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Marriott Mena House (near pyramids), Cairo, Egypt [Master Thread]

Marriott Mena House (near pyramids), Cairo, Egypt [Master Thread]

Old Apr 25, 18, 9:23 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: East or West
Posts: 341
Thumbs up Beautiful property, great promise, but execution can be improved

Seems not many people stay here, so happy to provide a review. As requested, I took a lot of pictures.

I was really happy to be able to stay 2 nights at this property, especially since now it is a Marriott so I can get elite benefits and earn points, since I was going to have to stay at this hotel anyway. It is very close to the pyramids, and in fact will have to go through the police checkpoint for the pyramids to access the hotel. The hotel has additional security before allowing you into the driveway, which is normal for Egypt.







After getting out of our car at the portico, we were greeted by multiple staff members who offered to help with luggage. Like other hotels in Egypt, you have to go through a metal detector to enter the lobby. The first thing I noticed about the lobby was the old-world gold-gilded ceiling, which makes a grand impression, albeit with a low ceiling. The lobby is decorated tastefully with fresh flowers as well. Checking in was a very pleasant affair, and impressively, both the front desk agent and the front desk manager made a point to welcome me as an elite Marriott member. Management seems to have embraced the Marriott brand, with a lobby portrait of the Marriotts, in addition to a cabinet of photos of famous guests, the most recent of which appears to have stayed 18 years ago.









We had booked a pyramid view room in the regular wing, and as Marriott Gold we were offered an upgrade to a room in the palace wing, which is the most recently renovated part of the hotel. However, the catch is the palace wing rooms do not currently have pyramid views. (The palace wing rooms with pyramid views are still being renovated. The walkway to this area can be seen in the lobby photos covered with Marriott logos.) Based on the pictures and what I've read about the regular rooms vs the palace wing rooms, we decided that we'd rather have a more comfortable room than the pyramid view, since we would be seeing the pyramids from all over the rest of the property anyway.

Room Review
We were assigned a ground floor room facing the landscaped center of the hotel. They took us and our luggage in a golf cart to the building entrance. We thought this meant it would be far away, but we laughed when we saw it would have been about a 2 minute walk outside, and in fact this wing was connected to the lobby with a 3 minute walk though hallways. I bet the golf cart would be appreciated more during hot summers.


hallway connecting lobby to the palace wing


golf cart driving


hallway of the palace wing



We were very happy with the very large size of the room and how tastefully the room was appointed, with the renovation making the room seem modern yet retaining a hint of the old-world. The room had plenty of room for a bed, couch, and desk, and the bathroom very modern and luxuriously spacious. In addition, they later brought a nice welcome amenity of a fruit basket and a couple pieces of pastries.


entryway with walk-in closet on the left, and bathroom on the right



bedroom area



bathroom




ground floor room patio & view from patio




While the furniture and fixtures were great, and the shower had excellent water pressure, we noticed a couple things about the room. First, the ceiling fan was installed backwards, so when turned on it would be rattling and blowing air up towards the ceiling with no air blowing under the fan. Second, which concerned us more, was that the balcony door did not lock properly, especially since this was a ground floor room. We called 3 times about this over the course of the day, and each time were promised someone would come fix it, but nobody ever came. In fact, nobody who picked up the phone seemed to be aware that there was a previous call about that. We made sure to keep our valuables in the safe when we went out.

After coming back from a late dinner, we noticed a lot of mosquitoes in the room, perhaps due to the balcony door not being flush with the wall. We killed more than 20 mosquitoes before we had enough and called the front desk. (I added a picture of the hotel guidebook we used to kill some of the mosquitoes, and also one that I caught alive bare-handed.) They sent a can of Raid, which we said was unacceptable. Then they offered to have housekeeping come spray the room for us, which we said was also not acceptable, as we did not want to have insecticide sprayed on our belongings and sheets. After a few minutes, the night manager called us back to offer a room change, and assured us that mosquitoes in the room is not a usual finding.


