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

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

Old Oct 6, 18, 4:52 am
  #46  
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Iconic hotel, disappointing service

Mena House Hotel

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Mena House Hotel

Pyramids Road Giza, EG 11511

Iconic hotel, disappointing service (5 Photos)

Mena House Hotel

Having my own history with the fabled Mena House in its previous incarnation as an Oberoi, I chose to come back to the property for the first time in many years to bask in the Pyramids at what I thought would be the best spot for it.

 

 

Location

It doesn’t get better than this: the hotel is literally at the foot of the Giza Plateau and main entrance to the last Wonder of the Ancient World. An easy, five-minute walk gets you right up to the ticket counter and up to the Pyramids and Sphinx. The hotel enjoys spectacular views of the Pyramids from its expansive grounds and many rooms, and it’s truly incredible to be in the presence of such magnificence as the Pyramids.

The surrounding residential/commercial area of Giza is a madhouse of thunderous traffic and tourist touts, so it’s best to stay in. The rest of Cairo is a thirty-odd minute drive away, while the flashy malls at 6th of October City are about twenty or so minutes away.

Cairo International Airport is approximately one hour and ten minutes away by car.

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Entrance + Lobby

The Mena House consists of two buildings: the historic Palace wing built in 1869 and the newer Garden extension. The Palace is currently closed for a multiple year-long restoration and renovation, while the Garden wing has been modernized over the last few years.

The main entrance and lobby is in the Palace, and is a spectacular welcome to the area. Hotels just aren’t built like this anymore: everything from the gilded ceilings, gold patterns, brass chandeliers and furniture inlaid with mother of pearl sets the scene for something beautiful and otherworldly. While a little TLC wouldn’t go amiss, the vintage details take you back in time and you actually feel like you’re sometime else.

Check-in was relatively easy, with a welcome drink of karkadeh [chilled, sweetened hibiscus tea]. My Platinum Premier Elite status with Marriott was acknowledged and I was informed of an upgrade from a deluxe garden view room to an executive room with Pyramids view. I was then taken to a golf cart outside the entrance, driven over to the garden wing and escorted to my room.

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Room

As previously mentioned, all the rooms in the Palace are closed for a restoration and renovation [I stayed there in 2006 and they needed HELP back then, so goodness knows what the state of affairs is in there right now]. Fortunately, the rooms in the garden buildings have all gone under the hammer in the mid-2010s and are now in very good shape.

My room was extremely spacious at over forty square meters. Decorated with dark wooden furniture and floors with upholstery in beiges made for a clean, contemporary atmosphere. Black-and-white vintage photos of Cairo, the Pyramids and Mena House dot the room. A king-sized bed dressed in white linens with firm mattress and thick pillows was perfect as I prefer a firm sleep. There is a couch, coffee table, two bedside tables, a circular table and two chairs. The air-conditioning is individually controlled and very strong - perfect for someone who likes a room close to the sub-zeros! There is a big balcony with two chairs and a table with a spectacular view of the Pyramids and hotel grounds.

The bathroom is a three-fixture setup with sink, bathtub and toilet [Turkish-style with a built-in knob and nozzle spraying water at your behind]. There are two towers of two drawers each, as well as small glass shelves for counter space. Toiletries are Marriott-standard, provided by Acca Kappa.

Wi-fi is free and included for Marriott Rewards members and those who book direct through Marriott’s official channels. Coverage across the hotel was very good and the speeds were great.

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Dining

I was informed at check-in that Platinum guests receive breakfast in the Executive Lounge, but can also enjoy complimentary breakfast at the main restaurant. Seeking a wide variety, I opted to only check the restaurant out during my stay. As expected, the breakfast spread was in buffet form and extensive, with several islands offering everything from cereals, cold cuts and cheeses to falafel, foul and potatoes au gratin. An egg station is on offer with cooked-to-order omelettes and other egg-based dishes.

We had lunch in the main restaurant twice, and while a buffet was available, we chose to order off the menu. Options were decent and included soups, salads and international main courses as well as some from a now-closed Indian restaurant in the Palace called the Moghul Room [formerly a legend in Cairo] - although the lack of any Egyptian choices was no fun. Ordering both international and Indian, we found the food to be of good quality but absolutely nothing to write home about - which was especially disappointing as we were excited to try options from the famous Moghul Room.

