Maritim Jolie Ville Luxor Island Resort (formerly Mövenpick hotel)
Part of Jolie Ville hotel and grounds
|Official local rating||5|
|Typical UK rating||4+|
|Floors||1 and 2|
|LCD TV & Fridge in all rooms|
|Three outdoor pools including 2 infinity pools and adult-only pool|
|Children's area in 2 pools|
|Children's club & playground|
|Spa and fitness centre|
|3 main restaurants with terraces|
|2 outdoor-only restaurants|
|Cable and wi-fi internet (free)|
|Tea & Coffee making in rooms (free)|
|4kms from Luxor centre|
|Phone||+20 95 227 4855|
|Address||Maritim Jolie Ville Luxor Island Resort
Excellent out-of-town hotel with huge grounds, extensive children's facilities and three pools. A good choice if you want peace, quiet and plenty of space, rather than to be in town.
Ways to book this hotel
The agencies listed below can book rooms for you at this hotel. Click on a logo to go to their web site.
The new reception building, Jolie Ville restaurant, spa and gym, the new 'Horizon' pool and ten blocks of two storey flats are all in operation.
Three luxury 'Villas' have also been completed but 20 blocks of 'town houses' are still incomplete on the inland side of infinity pool.
The original bungalows have all been upgraded.
The Italian restaurant (Zigolini) in the former Sobek hall is now operating. The old Nubian house has been demolished. There is no sign of a replacement.
Most work stopped in January 2011 when the Romanian builders went home because of the unrest. Work restarted in a small way in May 2011. There is no major work going on at the moment.
The Jolie Ville used to be the Mövenpick Jolie Ville, but it now uses the Maritim name so it is the Maritim Jolie Ville. People tend to refer to it just as the Jolie Ville - except many local people who still refer to it as the Mövenpick.
The Jolie Ville is about 4kms out of town on the south side. It has a courtesy bus service but the frequency varies. The main reason for the variation is that taxi drivers threaten to make life difficult for the hotel if they operate it too frequently, because it hurts their business. In the winter of 2011/12, for example, there were six return journeys each day, but by the summer of 2014 there were just four. The bus stops at the Isis hotel (in the 'restaurant' area of town), the Winter Palace in the Centre of Luxor and near MacDonald's and the market, behind Luxor Temple.
There also used to be a bookable courtesy boat service running between the hotel and a pier opposite the Old Winter Palace twice a day, but the boat has been out of service for several years and although it is still tantalisingly moored where guests can see it, it no longer operates and there is no likelihood of an early repair or replacement.
The hotel is a complex of separate buildings. The reception area is in one of several stand-alone buildings which also houses some shops, a bar, a conference hall (the Sobek) and the business centre with computers (chargeable) and a free library. There was also a bank, but it closed when visitor numbers reduced. When there is no bank, money can be changed at reception most of the time but not 24/7. In both cases rates are on a par with the banks in town.
The main restaurant, the Jolie Ville, is in a separate building. This building has always housed the main restaurant but, for those familiar with the hotel from its Mövenpick days, the restaurant has now been enlarged and has taken over most of the area that used also to contain the old reception, Kings Bar, shops, business centre and bank. The Jolie Ville restaurant provides breakfast, which can be taken inside or out, lunch and nightly themed buffet dinners.
Breakfast is the usual self-service. The hotel claims that it offers the widest breakfast choice in Luxor. We have to contest that, having experienced wider choice, especially of fresh fruit, pastries and cereals, and foods from different cultures, at the old Mövenpick and at 5 star hotels in town. Choice is, nevertheless, ample. Most juices are real or from cartons, not artificial. Hot drinks are served at the table.
Jolie Ville dinners are also buffet-style and themed, with a focus on a different culture each night. They are rather expensive for what they are. The quality of these international dinners is variable and typical of serve-yourself buffet offerings that you might encounter on organised tours. If you prefer not to experiment with international foods or don't want a self-service buffet, you can use one of the à la carte restaurants, where quality is better but prices a little higher.
La Fleur is one of the à la carte restaurants. At the moment it is attached to the Jolie Ville restaurant, with a separate main entrance on the Nile side, but there has been talk for some while about it moving to the empty half of the former Sobek building, next to Zigolini. As its name suggests, La Fleur is a French restaurant serving higher quality meals with a price to match. Unless you choose the cheapest options for each course, you would normally have to allow about LE300 per person for three courses and a drink here, although there are 'Chef recommended' menus each day, which provide a fixed three course meal for between about LE140 and LE200, depending on the chef's recommendation that day.
