Giza or downtown Cairo?

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Mar 6th, 2005, 01:26 PM
  #1
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Giza or downtown Cairo?

Is it really inconvenient to stay in Giza versus staying downtown Cairo? I was really interested in staying at Mena House because of the views and close proximity to the pyramids. After reading alot of posts, now i'm not so sure. I have been checking many different tour companies and some of the tours have you staying downtown and some have you staying in Giza. I'm so confused. It seems to me that most of the tours include all the sites in Cairo so what is the benefit of staying downtown? Is there something we would be missing by staying in Giza? In addition, any cruise ship recommendations? This will be our first trip to Egypt in late Oct/early Nov 05.
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Mar 6th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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We stayed in Giza and we had no problems with this location. The first day we visited the Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis and Saqqara. The next day visited in Cairo the Museum, Old and Coptic Cairo and the Bazaar. No big deal. Everyone complains about traffic, but it took maybe 12-min from the hotel to the Museum... please! That's not traffic. In fact, it took barely 30-minutes from the airport to Giza on arrival. When we returned to Cairo after the cruise, we stayed on El-Gezerah Island and took a taxi from there to the Bazaar to shop at our leisure. And that trip took 8-10 minutes.

I've listened to people complain about traffic in Cairo and Bangkok and we've never been hindered at either of these destinations. But then, living in NYC, I can tell you it can take 30-minutes to get across 34th Street in the middle of the day - and sometimes it can take only 12 minutes.

Besides, I doubt you'll be driving yourself, so with a tour guide and driver, or a taxi, let them worry about traffic, but leave yourself sufficient time to get wherever you're going. If you want to stay in Giza, stay there. As to the Mena House, I'd suggest you do a search on this board - there have been some comments, and not all that favorable.
 
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Mar 7th, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Sandi, I have searched the forum about Mena House and there are alot of contrasting oppinions. Some very good/some not so good. I have stayed at some places that were not praised about and I absolutely loved them. I guess I just have to look at is there more bad comments than good. This is why I am having such a hard time. I know what your are talking about when i comes to traffic. We are from Chicago, and we have also been to Bangkok and I didn't think the traffic was bad at at all. Anyway, did you find it to be safe to walk around Cairo on your own (even at night)? Thanks for the quick reply.
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:03 AM
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Ok, so then between the two of us we're in agreement as far as traffic is concerned - it's in the eye of those caught-up in it. So no big deal for us big city folks.

As to walking around Cairo at night - we didn't. Not because we didn't want to, rather we were so exhausted with full days of touring, that all we wanted was to freshen up, have a nice dinner, a few drinks and off to bed for early wake-ups the next day.

We did, however, one night have tickets for a performance of AIDA at the Pyramids, which was outstanding. But even for this, we had a guide and driver take us from our hotel and wait for us till its conclusion. However, from others we met during our time in Cairo, who did venture afar from their hotel - into the Bazaar area for dinner - they felt perfectly safe. We, ourselves, did walk in/around Luxor after dark, through the Bazaar with numerous shops and restaurants - two women and a couple - and felt perfectly safe. All were NYC residents, so probably not unlike Chicagoan's have built in antenna for possible trouble. There was no trouble or uncomfortable situations.

Adults are friendly and children just want to talk with you. You'll be fine.

FYI - we stayed at the Movenpick, also on the Giza side, down the road from the Mena House; bungalow-type rooms (single story), very large, excellent air conditioning, in beautiful gardens, lovely pool, a number of restaurants.
 
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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Did you have a view of the pyramids from your room? Also, did you take a nile cruise? If so, which boat did you go on. There are so many options. What tour company did you use? Have you been to Sharm el Sheikh. We were thinking about adding 4 nights there to end the trip.
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:42 AM
  #6
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Lisa -

>>Did you have a view of the pyramids from your room?<<
A. NO, but that wasn't of particular interest.

>>Also, did you take a nile cruise? If so, which boat did you go on?>>
A. Yes we did take a cruise on the Movenpick Radamis, which was lovely. There is a newer boat from Movenpick, the Radamis II, and it looks lovely. Along with the Oberei and the Sonesta boats, the Movenpick boats get priority for docking, and provide excellent services.

>>What tour company did you use?<<
A. I don't know who the in-country operator was, as we booked thru a US tour operator, but whomever they were, they were excellent. Sorry that I don't have details for you.

>>Have you been to Sharm el Sheikh?<<
A. No we didn't, rather spend 2-days prior arriving in Egypt, in Jordan visiting Petra and Jerash and Amman. But there are a number of threads on this board regarding Sharm and various hotels - pros/cons. Suggest you do a search for this information.
 
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Mar 7th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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I have stayed in both Giza (at Mena House) and Cairo (three trips -- stayed at the Marriott, Nile Hilton and Intercontinental), and for a vacation, I prefer Giza.

I thought the little town near the pyramids was interesting to wander around at night, and we were also able to rent camels around dusk and ride into the pyramid area after hours and had the whole place to ourselves, with our two local guides, who knew who to offer baksheesh to get in -- we never would have suggested this, but to the locals, this is a common way to see the pyramids (this was on our first trip to Cairo in 1998, so I'm not sure if you can still do this).

I also agree about the traffic -- its manageable and even if you stay at Mena House, you're not far from Cairo.

Our room at Mena House was not great -- we stayed in the new wing and our room was like a Holiday Inn, but we didn't spend a lot of time in the room so it wasn't a critical issue. You can see the pyramids from the pool, and we spent more waking hours at the pool than in our room.

