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“NOT a hotel - just a HOSTEL. Very disappointed - detailed review inside”

African House Hotel
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African House Hotel
Ranked #60 of 137 Hotels in Cairo
South Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
50 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“NOT a hotel - just a HOSTEL. Very disappointed - detailed review inside”
Reviewed March 20, 2010

While reading this review, I want the reader to keep in mind that I have visited many countries (even developing ones) and stayed in Youth Hostel and Classy Hotels. So while you read this, don’t think to yourself ‘just another Westerner who’s used to luxury’. There are a lot of details here and I am including them since it’s important in making your decision.

I am going to give as fair and balanced a review as possible here.

I picked African House based on reviews from Hostel World and only 2 average reviews from Trip Advisor. First off, it should not be called a Hotel. This is a Youth Hostel - nothing more. My wife was wary of my selection – and with good reason - as we were soon to find out.

My wife and I are both in our 30s and had never been to Egypt before. We were aware that we were going to a developing country and we expected some ‘fun experiences’.

We were originally booked a ‘2 Bd – Ensuite’ here from March 9 to March 14. We had paid a 10% deposit via the web for our 5-night stay here.

I was in communication with the Hostel staff a week before our arrival and they were responsive via email and phone. I had arranged for them to send a car to pick us up at the airport. This worked out OK and the young guy who picked us up was polite, friendly and helpful.

After arriving at the African House, it was already about 10 pm and we were exhausted. The front desk was kind enough to let us get our bags into the room and change right away. I realized immediately that the room and bathroom was way too small. So I asked them to switch us to a ‘3 Bd – Ensuite’ – and they took care of that quickly too.

The problems started the first night and went all thru till we left. Below are the NEGATIVE points -

1) Getting hot water in the bathroom was very hard– both for the shower and sink. When the hot water did turn on (for a few moments), it was scalding hot – the kind that would burn your skin. Also, the hot water came in bursts and then the cold water would stop – so you’re guaranteed a nice BURN.

2) Shower pressure – Non existent. As if the lack of hot water was not enough, it was like taking a shower under a leaky faucet. Cairo is a very dusty/dirty city. So exploring the city on foot automatically means that you’ll get covered in dust from head to toe. At times it’s nice to come back and get clean under the shower. No such luck here.
Even the shared bathroom did not work well.

3) Sleep Quality was terrible. We were on the top floor and the traffic on this street would not stop all night long. Horns beeping, people yelling, alarms going off, music blaring. Now, some people will say ‘that’s just Cairo’, but I found out later that this is not the case.

4) Sleeping w/ Mosquitoes = No SLEEP. We got eaten alive here all night long. The next day we’re full of bumps and welts all over. Lucky for us we did not catch malaria or some other sickness. When we complained to the front desk, they offered us some bug spray. We tried this out – and it only got the skeeters agitated – and they tore us up again the next night. We got bitten all 3 nights we were there – it was awful

5) Bathroom Sink – Pipe broke and fell off. So now, any time you turn on the sink, the water drains onto the floor. Since it was a plastic pipe fitting, I tried to push it back into place. It worked for a few moments and then it collapsed again. I was done!

6) Wireless connection – Terrible. We could not get a connection most of the time...and when we did it was weak and would drop off. Since we use our computers for work (even while traveling), this was very disruptive. Also, the front desk kept changing the passwords on us (sometimes multiple times in a day) without letting us know – wasting even more of our time.

While all this may sound comedic – it can ruin a vacation. No sleep and bug bites means your body is worn down, your tired, likely to get sick and can’t enjoy your day at all.

By the end of day 3 (into our 5 night stay), we checked out of this hole and splurged on a nicer place. Our health was not worth this headache and we were not going to ruin our vacation.

The last thing that annoyed me was when we were settling our bill with the front desk, they did not apply the deposit to our bill – saying that it applied to the original 2 bedroom…and since we switched – we had forfeited it! I was too tired to get into it with the guy and wanted to leave.

