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Trip Report Desert Paradise Lodge in Luxor

We arrived at this beautiful place on the quiet West Bank of Luxor to find ourselves the only guests. For 6 days we were treated like Pharaohs. Ashraf, the owner, had upgraded us to the best room in the hotel at no extra charge. We had the run of the beautiful gardens. The pool was the perfect place to recover from the intense August heat. Ahmed, the cook, prepared the loveliest lunches and dinners for us and aside from one terrific meal at Sofra restaurant and a lunch at the Sheraton to appease our son's appetite for pizza, we dined at the lodge.

We shall always remember our afternoon chats and Chai Limoon (Lemon tea) served to us by Abdul, the gardener, the kindest and gentlest of men, for whom nothing was too much trouble. Mohammed served us our food and was delighted when we greeted him in Arabic and encouraged us in our further attempts to speak the language. Another Mohammed, the Lodge's driver, took us to the West Bank souk at our request, which is an experience not to be missed. On the final drive to the airport, he made us a present of CDs which he had been playing in the vehicle during our stay, which we had liked.

This was typical of the generosity of the people we met on the West Bank and a sharp contrast to the hard sell of the East Bank Corniche. It is true that the hotel is a little distance from the Nile and from West Bank sites but for us that was also its virtue. We allowed ourselves 6 days to see Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Nobles, the temple of Hatshepsut, Deir El Medina, Karnak and Luxor temples, Luxor museum, Howard Carter's house, visit a local family and take a balloon and felucca ride. We set off very early in the morning to avoid the fiercest heat and took diarolite to help prevent dehydration. Desert Paradise was the perfect place to return to for afternoon relaxation and cooling down before evening visits. In this way we were able to fully enjoy the wonders of Luxor without succumbing to the heat of August. The hotel is designed in a very tasteful Nubian style and is a genuinely delightful place to unwind in. We felt very much at peace here and don't believe that this feeling would have changed so much with other people there.

We booked a couple of tours with yet another Mohammed, who gave us an informative insight into The Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut temple. Ashraf helped secure a very good price for our balloon flight but we also explored the East bank ourselves and visited a local family to help them prepare a meal which we all shared. This visit was organised by Real Egypt tours and was one of the highlights of our stay in Luxor. However independent you wish to be is up to you.

Although we clearly benefited from the current lull in tourism in Egpyt, it was quite sad to see such a special space empty. We enjoyed the most fabulous time in Luxor and a large part of the reason for that was the extraordinary generosity of Ashraf, the warmth and humanity of his staff and the delicious tranquility of Desert Paradise Lodge. It became like a second home to us and we wish it many more visitors.

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