mozzies captured or killed




To their credit, within 5 minutes someone showed up with the new keys and to help us move to our new room on the second floor. This one had a working fan, functional and flush balcony doors, and not one mosquito. We were thrilled.


second floor hallway




After we moved our bags in, we realized that the second room was not completely turned over. It was missing multiple towels and had dirty dishes on the coffee table. However, given the time of night and how tired we were, we did not bring these up with the manager and just asked for extra towels, and then put the dishes outside the room door. Other than that, the room was perfect. (Side note: this room was on the 2nd floor and had a bigger balcony than the room on the ground floor.)


balcony from the 2nd floor, noticeably larger than the ground floor patio



Grounds
The landscaping is beautifully maintained, and the public areas include reflecting pools, fountains, and bridges, many with a view of the pyramids. It seems they have more space than they know what to do with right now, as some areas appeared to be set up for restaurants or bars but were empty/unstaffed, and there was lots of empty space on the ground floors of the hotel set up with furniture as many many lounging areas.


public area by the main restaurant, note there is equipment for an outdoor event in these pictures


view of the grounds showing the palace wing exterior





The pool area is towards the back of the hotel, behind the regular room building, and appears to be well maintained and staffed. After we selected chairs, we were quickly offered assistance to open the umbrella and offered a drinks menu. There were a lot of children in the pool.



walking towards the pool area


pool area with new Marriott logo


additional restaurant area by the pool, mostly unused except as private event space





There are also a couple gift shops by the lobby of course way overpriced, and interestingly have a sign offering different prices for postage stamps, with foreigners charged 3x the face value of stamps and Egyptians charged face value.

Executive Lounge
The executive lounge is a bit hard to find. It is tucked away in the back of the property by the pool, and is in a space that looks like it was set up for a restaurant. There is a tiny printed sign by the entrance, but it is otherwise unmarked, so you really have to know where to go to find it. In addition, it was mostly empty, so the first time we walked by it, we didn't even realize it was the lounge because the printed sign was so small. We initially had to ask for directions from a couple people, but we did stop by a couple times in the afternoon, and they had a choice of a couple small desserts and some soft drinks. We didn't stop by any other times.






Breakfast
Not sure if it was because of the room or the upgrade or the Gold status, but we were told we had access to the full breakfast in the main restaurant, which has a view of the pyramids. The breakfast was pretty good, with both Western and Arabic options, though the Western options were a bit more limited. Since the last morning we were leaving before the restaurant opened, they offered to send us takeaway bags for breakfast. We thought this was really sweet and thoughtful, but again the execution was lacking, as check out took far longer than expected, so by the time we asked about the breakfast bags, and saw the confusion in their faces, and then the promises to get them ASAP, we couldn't wait any longer and had to rush to get to the airport. Again, great promise, but a bit lacking on execution.


breakfast area in main restaurant, including foul station and omelette station and dyed eggs for Easter


view from restaurant at breakfast




Conclusion
Anyway, those are relatively minor things, and overall we had a great experience. Glad this property is part of the Marriott group now, and hopefully will have a chance to go back in the future!
SanDiego1K and ankomonkey like this.

Last edited by MahiMahi524; Apr 25, 18 at 1:50 pm Reason: removing links to full resolution images due to each image becoming a slideshow
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Old Apr 25, 18, 9:26 am
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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wow I just spent an 1.5 hours uploading and formatting pictures, and on submission they are all broken.... will come back later
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Old Apr 25, 18, 10:35 am
  #18  
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Great review. What was the rate?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 12:07 pm
  #19  
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MahiMahi54, thank you so much for the trip report & MANY photos. Much appreciated.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 12:23 pm
  #20  
 
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Update: sorry I had to remove the links to the full resolution images because embedding Flickr images with links apparently turns each image into a gallery that takes FOREVER to load and in addition is blocked as spam/inappropriate by my work internet filter. If anyone wants to see larger resolution pictures, PM me and I can link you to the actual picture.

