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Marriott Bonvoy hotels in or near Cairo, Egypt

Marriott Bonvoy hotels in or near Cairo, Egypt

Old Jun 1, 2006, 1:27 pm
  #46  
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Bump.

Am planning a (1st-time) trip in December to Egypt and Cairo with my mother. Which you would be the best hotel to stay in? Ideally a SPG property, but would be happy to look outside the brand too.

Our main objectives are:
-sight-seeing
-pyramids tour
-nile cruise

The SPG properties I see in Cairo, and the rates for my dates are:

Le Meridien Heliopolis $85
Le Meridien Pyramids $65
Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers and Casino $165
Sheraton Heliopolis Hotel, Towers & Casino $180
Sheraton Royal Gardens Not available

So any recommendations, as to which out of these would be the best? And since I'm travelling with mum, I would really prefer the best possible hotel, and I'm happy to pay upto $250-300 per night.

Also does anyone have any info about a 1 or 2 night Nile Cruise and how to go about trying to book it?

TIA!

cheers
AJ
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:09 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by jchand
AJ check out the Oberoi. Its the nearest hotel to the Pyramids.

Visited a few years ago and was a little Tired , but my have been renovated since. Location hard to beat. Go for a Pyramid View room. You can get a good rate through Amex.
Thanks! ^ I looked at the Oberoi website and it was all rack rates for my dates. Will try Amex tomorrow.
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:19 pm
  #48  
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Oh and a further question. Does anyone know how to arrange a "meet-and-greet" service to guide thru immigration etc and drop to the hotel....
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:25 pm
  #49  
 
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I stayed at the LeMeridien Pyramids last summer and for the money, view, and location it couldn't be beat. Had dinner at the Oberoi and that was all I needed. The Indian restaurant is really really good. The Oberoi's very basic new wing rooms cost a lot more than the LeMeridien. I would recommend a club pyramid view room with balcony if you decide on LeMeridien.
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:28 pm
  #50  
 
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Check out http://www.casualcairodetours.pyramids.net/ . Debbie helped us out with our entire trip to Egypt and did a fantastic job. She can help arrange anything you might need. You tell her exactly what you want and she gets it done. She organized all of our tours and transfers.
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:32 pm
  #51  
 
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If you want to stay in central Cairo we really enjoyed the Four Seasons at Nile Plaza. It looks brand new and the service was great. Much more expensive than the LeMeridien Pyramids.
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 5:58 am
  #52  
 
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Originally Posted by AJLondon
Oh and a further question. Does anyone know how to arrange a "meet-and-greet" service to guide thru immigration etc and drop to the hotel....
Only just read your post. Did you sort out hotel accommodation in Cairo yet and arrange a 'meet and assist' service?

I don't want to write a long post if it's of no use to you, but as a CAI-based expat would be happy to offer any advice/local knowledge should you still require.
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 9:46 am
  #53  
 
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Cairo and Luxor hotels

Just returned from Egypt and would like to contribute my thoughts.

(1) Cairo Sheraton was excellent value for the points I redeemed. It has two towers, but they are positioned such that a number of rooms have wonderful views of the river and/or pyramids (although for obvious reasons, the latter is in the distance). I received a corner room that had spectacular views of both. As this is Cairo, you definitely want a higher floor to avoid the incessant horn-honking below -- each tower has approx 24 floors. Facilities are in typical Sheraton style: a selection of decent restaurants and a very large pool round things out. Staff were friendly.

It's about a ten minute walk over the pedestrian-friendly bridge to the downtown area and Egyptian museum -- 5 EP if you catch a taxi. It's not far to the Pyramids either -- a taxi ride cost about 10 EP. The only downside is that since the hotel is located on the West Bank, so there really isn't a lot of shops or restaurants in the immediate viccinity. Like I said, it is within easy walking distance over the river, and taxis are CHEAP.

I passed the Le Meridien Heliopolis en route to the airport, which is just a few minutes away. Aside from that geographic convinience, I can't possibly imagine what a tourist would see or do in Heliopolis itself, and it is a 15-20 minute (no-traffic) drive to downtown Cairo. If you really want to be in proximity to the Pyramids, the Le Meridien Giza or Sheraton Gardens are options, although this means that your evening options will be limited.

(2) I had absolutely no problems at the airport, so I wouldn't pay anyone to help "expedite" the process. Depending on your nationality, you just buy a visa stamp for USD 15 at one of kiosks fronting passport control and then go through customs as usual. Exiting the terminal, the cheapest taxi fares can be had in the car park directly across the street and down the stairs. It's an airy open lot with lots of traffic, and a lot of the drivers seem to take their rest breaks here in the shade. If you bargain just a little, you can get to the Sheraton Cairo for 45 EP. Coming back, there is more competition among taxis, so 30 EP should be sufficient.

