Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tourism in Luxor gets a boost

In January Colette Mason visited Flats in Luxor and helped us do a massive website upgrade & gave loads of internet marketing advice. While she was here she also helped out some other business for free. She really made a connection to Luxor, then we had a revolution and tourism plummeted. So Colette decided she would come back and try and help. She is organising this free event to help Egyptians in Luxor.

Join Colette Mason for an evening of practical advice on how you can market your business online using Social Media and Google Places.

Colette will be sharing the online stategies she has used for other travel and tourism businesses in Luxor, that are bringing in sales TODAY.

Attendees will get a FREE Google Places listing and a facebook fan page set up, with photos and videos about your business. Note: Please bring along your mobile phones so your business listing on Google can be verified.

Colette will be providing a handbook to all delegates that can act as a reference after the event.

Everyone's welcome, just let Colette know, as she is organising some snacks for all attendees.

There will be plenty of opportunities to speak to Colette and also network with fellow Luxor business owners.

Virtual attendees are welcome - all the training materials provided at the event will be available online.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Flats in Luxor (Luxor, Egypt) - Condominium Reviews - TripAdvisor

A great review from some guests who came post revolution.

Flats in Luxor (Luxor, Egypt) - Condominium Reviews - TripAdvisor: "Flats in Luxor Sail the Nile
A few years ago we visited Cairo and decided that one day we must do the other Egypt thing and sail down the Nile, see the tombs etc. I was all for going on one of those big cruise ships to avoid all the hassle sort of stuff that a more independent holiday can entail. But knowing that 'im indoors hates that sort of organised venture I agreed that it might be a good idea to organise our own little adventure with some help. After much deliberation 'im indoors found a website that had flats and boats He was very taken with the idea of some boats called dahabiyas which sail down the Nile.All this can be arranged for you and much, much more
In November all was booked and we were raring to go at the end of March. Then the revolution.... A few nail biting weeks were got through, we really didn’t want to cancel the holiday or indeed have it cancelled for us. Our flight was cancelled but we managed to get booked onto a flight that was leaving two days after the original one so we only missed two days of our holiday.
. We were met at the airport by Jane Aksha,(Co-owner of flats in Luxor).We were staying in one of their flats in Al Gezeera on the West bank of the Nile. The flats are about a ten minute walk to the ferry, and the ferry takes you to the other side of Luxor very near to the Luxor Temple.
The flat that we stayed in was huge and clean and nothing was too much trouble, if you wanted to eat in the flat it was quickly organised and the food was very good. The wonderful general help about the place Mohamed would even go to the shop for you if you didn't want to go yourself.
Jane was very informative and would organise trips and taxis recommending places to visit. Places to eat.
Jane had organised a trip to Aswan in a dahabiya for us.(They are also part of ‘Sail the Nile’. )There were supposed to be another seven people going on the boat to Aswan but they had cancelled so lucky us we had the boat to ourselves and the crew. The crew were a lovely bunch. Poor ‘im indoors wasn’t feeling too good, but they were lovely with him and did their best to make him comfortable. The boat trip was great we were really lucky and had lots of sailing. It was so peaceful and calm. Abdullah the guide was brilliant, very knowledgeable he had lots of funny stories. It was great seeing some of the sights and tombs that the big cruise ships don’t go to.
All in all we had a wonderful trip. So thank you Jane and your lovely co-workers.
Sandy and Brian

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Amazing deals on EasyJet

Easy Jet Gatwick to Luxor next March - £110 return. I know its a long way off but that's how you get the cheapies from EasyJet. Get in there!

Don't forget Flats in Luxor special offer book two weeks and get the second week free

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sun hasn’t set on Egyptian tourism - Africa - IOL | Breaking News | South Africa News | World News | Sport | Business | Entertainment |

An excellent article on what it is really like in Egypt.

Sun hasn’t set on Egyptian tourism - Africa - IOL | Breaking News | South Africa News | World News | Sport | Business | Entertainment | "Trust me, there’s nothing romantic about the Red Sea. I realised this after unceremoniously being ushered off the top step of a ladder, which was attached to a glass-bottomed boat, and plopped bum first into the light blue and freezing waters of the Red Sea – snorkel and all. Before the water’s icy temperature hit I surfaced to the welcoming embrace of a choppy surface, a water-filled snorkel and flippers two sizes too big – so I thought I was drowning and panicked the bejeezus out of the guide who, to the smirks of the Russians on board, man-paddled me back to the steps. As I said, nothing romantic about the Red Sea.

In all fairness, though, the diving spot we were at, with its Mediterranean-coloured water and pretty coral reef, is quite the sight – from the inside of the glass boat, that is.