Michael
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Mar 7th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Do you know anything about the Le Meridien Pyramids?
Another question, (sorry about all the questions)are both of the Oberoi boats nice. Is the Oberoi Shehrazad a nice boat. From what I understand the Philae is nicer but how much. I am considering a tour through Yalla that includes the Shehrazad.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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Hi
I agree with the comments about traffic. If you go to the trouble of flying all the way to BKK or CAI dont sweat the traffic. Whilst stuck in traffic, dip into your Lonely Planet book or IHT and dont sweat the details!

Interesting you should mention the Oberoi Shehrazad. I noticed it's no longer mentioned on Oberoi's official website. Any intelligence on this would be welcome. It is grouped with many of the Mississippy-type paddle boat types but I fear it may have lost its past glory?

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Mar 9th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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Re: Oberoi Shehrazad - if it's not listed, it's very possible the boat is going into dry-dock for refurbishing. They do refurbish Nile cruise boats. I'd get specifics from whomever you're using to book your trip. Be certain ahead of time which boat you will be cruising on.
 
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Mar 9th, 2005, 08:51 PM
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I believe Oberoi has 3 boats - Shehrezad, Shehreyar, and Philae. The Philae is a little more "upscale" but we went on the Shehreyar in Oct 2002 and it was great. Large rooms and a great staff.

As for Sharm, I have been there twice, staying at the Hyatt and the Movenpick Golf. Both are lovely, but away from the boardwalk area of "downtown" Na'ama Bay. The Hyatt has a wonderful Thai restaurant in the complex. Snorkling is available on site at both places. But be prepared - both are large complexes and there is a lot of walking/stairs to get around them.

Other hotel recommendations would include the Intercontinental, the Sheraton, and the Four Seasons.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 10:06 PM
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Grcx-
When you say Sheraton, do you mean the Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Towers? Or are you talking about a Sheraton in Sharm?
We're booked at the Cairo Sheraton H&T in April - would love anyone's comments. From the website, it looks like a Sheraton anywhere in the world - very satisfactory but not unique accommodations, plenty comfortable when you're walking/touring all day and just need a nice place to sleep, shower and maybe get a bite to eat.
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Mar 10th, 2005, 04:49 AM
  #13
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OffToAfrica -
We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel & Tower on ElGezirah (sp) Island in the middle of the Nile when we returned to Cairo from our Cruise. Yes, it is a Sheraton, nothing unusual. More a businessmen's hotel, but we had a very large room (on lower floors that hadn't yet been refurbished) but it was clean and neat... and great views. The hotel rooms start about the 10th floor, as the conference, ballrooms and casino are on the lower floors. We had no trouble spending the day doing last minute shopping (and some sightseeing). Took a taxi to the Khan el Khalili Bazaar which was about $3; was easy enough to return, hailing a taxi at the bazaar. The hotel has some nice restaurants, many with dining outdoors along the Nile. But the evenings can be chilly, so have a jacket if sitting outside.

Though we spent our first two days at the Movenpick Jolie Ville in Giza, down the road from the Mena House, and a nicer hotel then the Sheraton (you might want to check this out), the Sheraton and it's location was quite acceptable, and the price was perfect.
 
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Mar 13th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Just back from Cairo. Used a Cairo tour operator ICANTRAVEL...there is no way I could get anywhere near the deal booking hotels, cruise etc. myself. I preferred the Cairo Marriott for location and for the hotel amenities and we had a room with a full Nile view on the 19th floor, although we did stay at Le Meridien Pyramids 2 nights. The Sonesta Moon Goddess was a fabulous Nile cruise boat. We had a large room with a large bathroom and all rooms have balconies on the Sonesta Moon Goddess. Good food on the boat and all veg and fruit washed in 'mineral water'. Nobody got sick. We were met everywhere and taken everywhere by reps. and guides from ICAN. They have a web site. I was very detailed in my request naming specific hotels and boat and asked for a price. We used the overnight sleeper train which was just fine.
We would go back in a heartbeat!!!!
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Mar 16th, 2005, 03:46 AM
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My wife and I are leaving for Egypt on Saturday and according to our itinery we're sailing on the Oberoi Shehrazad out of Luxor. Has anyone found out more information on this boat? I booked through Trailfinders and they never said it was "out of commission." Got me a bit worried now If you know anything about this cruise please post reply ASAP. Thank you!!
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Mar 16th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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No info on the boat, but remember that it can get cold in Cairo/Giza..I needed a jacket at times last week.. and it was HOT in Luxor and Aswan. Don't forget to visit the Egypt Craft Fair Trade store which has hand made items ( a lot of lovely cross-stitch embroidery etc) and it is within easy walking distance of the Cairo Marriott. We stumbled across it by accident and bought several gifts. The crafters get a 'fair wage' which is especially important to the Sinai women, and the prices were very reasonable.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 09:46 PM
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to traskyuk -

Don't know if any of the boats are out of commisions - but all the Oberoi boats are lovely. I think the Shehrazad and Shehrayar are
"twins" - so if they substitute one for the other there shouldn't be a problem.

The suggestion of a jacket/coat is wise. It may be late-March, but it still get quite cool here at night! And I have heard tat Luxor is quite warm right now.
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Mar 20th, 2005, 11:11 AM
  #18
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Sorry it took me so long to reply. Thank you everyone for responding. I just emailed Oberoi regarding their nile cruises and both Shehrazad and Shehrayer along with the Philae are all in operation.
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