Hotels and alternatives
Luxor has really many hotels in all price classes. Prices per night varies from EŁ12 for basic but tolerable rooms to several hundred US dollars or Euros.
Finding a cheap hotel is easy, you just allow the touts at the railway station to present their offers. While initially a bit scary for some, these are good people, and in most cases they will save you trouble and not cause any. The prices they present at the spot, are actually what you will pay, with no hidden extras. In some cases they will even give you a better price than what you will be able to negotiate on your own. And on top of it all, they will walk you to the hotel. As an indicator of Luxor's friendly price level, I paid EŁ50 for a nice room in a 3 star hotel, bathroom with a tub, a small balcony, breakfast included and full access to a backyard swimming pool.
Prices vary a lot between the summer when Luxor is emptied for heavy tourism, and winter, when climate in Luxor is pleasant for the Western taste. The smartest time of the year to visit is April, after Easter. At this time many hotels introduce summer prices, but temperatures are just a bit hotter than in the high season and far from as killing as they will be later on.
Luxor's range of international hotels is quite impressive. Many are not terribly authentic, but a few offer a tasteful combination of Egyptian styles and modern comfort. In this type of hotels, you will have to pay in foreign currencies, or leave behind a bank receipt for changing money. Prices in this range start at about US$40/50 (singles/doubles) in high season, while many hotels slash prices to the half in the summer season.
Restaurants and alternatives
With the level of tourism in Luxor, finding good places to eat, is no problem. But there are not as many good choices for budget travellers as for hotels. The best areas are behind the Luxor Temple and the Sharia Mohammad Farid. A full 3 course meal should cost less than EŁ20 including a soft drink.
For more exclusive eating, the good hotels are the places to search. Many of these are not exciting, unfortunately, perhaps relaying on some sort of loyalty from the hotel guests. But Luxor has at least one fantastic place, oddly enough the Japanese restaurant Miyako at the Sonesta St. George Hotel. For anyone getting used to Egyptian prices, it is chillingly expensive, but most of the food it is simply delicious. The sushi/sashimi is safe, but not great, and contains crabstick!!!
Luxor has excellent connections with any likely destination, with train, bus and taxis. For travelling to Abydos and/or Dendera in the north, and Esna and/or Edfu in the south by hired taxi, you will have to go with one of 3 daily convoys. These are fast moving, but not well arranged for visiting Esna (although not impossible, even if some taxi drivers will insist so). Hiring a taxi for all 4 destinations (2 days) the price is around EŁ275-350, but many drivers will start by asking for EŁ250 per day.
A more adventurous way of visiting these destinations is with feluccas. This is quite time consuming, and not all too inexpensive. Female travellers should note that there are reports of felucca captains expecting you to live up to their image of sexually liberated women.
The most elegant way of travelling is by cruise ships running up to Aswan. These used to skip Esna, but this stop is back on the itinerary.
Moving around Luxor is done either by minibuses (25pt to 50pt) or taxis (EŁ5 for most distances). You will never have to wait more than a minute for a bus or a free cab to pass by.
200 km south: Aswan
300 km northwest: Assyut