The third main indoor restaurant is Zigolini, which offers authentic Italian dinners from 6.30pm, six days a week, excluding Fridays when 'Italian' is the theme in the main Jolie Ville buffet restaurant. Zigolini is on the south (up river side) of the other restaurants, in the building that used to be the Sobek Hall. The menu is exactly what you would expect in an Italian restaurant, with the normal selection of pasta based starters and main meals in meat, fish and vegetarian varieties. Prices here mostly on a par with la Fleur but there is a good value selection of pizzas, baked in a very visible wood-fired oven. Like the Jolie Ville restaurant, Zigolini also has an outdoor terrace.
Which of the two à la carte restaurants you prefer will depend mostly on your choice of menu. Don't try La Fleur for a pizza! However, if what you want is on both menus - salmon or a steak for example - you can choose between the French ambience and dressings at La Fleur or the more modern bare-brick atmosphere and Italian finishes of the Zigolini. The core of the dishes that are common to both are cooked in the same kitchen, so there should be nothing to choose between them in terms of food quality.
Prices of all the main restaurant meals are on the high side, as you might expect for a hotel without local competition: overall about 40% higher than the better restaurants in town for most snacks and meals. However, prices at the Jolie Ville have been fairly steady in recent years, whereas in town they have risen more, so the difference between the cost of a meal at La Fleur or Zigolini, and a comparable meal at one of the better restaurants in town, is not as marked as it used to be especially if you want something modest such as a salad or a pizza.
There are several multi-meal deals, which offer meals at La Fleur or Zigolini as part of a package with other meals, including buffets at the Jolie Ville. These deals are priced in Euro and offer a discount of around 20% - 24% on the individual meal prices. They are fine for the La Fleur and Zigolini parts, but they do mean that you are stuck with some JV buffets. Bear in mind that you can get really good meals in town for less than the average discounted meal price in these deals.
If and when La Fleur does move into the building next to Zigolini, the space vacated is earmarked for an Egyptian restaurant. There used to be a Nubian House restaurant and a replacement was once promised, providing one of the part-time specialist dining opportunities, but it no longer exists and mention of it has been dropped from most of the Maritim's literature.
In addition to these main restaurants there are outside restaurants near the pools. Next to the adult pool is the 'Sherazade Terrace', which is the original outside restaurant and is essentially an outdoor Nile-side terrace to the Jolie Ville restaurant. You can take breakfast here, too. The Nakheel Terrace serves the infinity pool and the Nily outdoor restaurant and Moga bar are next to the Horizon pool. So you never have to go far from the pool or your lounger for a drink or snack. Staff from these outside restaurants provide pool-side waiter service.
As restaurant food and drinks at the Jolie Ville are still a little expensive by local standards, many guests choose to stay on a bed and breakfast basis and to eat in town. If you do not linger over your evening meal, the 7pm bus into the 'restaurant area' in the south of Luxor (get off at the Isis hotel: see the map) and returning on the 9pm, will give you about two hours dining time. If you want longer, the savings compared with hotel prices, even the packages, will easily cover the cost of the taxi.
As well as the restaurants, you can get drinks and some snacks from three bars. The old King's bar has been recreated as the Ascot Kings Bar, to the right (as you face the Nile) of the Jolie Ville restaurant. You can get to it from the front, from the Sherazade Terrace or from inside the Jolie Ville restaurant. There is also a lobby bar in the Reception building; a 'Moga Bar' next to the Horizon pool and, very occasionally, 'Sunset Island': an enlarged area at the end of the pier in front of the Sherazade Terrace. All in all, plenty of opportunities for refreshments without having to go too far, wherever on the Island you happen to be. The Ascot bar is also worth trying for informal lunchtime and evening meals. There is a fair selection of main courses, very similar to the room service menu. Prices for first and main courses are quite comparable with restaurants in town although prices for desserts are unrealistically high. So if you don't feel like going to town and don't want to pay the formal restaurant prices, the Ascot bar is an option, although we would suggest skipping the desserts.
The original guest rooms are arranged in 21 clusters of bungalows on both sides of the restaurants. The bungalows are not detached individual structures, but octagonal blocks divided into 16 wedges (they are numbered up to 17 but there is no 13). Each wedge is a guest room with its own terrace with one lounger and two chairs. The bungalows have been refurbished and even the basic, lowest cost ones are now very well equipped with LCD TV showing over 50 channels for many nationalities; in-room safe; complimentary tea & coffee; complimentary Wi-Fi and cable internet access; plenty of storage space and a well-fitted bathroom. Some bathrooms have a shower over small bath but others have shower only, so be sure to mention a preference when booking. Unusually, you can't lock or bolt the bathroom doors in these bungalows (although you can in the newer flats).
