After our speedy ride from Abu Simbel to Aswan we boarded the 3 pm VIP (Exp 887) train to Luxor. Our guide from the ship purchased our tickets in advance ($10 USD each) but they are easily purchased day of trip by following the tips of the link above. The train was very comfortable albeit incredibly cold – outside was 30 C + and inside was about 15 C. This was a quick way to see everything that we did with the ship backwards – and it only took 3.5 hours.
We arrived in Luxor and took a quick cab ride to the Hilton Luxor Resort. Driving through the outskirts of Luxor it looked like a war zone – a haze was over the city perhaps due to a recent sand storm mixed with pollution…destroyed buildings and plenty of trash.
We approached a gate which lowered and were taken down a very long cobble drive of the Hilton Luxor Resort lined with palm trees. The feeling was quite surreal it was as if we just landed in Elysium (the movie) – and we were the bad guys who got to breathe the good air.
Entering the hotel the smell was amazing – not that fake Fa-breeze smell but the smell of actual fresh flowers. After breathing in so much bad air and for so long it was incredibly refreshing. The resort is clean and it is mostly modern (especially for Egypt). It sits right on the Nile with most rooms having a fantastic view of it. We paid for the stay with our Citi Prestige card for 4 days at a time – with this card until September 2019 your 4th day at a hotel is free. Our 8 day stay averaged out to be $66 USD/night which is truly ridiculous for what we got. By signing up for the Hilton Aspire card we immediately received Diamond status at all Hiltons which provides for a possibility of upgrades, a free breakfast, etc., Our room was a huge suite in the spa part of the resort. It had it’s own steam room, outdoor private jacuzzi and private spa room. The most important thing for us in any hotel (after cleanliness) is wifi. Most Egyptians will tell you that their wifi is terrible overall yet in this resort it was fantastic and with our Diamond status it came free in the suite and was strong enough at the pool and the gym!
There are 2 pools – an adult one in the spa area which was an incredible infinity pool and a second much larger pool which allowed children. The gym is equipped with great machines and overlooks the Nile. There are reasonable restaurants to choose from and even with my plant based diet I found quite a few options. My favorite is the Egyptian specialty the Koshari.
Needless to say we never left the resort for the 8 days that we were there and cannot recommend it enough – fantastic stay!
After leaving Luxor we were excited to see the Red Sea. We booked our car through Emo Travel – and had a great experience with them during this 4.5 hour drive (which was the absolute opposite for our trip from Hurghada to Cairo – even though they are listed as #1 on TripAdvisor please proceed with caution).
Arriving in Hurghada it was a typical resort town – a large boulevard lined with restaurants and shops on one side and resorts on the Red Sea side. Our first impression of the Hilton Hurghada Resort was how dated it is. Everything seemed to be from the 70s – don’t get me wrong it is a clean resort just quite tired through a lot of good use. The people around us seemed to be very happy to be there – especially the ones that purchased the all inclusive alcohol package. We paid for our stay through Hilton points – 5,000 points per night which averaged out to be about $25 USD per night and again with our Diamond status we got a room upgrade (bigger room with view of pool) and a free breakfast. The free in room wifi which Diamond holders “enjoy” was just too weak and too spotty to be used in the room. Even at reception it was not reliable.
There are 2 pools there – a huge pool which seemed to go on forever with a large children’s area and a smaller quieter pool on the other side of the road near the gym. The resort is situated on the Red Sea and has quite a bit of beach front for sunbathing or swimming which is quite clean. There are attractions there including the poor humiliated camel which was paraded around with sunglasses – Rob took the picture, I couldn’t even look at the poor creature without feeling so sorry for him. Oddly, I don’t have any other pictures of our stay here which says something. Perhaps it was the constant comparison to the Hilton Luxor Resort which was only $41/night more but is just not comparable to this one.