And that’s the thing about Egypt, it’s really not what you’d expect. It was obvious that the underlying reason for the trip was to see how stable the country is following what the locals are calling the “Revolution” – which was really the ousting of the country’s ruler, the demand for the rewriting (not amending) of the constitution, and the measures being put in place for an election in the coming months.

Let me then say that there’s a distinct feeling of exuberance, optimism and even relief among the people of Egypt, which I found from the historic city of Aswan all the way down the Nile to Luxor, resting place of the ancient kings.

From hotel staff and clubs in the party city of Hurghada to the cosmopolitan melting pot that is Cairo, the attitude seems the same: Egypt has been reborn for the people. There’s no feeling of agitation or violence – in fact, citizens are painting where they rioted, and in discussions over hookahs about a more unified and organised Egypt.

This is, according to most I spoke to, not just a country rich in culture but a country of wealth as well. The Suez Canal is its number one form of income, described on more than one occasion as a goose strong enough to lay a $500 monthly golden egg for every family in Egypt.
iol travel april 11 ss egypt28

Standing tall, after thousands of years, at Karnak temple in Luxor.


But the loss of tourists, seeing the chaotic visuals sensationalised across international television networks, has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost visitor revenue. And it shows.

For the record, let me say I saw not a single march or form of unrest anywhere in the country, and Tahrir Square, next to the famous Egyptian Museum, was at peace when I visited. The fruits of lost tourism can be seen in the faces of the market traders and the rickshaw drivers on the beaches.

Sad, really, as after the Suez Canal tourism is the country’s next biggest income generator.

The flip side of the coin, and perhaps this sounds selfish, was that we had the country to ourselves and for that I am a little grateful – when you see the infrastructure in place at some tourist spots you quickly realise how popular, and hectic, the attractions can become.

Our trip started in Aswan with a Nile cruise and yes, this is quite a romantic thing to do. But before I take one boat stroke further, let me clarify a key point that applies to every place we visited and stayed at – Egypt’s five star is about the same as our three, four at best.

And before you get all Queen Mary, the Nile cruise ships are generally around four to five storeys high, rooms all above water, and the top deck reserved for anundercover bar and dance area, and sun deck with pool and loungers.
iol travel april 11 ss egypt14

A resort in Hurghada on the Red Sea the meeting point for the glass-bottom boat cruise.


When you’re booking, try to find the ships that have cabin balconies. This is a plus as the banks of the Nile, with its sandy dunes in the background, are quite special to watch as you cruise by. Also bear in mind that Egypt is largely an alcohol-free country, so stock up at the airport – places that do serve the odd cocktail make News Cafe’s prices blush.

But the real advantage of the relaxed three-night cruise, which ends in Luxor (apparently only commercial ships are allowed further) is that, like the pharaohs, you stop along the banks to visit various temples. Our cruise ship, the MS Nile Odyssey, visited a temple each day after leaving Aswan (the Philae Temple dedicated to the goddess Isis and the Kom Ombo Temple worshipping the gods Horus and Sobek), followed by two temples in Luxor upon berthing. In Luxor we visited the Karnak and Luxor temples, the first of which is a mix of ruined temples, including the temple of Amun. The Luxor Temple was to worship the gods Amun, Mut and Chons.

As soon as you step into your first temple and your guide starts relating its importance in detail, you realise that Egypt’s not what you expected. I wanted to visit Egypt to see the “celebrities” – Tutankhamen, the mummies, the sphinx, the pyramids, the Nile. But Egyptology, you soon realise, is mind-numbingly complex, going back almost 5 000 years.

It’s difficult to soak up the entire ancient civilisation, its temples and art, and almost impossible to understand where everything “fits in”. My suggestion: enjoy it for what it is.

Each temple, in terms of location, artwork and significance, is unique, detailed, and ignites your imagination. Fascinating really. The other revelation was my expectation, somehow, that having so many temples would translate into a practising religion, when in fact it’s to the contrary. The country is mainly Christian and Muslim, the temples are more relics and historic than places of worship.

Think, then, of the smaller temples along the Nile as teasers of bigger things to come. The hard-hitter for me was the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Now this is a majestic spot, where the kings were buried in mountainside tombs going deep into the earth. The depth depended on the length of a king’s rule, as digging started when kings were enthroned. A normal entry ticket provided entry into Ramses the first, fourth and ninth’s tomb, all which involved a walk down passages and declines lined with the most amazing handpainted artwork.

The highlight here was Tutankhamen’s tomb, for which you pay extra to enter, but is the only one with a mummy still in its place. It really is something, standing in his tomb, alone, with him encased in a glass, air-conditioned coffin alongside. All his treasures sit in the National Museum, but you know standing there that it’s sacred ground, meant never to be discovered. A guide showed me where to stand so I could see that the young king was flat-footed, and that the cranium of his neck had perished. You have to remind yourself you’re in the presence of a ruler of Egypt.