The base rate was $127 for a regular room, which came out to about $150 with taxes.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 12:31 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by MahiMahi524 View Post
Update: sorry I had to remove the links to the full resolution images because embedding Flickr images with links apparently turns each image into a gallery that takes FOREVER to load and in addition is blocked as spam/inappropriate by my work internet filter. If anyone wants to see larger resolution pictures, PM me and I can link you to the actual picture..
The pictures are fine; thank you so much for posting so many of them.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 12:45 pm
  #22  
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Thank you for taking the time to take all those pictures and write such a detailed report. I have fond memories of staying there ever so many years ago (35?). It was early in our travel life and was very much an aspirational stay. I likely have pictures of the belly dancer performance in the hotel, and the wonderful views of the pyramid. I'm glad that it has been renovated and is now a Marriott property.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:03 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MahiMahi524 View Post
Update: sorry I had to remove the links to the full resolution images because embedding Flickr images with links apparently turns each image into a gallery that takes FOREVER to load and in addition is blocked as spam/inappropriate by my work internet filter. If anyone wants to see larger resolution pictures, PM me and I can link you to the actual picture.

The base rate was $127 for a regular room, which came out to about $150 with taxes.
That's a reasonable rate, though I wouldn't be surprised if you could get legacy Marriott or legacy SPG properties in Cairo for under $100.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:16 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by MahiMahi524 View Post
The base rate was $127 for a regular room, which came out to about $150 with taxes.
This is one property i would love to go to or at least egypt and the pyramids in general. Did you otherwise feel safe in the area? Besides the hotel and the pyramids, can you safely go elsewhere in the area without worry, or at least no more than you would have in say NYC or D.C.?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 5:31 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by swintec View Post
This is one property i would love to go to or at least egypt and the pyramids in general. Did you otherwise feel safe in the area? Besides the hotel and the pyramids, can you safely go elsewhere in the area without worry, or at least no more than you would have in say NYC or D.C.?
I went to Egypt three years ago. I have a few friends that have went since then. In general, I found it perfectly fine -- and the situation was much, much more unstable three years ago.

The only issues that folks complain (and rightly so) about is bribes at the airport to get through security or passport control. It's pretty common for the porters to come up, grab your luggage and then basically refuse to give it back unless you give them some money to wheel the bags past the security. When I was there, flying Air France home, I paid $20 and bypassed security altogether.

One of the appealing things about Cairo is there are often cheap paid business-class airfares out of there, if you're up for an old-fashioned mileage/status-run.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 9:10 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by swintec View Post
This is one property i would love to go to or at least egypt and the pyramids in general. Did you otherwise feel safe in the area? Besides the hotel and the pyramids, can you safely go elsewhere in the area without worry, or at least no more than you would have in say NYC or D.C.?
I think it was fine. Obviously exercise caution as you would in any major city to avoid sketchy areas, and avoid protests. As a foreigner in a developing nation, you will stick out and attract more attention than a local, which is unlike NY/DC, but not unlike other foreign cities. Also, now with Uber, it's really easy to get around without worrying about taxi scams.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 7:50 am
  #27  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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We will be at the Mena House for three nights, starting this Monday. Thank you so much for the details and photos - I'm even more excited now! FYI, we also saw the $127 per night rate, but using points is only 15,000 per night, so we opted to do that. Two rooms for three nights for 90K, with what we were told would be "an amazing" upgrade. Of course, that can't be guaranteed, but for location alone, we hope this will be a great choice.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 7:59 am
  #28  
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Originally Posted by krobbins View Post
We will be at the Mena House for three nights, starting this Monday. Thank you so much for the details and photos - I'm even more excited now! FYI, we also saw the $127 per night rate, but using points is only 15,000 per night, so we opted to do that. Two rooms for three nights for 90K, with what we were told would be "an amazing" upgrade. Of course, that can't be guaranteed, but for location alone, we hope this will be a great choice.
Actually, paying the cash rate would have been a slightly better value.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 11:08 am
  #29  
 
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Agreed, but we are in points-burning mode at the moment. If it had been under $100, we would have done the $$.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 5:53 pm
  #30  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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It's actually not a bad use of points. With taxes it comes out to $150+ vs 15K points with $0 taxes.
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