The Gift
of the Nile

Editor at Large, Ignacio Maza, gives insider tips for your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Egypt.
By Ignacio Maza

Egypt is a land of wonders. For many travelers, a trip to Egypt is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As you start dreaming about your itinerary, we want to show you how to make your Egyptian journey richer, more meaningful, and more memorable. Find out about great places to stay, unique destinations and experiences throughout the country, and the inside track on the best Nile River cruises. Let us take you one step closer as you plan the ultimate trip to Egypt.

Lobby, The St. Regis Cairo

Where to Stay

Although Egypt offers more hotel options than ever, there are a few properties that should be on your radar. In Cairo, stay at the new St. Regis hotel, on the Corniche, and request a guestroom with Nile River views. This recently opened 36-story tower features spacious accommodations, large suites, as well as fully serviced apartments. During your stay, get pampered at The St. Regis Cairo’s Iridium Spa, enjoy delicious cuisine at the hotel’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten Restaurant, and lounge by the pool after a day of adventures.

The best place to stay in Luxor is the Sofitel Winter Palace. This historic hotel, originally built in 1886, was formerly the retreat of the Egyptian royal family. Enjoy the charm, character, and unbeatable location of this landmark property. The hotel features only 92 large guestrooms and suites with high ceilings, grand public areas, and a large swimming pool surrounded by gardens. Don’t miss afternoon tea in the hotel’s Victorian Lounge during your stay, favored by celebrities and dignitaries who have stayed over the years.

In Upper Egypt, no hotel compares with the celebrated Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan. This fabled property, originally built in 1899 by Thomas Cook, was most recently reimagined by French interior designer Sybille de Margerie. The resort has two distinct sections, the original Palace Wing, and the newer Nile Wing tower. The resort’s atmospheric interiors and superb setting on the Nile facing Elephantine Island, has enchanted famous guests like Agatha Christie, who wrote the book “Murder on the Nile” while staying on property. Dinner at the hotel’s 1902 Restaurant is a must.

If you have a taste for adventure and seek a truly unforgettable desert experience, stay at the finest eco-lodge at the Siwa Oasis, Adrère Amellal. This intimate and authentic hideaway in the heart of Egypt’s western Sahara has only forty guestrooms and was built by hand using packed earth and sand. The lodge blends into the desert, as it has no electricity. In the evenings, enjoy candlelit dinners, marvel at the blanket of stars in the sky, and feel as if you were a million miles from civilization.

Saint Catherine's Monastery

Beyond the Nile Valley

Egypt offers many interesting options for travelers who wish to explore further, or who may have already visited the above-mentioned sites. Here are four ideas to help get you started. Deep in the Sahara is the Siwa Oasis, a favorite spot of Alexander the Great, and one of the ancient world’s most revered oracles. Swim in the oasis’ many springs, climb the Mountain of the Dead, and wander into the Grand Sand Sea as you explore the most remote western corners of Egypt.

Alexandria, on the Nile Delta, is Egypt’s second largest city and full of history and legends. Visit the city’s modern library, explore the Kom el-Shogafa Catacombs and ancient sites to get a sense of life two thousand years ago, enjoy a day at a nearby beach, or take in the city’s Mediterranean atmosphere in a city café or walking along the Corniche.

For snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, visit Egypt’s Red Sea Shore, especially the area between Hurghada and Marsa Alam that have some of the best corals and marine wildlife in the world.

Finally, for a completely different Egypt, visit the Sinai Peninsula, land of holy places, miracles, and natural beauty. For the religious and adventurous, hike Gebel Musa (Mt. Sinai), where Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe Moses received the ten commandments, and visit the nearby Monastery of St. Catherine, the oldest continuously inhabited monastery in the world. After desert explorations, spend a few days on the beach at one of the great resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh to relax and unwind.

Valley of the Kings

Ultimate Experiences

Elevate your travels through Egypt with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A few ideas:

In Cairo
•Enjoy the privilege of early access to the Giza plateau for the best photos of the Pyramids and Sphinx, without the crowds.
•Taste Egyptian specialties with a private dinner al fresco, facing the Sphinx.
•Learn about the builders of the Pyramids on a special visit to the Workers’ Village and archaeological sites normally not open to the public.
•Visit the Egyptian Museum before opening hours with an expert guide.
•Experience the wonders of the soon-to-open Grand Egyptian Museum, on a private ‘hard-hat’ tour of the new facilities.

In Luxor
•Feel the thrill of an early morning balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and Luxor’s ancient monuments.

In Aswan

•Sail the Nile and enjoy a private lunch or sunset cruise on a felucca, traditional wooden boats in use since the days of Pharaohs.
•Go back in time with early access to the impressive Temples of Philae.

Cruise Along the Nile

The best way to experience ‘Upper Egypt’ (the southern third of the country’s Nile River valley) is on a river cruise. After days of temple-hopping and visits to underground tombs and historic landmarks, it’s refreshing to slow down and relax without a care in the world as the lush landscapes roll by. Typically, Nile River cruises are all-inclusive and are part of a 10/11-night “cruisetour” program featuring Cairo, Luxor, and top sites in Upper Egypt like Edfu and Kom Ombo. There are dozens of ships sailing the Nile. Here are some of your best bets.

Viking Cruises

Viking offers great options on the Nile. Currently, you have a choice of either the classic Viking Antares or the intimate and modern Viking Ra, featuring more contemporary décor. Coming up: the arrival of Viking Osiris (March 2022) and Viking Aton (March 2023), launching a new generation of purpose-built ships. The new vessels will offer 41 spacious staterooms featuring the simple and clean Scandinavian design Viking is known for.


The eagerly awaited AmaDahlia, a newly built vessel offering 36 staterooms, will launch on September 3rd, 2021. The ship offers a number of accommodation options, including suites with large balconies and special guestrooms facing forward. Enjoy meals at the Al Fresco restaurant, relaxing by the pool on the sundeck, or sipping your favorite drink at the bar.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises offers travelers two options, starting September 25th, 2021. Choose between the River Tosca, an all-suite vessel featuring a rich, classic décor, and the new S.S. Sphinx, sailing on her inaugural season, with 42 guestrooms.  The S.S. Sphinx will feature two gourmet restaurants, a pool and sundeck, and every stateroom will have a French balcony, a welcome option as guests watch the timeless vistas of the Nile.

Abercrombie & Kent

The most experienced luxury travel company in Egypt has been sailing the Nile for over twenty years. Choose from three of the finest vessels for discerning travelers, including the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV with 40 staterooms; The more intimate Sanctuary Sun Boat III with 18 guestrooms; and the newest addition to the fleet, the Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau, a beautifully appointed ‘Dahabiya’ (traditional Egyptian sailing boat) with a maximum capacity of only twelve guests.

All three vessels have an elegant décor that combines style with comfort. There are unique benefits of sailing with A&K, including private docking areas and the opportunity to visit the temple complex of Dendera, which many other ships miss.


Here's a take sneak peek at the experience with Abercrombie & Kent onboard Sanctuary Cruises.

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