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“Ancient hotel in the center of Cairo”

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Windsor Hotel Cairo
Ranked #23 of 138 Hotels in Cairo
Préverenges, Suisse
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Ancient hotel in the center of Cairo”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2012

The rooms are clean and confortable and some bathrooms have been renovated. The bar area is splendid with an atmosphère of the 1950's. The elevator and the telephone are real antiques but still work after a century. Serveral films were shooted at the Windsor. The staff is very helpful and kind and the food is good. Quite noisy, but OK.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ruti_1028
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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566 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2012

Ignoring the recent postings about how this hotel had gone downhill, I gave it a try anyway because I had stayed here 9 years ago and found it OK, if run down a bit.  Back then I was a more strident backpacker and this place was better than hostels and so a nice change.  I realize now that I ignored those recent postings at my peril.  We just stayed there again last week and I agree that it's only getting worse because it's stuck in time (like 1947??) with few modern upgrades and a crappy breakfast.  But it had other issues beyond just being outdated.

First off, I booked online about a month in advance and the prices were much higher than I expected, but I was partly agreeing to pay for familiarity of neighborhood, etc.  Cairo can be a crapshoot on quality, and I at least knew this place.  I ALWAYS pay more for AC in places like Egypt (especially in August), but when I got there they told me I had booked the "fan" room and it was $12 more for AC.  I thought $46 was ridiculous to begin with, and now it was $58 in low season for an old hotel. OK, maybe my mistake on the fan/AC, but I suspect the description for the room didn't mention a fan and I just assumed AC for Cairo at a "decent" hotel for $46.  I would never have purposely booked a non-AC room, period.  Regardless, we paid extra and moved rooms.

The bathroom in the AC room had been completely modernized with tile, etc and looked new, so that's a plus.  (Note that hotel rooms in Egypt vary widely even in the same hotel, so our newly-upgraded bathroom may not be the case in all rooms).  Hot water worked great.  Noise wasn't a problem from the street, but the family next door with small children were loud at times, and our rooms were connected by a locked door with no soundproofing.

AC worked great, so no worries there either.  Apart from the bathroom, the rest of the room was stuck in 1947 or so with all furnishings, including the telephone (who cares about that though) and the TV (also not the reason I came to Cairo, but a TV from the 1940s?  Really?  Why bother?).  The beds looked like hospital beds and had wheels on them. 

The "barrel lounge bar" was OK, if dated, and it had free wifi.  So that was fine too.  It's low season and it was also Ramadan, so not much action here and very quiet.  Prices for food were OK for a hotel, but not a big selection either.  The bartender/waiter was very friendly and helpful.

The downstairs reception uses a switchboard that is 100 yrs old almost -- no kidding, that's what they told me.  They plug in cords and flip switches to make calls internally.  Maybe you find that "charming."  Didn't affect us really either way, but it's a prime example of how they want to keep this hotel stuck in time.  Thus, I guess, people pay for the nostalgia of it.

When we went to pay our bill with a credit card, they had to take us up 3 flights to a small office since that's the only place with the hand-held credit card machine (not sure why reception can't plug this in).  There is just one old elevator of the "cage" style and you must wait for someone to come and operate it for you.  You can't just get in and push buttons yourself.  So that's a pain at times if you are 5 floors up, as we were, because it's not like the guy was always in the elevator waiting.  Sometimes reception had to ring him and find him if you wanted to use the elevator and he wasn't around.

We paid extra for the "breakfast" plan.  It was 2 rolls, 2 pieces of white bread (not toast), crappy coffee, a bunch of grapes, an apple juice mini carton and 2 packets of jam & butter.  Even at low end places I usually get a boiled egg or maybe a yoghurt.  So this was really disappointing as we had paid more for this and we were off to an early tour of the pyramids, with everything closed for Ramadan food-wise.  We just went hungry.

Staff was friendly enough, but reception pushed tours on me constantly and that got old.  The area around is fine and within 15 minute walk to Egyptian Museum.

All in all I think this is NOT worth the price we paid.  Maybe $30 a night.  If you like old furniture, old style elevators, switchboards, etc, then you may find it 'charming,' and I'm sure that this is precisely why some people stay here.  If you want modern amenities (like after 1980 even), go elsewhere.  

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PDXatty23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2012

This is certainly an interesting place to stay, right in the heart of Cairo. It was used as the British Officers centre in World War 2. So many interesting & famous guests have stayed here. Winston Churchill stayed here many times and I believe I slept in his bed. Yes, the original mattress as well! I was there during Ramadan so the streets were incredibly noisy, but as it was too hot to sleep anyway that didn't matter. Everything about this hotel is interesting. From the rooms to the (cranky) elevator to the staff. Interesting but wonderful. For me the nicest place in this hotel was the dining room/lounge. It was my oasis. The food and drinks were great, the staff just wonderful and the atmosphere must be experienced. I cannot begin to describe the atmosphere of this hotel. A definite place to stay, even just for one night. I stayed multiple times as I used it for my base camp whilst traveling all over Egypt and I will return many times. The Windsor Hotel Cairo is as much an attraction as a hotel.

