St Joseph Hotel
St Joseph hotel
|Official local rating||3|
|Typical UK rating||2|
|TV & Fridge in all rooms|
|Elderly air conditioning|
|Outdoor pool (on roof)|
|2 restaurants (see review)|
|Pub-type bar in basement|
|15 minute walk from centre|
|Phone||0020 95 2381707|
|Address||Khaled EbN El-Waled St
Friendly, basic, family-run hotel with good views from the roof and excellent evening restaurant but needs some updating.
Ways to book this hotel
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Just across the main road from the Nile, almost opposite the Sonesta, this family run hotel attracts 3 stars from the Egyptian authorities, but usually gets just 2 from English companies.
Immediate impressions from its side-street entrance and reception area - which is more akin to a doctor's waiting room than a hotel lounge - probably contribute to that rating. Once settled, however, you appreciate that this hotel has a great deal to offer.
We have heard recent reports that the hotel is not as friendly now as it once was. We have to assume that these are isolated incidents as we have stayed at the hotel since these reports were published on a travel blog web site and have not ourselves witnessed any reduction in the regard of the hotel for its guests.
The complaints may be related to a new policy of the hotel. The hotel does not now allow people who are residents of Luxor beyond the reception area, and even to get that far they need to show identification and a reason for their visit. This includes foreign nationals who live locally. We understand that this is because they have taken exception to people coming into the building and circulating promotional material for competing restaurants. Our own experience is that the hotel remains efficient and friendly.
Rooms at the front (room numbers ending 01, 02 or 03) have a face-on view of the Nile, but they also front the main road, so traffic noise is unavoidable. Nearly all the other rooms have a side-on view of the Nile and are above a side road which is less busy but nearly as noisy. In these rooms the Nile is visible from the balconies and from one corner of the room, but not from the rest of the room. Most of these rooms face towards the town and the immediate outlook is towards a school and the law courts - better than some other hotels, which face onto utilities or commercial buildings.
The rooms are basic but adequate, clean and (except for the pillows) comfortable. Some are bigger to accommodate a third bed, but most have twin beds, a desk, fridge and satellite TV with English-speaking channels including BBCWorld and a film channel. The bathrooms have a bath tub with shower attachment and efficient plumbing.
Most of the air conditioning units are old, very noisy and not adjustable other than to turn on or off because the knobs are missing. A notice in the room says that the air conditioning is 'centrally controlled', which in practice means that you ask reception to get someone to come to the room with tools to turn the knobs. This is not at all practical, especially if you want different temperatures at night and during the day - and the adjustment is not very accurate anyway. Light sleepers may find the noise of the air conditioning a problem at night when sounds tend to appear even louder than they do in daylight.
A vertical vent shaft runs from the bar in the basement to the roof, picking up many bathrooms along the way. As well as carrying air, the shaft carries noise from the bar. If you are sensitive to noise at night and have one of those rooms, you may need to close the vent or the bathroom door to avoid bar sounds, especially when there is music.
The swimming pool is quite small, located on the roof at the end of a rooftop terrace. The roof area is called 'Jo's Paradise' and as well as the pool has sheltered seating and a cafe that serves drinks and a reasonable selection of snacks including omelettes, pastas and grills.
View from the hotel
Look beyond the electricity station and water tanks across the road and the roof offers one of the best Nile views in Luxor. It used to be even better until the newer hotels across the road blocked part of the panorama. The New Pola hotel just down the road has a better view now.
In the basement is a pub, recently named 'The Cavern', with piped music and half-price happy hours between 8pm - 9pm and 10pm - 11pm every evening.
St. Joseph's has an excellent evening restaurant, once called 'The Classic' but recently named 'Tudor Rose'. The menu offers a reasonable variety of Egyptian and international dishes. At first it appears that the prices are quite high, but if you take advantage of their 'Special offer' meals are very good value indeed. The offer entitles customers to 6 four-course evening meals (food only) for a total of £35. The offer is open to residents and non-residents alike. Food of this quality at under £6 (plus drinks) for 4 courses is worth trying even if you are staying in a more expensive hotel.
Breakfast rather basic. Hot drinks are served at the table and your choice of egg is also cooked to order and brought to you. Everything else is self-service - quite normal for Luxor hotels. There is prepared fruit, but limited in quantity and variety. Toast is self-cook on a rather slow machine. Yoghurts, processed cheese and butter are in the fridge. Breads, pastries and three or four varieties of cooked food are available self-service.
Updated April 2010