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Steigenberger Cecil Hotel
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Reviewed January 25, 2013

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Nabil_Kahil, Manager at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2013

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

i stayed few hours in the hotel, the location is ideal. in the downtown of Alexandria. I got sea view room with excellent view of the sea surroundings. But later in the day demonstrations started just 300 meters from the hotel and polices started firing tear gas bombs. Left the area immediately due to security concerns.

Room Tip: sea view rooms
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank binshakir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nabil_Kahil, Manager at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2013

Dear Valued Guest
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Sofitel Alexandria Cecil. I am sorry that demonstrations started beside the hotel while you were staying with us but as you know this is a force major due to the political situation in Egypt nowadays and it is really out of our hands.
Once again, we appreciate sharing your concerns on tripadvisor, and it is our hope that you will give us another opportunity to better serve you in the near future.
Thanks and best regards
Nabil Kahil
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We stayed two nights at the Sofitel Cecil in Alexandria in January 2013. The room was comfortable, and had those heavenly Sofitel pillows. Location would normally be said to be excellent, but the hotel was a bit too close to the lines of riot police outside the Court House for my liking.

The hotel retains a ‘grand old days’ appearance to the detriment of functionality. The two old elevators look ‘quaint’ but are not an effective method of moving people up as many as 6 floors. I know that it is a small hotel but...

Room service prices are reasonable, mini-bar prices are not.

The buffet breakfast had a limited selection of hot food.. On the first morning the very few ‘hot’ food choices were cold, and on the second morning the poor single table waiter on duty was having to cook the egg dishes as there was nary a chef in sight for 45 minutes, at 7.00am.

I can’t comment on the hotel restaurant food, as they have a ‘glorified cafe’ with a tiny menu and a French restaurant which doesn’t open until 7.30pm. Despite the hotel website stating to the contrary it appears that the China House restaurant isn’t part of the hotel- one of our party sought to use his Accor card and was told that the restaurant is now privately operated. Given that China House failed to meet the usual ambiance and non-smoking policy of the Sofitel brand, I believe this to be the case. The China House service was poor, as was the food- way over-salted.

I requested the usual hotel services directory, not located in either of the rooms of our party, and was declined; instead I was given a gabbled verbal description of the restaurants and bars (including China House) in heavily-accented English. The fitness centre wasn’t mentioned and when I enquired I was told it was closed for renovation. I didn’t bother to ask about the laundrette which is also mentioned on the website and wasn’t mentioned in the verbal description of services I was given.

Hotel service was reasonably good without being ‘very good’.

It took 20 minutes to check the mini-bar on checkout, delaying the departure of our party.

A comfortable hotel, but not up to the standard to be expected from the Sofitel brand- I am reluctant to rate it at 4 stars, but can’t give it the 3 1/2 it deserves.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Ian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nabil_Kahil, General Manager at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2013

Dear valued Guest

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Sofitel Alexandria Cecil.
I regret that your experience at our hotel did not meet your expectations, Please rest assure that immediate appropriate measures were taken to prevent future occurrence.

Hope that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the near future.

Thanks and best regards
Nabil Kahil
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

I'll preface by saying in no way is this hotel a bad hotel, but to me this hotel fell well short of previous Sofitel experiences I have had staying in Sofitels in Melbourne, Sydney, Dubai, Cairo, Luxor, Amsterdam and Munich.

Sofitel Cecil is a 4-star hotel located on the seafront in Alexandria with the Library a kilometer away and the other sites such as the Museum and Qaitbay Citadel within driving distance. We were in Room 204 and stayed for two nights.


CHECK IN:
Was efficient and the staff were friendly. The concierge Yasser was very friendly and took us up to our room and opened up our balcony for us (we had a view of the Courtyard with a side sea view) and showed us the TV, minibar, safe and how to work the air conditioning. He was very friendly, helpful and a true ambassador of the Sofitel brand.


