Cairo Chic

Decadence done right at Cairo’s newly opened Kempinski Nile Hotel By: Jim Calio
Some rooms at the Kempinski Nile Hotel feature Nile River views. // © 2010 Kempinski
Some rooms at the Kempinski Nile Hotel feature Nile River views. // © 2010 Kempinski

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The Details

Kempinski Nile Hotel
www.kempinski.com

There are plenty of reasons to like the new Kempinski Nile Hotel in Cairo. Its 137 guestrooms and 54 suites have a relaxed European charm, typical of Kempinski properties worldwide, and are contemporary in style with state-of-the-art technology. And, some guests are lucky enough to have picturesque views of the Nile River from their balconies.

But for my money, and this is coming from a confirmed chocoholic, the real attraction of the new hotel is its Chocolate Lounge. It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise, and even the pharaohs, whose mummified remains rest in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, would be impressed.

You can have chocolate all day long if you want, starting the day off with breakfast brioche, a creamy chocolate tart or the 75 percent cacao dark chocolate truffles — all part of the huge menu that leaves nothing by way of chocolate to the imagination.

But, of course, the Chocolate Lounge isn’t the only reason to visit the Kempinski Nile, which opened in July. The trendy hotel was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, who has several Sofitel hotels and Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts to his credit as well as the Magic Kingdom Hotel in Disneyland Paris.

The public areas of the Kempinski Nile are understated. The lobby has a large marble bas-relief that recalls the country’s royal past. It is designed with light brown marble from Zimbabwe, and the exterior is also made of marble.

As any visitor can attest to, one of the least attractive features of Cairo is the constant blaring of car horns. (If you’re daring enough to try to drive in the city, you will never forget the experience.) Mercifully, the rooms at the Kempinski Nile are almost entirely insulated from the sound of the traffic below.

The rooms on the Nile side of the hotel are painted light blue, and the rooms on the city side are light green. The bedding is, naturally enough, Egyptian cotton, and furnishings have a dark lacquer finish with tables of glass or marble. Rooms boast LG televisions that are wired with up to 150 films for free viewing. And business travelers will appreciate that in-room Wi-Fi access is free.

Dining options include Osmanly, which is billed as the only contemporary Ottoman restaurant in North Africa. The Floor 10 restaurant offers French cuisine with great city views. The Blue restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a “no menu” menu, which means that guests can ask for just about anything they want and the chef will try to meet their requests.

As for me? Well, I plan to spend a lot of time at the Chocolate Lounge, sampling the fabulous menu and wondering what other delightful touch Kempinski will come up with next.  

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