Taking a break from the gods and heading to coastal Hurghada was a welcome relief, even though it is 300km away.

Our taxi drivers are nothing compared to these kamikaze pilots – they drive at night with their lights either on dim or off. The car in front indicates when there’s a bend, and they drive three abreast when overtaking. Nerve-shattering stuff.

Hurghada is kilometres of Ibiza meets Umhlanga, complete with a Hard Rock Cafe, Buddha Bar, Ministry of Sound, and many themed hotels (the Aladdin one looked cool).

One way to do it is to find a place like we did, the Grand Hotel, which is all inclusive of meals and drinks. But areas such as the Marina have many wicked local restaurants (did I mention my new addiction to Turkish coffee?), so all-inclusive may not be first prize. The Grand Hotel is huge with a very cabana type feel, a few restaurants and plenty of coastline. Service was good and the atmosphere quite chilled. I’d go back. And activity wise there’s everything from deep sea diving to Jeep and quad safaris in the desert, all at negotiable and reasonable prices. The Red Sea is the diving capital of the world.

And then we hit Cairo, Egypt’s answer to Mumbai. The city has a buzz, with people on the go in every direction and amazing shopping markets. The under-R2-a-litre petrol price also means plenty of traffic.

Walk into the National Museum (there’s a new one being built on the outskirts) and you know it’s one of the greatest on the planet. It’s filled with relics and classified in different time periods. The highlights are the thousands of pieces from Tutankhamen’s tomb, including the famous mask made from solid gold and all the pieces meant to help him through his afterlife. And the Royal Mummies Hall (requiring an extra ticket) houses various rulers, including one of Egypt’s greatest, Ramses the second.

The pyramids, to be honest, were a bit of a letdown. You picture them to be huge and isolated somewhere in a desert, when today they sit on the outskirts of town. They’re also nowhere near as monumentally big as you imagined them to be – they are massive, but not majestically so. And all three are plagued by vendors who rarely give you a moment to soak up the splendour. But in between plastic pyramid and camel ride sellers, it’s hard not to marvel at what was built, and the skill it took. I highly recommend a walk inside a pyramid – we did in the smallest, and it’s here that you’re free of the vendors. The sphinx, next to the pyramids, is currently having a bit of plastic surgery done to its neck, but with the pyramids as a background it is still something to look at.

Also, make sure to indulge in the many crafts unique to Egypt. Go and watch real papyrus being made and have it painted in something you like, watch them blow glass into fancy bottles, have a pendant orT-shirt made with your name in hieroglyphics, or splash out on vases or dishes handmade from alabaster stone (found near the Valley of the Kings) – the pharaohs had these in their tombs.

Egyptian food is also amazing. I had not a single bad meal. Indulge in tahini, kofta, falafel and shwarma to your heart’s content.

Also make sure you visit a perfume house and get a bottle of Five Secret and Ramsses, otherwise known as Chanel No 5 and Givenchy Amarige – I was told many perfume houses get their scent bases from Egyptian essence makers. And the last tip – do the Red Sea after Cairo, it makes more sense to relax then.

Travel restrictions to Egypt have been lifted by the US government, which is known to err on the cautious side in these matters.

Tourists in Egypt are raving about the absence of the usual large crowds and the excellent and courteous service received from the enthusiastic tourism industry as they work to re-establish their country as a top holiday destination worldwide.

It is widely reported that no tourists were targeted or hurt during the recent demonstrations, which is a clear message of the importance of tourism to all Egyptians. There could be no better time than right now to visit Egypt.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Egypt honeymoon 2011 – 2012 | 101 honeymoon ideas

Flats in Luxor do honeymoons too and our Nubian Eco village with its one bedroom villas means you are in an adult environment. We will match the offer here and give you a free ticket to the Sound and Light at Karnak temple if you book your honeymoon with Flats in Luxor. Egypt honeymoon 2011 – 2012 | 101 honeymoon ideas: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mohammed East Bank gets engaged

One of our staff got engaged tonight, isn't his fiancee lovely. We have a lot of staff called Mohammed so I nickname them. This Mohammed looks after our East Bank flats at night. He also runs my shopping errands on the East Bank.

Perhaps this little one is dreaming of her turn, she certainly had the biggest eyes I had ever seen, gorgeous.

Mohammed's family were all there to see the happy event.

Here is the the engaged couple.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Experience the real Luxor - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor

Lovely long review on Trip Advisor by one of our guests. Experience the real Luxor - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor: "“Experience the real Luxor”
5 of 5 stars
Date of review: Mar 28, 2011

Although I've visited Luxor a few times this was the first time I had travelled independently of a tour operator and this time took two friends with me who were on their first visit to Egypt.

