cairo trip - hotel review and restaurants

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Mar 25th, 2003, 02:07 AM
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cairo trip - hotel review and restaurants

Just returned from Cairo business and holiday trip. We stayed at Royal Nile Tower (the old Meridien GArden City). Brand new building, next door to old Meridien, which is being renovated, wiht only a couple of things open in the older building. It will be one big hotel ultimately. Great location as it is on an island tip, about 100 metres drive from main Nile Road, so it is much quieter than Nile Hilton, Intercontinental, and any other hotel located right on the main Corniche road.(Renovation does not disturb at all). Very limited shopping facilities as they are all being renovated as part of this major redevelopment.
Rooms are very good quality - size and finish. Service a little patchy, with requests needed for getting glasses for the rooms (3 days in the week); having to be very pushy to get an iron etc. Restaurant selection is good. Of 4 restaurants I ate in, Indian was the best. The 41st floor restaurant offers elegant dining with great views, but food was inconsistent - very mediocre soup, one good main course (but were not told this "dish of the day" was priced at 80% more than any other dish, our fault not to check, but still a rip off, also told by a local this had happened to him) and one which would have been OK if it had not come cold. Japanese restaurant was OK. Pub food restaurant bit medicore, but OK price. Nile Hilton supposed to have best hotel restaurant food.
Price $80 + 19% taxes, still made it very good value. Intercon was asking at their reception for $195+ taxes- ridiculous rip off. Nile Hilton $125+ taxes.

Three other restaurants to recommend - and big improvements for Cairo, since I was last there 3 years ago. Sangria - restaurant opposite Conrad Hotel, right on river. Supertrendy crowd (80% 25-35) on Friday night - empty at 1030, full at 1130. Same ownership is Abou el Sid - Egyptian restaurant on Zamalek, 157, 26th July St - very good food and cheaper than hotels. Big expat crowd and lots of local upper middle class women coming to eat in small groups. For not as good food, but still fine, check out Blue Nile -a boat on GAzirah islnad, directly opposite Nile Hilton. About 2 years old with 5-6 restaurants. We ate at the Lebanese restaurant there - good, not great, but still definitely recommend it.
If you go shopping, Arkadia near the Conrad is a good mall for middle class and wealthy locals. Great selection of shops for childrens clothes - stock up for relatives.
Atmosphere in Cairo was OK - but looked at more than usual, although once had smart arse going on about being English, when my wife is Greek (albeit brought up in Australia). Main tourists seemed to be Italian, but of course numbers are right down, so you can get some better deals than normal. Devaluation of Egyptian Pound also makes things 30% cheaper than they were at end of year.

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Mar 25th, 2003, 05:07 AM
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We were in Egypt 2 years ago - would be interested to hear more about mood/attitude towards Westerners, esp US and British. Also, I wonder often about how the drop in tourism is effecting the hundreds of Egyptians trying to make a living supporting tourism.

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