I gotta admit, when I first saw my room, everything seemed a little sad and tired. Smudges on the walls, worn-down parquet floor, etc.
But then I slept (very well--the beds are firm, not saggy), and I felt much better about the place. My shower had good pressure and tons of hot water (an individual heater right there in the room), I had a nice little balcony, and I had a lot of room to spread out.
Then I also checked out other budget hotels around town, many of which were a lot dingier, and I felt _a lot_ better about the place.
I did eat dinner at the hotel one night, which was some mashed potatoes and meat sauce, plus soup and veggies and a little dessert--generous for the price, if not the most inspiring food. But it was very nice to have that option, for the nights I was too beat to eat out.
As a woman traveling alone, I especially appreciated the staff, who were very helpful and kind (generally older men) but not the least bit intrusive. No one tried to chat me up, or even asked me what I was out doing during the day--some people may think that's unfriendly, but I found it to be a huge relief.
The other nice thing about the place is that it's a bit away from the downtown craziness (but still very close to Tahrir for metro, taxis, etc.). You can actually walk down the block and not have people try to sell you things. (Well, eventually they did--but that was after I'd been there a week.) It's just nice to be able to start your day in Cairo with some genuine friendliness--to the guy running the little grocery downstairs, for instance--before you have get on the defensive against the hustle-y dudes.
That doesn't mean the place is quiet, though--even at the back of the building, the traffic noise is pretty terrible. I used earplugs.
Also, my room had an a/c unit, but no fan. Fortunately, it wasn't that hot, so I could leave the balcony door open and catch a breeze. I bet if I'd thought to ask at the desk, they could've given me a table fan.
Oh, man--and for retro-technology buffs: they have an old-style telephone switchboard, which they actually use. I've been in a lot of old hotels, with these things sitting around like relics in a museum--but I've never seen anyone casually get up and walk over and swap the plugs around to transfer a call. I think it's worth the price of a bed for that alone.
- Also Known As:
- Garden City House Hotel Cairo