In Arabic, Al Moudira is the feminine for ‘boss’. This is the name that workers and artisans gave to Zeina Abou Kheir who, in 1999, imagined this haven of peace–something that blends the comfort of a guest house with the feel of a palace. This vast property, on an estate of nearly 20 acres/8 hectares, is located on the west bank of the Nile, facing Luxor and close to the incredible Valley of the Kings. The hotel’s spacious rooms and suites are decorated with furniture sourced from throughout the Middle East. All open onto courtyards with trickling fountains and sofas that invite you to relax. On your bed, Egyptian cotton sheets are embroidered by Threads of Hope, a social enterprise on a mission to train local women in the arts of weaving and embroidery.
Beyond the ornate patios, stroll through gardens of palm trees, lemon trees and hibiscus to the marble swimming pool and hammam. Although Zeina Abou Kheir is no longer the owner, Hotel Al Moudira continues to work with the same artisans and staff members from surrounding villages, while cuisine is prepared using the freshest ingredients from neighboring farms. Meals are served either in the beautiful Ottoman room, in the main courtyard or in the pool pavilion. Here, the passage of time appears to slow, matching the flow of the river as it passes lazily by. A dahabeya, a traditional cruise boat with luxuriously appointed cabins, can be privately hired for between three- and seven-day excursions to discover the Nile’s countless treasures: Luxor, Karnak, Medinet Habu and Deir el Medina. The magic of Ancient Egypt awaits.