Stayed at the Four Seasons First Residence at the end of January 2012 for 5 nights. The hotel is a little away from the madness of downtown Cairo but with 23 million people in one city nowhere is free of traffic and people. The hotel is part of a complex with a major shopping centre and residential building. It is next to the Nile and can have great views of the river and the city beyond on one side and on the other the zoo gardens and on a good day, a glimpse of the pyramids through the smog. Word of warning the pyramid side means traffic noise so higher floors are better. On the river side the residential building is between the hotel and the Nile so a room at either corner of the hotel building is best or you will have a lovely picture window filled with the view of another building and a sliver of Nile on either side. The only clear view in these middle rooms was of the building site which was the hotel pool in January/February. When I first arrived I had been allocated one of these obstructed view rooms and was not happy.
This hotel has a floor for women only which is comforting when travelling in the Middle East but not vital. I did not request this but the hotel made a decision to put me on this floor - level 10. Given the dreadful state of tourism in Egypt at the moment, with tourists staying away in droves and I am fairly certain was the one of only two occupants of this level,that a corner room might be possible. After several discussions with the manager and inspecting other rooms I was placed in a corner room at no additional expense. After 27 hours in the air from Australia to Cairo you can imagine how keen I was to just settle but the orignal room was so claustrophobic with the residential building squarely taking up my window space I had to keep trying. I was a little disappointed as I was travelling with Abercrombie & Kent and I would have hoped this would have been dealt with before I arrived.
However, the rooms are large, comfortable and very attractively furnished perhaps they could do with some updating but in the main excellent with loads of cupboard space and room for the bags. Bathrooms were excellent and spotless with Bulgari toiletries and plenty of very fluffy towels. Lovely fresh flowers in the bathroom and excellent turndown service in the bedroom.The windows can be opened and this was great - you could get a feel for the world outside the hotel and you can hear the people being called to prayer across the river late in the day.
It really is heartbreaking to see how few tourists there are. The main reastaurant where we had breakfast each morning seats around 80 people and has terrific views across the river - lovely place to start the day and watch the rowers and fellucas. I never saw more than 8 people for breakfast or dinner sitting down to eat during my stay. The food was fantastic and the staff charming and highly efficient. Only downside is it is very hard to get any wine other than Egyptian even in a 5 star hotel. The only champagne was an Egyptian one called Aida available in the bar - enough said. Room service uniformly very good and quick. I also tried the Thai restaurant and found it suprising authentic and the service was outstanding.
Spent an afternoon in the spa to lose the jetlag and that was fab. The spa is huge and luxurious - as a spa junkie I was very impressed and as I was staying on the women only floor there was a discount at the spa.
Location wise it is great for sites like the Pyramids and Saqquara. If you have never experienced Cairo traffic you do not know the meaning of the word. It is constantly bumper to bumper and that may be with a donkey, not another car and democracy seems to mean that you don't have to obey the road rules. So it takes ages to get anywhere. It is a hike across town to get to the Citadel, the Bazaar, Hanging Church etc but very calming when you cross the river again to Giza and the hotel at the end of a busy day and the mayhem is a little more subdued.
All up this hotel is the whole package - in Cairo/Giza I think it is rightly top of the list of places to stay - if only because the service was so good and the staff so friendly and accommodating. In fact, some flashier 5 star hotels I have stayed at in Western capital cities could learn alot from the pleasant approach and good manners of the staff in this hotel. Reception were uniformly helpful and could not do enough to make my stay a happy one and anyone in hotel livery that I ran into around the complex said good morning or good evening and made me feel like they were pleased I had chosen their hotel and it was important to them that I enjoyed my stay. Would stay here again and would very much recommend this hotel.
On a final note, the shopping complex is very good if expensive and there is a wonderful jeweller called Azza Fahmy who makes superb modern silver pieces if you want a gorgeous souvenir of Egypt to take home rather than another fake papyrus!
Always a corner room on the Nile side to avoid a blocked view and stay higher up on the Pyramid side...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.