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“Nice, but I would stay elsewhere”

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InterContinental Cairo Citystars
Ranked #7 of 141 Hotels in Cairo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 17, 2008

I stayed at the Intercontinental CityStars hotel for five days. Part of it was for a two day conference, which it was good for. It has a lousy location if you are here to see and feel Cairo.

For those coming to Cairo, get close to the action, which for me is the Nile, the bazaar and the city center .... expect that every hotel has a metal detector and bomb check. That's just the way it is. This city works hard to protect its tourism.

This is my second trip to Cairo, the last in 2005 where I stayed at the Nile Hilton, which I understand will be getting a makeover soon. It was a bit antiquated in 2005 and needed some improvements, but we had a great time there. Most important was the staff was very kind, genuine and not overbearing.

So, back to the Intercontinental. It is a very nice, well laid out hotel with very contemporary setting. Let's put it this way, if you want a western hotel feeling, it’s like that. Its connected to a very western like modern mall where the halls seem empty and the staff bored and wanting to be elsewhere. Maybe I was there on a off day (Friday @ 3pm)

For what I expected to be a fantastic hotel, ended up being the opposite. I found over and over the staff friendliness to be behind fake smiles and/or no true sense of being at work what so ever. At times attentiveness is very overbearing and mechanical in nature ... which I take into account some level of culture differences as well.

Expense. I'm not a tightwad by any means, but one thing I have little tolerance for being hit with a multitude of fees and food/drinks that are priced out of range.

This morning: breakfast buffet (which isn't Great by American standards) is $30 USD and is rubber stamped every morning, so don't expect "new" types of food. Fresh vegetables must be hard to come by in this country.

So, fees:
- There is an automatic 12% service charge added to your bills, which I think is in bad taste and doesn't allow you to tip based on service / quality.
- 12% city tax
- and a 2% charge for me to apply it to my room (what the hell kind of surcharge is that?).

Room costs are in line with London / US States Conference cost was $190/night / $290 afterwards.

Finally, you would expect the staff at a 5 star hotel to know more English. I found it was the exception and not the rule. The people who spoke it best were the girls from the Philippines they hire to work the bar areas.

OH, and most important. DO NOT drink the tap water in the hotel. I did on my first day and was hit with acute diarrhea for two days (and I mean acute!). My mistake as I should have know better, I just assumed a hotel of this stature would have extremely clean water. Now I understand why they have bottled water in the room.

Overall, there is a reason this is #22 out of the hotels here in Cairo. It seems misplaced. If I had to do it all over again, I would stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank sssmja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,129 - 1,135 of 1,380 reviews

Reviewed April 15, 2008

The hotel is luxurious and great if you need to be close to the airport. There's lots of facilities in the hotel, including a giant shopping mall with more shops than I could count, lots of restaurants and bars.
My wife and I stayed there on our last day of our holidays in Egypt as we needed to be close to the airport. We were given a room with a great view on a wall... a bit disappointing but not a big problem for one night.
The biggest mistake was to choose to eat at the lebanese restaurant: (Fayruz).
The food tasted alright without being exceptional. There was a show going on during our meal, the music was very loud and the lights were dim so we could hardly see our food. The next morning I woke up sick and I am still sick 3 days later.
When I got the bill for the meal, two bottles of water were billed £6 GBP each. (or 60 egyptian pounds). This in my view is unacceptable for a restaurant that is not very good.

If you like a characterless hotel with lots of shops on the outskirt of Cairo then maybe this is for you.

Stayed: April 2008
Thank voyageurDeLondres
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2008

I usually stay on the nIle when I travel to Cairo, but my work required I stay near the airport this time.
The room had been booked by work, so I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The Hotel is claen, pretty new and has all the mod cons you would expect.
Check in was easy and the room was very nice.
Being a business traveller I book hotels for a couple of reasons, good location for work, cleanliness and a gym, all of which were pretty much spot on.
I only have a couple of gripes. I am a big believer in customer service, but not in-your -face methods. I was rung several times to be asked, how my food was and if everything was alright, which is nice, but can be annoying. When I did have an issue, the problem was solved pretty quickly.
I did make the mistake of leaving my 'Do not Disturb' sign on the door when I went top work, a little common sense or even a phone call to the room may have prevented them from having to service my room at 9pm when I returned, but this is a small issue.
All in all a good stay, not the best location if you are a tourist, but good for business.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
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Thank baliblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2008

Almost 2 weeks ago, my 12 year old daughter and I had return from a 2 nights stay in Intercontinental Cairo Citystars. A hotel that was highly recommended and it was also the wedding reception venue for one of my colleague. Beautiful hotel and we stayed in this spacious #836. My daughter loved the space!!!

My intention of taking that very short trip too was to kill my curiosity and to make sure that I visited the Museum followed by the Pyramids of Giza & The Sphinx. Our short stint at the Pyramids of Giza & The Sphinx confirmed my passion to set foot again in my next visit for at least 4 days at this wonder of the world if not more. Egyptology and archeology is my favorite mind or knowledge exploration. Therefore, Egypt have always been mysterious and a mystique to me. My aunt married an Egyptian - small world. My colleague's wedding reception was the triggering point to adventourously take that short trip!

