Having booked this hotel on a whim as it seemed very cheap for a 5*, I got very worried upon reading the reviews - many of which gave the hotel 0 or 1 out of 10. Needless to say, it put a dampener on our holiday preperation as we geared ourselves up for a shocker! We were very much mistaken.
On arrival at the hotel late in the evening (around 11pm) it looked quite small and had lots of Xmas/New Year decorations all over the front of the building. Some very helpful porters and staff organised our keys and showed us to our apartment. Upon walking out the back of the main entrance toward the room we were struck by the beautiful complex which had huge palm trees lining a seemingly endless corridor towards the pool area - it looked very beautiful when lit at night.
We had booked a room with a garden view, which meant we were in one of many small complexes within the grounds - there were approx 20 apartments within each building.
You will have seen that this hotel is rated as a 5* - it is not. It was perhaps 5* when it first opened, but the decor and general cleanliness has fallen a little short of that. Remember though, that this is Egyptian 5*, and that the price of this hotel is VERY reasonable! I would rate the room overall as a UK 3*, which is still decent for the money we paid (approx GBP30 per person per night). The entire room, including the bathroom were hygienically very clean (very fresh bedding, no dust or dirt anywhere), however, time had taken its toll on the bathroom, which has rusted taps, and a dated suite. I might add however, that the quality (i.e. the power and heat) of the shower was the best I have ever had!!
I realise that we travelled in early January, but I can honestly say that there was not one mosquito inside our room for our entire stay. Obviously we didnt leave the balcony doors open as it wasnt scorching hot, but I could imagine that for those who travel in the summer who need their doors open, that you would encounter mosquitoes, especially due to the enormity of the pool which is nearby. But then what would you expect in the middle of the desert?? Still, the hotel provide a can of Raid insect killer in each room which we sprayed into the aircon vents just in case.
Room service was UK quality as I couldnt pick a fault with it - everything changed and tidied as would be expected. My other half even left a very expensive watch on the side table by mistake one day, and although we feared the worst for being in Egypt where I thought theft would be rife, it was still there when we got back after a long day out.
Breakfast in the hotel was continental, although they had a chef on hand who was cooking english style breakfast items every day (sausages, eggs, etc). The cleaning staff were very efficient as well. We only paid Bed & Breakfast, so cant comment on the evening meals, however, there is a restaurant in the grounds who I think caters for Full Board and the menu looked very good indeed. There is also a cafe/bar by the pool which cook decent food, and serve drinks most of the day and night. I can recommend the Egyptian Koftas and Tahini as a light meal to anyone!! I must say that they have a "cabaret/karaoke" singer on every night who, well, wouldnt get through X-Factor/Pop Idol audition stages!
The hotel has Ethernet cables in the rooms, although ours didnt work when we plugged it into a laptop (perhaps we had to specifically request it be turned on?). There is also an internet cafe in the hotel lobby, however, they were VERY expensive (around GBP5 for 30 mins only!).
The hotel has a postal box which is emptied every day, and one of the souvenir shops in the lobby sells stamps and postcards at standard rates.
The hotel sells all sorts of alcohol, although the wine is somewhat expenise compared to the beer (as it is everywhere in Egypt). A local Stella - which is a very decent beer - sells for around GBP1.80 in the hotel bars, while a bottle of wine is around GBP16. Coffee and tea costs approx GBP1.
As for the location - well, I had read somewhere that it was a walk from the Pyramids at Giza....I most certainly would not recommend this, unless you want to cut about an hour of your day and risk life and limb crossing the seriously dangerous roads. The hotel has a roof terrace (which apparantly houses a bar in the summer) and you can clearly see the Pyramids from there (I will try to add photos so you can gauge the distance for yourself). I would say that it took approx 15 minutes to reach the Pyramids by taxi, 25 minutes to reach Cairo centre, and approx 40 minutes to get to Cairo airport - these times all with average traffic. The hotel has a taxi desk inside the lobby, but beware as these cabs are extortionate compared to one of the local taxis which base themselves outside the hotel. The hotel taxi service tried to charge E£70 (approx GBP7) to get the Pyramids, while the local black and white cabs charged about E£30! You can haggle both, but the black and white cabs will always win. Of course, you might not always get the most beautiful local cab, but then its all part of the magic of Egypt. We used a posher "limo" cab (not a limo, but they have seatbelts in the back and air con - whereas the black and white cabs have no rear seatbelts and no air con) to get from the airport, and much preferred the black and white ones. Just make sure you haggle whichever cab you use, as they will always initially quote approx double the actual fare they are looking for. There is a chap who drives a cab which is based outside of the hotel who's name is Ali "Schumacher" (so he told us, lol). He spoke very good english, was very polite, knew all of the best places to go, and charged very reasonable rates. We used him throughout our trip, including renting his car for a full day to see the "other" pyramids and it cost us E£200 (approx GBP20)!
In summary, this hotel is a whole load better than I expected. It is probably the equivalent of UK 3*, but for Egypt - and for the price we paid - it isnt bad at all. We had no problems with mosquitos (although it was winter), and we thought that the hotel complex itself was probably UK 4*, if not bordering on UK 5*.
The service was excellent, and the food was good. The location is ideal when you think how cheap the taxis are, and I would certainly stay at this hotel again if we visit Cairo in the future.
I hope this blog helped your decision making process, and I will try to add some photos now.
Enjoy your stay!
Unique Quality: The pool is absolutely is amazing! The view of the Pyramids is also very good when the weather is clear. The noise - unlike the majority of Cairo - is very low, as it is out of town.
Directions: We took taxis, so I couldnt give directions. The address given above is good enough for any taxi driver though.