Sonesta St George
Sonesta St George
|Official local rating||5 star|
|Typical UK rating||5 star|
|Royal Club Rooms||118|
|LCD TV & Fridge in all rooms|
|Hair drier & minibar|
|One outdoor pool|
|Four restaurants and a cafe|
|Saloon bar with Nile view|
|15 minute walk from centre|
|Phone||0020 95 2382575|
|Address||Corniche El Nile Street
Smart, high-class hotel with excellent hands-on staff, but otherwise efficient rather than friendly. Excellent facilities but increasingly disappointing views as you get closer to the main road road end of the building.
Ways to book this hotel
The agencies listed below can book rooms for you at this hotel. Click on the name to go to their web site. The ones listed first usually offer the best deals.
Lobby and reception
This 5 star hotel is reputed to be one of the best in Luxor. Its ambience reflects its 5 stars.
Its location is not quite as convenient to the historic sites as some hotels, such as the Winter Palace, the El Luxor or Pavillon, or the lower cost Suzanna and Emilio. Nevertheless, it is only a few minutes from local restaurants and shops, and 15 minutes walk from the centre of town, so it is much closer to the places you need to go to than the Sofitel or the Maritim Jolie Ville and slightly closer than the Sheraton. On the other hand, the main road passes by the front so from some parts of the building there is a little road and traffic noise, which is not a problem at the Jolie Ville or Sheraton.
The hotel is right on the east bank of the Nile. Part of its outdoor seating area is on a pontoon floating on the Nile itself. Being so close to the Nile you expect excellent views from most of the rooms but the reality is a little disappointing. At one end of the building a few rooms have an excellent Nile view in both directions, but these rooms come at a high price supplement. At the other end, some rooms face the busy road at the front.
Most rooms are outside these extremes and have what is described as a 'side Nile view'. Odd-numbered rooms look towards central Luxor, but over the top of the local utility works, which are not attractive and their machinery is noisy. Not conducive to relaxing on the balcony, especially if you are on one of the lower floors. From the even-numbered rooms you see over the top of a site that used to be a swimming pool used by local people but which is currently empty awaiting redevelopment. On this side your view of the the Nile is partly blocked by the Nile Palace and Lotus hotels. Room numbering follows the normal pattern - the first digit being the floor and the other two digits being the room number on that floor. Lower room numbers place you nearer the Nile. The nearer you are the less of your view is blocked. So a high floor number (where there is less noise from things happening below) but low room number is best.
The service from reception and management is courteous but in a way that feels taught rather than natural. Service staff are much more amenable. The pool staff are very attentive and, although a little slow by western standards, the waiting staff are friendly and efficient enough.
There are plenty of the kind of amenities you would expect in a hotel of this class, including a health and fitness centre, massage and hairdressing. You have to pay extra for most of these including the health club, but a gym with a treadmill, rowing machine and a bench is free for residents. There are also a few shops, a bank, travel agency and ATMs inside and outside. Less usually, films are shown on a large screen on one of the pontoons, so you can watch (free) a film whilst sipping a drink beside the Nile.
The main indoor bar, Nobles, is smart rather than cozy. It has extensive views to the Nile over the hotel's swimming pool and grounds but rather leisurely waiter service.
Breakfast and half-board dinners are taken in the main restaurant, the Seraphis. Breakfast is self-service, which is quite normal even for 5 star hotels. Unusually, breakfast includes Japanese options as well as the more usual British and continental choices. Breakfast food variety and quantity are both plentiful and standards are excellent.
As well as the main international restaurant there are Japanese, Italian and Middle Eastern restaurants, the Miyako, Beban and Aladdin respectively. There is also a cafe / snack bar, the Lotus, in the reception area. The restaurants are quite pricey by Luxor standards, but you get the surroundings and service you are paying for. The food itself is nothing special, but if you want to eat Japanese, this is reputed to be the best in the town. If you want to stay in the hotel and enjoy some food variety you will be happy enough with the restaurants but they are not special enough to draw you in if you are staying elsewhere.
The hotel has been extended vertically over he last few years. Although it took longer than programmed, work is now complete and has provided some excellent new facilities including 118 'Royal Club' rooms. These are probably the best appointed rooms in Luxor. They have ornate marble bathrooms with 'intelligent toilet (electronically controlled!). The baths have steam, jacuzzi, water massage, and water temperature control. This ultimate is a suite on this floor, with spacious living rooms as well as a circular bath to add to the well-appointed bedroom and prime Nile views. You pay for this kind of luxury, but if luxury is what you want, it is hard to beat this.
Review updated May 2011