I am a member of IHG Priority Club. I basically grew up since a child with IHG always an option for accommodation anywhere - mainly naturally based on trust over the consistent (firstly) comfort level and secondly genuine service. Although US$250 was high a rate for me, nevertheless I felt that we deserved the treat. We also requested for 2 way hotel limousine from and to airport. We indulged ourselves to in-room supper and breakfast and the next morning at The Esplanade. The day after the wedding reception, we hired a tour including tour guide for Museum followed by the Pyramids of Giza & The Sphinx through the Concierge, Karim. Didnt even bargain, nothing. As I mentioned we wanted to treat ourselves AND after all it's IHG.

FOOD --- Quality & Taste :
The quality and recipe of the food frankly, wasn't great ...but it was not an issue at all. We are simple folks who understands. And having well travelled and lived as an expat, it's no fuss. As long as we eat!

HOSPITALITY :
I do recognize that the employees in general are trained, for the fact that they accord the norm gentility and courtesy expected of the hotel industry AND a reknown 5 Star IHG. But I must say that it can be further improved if a guest could just feel the warmth and genuineness even before an employee begins to speak or look up. I just didnt feel that warmth. As it was, I noted that the level of (verbal) English wasn't as expected as there were occasions that I had to clarify with at least 3 front office employees if I could just have my tour charged to my room. They thought that I wanted to obtain cash from my credit card and thot I didnt have the cash. Although I was with extensive sufficient funds in US$ & EP, hahaha. And when I finally understood, it was I who apologize if I misunderstood. Yes, they were obliging, smiled and assured but I felt no warmth. I even caught them conversing with each other in an undertone voice in Arabic --- instincts having to catch some words I understood, tells me that it has to be about me. Little to they realize that I am in the same industry plus being a muslim we in Malaysia had to learn the Jawi and recite the 30 jus of the Al-Quran. Although my name is totally Arabic, but being South East Asian I may just have been mistaken and generalised. I let that go buy. Like I said, I understand.

My reservation was coordinated by my colleague who had the wedding reception there. I had understood that my rate was a special rate of US$250 including breakfast for us 2. Prior to my flight to Cairo, I had called IHG Central Reservations in Dubai to help me add my airport limousine requirement and to send me a confirmation, for I never did receive one to begin with. Majid in IHG Central Reservations in Dubai was just a star --- as expected.

However, upon checking out on 15th March 2008, I queried the breakfast. Answer was -- "No it doesnt include, furthermore we dont have such rate". Hmm, it's food anyway, so no issue and I didnt want to debate over it. No problem, I settled the bill.

HOTEL LIMOUSINE to Airport :
This facility was practically the finale to my dealing with the hotel naturally as I was to depart for Dubai. I had gone to the Concierge earlier to ask one of the employees to help me arrange for the car and that I am ready to leave. The gentlemen was confused at first, so I spoke gramatically slowly and I told him that I have checked out. He said that I have not "arranged" at cashier, he asked me how am I going to pay. I smiled and said, cash of course. I let that pass. He asked me for my luggage and pointed to some and asked if those were mine (although I had given him the small paper), my daughter pointed out to him the right one. I let that pass.

The final call was the worst one that led to my biggest dissapointment and distrust. Upon arrival at the airport, the driver did not have any change for I gave him EP100 for the fare of EP48 I think. We suggested we download the luggage which were actually 2 cabin bags and he can organize the change. As both of us were sort of settle with the luggages and waited for him .... the next instance was that driver and car went off.

No thank you no goodbye .. even though if he had mistakenly assumed that he could keep the change. We looked at each other and we knew that it was just pointless to be balistic mad.

To be honest by then, I realized what was that constant tug at the heart that I felt everytime I encountered a situation at IHC Citystars --- I felt not only dissapointed but insulted. Maybe if my husband (who couldnt make it ) could join us, it may just have been different. (BTW, he still doesnt know of this incident).

We turned around and left Cairo. We left only with the memory of the Museum followed by the Pyramids of Giza & The Sphinx and my colleagues wedding reception intact.

My husband is planning (with us this time) Cairo-Luxor-Azwan-Alexandria for probably a span of 10 days.

My suggestion is that IHC Citystars should look into a fun-training on diversity as your guests are international, maybe energize genuine service and care.

Thank you and best regards.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank Farrah_J_Ismail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2008

  • Stayed: March 2008
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank Talste
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 29, 2008

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank JasonG92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2008

Stayed: September 2007
Thank bruisyard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about InterContinental Cairo Citystars

Address: Omar Ibn El Khattab Street | Heliopolis, Cairo 11511, Egypt
Phone Number:
Location: Egypt > Cairo Governorate > Cairo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Cairo
#4 Casino Hotel in Cairo
#4 Business Hotel in Cairo
#4 Spa Hotel in Cairo
#7 Luxury Hotel in Cairo
#8 Romantic Hotel in Cairo
Price Range: $154 - $224 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — InterContinental Cairo Citystars 5*
Number of rooms: 824
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voted Cairo's Best Business Hotel, InterContinental Cairo Citystars offers luxury amid lush gardens in the buzzing hub of Citystars Heliopolis, next to Stars Centre Mall. Whether you are in Cairo for business or leisure, the hotel puts everything at your fingertips, from steak to sushi, from spa treatments to squash, and from complimentary Wi-Fi to cocktails on the air-conditioned poolside terrace. Eleven restaurants and bars are available in the hotel including Shogun Japanese restaurant, Al Khal Egyptian restaurant, Maestro Italian restaurant and Fayruz Lebanese restaurant. For a tour of nearby Cairo Citadel and Giza Pyramids, our Concierge will gladly help ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Intercontinental Citystars Cairo Hotel Cairo
Intercontinental Cairo

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