I stayed, on holiday here for 5 nights during the start of Ramadan at the end of July. The first impressions were good, and we had no complaints about the room - great view over the Nile, very clean, spacious and comfortable. The hotel certainly has character, despite the exterior resembling a big concrete block. The lobby is attractive without being ostentatious and there was always plenty of staff at hand. There is a bank, several small shops, a gym and different restaurants.
Unfortunately some of the hotel facilities were not open and this was disappointing. The Napoleon Bar was closed throughout our stay. When we asked why, the receptionist was not even aware that it was closed, and did not offer to open it. The hotel was clearly overstaffed so we did wonder why this was not possible. The rooftop terrace did not serve alcohol or food as was advertised. Was this because of Ramadan or because we were travelling in the low season, with tourism down because of recent unrest in Cairo? One evening the receptionist 'gave us permission' to drink beer on the terrace bar, but the service was ridiculously slow and the staff appeared quite resentful. I know it was Ramadan, but this was after sunset and the hotel does not advertise restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
The breakfast was mediocre and quite expensive for what it was. The breakfast staff were, however, courteous and efficient.
One day we tried to arrange a tour to Saqqara through the hotel's travel agency. After waiting a while a woman told us that she only dealt with reservations and flights. No other help was forthcoming. We persisted the next day by asking at reception and were offered the services of a driver. This turned out to be good and reasonably priced. Not all staff spoke English very well and making ourselves understood was difficult at times.
In retrospect we wished we had paid a little more and stayed at a hotel with a swimming pool - although not the vulgar looking Semiramis Intercontinental opposite!
The cleaning staff were a bit over-efficious - knocking on the door at 8.30am and seemed very anxious to get on with their duties before we had even left the room for the day. They did a good job, though as it was always spotless.
I'd heard that tourism is 40% down, maybe more so in the Summer months. This was clearly evident by the lack of crowds at the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. Although this was good for us, it's bad for them and means that everyone is in fierce competition to get as much as they can from the tourists. The hotel guy who arranged our trip did his utmost to persuade us to book further trips or services from the driver. We experienced a lot of 'hassle' during our stay in Cairo and although I can understand the reasons why, it is something to be aware of before venturing out as an independent sightseer.
All in all, the hotel was memorable - but not always for the right reasons! The location is great, but the service was variable. Booking.com need to revise their description of the hotel and it's facilities.
Book a room with a Nile view - certainly worth it!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.