Standard bungalow room
The standard of refurbishment is good in terms of the facilities offered, although the standard of work may cause the fastidious to grimace: bathroom wall tiles are not well applied; grout is missing in places; switch and and socket plates are not lined up, even some televisions are not level and so on. Small points, but a huge amount must have been spent on the work and we think that better attention to detail could have produced a better job at the same cost. Although we have not ourselves experienced anything more serious, we have heard others complaining about problems such as gaps in the structure and intermittent failure of the hot water supply, quite possibly attributable to a work programme dictated by speed or cost - or poor choice of contractor - rather than quality. Pity. But if things do go a little wrong they are put right quickly and some of the worst of the improvement work has been re-improved, so don't let this sort of quibble put you off.
We have not tested the wi-fi throughout the site, but we have found the signal to be poor, and to drop out completely, in places and from time to time. Of course, the effect of this will depend on the demand from other users and sensitivity of the modem in your computer as well as the signal strength of the hotel's router. Possibly for the same signal strength reasons we found the internet connection can become very slow. You can borrow a cable from reception and use the wired internet in your room, but we have found this to be equally slow and unreliable. Try it where you are but if you have the same experience it is worth going to the Reception building, where the signal is generally better. If the connection is not good for you, and if you are sending lots of emails, it may be best to stack them in your outbox and to go to the Reception building for a 'send session'.
The in-room safes in all the rooms we have used, 'basic', 'deluxe' and 'superior', are securely fixed to a shelf in the wardrobe, but the shelf itself lifts out! Anyone with access to the room can remove the safe on its shelf. Once taken away, they only have to try 9999 combinations to open it. Not very secure really. If you have anything really valuable, it would be better to leave it in the safe at main reception.
Tea and coffee facilities are fine. Standard supplies seem to be one sachet each of coffee and creamer and one tea bag per person when the cleaner attends in the morning and a top-up at teatime. Ask your cleaner for more if you need to.
There are some nice touches. You can order your own style of pillow, in 5 levels of hardness. We found that even the softest was quite thick, so if you are one of the increasing number of travellers who prefer to take their own favourite pillow, we think you might still like to do that. Another nice touch is that in the bungalows (but not the newer flats) there is an electric socket that will take a variety of plug types, including the british 13amp square plug and the three-pin 5 amp round (but not the Indian or South African 15 amp round).
Some of the two storey blocks
There are ten new two-storey blocks to the south (left as you face the Nile) of the restaurant area, which provide 'deluxe' and 'superior' rooms. These have essentially the same amenities as the refurbished bungalows, but provide more space and storage. The major differences in facilities are an extra wash basin in both types and a bidet in the 'superior'. The new flats (they are still called 'bungalows' by the hotel despite their 2 levels) surround gardens but outlooks vary considerably from Nile view in one aspect, to concrete roof of water treatment plant in another aspect.
Between this cluster of flats and the Nile, at the southern tip of Kings Island, are three 'Royal villas', each with their own Jacuzzi pool. These villas can be rented on a single-night basis but the cost is extremely high. Daytime-only use can be reserved for a more manageable sum with an extra discount if you are a Jolie Ville resident. Examples of possible uses are short-stay guests of residents or by one of a couple getting married who want to stay apart until the big day.
The hotel has massive grounds covering 163 acres (660,000 Sq M) with a long Nile frontage: much more space than you could hope for in any hotel closer to town and much more also than Luxor's two other out-of-town hotels, the Sofitel and the Hilton. As well as providing opportunities for strolling along the Nile or amongst the trees, the grounds hide tennis and other sports facilities for the energetic. For the more restful there is a relaxing area beside the Nile where classical music is played as the sun sets.
Children's area at the infinity pool
Nakheel terrace Restaurant at the infinity pool
The Jolie Ville has a much-praised club for school-aged children. It provides indoor activities, treasure hunts, zoo visits and other activities, mostly free of charge. Nearby is an unsupervised dry play area with swings, slides and so on. Some of the play equipment is shaded, but some is not, so check before your child sits on the see-saw in case it is too hot.
These facilities are close to the delightful 'Infinity' pool, which is not far from the edge of the Nile but at a higher level so there is an illusion that you are swimming in the Nile itself. A relatively new 'Horizon' pool, is similar but even larger and situated close to the 2 storey more recent development. Both infinity pools have a wet children's area, slides and play equipment. So mum and dad can relax in one of the main pools within site of the little ones - and there are usually lifeguards on duty during daylight hours, too.
As well as the Infinity and Horizon pools, there is also a separate adult-only 'Relaxing' pool nearer the main restaurant and some distance from the family pools for those who want to swim or relax in a quieter environment.
The hotel advertises an extensive range of activities including the usual aerobic and other pool-based and sporting events. The water-based options take place in the Infinity pool, so that is your pool of choice if you want to join in group exercises. If you don't want to watch others do this, or don't want to be disturbed by the accompanying music, the Horizon pool is quieter.
Other activities include tours of various parts of the hotel, bird safaris (charged) and basic arabic lessons. Don't expect all of the advertised events to happen! We have abandoned waits in the appointed place for basic arabic and have waited in vein for internal tours. If you particularly want to participate in any of the events, it is best to confirm your interest with Customer Services in the Reception lobby, just to make sure someone knows they have a customer or at least to avoid a pointless wait.