We had access to the Executive Lounge, located adjacent to the pool. If offers breakfast from 7 to 10:30 AM, afternoon snacks from 12 to 3 PM and evening snacks and happy hour from 6 to 8 PM. I didn’t try the lounge breakfast, but the ‘afternoon snacks’ consisted of jars of macarons and brownies. The evening spread was more comprehensive with salad greens, cheeses, a hot corner with skewered meats, breads and some desserts. Evening drinks consist of local beer or red/white wine. A fridge of carbonated drinks and bottled water is available and open all day.

Leisure

The hotel has a spa with gender-segregated lockers and sauna/steam room, as well as a mixed Jacuzzi and gym. Treatment rooms are available with your typical selection of massages and scrubs. There is a large, lovely outdoor pool in the back of the garden wing [the old pool was located in the front of the Palace with a view of the Pyramids but was removed to make space for an events lawn, water feature and the newly-built main restaurant - boo!] with lots of loungers in a three-tier setting, as well as changing rooms.

Facilities

The hotel offers business facilities in the form of a business center with printing facilities, and is very popular for larger events as weddings and conferences. There are meeting rooms and ballrooms, but the new events lawn in the front gardens below the Pyramids get a lot of traffic. We experienced a major event during our stay, replete with laser lights and soft music into the night but we got lucky; previous reviewers have complained about weddings boom boom booming into the early hours.

Service

Facilities are great but as service is what ties an experience together, the sub-par service our group experienced over the course of our stay was ultimately the hotel’s Achilles heel and is enough for me to rank my experience as an overall 3 out of 5. I emphasize that while it is unfair and unreasonable to expect St. Regis levels of service at a premium-segment Marriott, the Marriott name is synonymous with a level of professional consistency that simply did not exist at this hotel.

While the staff are ultimately well-intentioned, their total lack of coordination paired with total blundering made for such detriment to our experience at the hotel that I and other members of my group sought to simply minimize any interactions with the hotel team. Some examples include the following:

  • At the breakfast buffet, we had asked for freshly-squeezed orange juice instead of the juice offered at the buffet and had some delivered to us. When one of us asked for a refill, we were brought the normal juice and upon asking for it to be freshly-squeezed, the waitress instantly responded that the hotel had run out of oranges and that fresh juice wasn’t available. Five minutes later, another waiter brought us glasses of freshly-squeezed juice. Hmm…
  • My friend tried ordering a cosmopolitan off the poolside drinks menu. Twenty minutes later, she was told that cosmos weren’t available because the hotel didn’t stock cranberry juice, so she asked for a vodka shot and some pomegranate juice [which she had at breakfast earlier that day]. Ten minutes later, the waiter brought out warm vodka in a tall glass and a side of pomegranate syrup, with the explanation that no pomegranate juice was available at the hotel. When I let him know that we had it at the main restaurant that morning, he seemed genuinely confused at the prospect of having to make contact with the restaurant for it, then disappeared for ten more minutes. When he returned, he said that the juice wasn’t available. Needless to say, no drinks were had by the pool that day.
  • One night, we asked a waiter at the lounge if we could order drinks from the bar other than the wine and beer on offer and pay for them. He grumbled that it wasn’t possible and if we wanted drinks from the bar, we should “just go to the bar and order it” ourselves.
  • While at the lounge, we had inquired about the option to order food off the room service menu and have it delivered to lounge. The attendant looked at us and said “But other people will see you eating room service.” This was such a puzzling response and while some hotels allow for room service to be delivered and others don’t, we never got a solid response to our request and sought to not pursue it.
  • Another night at the lounge, I was offered ‘anything I wanted’ due to my pescatarian diet, so I asked for some shrimp [which were offered the first few nights on the lounge buffet by the salad greens]. The same lounge attendant from the above scenario came out and said it wasn’t possible to make some this particular night and gave no reason why, but said “if there’s anything else you need, let me know.” Piling this simple request onto the previous failure to order room service, I had the impression that any request would be too complex and thought that it wasn’t worth asking… until another attendant who usually worked the pool came by, asked if I wanted anything and when I asked about shrimp, he had the kitchen put together a huge platter of grilled shrimp and tomato pasta and delivered it shortly thereafter, no questions asked.

