Saturday, February 8, 2014
Last year we moved from Chicago House to the West Bank to avoid the long daily commute across the river. We were fortunate to find a hotel quite near the site that was ideal in every way. The New Memnon hotel is named for the great statues of Amenhotep III known as the “Colossi of Memnon.” They are literally just down the street, and we can see them from the roof, a constant presence of the king who built Malqata. The hotel was built by the proprietor, Sayed Farag El Nobe, who looks after us as if we were his own family.
He is always happy to help and makes sure the rooms are spotless and comfortable – quite different from the tents that were used by the first expeditions to Malqata a century ago. The hotel prepares a delicious dinner for us every night, as well as breakfast and a box lunch to take out to the site. The New Memnon is an intimate place to stay with only 19 rooms. It is set back from the road, with a lovely garden. It was built in 2011 and offers spectacular views from its roof top restaurant. You can see past the green, lush fields to the steep slopes of the Theban hills and the temples and monuments before them.