Winter at the Winter Palace. Art Travel Deluxe.

View from the garden at night

So I’m in Luxor, and I’m staying in one of the city’s grandest, most gorgeous and most historic buildings built after the Pharaohs. The Winter Palace Hotel.

Now owned by Sofitel, the hotel opened in 1907 and was a project of the now-defunct Thomas Cook Co. together with two Cairo hoteliers. It was designed for Europeans, the Egyptian aristocracy and it had its share of celebrities. Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile here; Howard Carter announced his discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb here; Lord Carnarvon, who financed the archaeological expedition, spent his winters here.

For me, a few days here is a special treat, finally getting to celebrate passing my PhD exam a full 12 Covid months ago. It’s great to be able to relax in such splendid surroundings after a day of temples and tombs!

Also, being here is research in itself. A fascinating slice of colonial Egypt. I’ll provide a guided tour of the hotel’s artistic splendours later.

Of course, this is still covid time and the hotel would ordinarily be thronging with Europeans and other foreigners. It’s a lot emptier than it would normally be, but the service remains perfect.

Egyptian breakfast

Again, this is something you can look forward to after covid.

Oh, did I say it’s exactly on the East Bank of the Nile? And about ten minutes walk to Luxor temple.