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.
- 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.
- 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