This is part four of a five part trip report from my travels to the UAE and Egypt. This report includes my review of the Sheraton Luxor Resort and our EGYPTAIR flight from Cairo to Luxor.

EGYPTAIR Cairo – Luxor

The flight from Cairo (CAI) to Luxor (LXR) is a short 1 hour and 10 minutes with about 48 minutes of actual flying time. Our EGYPTAIR flight was operated by EGYPTAIR Express on an Embraer RJ-170. There’s not too much to report back but here are a few of my observations:

  • I was shocked at how lax the security at Cairo airport was, especially for the domestic flights. Going through security was an absolute breeze. I set off the metal detector as I passed through but no one seemed to care much. I was lightly patted down and barely brushed over with a hand-held metal detector before being told to continue on. No one even asked me to remove the change from my pockets which likely set off the alarms. It goes without saying that your laptop and liquids can stay in your bag!
  • The flight was only 1/4 full and there were tons of empty seats.
  • Despite a less than stellar reputation, we departed the gate in Cairo five minutes early and arrived almost 20 minutes early in Luxor.
  • There was drink service on the short flight, mostly made up of fruit and vegetable juices as well as water. Flight attendants were nice but not overly friendly.
  • The E-170s aren’t that old in plane years but they do give off that late 80s / early 90s feel.
  • United MileagePlus miles posted approximately 5 days after my flight.

Sheraton Luxor Resort

Our greeting at the Sheraton Luxor was quite different than the welcoming we received at the Le Meridien Pyramids in Cairo. There was still a guard post for security reasons, but as we pulled up to the main entrance there were two bellman waiting to help us unload our bags and escort us to the front desk.

Booking & Check-In
Check-in was also quite different. The front-desk staff included both men and women and they warmly greeted us and acknowledged our SPG platinum status. The Sheraton Luxor is a category 1 property and during our travel dates was priced from $45 USD per night or 3,000 SPG points. As we were again sharing rooms, we opted to pay $22.50 per person instead of using 1500 miles each. With Cash & Points redemptions now being available for category 1 properties outside of the US/Canada & Asia Pacific regions, you now have a third option at this hotel – 1,500 points and $30. The rates seem to be pretty static and were still the same when I checked today:

We reserved a classic room at the $45 rate, but were notified that we had been upgraded to a junior suite on the club level with Nile views and a wrap-around private balcony! Not bad for $45!  Additionally, we would have access to the executive lounge which served breakfast, snacks, and cocktails. We were also told that we could enjoy the buffet breakfast in the downstairs restaurant as well. We selected wine and a fruit platter as our welcome gift but were informed that those would already be waiting in the suite…impressive. We then chose the 500 SPG points (this welcome gift can make the hotel as cheap as 2,500 points or 1,000 points and $30 USD).

The Room
Wow, we were not disappointed but the best part was definitely the terrace and the views of the Nile. Our terrace was enormous with a table, chairs, and loungers. Additionally, we had views in every direction – the Nile, the pool, and the gardens.

Parts of the room had been renovated in the last few years and the bed was comfortable (maybe not as comfortable as the official Sheraton Sweet Sleepers though). The shower had good pressure and the bathroom was clean. Warning, confirm an updated room in advance. We spoke to other guests in the lounge and those not upgraded to suites were hit or miss with the quality of the rooms. Some were happy with their rooms, others mentioned that their rooms were in need a renovation, and others complained that their rooms were only partially renovated (some new furniture added).  Overall though, more were happy with their room than not. I think everyone was more so fascinated by the views. When back at the hotel we spent most of our time on the terrace. The real magic of this resort is experiencing a Nile sunset from your balcony with feluccas, homemade boats, and passenger ships sailing by . There was always a nice breeze and we surprisingly didn’t have any problems with mosquitoes

The Pool & Grounds
The pool is staffed by several attendants who can bring you drinks, food, or umbrellas. There are two pools, a large family friendly pool and a quieter adults only pool.  Both have great views of the Nile as well as the Valley of the Kings in the distance. You can also choose to lounge on the grassy area overlooking the Nile instead. The hotel boasts its own dock where you can hire a felucca, kayak, or motor boat to cruise along the Nile. You can speak with the front desk for rates or negotiate directly with some of the boat owners passing by. The overall atmosphere at the resort is completely relaxed. It was also quite empty, we didn’t see that many other people on property…pool during prime hours

I recommend having breakfast downstairs in the restaurant overlooking the Nile or taking a few items from the lounge and sitting on your own patio. Breakfast was average with some of the pastries being a little hard.

The Service – Overall, I think the service was much better than the Le Meridien in Cairo, though there were a few staff members that were not overly helpful. However, the majority were incredible and here’s a great example of their service level. Our flight to Sharm El Sheikh was not until 9:25pm and we asked for a late checkout. We were granted a 4pm checkout time but wanted to take a tour that wouldn’t return us to the hotel until 6pm. The hotel agreed to let us keep the room until that time without any hassle at all. When we returned at 6pm they asked if we needed more time to shower and relax prior to our flight. We said that would be great and they told us to stay in the room until we were ready to depart. Not only that, they sent up some wine and fruit to thank us for staying! I’ve never had such a late checkout at any Starwood property in the world!

One word of caution, when you walk outside the Sheraton gate (like the Le Meridien in Cairo) you will be accosted by tour guides, souvenir hawkers,  and taxi drivers. If you have arranged for a tour, you’ll be picked up inside the gate, however if you plan to walk in the local area as we did, just be prepared. We had no trouble with anyone when we politely declined with a smile.

Up next, Marriott Sharm El Sheikh.

Thanks to MSYYZ and EkA380 on airliners for the MS pics!

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Willy April 19, 2013 - 8:36 am

Hmmm, $45 per night, free breakfast and other amenities, pool, gym, etc. Might as well spend the winter months there for $1,350. Amazing.

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