(3) Sheraton Luxor was excellent as well. The building itself is very dated, and the lobby needs a huge revamp, but the service was excellent. This property is secluded from the downtown area, and its riverside location makes the views and tranquility a welcome break from all the noise that seems to permeate city life here. The pool is right alongside the river, and is probably the highlight of this property (along with the panoramic views). To maximize enjoyment of your stay, I would upgrade to a river view room -- half the rooms are garden view. Taxi or horse-carriage rides from downtown cost 5 EP. Heading to downtown, however, you will need to bargain a bit harder due to the fact that there is no real street traffic fronting the hotel. Alternatively, you can just walk five minutes to the main street area and catch a taxi from there.

I did not enter the Le Meridien Luxor, but it is more centrally located than the Sheraton and from the outside at least looks newer. The downside is it's central location means no river-side views -- I cannot comment on their facilities. Taxis are so cheap that I would favor the secluded Sheraton location instead. Moreover, Luxor itself is not that big of a city, so it really isn't all that more advantageous to be smack in the middle of things.

Hope this is useful for future visitors.

EJ
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 10:12 am
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
Only just read your post. Did you sort out hotel accommodation in Cairo yet and arrange a 'meet and assist' service?

I don't want to write a long post if it's of no use to you, but as a CAI-based expat would be happy to offer any advice/local knowledge should you still require.
Thanks Phil.

I still haven't figured anything out! Or decided on a hotel yet. The trip will be 4-5 nights, in late Dec or early Jan. Will be taking my mum (on a BA 2-4-1 in F) and want it to be as pleasant for her as possible.

So advice would be much appreciated!

cheers!
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 6:40 pm
  #55  
 
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I just returned from my honeymoon in Egypt. We stayed in the Sheraton Cairo and it was by far one of the worst Starwood hotels I've stayed in. The rooms were like some of the previous posts pointed out SMELLY, MUSTY, and DATED. No recognition for Starwood Platinum. Apparently the hotel was sold out although when I looked online there were plenty of rooms available. I talked to the hotel manager to move me to a better room because they had actually given me a room with two double beds for my honeymoon although I had mentioned it on my reservation. They moved me to a room which was even worse on a lower floor. I walked out of the hotel and went to the Oberoi Mena House by the Pyramids. Thankfully that helped erase our horrible experiences with the Sheraton Cairo Towers.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 1:14 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by AJLondon
Thanks Phil.

I still haven't figured anything out! Or decided on a hotel yet. The trip will be 4-5 nights, in late Dec or early Jan. Will be taking my mum (on a BA 2-4-1 in F) and want it to be as pleasant for her as possible.

So advice would be much appreciated!

cheers!
Taking Mum, BA in F - OK that sets the bar at a pretty high level!

The first thing to consider is the timing of your proposed trip. At the risk of telling you something you may already know the second (and longer) of the two main holidays in the Islamic calendar - Eid al Adha - starts this year on/around Sunday 31 December 2006 (+/- one day). This basically means that for the period Friday 29 December 2006 to Friday 5 January 2007 most of Egypt will be partially/fully shut down for business.

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. On the plus side, with so many government depts. shut down for the holidays Cairo's roads can be relatively quiet. On the minus side Cairo can attract a lot of Gulf nationals (who are also enjoying the same holiday) during this period, making hotel rooms harder to find.

Back to Mum and BA. You'll arrive on a BA744 at Cairo Terminal 2 which, due to the transfer of some foreign airlines to a newly constructed Terminal 1, means there is a fair chance that yours will be the only flight using Terminal 2 Immigration and Customs facilities at the scheduled ETA of 2315hrs. As you'll be first off the plane you'll have an advantage over your fellow passengers in getting to the Immigration kiosks first. As you walk from the plane to Immigration there are approximately twenty steps you must walk down, so I hope Mum's reasonably mobile.

With Mum in tow I would recommend a 'meet, assist and transfer' service. It would be different if you were a backpacker (no disrespect to backpackers) or a businessman travelling alone; you could buy your own immigration stamp (GBP10/US$15) at one of the banks immediately prior to the Immigration kiosks and then join the queue to present your passport and immigration card, but any son who treats his Mum to a first-class flight isn't going to balk at paying a few extra bucks for some personal assistance.

Meet, assist and transfer is best arranged through the Cairo hotel you will be staying at - more of that in a minute. Most arriving international flights are greeted by a veritable mass of travel representatives holding up hotel boards with passenger's names on them. The representative will swiftly buy your stamps and, if you're not already at the front of the immigration queue, barge-in straight at the head of the queue anyway. Just make sure you are right behind him and avert the gaze of your fellow passengers as they glare at you.