Across the board, we found the overall service to be slow, inattentive and got the vibe that nobody really cared, that a creative and non-sensical response was better than an attempt to remedy a particular situation. This being said, there were some staff members who genuinely tried to deliver and they deserve to be recognized for their actions: Wagih, Amal, Rana and Safaa from the 139 Pavilion always greeted us with energy and tried to meet our requests, while Magdy from the pool/lounge always greeted us by name and ultimately said ‘yes’ when his colleagues would say ‘no.’ Tarek, the hotel's Director of Marketing Communications and a Mena House institution, is a gem and a total asset to the property through his courtesy, devotion and passion to and for the hotel. Thank you, you wonderful people.

Overall

The name ‘Mena House’ conjures up a romantic image of bygone grandeur in the shadow of the Pyramids and while the physical property itself upholds that allure, it is ultimately service that distinguishes a great room from a great hotel and the Mena House just doesn’t make the cut.

It's difficult to cloak a recommendation under a blanket 'yes' or 'no.' If service is a make-or-break for you, then the overall recommendation veers no. If you can overlook all the discrepancies in favor of patience and a solid room at a legendary location, then tuck in.

Iconic hotel, disappointing service

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khabah is online now  
Old Nov 21, 18, 10:14 am
  #47  
 
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Can anyone who has been to the hotel lately confirm whether renovations on the Palace Wing have begun?
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Old Apr 9, 19, 12:40 pm
  #48  
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From the review above, Gold status access to lounges in this hotel?
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Old Jul 2, 19, 2:27 pm
  #49  
 
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my upcoming stay

I had a slew of Marriott points and two free SPG nights, so I've booked a week at the Marriott Mena House April 4-11 2020. It's my birthday, so I let the front office know when I contacted them to see if I could purchase access to the lounge for my stay as I am just a lowly Gold, and knew that lounge access for the week would greatly enhance my stay. Imagine my surprise when they replied that $50 paid when I arrived got me access. Also, they will give me a flower arrangement and a cake for my birthday! My first time in Egypt is going to be amazing, I can already tell!!! Perhaps they may throw an upgrade in there, even though I am a lowly Gold!!!
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Old Aug 28, 19, 3:43 pm
  #50  
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Does anyone know if there are views of the pyramids from any of the bathrooms here? I know Grand Deluxe rooms (and maybe some suites) have windows in the bathrooms.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 11:48 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by khabah View Post

The Sheraton is in infinitely better shape property-wise than the Marriott seeing as its been very recently renovated, so I'd recommend it on that virtue alone; khabah
I may be disagree about this. While the standard room in Sheraton is nicer than Marriott, if you were platinum and Marriott usually upgrade you to a suite the experience is very difference . And I think Marriott overall is more charming property than Sheraton which one is a palace with historic style and many dining options and everything inside the flagship hotel . Sheraton in Giza is just another business style Sheraton you can find anywhere.

I stayed at Marriott now they gave me a ambassador suite overlooking Nile river which is one of a kind and very much attention to elite members.
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Old Nov 25, 19, 12:10 pm
  #52  
 
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Does anyone know the children policy in a room? We are two adults two children (8 and 11). I am trying to reach the hotel to verify but if anyone has any insight would be appreciated.

We are going at the end of the year and trying to decide between this and Four Season. Also I looked at Ritz, but they charge for children over 6 so would have to be two rooms.
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Old Nov 26, 19, 9:42 am
  #53  
 
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Originally Posted by joogle View Post
Does anyone know the children policy in a room? We are two adults two children (8 and 11). I am trying to reach the hotel to verify but if anyone has any insight would be appreciated.

We are going at the end of the year and trying to decide between this and Four Season. Also I looked at Ritz, but they charge for children over 6 so would have to be two rooms.
I booked a double double on points and contacted the hotel who confirmed my kids (7 and 9) could stay in the room with 2 adults. We ended up cancelling the stay, but they were okay with this when I booked it about 1 year ago.
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Old Nov 28, 19, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by ankomonkey View Post
I booked a double double on points and contacted the hotel who confirmed my kids (7 and 9) could stay in the room with 2 adults. We ended up cancelling the stay, but they were okay with this when I booked it about 1 year ago.
Thank you, I booked a King and they were fine with the two kids, they asked for ages (8 and 11). They just said to put it in the memo in the reservations. I did that and requested rollaway bed as well.