ROOM: (I think it was a Luxury Room?)
Was a small but cosy room with two twin double beds, which was nice to have the larger beds. The bathroom was quite small, and not very well designed so there ended up being minimal room to move. There was one 600ml bottle of still water provided complimentary for two people to use to brush teeth and drink... why only give one bottle for a room of two people?

The beds were a little hard compared to the Sofitel MyBeds I am used to, but were still comfortable with the featherbed top. The pillows were the usual Sofitel soft and fluffy pillows I love.

As I said the bathroom was on the small size. It had a bath-over-shower set up. The showerhead height was adjustable and blasted water at a great pressure and the hot water was very hot. Be careful as there is no anti-slip bottom on the floor of the bath so it is a slip hazard! The sink was good and the top of the bench was a nice material. The ammenities provided were very minimal - only one bar of soap to use between the sink and shower (there should be one for each), one container of shampoo and one container of shower gel (no conditioner, body lotion, cotton buds etc). Also the bath towels are tired and starting to fray. This was the first Sofitel that I have stayed at that did not have bathrobes in the room.

The TV was a large Samsung on a turntable so you could adjust horizontal viewing angle, which was a nice feature. It also had HDMI, VGA and USB input so I could plug my external USB HDD in and watch videos I had brought with me. There was also approximately 140 channels to choose from in about 6 languages.

There was no Wifi available in the room and the ethernet connection was very expensive (approx $10 for 60mins; $23 for 24hours) and very slow (50kbps top speed if you are lucky). There is free Wifi in the hotel lobby (only 2-3 bars strong).

If you have a room facing the courtyard or seaside the windows do not completely soundproof out the traffic (and they toot their horns a lot in Egypt). It took maintenance 20mins to change the lock and make our balcony door close properly and when he was finished it was much better, but not soundproof.

In every Sofitel hotel I have stayed in there has been a Room Directory with an A-Z of everything from laundry, restaurant operating times, fitness centre. There was not one in either our room or our parents room. This is a very important book! I don't like calling reception for information that should be in that book.

Additionally, the mini bar never got restocked, which meant the 600ml complimentary bottle for teeth brushing and drinking had to last two days!


FOOD:
The Chinese restaurant on the 6th floor was very average. Firstly, the space is leased out so the restaurant is actually part of a chain that operates in Egypt so I doubt any loyalty discounts apply here. Secondly, the windows are pretty much painted red - why would you hide the view you have on the top floor of the building? The restaurant is tiny so if someone smokes, it envelopes the entire restaurant. The service was terrible - we sat with menus closed for 15 minutes waiting for someone to take our order before someone eventually came over (during this time the waiting staff were standing at the desk doing nothing, then the table next to us had left and the staff pounced to clear the table before going back to stand around at the desk). When our drinks were delivered the waiter didn't even open up the bottle of water or cans of soft drink - he just dropped them and we had to open and pour them ourselves - VERY AVERAGE. The entrees were pleasant to eat, but it took five minutes for them to get the last meal for the table after the first had been dropped. The mains were all very salty and hard to eat, and again it took five minutes for the last meal to arrive after the first had been delivered. As someone who works in a restaurant- I know it isn't hard to plate up all the meals at the same time! I would NOT recommend this restaurant at all - the Sofitel is lucky they are only leasing the area and don't actually run/own it.

Breakfast was easily the most average breakfast I have had at all the Sofitels I have had breakfast at - both in terms of food and service.
Service - there was no-one at the door to take our room number and seat us at a table and offer us tea or coffee. We simply had to walk in and sit ourselves. Tea and coffee was only offered about halfway through our breakfast. The staff didn't really understand English so it was hard to even order eggs. They had no idea what gluten free bread was so the gluten intolerant person in our family had to go without bread (I can understand this in a small restaurant, but not a worldwide luxury hotel chain).