Running machines with a view of the Nile
More Gym Equipment
Infinity pool appears to merge with the Nile
The 'Fellah's tent' is in the grounds of the hotel. This is the destination of the drinking, eating and culture show offered by tour agents. These evenings are popular and generally praised by those who like that sort of thing.
The zoo has been moved from beside the Nile, in the infinity pool area, where it used to house the Mövenpick crocodile, to the south-east edge of the site. It has also been improved considerably, providing much more spacious accommodation for the residents, which include 'petting animals' such as goats, as well as camels and big birds. Although better than before, we have to question whether keeping animals in restricted (albeit improved) space has anything to do with a holiday in Egypt, and whether any pleasure it may give some visitors will be outweighed by the displeasure of others.
Impressive facilities include a huge fitness and spa building with extensive gym equipment, free for residents; chargeable chiropody, massage and other personal treatments; hairdressing and a clinic. All in all, the Jolie Ville is almost a village on its own island.
'Old timers' have expressed some concern that the extension of the hotel would spoil what had been a quiet, uncrowded and restful holiday island. We have enjoyed the old hotel since its pre-enlargement Mövenpick days. Although we were ourselves uncertain about the effect of the extension, we now think it has been well done and that the extra facilities provided, including the increase in pool and dining space, will put most minds to rest. Although there are more guest rooms, the guests are more spread out, so crowding is not an issue. There is already a tendency for guests in the 2 storey blocks to use the Horizon pool and Nily restaurant, whilst the residents of the bungalows incline to the Infinity pool, for example. A possible exception to the crowding problem is the Jolie Ville restaurant which, despite having two separate food collection areas at busy times, can become rather hectic when the hotel is busy, especially when large day or short-term groups arrive as part of a tour or conference.
There was also some concern about the loss of open space, including the old bird-watching areas. Bird life does not appear to have been adversely affected by the expansion of the hotel, even though there is clearly not as much open space or bird habitat as there used to be.
If all this geography sounds complicated, there are boards all over the grounds which have maps of the island to help visitors to get around and find the building they want. A copy of a similar map, kindly supplied by Martin Smale, is here. Close the page with the map to come back to this page.
Some new features were not available when we were last at the Jolie Ville. One is the promise of the map of the island and other hotel and sightseeing information on the room TVs. Most of the information pages on the TVs just have a heading or phone number, some other pages even give information about the wrong hotel, but the room bill feature on the room TVs does work!
The walk along the main part of the Nile itself is still pleasant, but the extra leg along the tributary that makes the grounds into an island, between the Nile and the access bridge, appears relatively neglected. The pathway itself is very rough, broken or missing in places and needs careful navigation. Watch out, too, for waterlogged grass. Shaded benches along the route are welcome, but there are no 'hides' for devoted bird watchers, of which the hotel attracts quite a few.
In our experience, the Jolie Ville has excellent staff. In some other hotels, management can be hard to find and difficult to identify, and some administrative staff can be officious. Not so at the Jolie Ville, where everyone from management and operational staff are available, keen to make you feel welcome and to do what is necessary to make your stay as good as it can be.
One of the benefits of an out-of-town resort hotel, compared with the hotels fronting onto a main road in town, is the relative lack of hassle. In town you will be bombarded the minute you leave the front door with offers of horse carriage rides, taxis and a great variety of other trips. It is refreshing to be able to walk from the front door of your Jolie Ville bungalow to the restaurant or for a stroll along the Nile, and be greeted by a welcome rather than someone trying to sell you something. There are two possible exceptions. The shoe shine man has been at the hotel for ages and rings his bell to attract attention as guests walk by. Fine. But he can also sometimes call out and tell you how badly your shoes need cleaning. Not the same sort of insistence you will get from shoe shine boys in town, but a bit unnecessary.
Possibly worse are the massage, manicure and other personal service providers, who will approach you at the pool, even if you are dozing, and are quite insistent that you should take this, that or the other service, going through their litany of offers before accepting that you really don't want any of them. It takes the edge off the relaxation a little and prevents the hotel being called totally hassle-free, but you will experience the same, or worse, at most local hotels. We prefer the arrangement at the Eatabe (previously the El Luxor), where the service provider has a lectern and will attract you attention as you walk by, or is available if you want to make an enquiry, but will not approach you whilst you are relaxing.
If you want to be out of town and if you are happy with the concept of a hotel that is a collection of bungalows and flats rather than a single building, and especially if you are bringing children to Luxor, then we think you will be pleased with the Jolie Ville with its plentiful amenities, for a quieter and more hassle-free holiday than you could hope to get in Luxor town centre or the southern cluster hotels.
Review updated October 2014