Cairo taxi drivers do not know this hotel, which apparently was a Sheraton until fairly recently. As a result, it can be a real problem getting there! We arrived late at night at Cairo airport and tried to find a taxi with a meter - (following advice on tripadvisor!), but none of them had one. One taxi driver said he would take us for 120 EP (a bit over £12), which we agreed to pay. After leaving the airport it soon became clear that (a) he spoke very little English, (b) he had no idea of the location of the hotel and thought it was in Giza town somewhere and (c) he wanted 250 EP when he eventually figured it out by stopping and asking people!
Taxi fares vary enormously. We found that the best approach was first to find out if the driver spoke English (they all claim to do so, but most can only say a few key phrases), then to check whether they had a meter and only accept to go with them if they agreed to use it. Even then, it is pot luck, because some of the meters have been illegally altered to increase the fares dramatically. For example, from the hotel to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum cost us 20 EP, but the return journey was 50 EP. Finding a taxi, however, is very easy – there are lots of them. Just flag one down, check whether he is willing to use his meter and send him on his way if he won’t!
We finally got to the hotel on our first night at around 1 am after driving around for about 80 minutes (the taxi driver got lost!) and went straight to bed. The following morning, we looked out from the roof of the hotel at the magnificent sight of the pyramids, just about 1 km away. Although that is easily within walking distance, I would not really recommend doing that on your own, because you will be targeted by the local hustlers - it gets really tiring.
We really enjoyed our stay at this hotel and would recommend it for short breaks. The pool was nice and the room was really huge - we actually got a suite instead of just a room. There is quite a difference in price between the rooms with a pyramid view and those facing the garden; it is really not worth paying the extra for a pyramid view, because you can’t see them at night (it is dark!) and during the day you probably want to be away from the hotel visiting things…. Also, the rooms facing the gardens at the back of the hotel are considerably quieter. The hotel faces busy roads and every driver believes in maximum possible use of his horn, even at night, so if you get one of those rooms with a pyramid view, you will probably want to take some good earplugs!
We ate on the rooftop restaurant at night with a view of the pyramids - although they are not lit up all the time, there are occasional beams of light every few minutes that show them up. Prices at the restaurant would undoubtedly seem outrageous to Egyptians, but by British standards they were quite good and they had some reasonable local wines on offer. What a joy to have dinner in the open air at the end of October - the temperature was around 21 C at night and up to about 30 C during the day, which was perfect. There is a nice little gym by the pool, which I used every day. Free wireless internet in the reception area was also useful. The hotel offers its own taxi service, but at prices considerably above those of the street taxis outside. The exchange rate offered for currency exchange was similar to that at the airport.
We visited at a time when it was a public holiday, so many Egyptian families were at the hotel. Everyone seemed to have a great time! The staff were friendly and efficient. We were impressed by the range of food available at breakfast.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx combines an exciting location & incomparable service. This impressive hotel offers its guests a unique opportunity to explore the historical surroundings in total comfort & convenience. Located in a magnificent park at the foot of the Giza Pyramids & the Sphinx, 35 km from Cairo international airport, this 5-star hotel is ideal for leisure & relaxation seekers with its various recreational facilities as well as business trips with its two fully equipped meeting rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx Hotel Giza
- Sofitel Hotel Giza
- Sofitel Giza
- Giza Sofitel
- Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx Egypt/Giza