THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCESM
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES

The Luxor hotel reinstating Egypt’s bygone glamour and golden-age appeal

Twenty years after opening, Luxor’s most beautiful hideaway has a new owner and big plans for its future – set to recapture the country’s golden age of tourism

Isabella Sullivan

27 May 2024

al moudira hotel egypt

There’s something magical about the Nile River and the lush banks that surround it. People have been drawn to them since time immemorial: pharaohs built their cities here, entrusting the surrounding mountains with their final resting place, and millennia later, tourists flocked to understand this great civilisation. The city of Luxor often acts as a gateway to the Nile and its wonders. Tourists largely stay on cruise ships, extending their stay at the historic Sofitel Winter Palace for a few nights, but one hotel captivates like no other – stepping into a new role as the main event, and not a stop on the journey: Al Moudira Hotel. 

A few miles away from the bustle of Luxor on the west bank, right near the Valley of the Kings and site of Ancient Thebes, Al Moudira Hotel offers Luxor in a different light – one that’s peaceful, old-world, yet contemporary, and blooming exotic gardens. It’s clear that the hotel is bringing Egypt into its tourism heyday of the early 20th century, a golden age of bygone glamour where well-heeled travellers from across the world flocked to see its historic sights and one that’s slowly picking up.

Al Moudira Hotel entrance

The hotel itself opened in 2001, built by Italo-Lebanese Zeina Aboukheir, whose eye for antiques crafted a beautiful mini world where Egyptian and French antiques fill rose-hued spaces and outbuildings linked by courtyards and gardens. A chance visit from Cairo-based lawyer Florian Amereller changed its fate in 2018, booking his property out for his wife’s birthday festivities. In 2022, he purchased the property with great plans for expansion and renovation – bringing the beautiful, rural property into an exciting new era. 

The Al Moudira Hotel of today is impossibly glamorous and enchanting, thanks to a feeling and vibe like no other. It has the old-world charm of the Winter Palace, the gardens and bygone glamour of the Old Cataract, but a stylish, design-led edge like none on these banks: fountains, bougainvillaea, antique furniture, knick knacks, hand-painted frescoes and unique rooms and villas – just 54 rooms are palatial, ornate, fifty-plus square meters of stone, tile, gold leaf and antique furniture. This impeccable eye for detail, passed down from Aboukheir and remains today: seen in the striped pool loungers and Egyptian-favourite board games – played by the pool by chic travellers in floppy hats. Or in the courtyard, with wood-fired pizzas from the old-world bar. The hotel’s buildings surround this central courtyard, designed by London-trained Egyptian architect Olivier Sednaoui to include domes, ceilings, murals and plenty of Trompe-l’œi. Sednaoui also designed Christian Louboutin’s Luxor home just a few miles away (the designer is smitten with Egypt and also has a Nile houseboat).

al moudira hotel bedroom

Al Moudira’s six villas are a real stand-out, giving what is often missed in Luxor (and often Egypt) – space, exclusivity and privacy. The property now boasts several new villas on the palm treed-fringes of the property, elevating its quirky boutique hotel feel into a new stratosphere of luxury accommodation. New villas range from two-bedroom bungalows to ‘lofts’ mini townhouses for families with four or five bedrooms -each with its own private pool and lush private gardens. Each has an intriguing name, like Villa Zeina – the former owner’s home for 22 years – and the recently constructed Villa Nubia with its magnificent marble pool. Design is as impeccable as the central hotel – seven-metre high ceilings, mashrabiyas, historical photographs, antique furnishings, original works of art, traditional Suzanis and other textiles, all discovered by founder Zeina Aboukheir during her travels around the Middle East.

For lovers of beautiful things, the property speaks for itself. Still, there’s another real pull which positions it as actually one of the best tourist hotels in the region – its proximity to some of Egypt’s most famous and visited sights – the bucket-list Valleys of the Kings and Queens – home to the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the majestic Temple of Hatshepsut. But Al Moudira Hotel gives another reason to stay in Luxor for more than an overnight or two – cementing the city as a place for relaxation, beauty and adventure in its own right – the destination in itself, not just a stop along the way.

The new Khan Al Moudira café serves Egyptian (oriental) food
The new Khan Al Moudira café serves Egyptian (oriental) food

New additions by Amereller include a café Khan Al Moudira, which serves elevated Egyptian cuisine in a more relaxed setting. A new events space will also draw a new crowd, filling the space with festivities alongside a co-working space and a 300-roof terrace. Perhaps a nod to one of Egypt’s most famous monuments, The Great Library of Alexandria, sadly lost to time, a new library ‘tower’. Amereller plans to install 7,000 books from his own collection, spanning all subjects to engage, entertain and enlighten guests

Rooms from about AED1,100 per night; villas from AED7,345; moudira.com; @moudira_hotel

Al Moudira Hotel is the coverstar for Near+Far Volume I: available to buy now. All photographs by Mark Anthony Fox

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