Your choice of a place to stay will definitely play a big part on how much enjoyment you'll get from your visit of Cairo. My first visit wasn't that much, in fact, I swear I won't be back to Cairo. But this second time around, I've enjoyed this visit to Cairo very much and I owe that big time to this excellent place we've stayed at. We're supposed to stay 3 nights and transfer to another place to get a better feel of the city, but it wasn't necessary, we've found the Travelers House.
This is probably the best budget place to stay in Cairo – friendliness without pretense. I have felt instantaneously at home. Most hotels or hostels in Cairo have this air of pseudo-over-friendly, it's seldom you'll find genuine niceness -- not because you're buying a tour from them. The guys at TH don’t “treat guests as friends” (like most people say about most top-rated hostels), here, they treat guests as “real guests” accorded with respect and all the perks like you would treat a privileged guest at your own home, it comes with pleasure and TLC.
The free pick-up driver - Ahmad - was very calm. The first time I was picked up from the airport on my first visit, I already was given that fast and furious driving experience -- and I've just arrived! In contrast, Ahmad who was sent by the hostel was calm and doesn't talk much. So I immediately felt a good vibe on this trip. There's so much activities going on around the area of the hostel at night, because of the full week eid ul-adha celebration.
Location – perfect - smack-bang right in the mid of downtown Cairo – at the corner of the busiest thoroughfare -- 26 July Street and Sherief Basha and adjacent to the busiest shopping-slash-happening street of Talaat Harb. Perfect location, you're in the mid of the hustle and bustle of the city, unless you don't want to be bothered by the constant jostles and never-ending “welcome to cairo” greetings by people on the streets and the incessant car honkings especially at night. Bring your earplug with you, it can get noisy at night. Restaurants, shopping, stores, Metro stations, taxis are around the place, the Egyptian Museum, the famous Tahrir Square, Nile river promenade, etc.
The Building. It’s an old building with an equally classic lift/elevator (and it’s functional) that has double-swing-wooden doors and an outer steel gate that made me instantly visualize the glamorous personalities who’ve stepped in and out of it during its heyday – probably in the 60-70s? Stairs are available just in case. But when you get to the hostel, it's a different story -- clean and modestly decorated, with a nice balcony overlooking the busy street below.
The Hostel. Like most other hostels in Cairo, TH is on one side of a floor – 4th floor. Six guest rooms in total – single/double with bathroom and shared bathrooms, a triple with bathroom and one family room. Some of the rooms have its own balcony where you can hangout watching the busy street below or hang your laundry. While some have window overlooking the same busy streets. Beside the small reception is a common room where you can sit and chitchat with other guests or watch program on the big flat panel TV, or surf the internet for free, or read a book while watching the activities on the street on the balcony.
The Rooms. Very basic – clean double-sized beds, bedside table, ceiling light and an electrical mosquito repellant – as simple as that. Some of the rooms are really spacious. And unlike other places, this one ain’t dusty. The wood parquet flooring is shiny and the whole basic room ambience is neat.
The Bathroom - the bathroom is constructed inside the room but it’s not the usual glazed aluminum paneling and open top which are customary among other hostels in Cairo, this is a solid one with closed roof/ceiling. Although small yet it’s clean and comes with a roll of toilet tissue, hot and cold shower and free towels (other places I’ve stayed at have no towels, or charge you extra). The shared bathroom at the end of the corridor and the one at the back of the reception are big and clean.
The Breakfast. Starts at 8:30am and we took it maybe 3 or 4 times as we were out so early at half of the time. Served at the common room or breakfast with a view at the balcony. Simple fare – but at least they have fried egg - bread with jam, butter, cheese and coffee or tea.
The Staff. This is the real draw of this place and where I should put more emphasis on this review. Authentic, genuine, sincere, unquestionable affection bordering kindness to guests. This is what I felt with the three guys including 2 misses serving the breakfasts every morning. They’re professional well-educated people who speaks the English language very well so communication problem is minimized to NIL. They’re not the externally-superficial-slash-touristically-oriented friendliness. Just enough amount of friendliness and more of gentleness and unspoken hospitality and warm welcome that you’ll feel right at your own home (maybe less of the material comfort that you personally own). The staff don’t bother you with excessive display of friendliness, just walk in and out and around just as you would in your own house. When I told them that I don’t really need to book any tours, it was ok nothing has changed. No pressure at all, but if you need tours and private transfers around Cairo, they have courteous drivers and very affordable/reasonable tour packages. Airport pick-up/drop-off for instance costs only about US$10 per way which is the on-going rate for street taxis minus the imminent hassles. Guests treatment is fair and equal in this place, and here’s what I mean by that –
I’ve observed this in some places in Egypt I’ve stayed at, staff plays what I call the “inequity game”, with more attention and favour to either or both of two things - western guests, the ones with the seemingly fat wallets and will probably book tours with the hostel - OR - gender based in favor of female guests. Travelers House in my opinion and observation treats guests equally with the same amount of attention and affection to each and every one. I don’t know if I came at the right time or the right season but I hope they’re really like this all the time.
I’d like to thank in particular the very gentle, caring and the level-headed ADIL who’s so approachable and who always face you with a smile even when sometimes he looked like he had just gotten out of bed. DIA (I’m sorry I did not asked you for the correct spelling) who checked me in and out on my last day. MUSTAFA who fried the egg on my first breakfast. And did I mention the very subdued AHMED already? Who pick me up and drop me off the airport safely.
The staff made an excellent job on the place. I would be left with no room availability in the future if I keep on recommending places like this one (don’t blame me, it happened to me in Istanbul), but I don’t really want to be greedy not sharing my wonderful experience with others. I was just so happy --- no --- ecstatic would be more appropriate that I’ve found this place that contributed to a pleasant stay, and illumed the once dull picture of Cairo on my mind.
Now, Cairo's on my list of favorite destination... thanks to TH.
Unique Quality: Budget, clean, great people, perfect location.
Directions: Corner of 26 July Street and Sherief Basha Street.
35 Giza Street, Giza, 12311, Egypt
Pyramids Rd, Giza, Egypt
1089 Corniche El Nile, PO Box 63, Cairo
21 Ismail Muhammad, Zamalek, Cairo
Latest Cairo hotel reviews