Incidentally, construction of a new Terminal 3 is currently in progress, limiting the ability of private cars to access Terminal 2, although hotel transfer buses and limousines don't face any problems. If Mum's a serial gin-drinker don't forget that you can each buy up to four bottles of duty-free after clearing customs - Bombay Sapphire sells at US20/bottle.

Let's jump to your trip objectives - sightseeing, pyramids tour and Nile Cruise. The pyramids/sphinx, while undoubtedly a 'must-see' item in anyone's life, are frankly a bit of a disappointment. It's not the sights themselves that are the problem, it is the manner in which they are presented. As a tourist you will not only be hounded to death by people trying to sell you camel-rides, trinkets, etc but you will also have the pervasive smell of camel / horse / donkey pee / poo to deal with. Certainly allow 2-3 hours to see them, but don't build your expectations up too much.

That's the bad news. The good news is that your other objectives can be very pleasureable. In Cairo, the Egyptian Museum (downtown, next to the Nile Hilton) is well-presented and is an absolute must-see. A trip to the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar is, depending upon Mum's tolerance threshold, a fascinating experience.

I'm assuming the 'Nile Cruise' objective is more than just privately hiring a felucca on the Nile in Cairo for an hour - although that in itself is another recommendation. A proper Nile Cruise is going to mean either flying with Egypt Air or travelling by train to either Luxor or Aswan, with an approximate three day cruise from one city to the other (your one or two night cruise might be pushing things a bit time-wise). Cairo to Luxor is an approximate 50 minute flight.

Daytime temperatures in December/January in Upper Egypt (i.e. the south) are ideal for tourists. Luxor itself is an absolute gem of a location to visit for historic sites and, in my opinion, infinitely better presented than the pyramids, and the Nile Cruise is one of life's greatest pleasures.

I won't go into any other details other than to summarise as follows:

Day 1: arrive Cairo 2315hrs
Day 2: Cairo
Day 3: Cairo/Luxor
Day 4: Nile Cruise
Day 5: Nile Cruise
Day 6: Aswan/Cairo
Day 7: depart Cairo 0845hrs

On the basis of the above, we now come to hotels. As you may only spend three nights in Cairo (two nights at the start and one night at the end) I would, if it was me, splash out on one of the Four Seasons hotels in Cairo upon arrival in Egypt - they're not as expensive as you might think (and your $250-300/night budget should cover a stay there). There is no real need to be based in a hotel at the pyramids as you're only going to spend a few hours there.

For the final night in Cairo, when you return from Upper Egypt, the Sheraton Heliopolis is an ideal choice. It is only a 10 minute complimentary hotel bus ride from the airport and is an ideal place to stay the night before an international flight. Having previously worked in Upper Egypt for five years and made the journey to LHR six times/year during that period I used to do this all the time.

Other than Cairo, you might not need hotels at all if you join a Nile Cruise boat immediately upon your arrival in Luxor/Aswan.

I'll be glad to answer any further specific questions; e.g. Nile Cruise providers.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 1:26 pm
  #57  
 
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Originally Posted by bungee77
I just returned from my honeymoon in Egypt. We stayed in the Sheraton Cairo and it was by far one of the worst Starwood hotels I've stayed in. The rooms were like some of the previous posts pointed out SMELLY, MUSTY, and DATED. No recognition for Starwood Platinum. Apparently the hotel was sold out although when I looked online there were plenty of rooms available. I talked to the hotel manager to move me to a better room because they had actually given me a room with two double beds for my honeymoon although I had mentioned it on my reservation. They moved me to a room which was even worse on a lower floor. I walked out of the hotel and went to the Oberoi Mena House by the Pyramids. Thankfully that helped erase our horrible experiences with the Sheraton Cairo Towers.
The hotel must have been fully booked if you were a platinum and not upgraded to one of the club floors. Not only are the views from the upper floors excellent, but they have also been renovated -- very clean, comfortable and outfitted with the mod-cons one would expect from a 5-star category hotel. I did not see the "regular" rooms, so can't comment. The staff readily upgraded me with just Gold status, so I suspect they really did not have club rooms available.

EJ
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 3:56 pm
  #58  
 
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Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
For the final night in Cairo, when you return from Upper Egypt, the Sheraton Heliopolis is an ideal choice. It is only a 10 minute complimentary hotel bus ride from the airport and is an ideal place to stay the night before an international flight. Having previously worked in Upper Egypt for five years and made the journey to LHR six times/year during that period I used to do this all the time.
Heartily agree with staying at the the Heliopolis and it's proximity to the CAI.

Have stayed in Cairo proper a few times over the past decade - and for ease of transgression back to the airport; the Sheraton is top notch. And the courtesy shuttle is a very nice touch.