On the positive side:

- Front Desk is reasonably helpful and responsive
- The tours they offer are competitively priced. We took the Pyramid tour and it was nice.

Overall, the negatives far outweigh the positives and I would NOT recommend this hotel to anyone – unless you want to go thru what we went thru. At this point, someone is going to say ‘This is a Hostel. What did you expect?’ Having stayed in Hostels before I have seen significant difference in qualities…and I think the main difference is the ‘pride of ownership’ of the proprietor and staff. In this case, I saw a lot of little things that could have been done to easily improve the quality of the rooms, the bathrooms, the hallways etc. Instead I saw the staff mostly lounging around, surfing the web and smoking.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Arrege
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Marin County
Level Contributor
27 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2010

The African House is delightful, with large rooms and high ceilings, old wood floors and tons of 19th century character. It is near the Ramses Train station and Orabi Metro stop. The management is simply ouitstanding: helpful, knowledgable, sympathetic--in short willing to do whatever it takes to makes a tourist's stay in Cairo menorable and easy. We planned to stay 4-5 days and stayed longer and returned before leaving for Istanbul. The toilets run on a bit, but the water is individually heated and Wifi always works and is free. Breakfast is just OK, but they will bring you hot tea all day complimentary. I'm sure we really enjoyed Cairo in large part because of the African House.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Newpriorities
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
420 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 538 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2010

couldn't ask for more - great value for money. rooms not too modern, but staying in isn't the reason why you come to cairo. very knowledgeable and helpful staff, even the homeless guy by the gate. don't even think of missing out on mango smoothie from the juice shop on the right.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AlwaysSpeakOut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 19, 2010

If you keep in mind that this is a hostel then you will propably be pleasently surprised. It's a colourful and peacefull place with a hint of good incense smell. It's really centrally located but there is absolutely no noise. Our double room was spacious and clean. Ofcourse it's old and bed linens don't match and there was a kitten on our bed waiting, but it couldn't ruin the athmosphere. Receptionist (i guess owner) was very polite and easy going, he wasn't trying to sell us anything (camel rides, trips to luxor and so forth) and was very helpfull if we needed something. We had a change of travel plans and it was easy to modify our reservation without any extra costs or other [--].
Nice place, free internet, nice fellow travellers.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mustakissa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2009

The room was big and clean however the toilet didn't work very well and there was a roach in the bathroom. There was power outage the night we got there and the fan stopped working for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, which made the room ridiculously hot. The staff was nice enough but we got a strange vibe from them. They seemed to overcharge for everything, including the driver that took us around to all the sights. But it's location in Cairo was great... far enough away from the business of town but still close to the attractions.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EA93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norway
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2008

The hostel is sentrally located in Cairo, close to the Egyptian museum, Ramses trainstation and islamic Cairo.

The best with this hostel is the athmosphere with fellow travellers and staff. There is a "dormstyle" livingroom, were the staff serves you free coffe/tea 24/7 with a pc with free internet connection (as well as wireless connection).

You will use your time at the hotel talking to fellow travellers, and getting useful tips. The hotelstaff are multilingual and are helpful with booking trips or tickets.

There is a refrigerator with soft drinks and mineral water at low cost as well.

If you are tired travelling around Egypt and all the hassel, you will love this hostel.

The only thing negative with this hotel was mosquitos at night. There is only a fan and no aircondition in the room, wich resulted in som new bites every night.

The breakfast at the hotel is simple but good. Two boiled eggs, a packet of strawberry jam and three small baguettes.

Loved this small hostel, and will return here.

  • Liked — location and athmosphere
  • Disliked — mosquitos
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank uman68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about African House Hotel

Property: African House Hotel
Address: 15 Emad Eldin street, Cairo 11511, Egypt
Location: Egypt > Cairo Governorate > Cairo
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #60 of 137 Hotels in Cairo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — African House Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 14
Reservation Options:
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