Room Tip: Try to get a room that doesn't face over the main square as they are noisier. Ask the desk staf...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Alima J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amman, Jordan
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2012

I am heading back to Cairo next week and as always will be staying at the Windsor Hotel in the heart of Cairo's Downtown. If you have not read " The Yacoubian Building" by Alaa Aswany grab a copy of this great author's book about the life of the Downtown. Although the Windsor does not feature in the book , everything else in its immediate vicinity does. The Windsor is a window into a fascinating lost era and its staff offer the kind of really considerate attention typical of another era as well.
Samer at the front desk is the best all- round guide to the region I've ever come across and his great commentary on the city, the country and the life of its people has kept me happily entertained on many trips to Giza, Sakkara and Memphis. You can't go wrong with his guidance and advice - and infectious sense of humour and savvy advice.
This is not to overlook the hotel's other kind and considerate staff. Mohammed also at the main desk has an intuitive feeling for how you are feeling, what you need and when you need it , Erian can arrange anything for you and the staff in the breakfast room can deliver exactly what you want. Last summer I bought a watermelon on the street , hauled it back and they served it to me cold morning ,afternoon and evening on request. A 3.5 minutes egg? No problem. The staff in the wonderful old bar and lounge are great and I always enjoy sitting down in one of the barrel chairs or flopping into a sofa to for some fellow traveler watching.
The hotel's rooms have good firm beds, french doors out to balcony's that overlook the city , hot water in clean bathrooms, writing desks and atmosphere +++ Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Room Tip: ask for a room on the side as the hotel's main entrance - quieter
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Robert Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Thailand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2012

I stayed here in April for four nights with my two young children and we had a great experience in this characterful hotel. The place has a family-run atmosphere and you soon get to know the staff and management there who will be willing to help you out with advice etc. They have a couple of good guides also who can drive you to see the sights with no hassle. My kids really liked the staff who were engaging and funny but weren't too initially impressed by the 'faded elegance' of the place, but that was something I found nice, almost like being in a movie.
The Barrel Bar is a good place to hang out and eat but after a couple of days we chose to eat out cheaply at foodstalls / local restaurants the narrow streets around the hotel where you can get felafel, burgers etc. Don't drink any unbottled water in the streets though!
The hotel arranged our trip to the pyramids and our guide was Mina who did the job admirably. Get to the pyramids early is my advice because you can be virtually alone on the plateau except of course for the hawkers.
As the hotel is in downtown Cairo it is conveniently near several places of interest. The museum is just down the road but it isn't actually that easy to walk.
All in all, the Windsor Hotel is a cool and friendly place to stay and is as much a part of our memories of Egypt as were the pyramids.

Room Tip: rooms on first floor seem to have wifi - ours had a good connection. Room 4
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank khunkim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 11, 2012

Michael Palin stayed at the Windsor during the filing of his series "Around the World in 80 Days" and generally what's good enough for Mr. Palin, the legendary traveller and Python performer, is good enough for me. Yes, its days as a colonial officers' club are far in the past, but the staff, led by the ever helpful Samir, is meticulous in keeping the place clean and in responding to every request. They can also set you up with tours of every description at a reasonable price. It takes a while to get used to having a guy take you up in the manual lift, and to the expectation of a gratuity added on to the 10% service charge and 12% tax added to every restaurant bill, but prices in the spacious (and WIFI-enabled) lounge are low and the food available to this vegetarian--hoummos, felafel, tahina and pizza--was tasty and filling. The location, a short walk from Midan Oraby, and steps from the Ataba metro station, is close to everything, yet far enough from Tahrir that if you don't want to be involved in the daily demos you can go about your business with the 19,900,000 Caireans who do the same. In Cairo you need a hotel you can trust, and a prlce to go after a day spent on some very hard streets. The Windsor fits that bill admirably.

Room Tip: There are two types of rooms, standard and renovated. If you haggle a bit you can get the renovated...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mickdevine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
avignon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2012

It's not just the people with no poetry in their soul who hate this hotel. Add to the list those of us who have travelled around the world, high and low, long enough to know when they're staying in a rip-off joint.
i give the Windsor one star for its location, and for the sweet helpfulness of the woman who cleaned our room. As for the slobs who run the front desk, the lazy, smarmy manager who managed to visit between games of tennis, and, worst of all, the barmen in the famous Barrel Bar, who seem to be running a serious scam in there, they don't deserve even that.
I love to feel the hum of a well-run hotel, its a magical thing (no matter how many stars it has got) but the Windsor is so badly run, it's really just an exercise in bad faith.
And as noted, it serves the worst breakfasts in Cairo. Contrary to what some of the reviewers say, Egypt has wonderful food and the right hotel can help let you in on the secret.
Oh, and the rates are an insult.

Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
10 Thank linda s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Windsor Hotel Cairo

Property: Windsor Hotel Cairo
Address: 19 Alfi Bey Street, Cairo 11511, Egypt
Location: Egypt > Cairo Governorate > Cairo
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Best Value Hotel in Cairo
#14 Romantic Hotel in Cairo
#18 Business Hotel in Cairo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Windsor Hotel Cairo 3*
Number of rooms: 55
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Cairo Windsor Hotel

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