Enjoy your holiday!
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Old Jun 8, 2006, 3:24 am
  #59  
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Thanks Phil, you are a :-: !
Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
With Mum in tow I would recommend a 'meet, assist and transfer' service.
Yup, I'll book this thru the hotel. And idea of what charges to expect for this?
Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
The pyramids/sphinx, while undoubtedly a 'must-see' item in anyone's life, are frankly a bit of a disappointment. It's not the sights themselves that are the problem, it is the manner in which they are presented. As a tourist you will not only be hounded to death by people trying to sell you camel-rides, trinkets, etc but you will also have the pervasive smell of camel / horse / donkey pee / poo to deal with. Certainly allow 2-3 hours to see them, but don't build your expectations up too much.
If I book this with a guide, who'll accompany us, arranged by the hotel, then would the same "hounding" still occur? And again, an estimate of the charges...
Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
A trip to the Khan-el-Khalili bazaar is, depending upon Mum's tolerance threshold, a fascinating experience.
She loves shopping! Infact, so much that I'm almost scared of taking her there!
Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
I'm assuming the 'Nile Cruise' objective is more than just privately hiring a felucca on the Nile in Cairo for an hour - although that in itself is another recommendation. A proper Nile Cruise is going to mean either flying with Egypt Air or travelling by train to either Luxor or Aswan, with an approximate three day cruise from one city to the other (your one or two night cruise might be pushing things a bit time-wise). Cairo to Luxor is an approximate 50 minute flight.

I'll be glad to answer any further specific questions; e.g. Nile Cruise providers.
Definitely a proper 23 day Nile cruise. She's been wanting to do that for ages. Something more relaxing than adventourus. And preferably on the luxury end. One option I looked at was the Oberoi Nile Cruiser, but got a little confused about dates, duration etc on their website. (Looking at between Jan 3rd-9th.) Any advice on providers would be most appreciated.
Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
I would, if it was me, splash out on one of the Four Seasons hotels in Cairo upon arrival in Egypt - they're not as expensive as you might think (and your $250-300/night budget should cover a stay there). There is no real need to be based in a hotel at the pyramids as you're only going to spend a few hours there.
Okay, that sounds good. Are both of them similar? The other option I was considering was the Mena House Oberoi, but read a few bad reviews on it in the luxury hotels forum.

Oh, and the Sheraton Helipolis sounds perfect for the final night, before the morning flight back to LHR.

Thanks again for all your help!
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Old Jun 8, 2006, 4:46 am
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AJLondon - I had written that I'd get back to you on Saturday, but I've got a spare 20 minutes to write something now.

The two Four Seasons are on opposite sides of the River Nile. Which one you stay at may come down to who's got the best rate - they are both top notch establishments, and inexpensive by worldwide Four Seasons standards. One is closer to the Pyramids, one closer to the Egyptian Museum, but travelling from one to the other is a 10-20 minute drive (depending on traffic conditions).

The best thing about the Mena House Oberoi is the Indian restaurant there, it is legendary. Apart from that it's nowhere near the top of my list.

I believe you're looking at approx $25 for a 'meet and assist, twice that for an airport - hotel transfer.

I'm taking the easy option now and listing a couple of Egypt travel agent web-sites. One has an embedded operation at my employer's Head Office and provides a steady and reliable service; the other one is world-famous (Abercrombie & Kent), as follows:

www.akegypt.com

www.exceltrvl.com

There are many more, e.g. Thomas Cook - don't forget that the Egyptian economy is hugely dependent upon tourism.

As you appear to leaning towards the luxury end of the market, A&K may be the way to go.

I'm afraid my last experience of a Nile Cruise was back in 1987 with my ex-wife (!), as I type this I'm thinking I should be taking my current wife on a similar cruise! Most hotel chains have a Nile Cruise operation of some sort; A&K aside I have no particular recommendation. www.tripadvisor.com can give you some reviews.

One thing to bear in mind is the requirement to get from Cairo to Luxor and from Aswan back to Cairo (or vice-versa). Egypt Air flight timings can be erratic, and often at some unmentionable hour. Most flights however do have a small business class section; I'm sure A&K could sort you out there.

Incidentally, while in Aswan do try and have a peek at the Aswan High Dam. It's not the first thing most visitors to Egypt would think of looking at, but it's worth 30 minutes of your time - it's pretty close to Aswan airport.

I just wish that, like me, you had an Egyptian work permit. We could then get you all these tours at 'Egyptian resident rates' at a lot less than what tourists pay. I'm afraid that's something I can't cheat for you on your behalf though.

Last edited by Phil the Flyer; Jun 8, 2006 at 5:43 am
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