I decided to book on points (20k) a night as I'm going to peak period and didn't realize the taxes/service fees are so high. Basically the total was coming out to be like $1000+ vs using 80k points.

Now, I have Gold status - it seems some were offered breakfast and some had lounge access as well. Anyone have any recent updates?

Also is the executive lounge serving food all day - should we just skip breakfast (if we have to pay) for the lounge? I really don't know much about the lounge so not sure if that is an absurd thought process.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 28, 19, 5:11 am
  #55  
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Originally Posted by joogle View Post
Now, I have Gold status - it seems some were offered breakfast and some had lounge access as well. Anyone have any recent updates?

Also is the executive lounge serving food all day - should we just skip breakfast (if we have to pay) for the lounge? I really don't know much about the lounge so not sure if that is an absurd thought process.

Thanks!
Both lounge and restaurant breakfast is free for Plat and above. Restaurant offering is much better, lounge breakfast is mediocre .
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Old Nov 28, 19, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Vince Chan View Post
Both lounge and restaurant breakfast is free for Plat and above. Restaurant offering is much better, lounge breakfast is mediocre .
Thanks - is there anything at all the Gold members get I feel like after the SPG and Marriott merger my whole status is devalued, I haven't travelled in a while - will just have to pony up for the breakfast price then.

I do have an option to upgrade the room with Executive lounge access for $200 for the whole stay which is 4 nights. Not sure if it is worth it, based on some responses here it seemed like the Gold members got access.
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Old Nov 29, 19, 9:39 pm
  #57  
 
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The lounge isn’t really that great tbh, I’d value it at about $15 per night per person if you are drinking etc, they are nice there though. I think the restaurant with view on pyramids is the best place to go.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 11:53 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by joogle View Post
Does anyone know the children policy in a room? We are two adults two children (8 and 11). I am trying to reach the hotel to verify but if anyone has any insight would be appreciated.

We are going at the end of the year and trying to decide between this and Four Season. Also I looked at Ritz, but they charge for children over 6 so would have to be two rooms.
We just returned from their on a 3 night stay with my kids. The rooms with two twin beds are small. There is absolutely no way you could sleep 4 in a room.

We had to book 2 rooms, so it was 35k per night or 105 for our stay. As a Platinum Elite I was given 1king and 2 twin connecting room. As well they gave me lounge access for us, including the kids.

Paid rates were about $600 a night in late November high season, (300 usd per room) so I thought 35k for 2 rooms per night was a good price.

As well i disagree with the above poster, lounge was excellent with full made.to order eggs and a good variety of foods. As well all day snacks and refreshments. As a Platinum of course included for free, but would easily pay $50 or more as I thought it was very good. That is why I chose this hotel over the other Ghiza Bonvoy property was for the lounge.

Location is excellent as right next to pyramids

A warning though Egypt is pricey, especially if you bring your kids as the extra costs for security such as paying for guides instead of venturing off on your own is an unfortunate necessity. As well double the room price made our Egypt trip poor value.
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Old Dec 11, 19, 9:29 pm
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Originally Posted by smilee View Post
We just returned from their on a 3 night stay with my kids. The rooms with two twin beds are small. There is absolutely no way you could sleep 4 in a room.

We had to book 2 rooms, so it was 35k per night or 105 for our stay. As a Platinum Elite I was given 1king and 2 twin connecting room. As well they gave me lounge access for us, including the kids.

Paid rates were about $600 a night in late November high season, (300 usd per room) so I thought 35k for 2 rooms per night was a good price.

As well i disagree with the above poster, lounge was excellent with full made.to order eggs and a good variety of foods. As well all day snacks and refreshments. As a Platinum of course included for free, but would easily pay $50 or more as I thought it was very good. That is why I chose this hotel over the other Ghiza Bonvoy property was for the lounge.

Location is excellent as right next to pyramids

A warning though Egypt is pricey, especially if you bring your kids as the extra costs for security such as paying for guides instead of venturing off on your own is an unfortunate necessity. As well double the room price made our Egypt trip poor value.
Hi - I just sent you a message for additional information. Thanks
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Old Dec 13, 20, 11:08 pm
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Hotel or resort?

Hi guys,

Is Mena House a hotel or resort? I'm asking coz I need guaranteed 4PM late check out.

Thanks!
​​
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