Nour El Nil run four beautiful dahabiehs on the Nile, and set the standard for quality. They also have Beit Sabee, a small, fifteen room guesthouse, perfectly situated on the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor.
It’s well away from the noise and hassle of Luxor Town, but is right by the ancient pharaonic sites – the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens and the tombs of the nobles. It has an open courtyard where you can eat – it never rains – or a fabulous rooftop sitting area which overlooks the magnificent Temple of Habu, as well as the desert. Breakfast up here is stunning.
The rooms are inexpensive and simply but elegantly and stylishly furnished [Eléonore is a french interior designer, amongst other things – see the review in Elle Magazine]. The construction is modern (safe) but looks traditional, and is part of a small group of houses in the village known as Gourna. Lonely Planet recommends it as one of the Boutique hotels in the Nile valley…
More like a house than a hotel, Beit Sabée has appeared in design magazines for its cool use of Nubian colours and local furnishings with a twist. Near the farms around Medinat Habu, it offers quiet accommodation and a closer contact with rural Egypt
You can see Old Gourna from the roof. This is where locals built their houses over the top of a tomb they found, allowing them to liberate the tomb’s contents for their own benefit. The government arranged for new housing to be built and resettled most of the locals so the housing over the tombs could be demolished. An admirable plan, but it seems to be taking quite a time. They’ve also built a rather ugly wall to stop people expanding the housing further into the desert, but it doesn’t spoil Beit Sabee one bit.
At Beit Sabee you can also have lunch and dinner, together with a beer or some wine, all at modest prices. They will arrange cars to take you around to the sites and a guide if you want one. Also belly dancing – but in the nicest possible taste…
It’s very easy to get into Luxor. The taxi driver lives next door and will take you to the river (the main part of Luxor is on the East bank) for 20 Egyptian pounds (EP), and you can either take the National ferry – atmospheric and only 1 EP – or a private water taxi. Negotiate your own price but about 10 EP (still less than £1) each way, or a bit more if you want to go right up to the Temple of Karnac [recommended]. It saves both the walk from the national ferry and the hassle of constantly avoiding the touts with their “Egyptian Ferraris” – the rather worn carriage and distinctly tired looking horse.
You can stay in a big hotel in central Luxor – The Winter Palace for example – but this is much, much nicer.
Guesthouse/hotel Beit Sabee