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.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, HostelWorld and Priceline so you can book your African House Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.