Cairo Hotel Round-Up

Where clients can rest and recharge in a busy metropolis

By: Riana Lagarde

Where can clients find a peaceful night’s rest in Cairo? It can be a daunting task to find a hotel in this busy metropolis especially when officials can seem a bit liberal when handing out stars. Within this giant capital city, your clients will likely want lodging in three main parts: near the airport (to avoid heavy traffic and to minimize the travel time before flights), downtown on the Nile or in Giza (close to the Pyramids).

Looking past the star ratings, I visited several properties in these key areas that offer top-notch accommodations and security.

Near the Airport
Concorde El Salam Casino Hotel
The Concorde is 10 minutes from the airport and a half-hour from downtown via the complimentary hotel shuttle, making it the perfect pit stop for travelers before catching a flight south to Luxor. There are plenty of activities to choose from, as the hotel has live entertainment, a shopping bazaar, six restaurants, a big casino, massages and squash courts. I loved my big stone balcony that overlooked the pool, and the band was fantastic. I was also thankful for the double-glazed windows when it was time to sleep. While the bed was comfortable, the interior was a bit faded with an unusual choice of paintings. While the Concorde isn’t luxurious like the Four Seasons, it’s still much better than the nearby Novotel, which charges $20 or less.

Clients: The Concorde sees a younger hip crowd, business people for conventions, as well as families with small children who will enjoy horseback riding and the children’s playground.

Rates: A double room with breakfast costs $111 a night.

InterContinental Citystars
I spent several nights at the new InterContinental Citystars and at a reasonable price for a world-class act basic rooms start at $140. The hotel is stunning, with sphinx fountains, marble floors and live orchids. Belly dancers and whirling dervishes at the Lebanese restaurant were amazing, as was the food. A superb pool, day spa and exercise facilities round out the offerings.

The rooms were top-notch, complete with great beds, bathrobes and slippers, as well as a complimentary bottle of water delivered each night. I was in paradise after my two-week journey through the sand and heat and was able to rest and recharge at the InterContinental before returning home.

Clients: InterContinental hosts those seeking pure luxury, as well as shopping and business clients who want an impressive address (presidents George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac are among the hotel’s clientele).

Rates: King Club Floor with breakfast costs $230.

Nile Grand Hyatt
Who doesn’t want to eat at a fancy French revolving restaurant? The Nile Grand Hyatt on El Roda Island is a peaceful haven directly poised on the river Nile. Set in a nice part of Cairo, the Hyatt is romantic, exotic and secure there are security checkpoints all over the property with sniffer dogs checking every incoming vehicle.

The Grand Hyatt also boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with great views of the Nile. Clients can choose from a variety of entertainment options, including a Nile dinner cruise, shopping or taking a dip in the beautiful pool.

The helpful staff can arrange pick-ups and visa processing at the airport. Grand Hyatt guests can arrive in Egypt hassle-free, with a Mercedes and driver waiting at the airport to handle all the hair-raising traffic.

Clients: The Nile Grand Hyatt hosts a variety of business and leisure clients alike. Aside from the super-finicky, who might be better off at the Four Seasons, most clients will be comfortable in the standard four-star quality guestrooms.

Rates: Club King Nile-view accommodations run $203 a night.

Mena House Oberoi
The Mena House is a true oasis from the hustle and bustle of Cairo. A 150-year-old luxurious Arabesque palace, the Mena House was voted number two in Condé Naste’s Gold List for 2006. My jaw hit the floor when I entered this stunning historic hotel where intricate wood-carved screens, gold inlaid decor and dazzling chandeliers abound.

The location is the best in Egypt directly in front of the Pyramids. The food is marvelous, especially the Indian restaurant, the Moghul Room, which is a destination itself. The air conditioning isn’t great and rooms are a bit dated, as they are part of ancient history, but you can’t beat the Pyramid view. Clients will also find a lovely pool, golf course, a helpful staff, breathtaking interiors and quiet gardens.

Clients: Sophisticated world traveler, art and architecture buffs and turn-of-the-century princesses.

Rates: A Standard Palace room costs $144 a night.

Le Meridien Pyramids
Nothing compares to landing in Cairo, checking into an elegant hotel and relaxing on a big, comfortable bed as Khufu’s and Khafre’s Pyramids loom large outside your window (not as close as the Mena House, but impressive nonetheless).

A pleasant staff greeted me upon entering the property, which features a 24-hour bank, luxe pool with swim-up bar and three restaurants to choose from with Mexican, Nubian and Mediterranean fare.

The Pyramids are a (very busy) intersection away, and a taxi ride downtown costs $10. Suggest a short walk to the Mena House to eat at its fabulous restaurants (although I filled up at the divine falafel stand on the way).

Le Meridien offers 10 percent commission and special room rates for agents.

Clients: Le Meridien is ideal for those who prefer Giza to chaotic Cairo, families with teenagers, young singles and honeymooners.

Rates: A deluxe Pyramid-view room with breakfast runs $133 a night.


Concorde El Salam Casino Hotel

InterContinental Citystars

Le Meridien Pyramids

Mena House Oberoi

Nile Grand Hyatt