs. Columns and archways add to the Oriental feel. Frescoes depicting Arabic artwork and styles decorate the walls. All rooms have a tiled bathroom with a tub, and some even have a sunken tub reminiscent of a Turkish bath. Of course all the rooms have satellite TV and air-conditioning. Imagine an Oriental Palace of which you are the Sovereign.Imagine the gilding, the hand-made tiles, the wrought iron, the wooden lattice work, all for your enjoyment.
Outside, there are enclosed gardens, with fountains and terraces, and beyond them, wild flowers. The rich scent of citrus fruits in bloom, the perfume of henna and jasmine, float into the windows. The swimming pool reflects the sky.
Naf trompe loel architectural details and curtains painted on the walls of the main restaurant and bar add to the idiosyncratic charm of this
It is obvious AL MOUDIRAs isolation and calm atmosphere makes it perfect for honeymooners, peace-seekers, or individual travellers looking for "something different" during a short stay in Luxor. The bar is full service and invites parched tourists to refreshing beverages after a day of sightseeing. Snacks can be ordered poolside or at any terrace. The hotel also abounds with handmade tiles, wrought-iron sofas and wooden latticework. Climbing vines of roses and bougainvillea add a beautiful striking contrast to the terracotta-colored architecture. A stroll around the grounds fills your lungs with air perfumed with jasmine and orange blossoms. The swimming pool is the perfect way to cool off from the Upper Egyptian heat. The hotel was the lifelong dream of Lebanese managing director Zeina Aboukheir who was always fascinated by the mysteries and folklore of Egypt, particularly the tombs and temples. Her goal was to create a place with the feel of a home as opposed to a hotel, where visitors could relax and receive the royal treatment off the beaten track. No doubt, her dream came true, there is nothing similar to Al Moudira in Egypt. AL MOUDIRA
ph.: +20 123 251 307
fax: +20 123 220 528
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Last Updated: April 28th, 2011