I had met with Jane Akshar, the co-owner of Flats in Luxor before and had seen the flats so had a good idea of what to expect. Having stayed in various hotels on the East Bank I certainly wanted to get the feel of the real Luxor...

We stayed for 9 nights, pick up at the airport was inclulded in the price and this worked out brilliantly with Ishmail ready and waiting for us. We stayed in the Goubli block in the first floor flat Neith. We arrived late lunch time and having spoken with Jane earlier while still in Cairo a lovely lunch had been prepared for us. Gamal, one of the chefs is incredible but - be warned - the portions are big and we did have to ask for smaller portions!! The flat was large - 3 double bedrooms with a big kitchen, big balconies and two bathrooms, there is a pool and a restaurant on the roof. So, the choice then is yours, eat out, self cater or eat in. We always had breakfast there and depending on what we were intending to do for the day this would be taken either on the roof or it would be brought down to the flat. Most of our dinners were taken there as well. There is a book with suggested menus and we would just decide on the day what we wanted and if it was to be something that wasn't on the menu then not a problem, so long as they had a few hours notice and everything would be brought in fresh and was delicious. This was also very cost effective when you consider the cost of meals in the hotels on the East Bank.

I had managed to leave the charger for my mobile 'phone in Cairo. Not a problem - I was able to borrow one whenever needed and, in fact, nothing was a problem. The staff (mainly part of Jane's extended family) were always there and ready to help with anything, advice, arranging taxis, boat trips, Egyptian Arabic lessons (!) etc and her husband was calling in most days.

And - yes - if you want to see how Luxor really is do it here. You can walk to the ferry - about a mile - or take a taxi for about £1. Walk along the lane and see the local villages and the people and animals who live there. The West Bank is free of the hassles you can experience on the East Bank and OK everyone has a bit of English and will speak to you. A couple of afternoons we took a few Egyptian Pounds and some sweets and went walking and chatting to people and have some fabulous photos and memories from the trip. Of course another plus is that your are on the doorstep of the majority of West Bank sites thereby saving about 90 mins round trip time coming and going from the East Bank thereby giving you more time to see the sites or to relax and soak up the sun.

Capt Ali (a cousin) is very much worth a mention too. He has a motorboat and will take you on even a short trip across the Nile to the East Bank if you'd rather travel that way than on the ferry or what is a nice trip to do is to sail off to Banana Island after lunch, take your time and on the way back watch the sunset and have dinner on board.

Finally, I have to mention the wake up call, which we found wonderful especially as my friends are keen birdwatchers (and I know this probably wouldn't suit everyone). Each morning Mrs Hoopoo would come along - from the outside the windows look like mirrors and the hoopoo was not having another female coming after her mate! She was an absolute joy to watch and photograph

A final, finally (!) the view - of the Theban hills, by day wonderful but now lit at night are incredible. And in the mornings fabulous to watch all the balloons gracefully taking to the air.

You can see I'm hooked! and I'll be back - enshallah!

Oh - one thing you do need - milk jugs - I'll bring you a couple next time

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Camels in Luxor

I am on my way to Luxor airport to pick up guests and looking at the truck ahead.
Its a camel!!

Overseas Property Professional; News Article; Is confidence returning to Egyptian market?

Good news for the Egyptian Property market. : "All the people we spoke to agreed that the revolution was good news for the Egyptian property market in the long term. Al Deeb said: “The old regime was corrupt. The next one will be different. We’ll see more investors – corruption was stopping the big developers from coming to Egypt so the market will be more stable.”

McKenzie said: “There is a strong expectation for the Egyptian property market. Transaction levels were already high at the end of 2010 but after this brief pause, prospects are even better.

From an economic point of view, the advent of a new democratic nation is good news for business. For instance it will bring more prosperity, more transparency in large land deals, create more of a free market and allow more entrepreneurs and solid business figures to enter the market.

Overseas Property Professional; News Article; Is confidence returning to Egyptian market?

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Luxor, Egypt. List all flight departures-routes.

Wow I had no idea how many airports there are direct flights to Luxor:-
London Gatwick
London Heathrow
Marsa Alam
Sharm el Sheikh
Luxor, Egypt. List all flight departures-routes.
- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Good news for Americans wanting to come to Luxor

Officials at the US state Department have downgraded the travel warning for citizens considering travel to Egypt, urging Americans to consider the risks rather than avoid all nonessential travel.

The security situation in Luxor, Aswan, and the Red Sea Resorts, including Sharm-el-Sheikh, is now considered calm, the State Department said.