New Pola Hotel
New Pola hotel
|Official local rating||3 star|
|Typical UK rating||3 star|
|TV & Fridge in all rooms|
|Remote controlled air con|
|Outdoor pool (on roof)|
|2 restaurants (see review)|
|Small bar in reception area|
|8 minute walk from centre|
Khalid Ben El Walid, Luxor 1868
Potentially a good basic hotel with astounding views, let down by its restaurant. Not good for children.
Ways to book this hotel
The agencies listed below can book rooms for you at this hotel. Click on their logo to go to their web site. The ones listed first usually offer the best deals.
Transfer to the hotel
An unbooked airport taxi should cost about LE40-50 per taxi (not per person).
Local tour companies will arrange a transfer from about LE80 per car. Read more about this on the Getting to the hotel page.
If you need a hotel with a variety of restaurants and lounge bars and ancillary services, such as massage, entertainment, spacious grounds and cozy corners, the New Polar is not for you. If you want a clean, up-to-date, reasonably spacious room as a base to explore the rest of Luxor, then the New Polar should be on your list.
The New Polar is a stack of modern, good-sized, superficially clean rooms, sandwiched between a reception area and restaurant underneath and a two-tier lounge deck with pool and second restaurant on top. There is also a shop selling cans of drink, postcards, cotton clothing and souvenirs near the main entrance.
Part of the 'southern cluster' of hotels, it is the nearest of that group to the town centre at about 8 minutes gentle stroll from the Corniche - about 7 minutes closer than the next hotels, St Joseph's and the Sonesta.
The New Polar has 81 rooms, of which about half face directly towards the Nile. Many of the Nile-facing ones have a good Nile view, but the views of some, especially on the lower floors and on the left (as you face the front) are obscured by tall trees across the road. The Nile-facing ones also face the main road and the single glazing does nothing to keep the road noise out.
The rooms have bathroom with bath tub incorporating a shower, modern remote-controlled air-conditioning, satellite TV and fridge. The plumbing appears to be reliable, although at quiet times you have to let the water in the hot tap run for quite a while before the water warms up.
A really attractive feature is the roof lounge area. This is on two levels. Both levels have an area for sun-beds, tables and chairs with sun umbrellas. The lower area has a fair-sized pool and restaurant. The views from both levels provide a panorama of the Nile that surpasses even the famed view from the St Joseph Hotel, just up the road.
Sunset from the roof of the New Pola hotel
Any reference to a 'restaurant' should be taken loosely. If you envisage a college refectory, with tables arranged as benches, you will have a fairer image. Occasionally there will be table cloths on some, but not all, tables. This is not necessarily a benefit as they are rarely clean. Most of the tables have tiled surfaces which appear to be cleaned between meals, but not between guests. The roof-top restaurant is much the same, but with even more college-like tables.
Breakfast is a very basic self-service affair. Even the hot drinks are self-service from flasks. There is sometimes also an artificial fruit juice. To eat you can choose from bread rolls, butter, jam, one cereal, tomato, cheese, ham and boiled egg, but not everything is available every day. There is no fruit and not even toast unless you ask for it and wait an absolute age.
The evening meal choice is limited. Meat, fish, chicken and vegetarian options, all cooked and presented in an Egyptian way, are usual choices, preceded by soup of the day and followed by fresh fruit. There are no other starter or dessert choices although ice creams are available in the reception area.
Salads and other snacks are available to order during the day. Room service is available as well as eating on the roof, in the restaurant or outside. The service is leisurely at best. Order well before you want to eat.
New Pola main restaurant
Although basic and thin on variety, the food is wholesome and tasty. The prices are very competitive too. The three course evening meal is around LE25 so with water two can eat for about £6. Bargain prices are available throughout the hotel. Coffee, hot chocolate or soft drinks in the lounge or on the roof are a third of the price charged at most hotels and a quarter of the price charged at the likes of the Sheraton.
Parents with children may be concerned about some safety issues. The lights on the stairs and in the corridors tend to come on a bit late, not when dusk first falls. More significantly there are tall windows in the corridors with very low thresholds. The windows are sometimes left open so there is a falling hazard. The doors to the balconies do not lock. At the date of our review there were not even cots - we were told babies cold sleep on the floor with a blanket. Following our representations about this we were told a cot would be made available, but be sure to check before you go if you are taking an infant.
Many hotels in Luxor are aimed exclusively at tourists. The St Joseph hotel even has a notice on the door banning people who are Luxor residents. The New Polar is the reverse. It tends to cater widely for Egyptian nationals especially groups who appear to be university students on cultural field visits. They tend to stay for only a short time, so the hotel can be very busy for a short while, with some corridors resembling a college campus, and very quiet the rest of the time.
We have heard negative comments about the reception staff, especially their grasp of English. We have found the staff to be rather casual but most are courteous and obliging. Their understanding of English varies between staff members. By and large they can manage the usual hotel terms. However, their ability to deal with slightly different requests is not as good. Even with a dictionary under the counter, you might struggle with conversation that breaks new ground for them.
Still on the slightly negative side, the pillows are thick and hard; there is no daily supply of courtesy toiletries; the bathroom fan sounds like a Jumbo taking off; the balcony doors are heavy and quite hard to open and the TV channels are nearly all Egyptian - we could not tune BBCWorld or CNN but EuroNews is available, occasionally in English, if you can bear its repetitiveness. Nile TV is available and programmes in English alternate with programmes in other languages. One of the Egyptian channels sometimes carries English speaking films and sitcoms.
On the plus side, you can use your laptop in the reception area to access the internet for about the price charged at local internet cafes and much cheaper than usual hotel rates.
Accepting its weaknesses, especially the restaurant service and lack of child safety features, and comparing the hotel to other 3 star hotels in Luxor, we think that you get more than you pay for. And you really don't pay very much.