Food - small selection compared to every Sofitel I've been to. Four cereals, no cut fruit salad, small selection of whole fruits, small selection of "hot food" which was stone cold in the chaffers, yoghurt was warm by 8am. There were no chefs in sight and the wait staff made the eggs - to their credit they did cook the eggs very well!

Room service - we ordered a club sandwich, a beef burger and a Fanta.
First - Fanta is listed in the room service menu - but the gentleman who took our order had no idea what Fanta was. Disappointing that the staff don't know the menu (or it's been written on the menu and isn't actually in stock). Settled for a Coca Cola even though I was trying to avoid caffeine at 10pm.
Second - club sandwich and beef burger were luke-warm and the fries were cold.
Third - when I've ordered room service dinner at other Sofitels I've also received a bread basket with bread, which I did not receive here.
Fourth - the menu said the prices on the items included all taxes, but I still got slugged with the 10% city tax and 12% service charge on the order.
Overall - my worst Sofitel room service experience (the food was average and luke-warm, while my other experiences the food has been hot, menu prices are correct and bread was received with the order)


HOUSEKEEPING:
The room was very neatly presented on arrival and the turn down service was discreet. The first night there was two little chocolates given at turn down service, which was a pleasant surprise, however the following night only one chocolate was given for my brother and I to share. The toilet rolls were kept topped up and the shampoo and shower gel replacements were quickly stocked.
Laundry costs were reasonable and same day service was returned earlier than the 1800 deadline, which was nice.


FACILITES:
As this hotel is a 4-sar hotel the facilities are minimal. There is no pool or spa. The fitness centre was closed for renovation - which we were not told on arrival, which snowballed due to there being no Room Directory so we had to go to Reception to ask where it was only to be told it was unavailable.


CHECKOUT:
The gentleman behind the desk was not very presentable. He did not have a jacket, name badge and his tie was very untidy. He was rather abrupt without being rude, but it was not the same genuine hospitality we received on check in. He also wanted to swipe my credit card without me looking at the final account first! When he asked if we had used the minibar I told him we had had two cans of soft drink, we then waited 10 minutes while he got someone to go verify this before it was added to the account and charged off. The farewell wasn't the warm Sofitel "we look forward to welcoming you back" standard - it was simply a "here is your account, goodbye".
To top it off, the bell boy then came running after me outside when I was about to hop into my car asking me to go back to reception where the gentleman wasn't sure if he had charged me for the minibar or not! Seriously?


SUMMARY:

Pros:
Complimentary wifi in the lobby
Neatly presented room
Great TV with lots of channels and USB input
Comfortable beds
Good shower (be careful as it is slippery!)
Good location with good ocean views

Cons:
In room ethernet internet expensive and slooooow
No in room directory booklet
Windows don't 100% sound proof street sounds
Food quite average (breakfast average, room service average with hidden costs and avoid the Chinese restaurant)
Check out was not a great experience.

While we had a comfortable stay at the Cecil Hotel, in my opinion it fell short of the Sofitel brand name standards that I am used to from my time spent in other Sofitels. The rooms were small but comfortable, food was average and the service was average (with the exception of a couple of true ambassadors of the brand - particularly Yasser the concierge).

Room Tip: A Nile view looks great but will be a bit noisy.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Maelstrom38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nabil_Kahil, Manager at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 27, 2013

Dear valued Guest

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Sofitel Alexandria Cecil.
It’s great that you liked the room, the comfortable beds, the TV variety of channels, the USB input, the shower and the hotel location
I am sorry that your experience in the Chinese restaurant did not meet your expectations, the check out process was not great experience for you, there was no room directory and that windows don’t 100% sound proof street sound. Please allow me to express my sincerest apologies.

At Sofitel, we strive to provide a superior service experience for every customer; therefore your feedback is very important to us. Please rest assured that we are taking the appropriate measures to prevent future occurrence.

We appreciate your sharing your concerns, and it is our hope that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the near future.
Thanks and best regards
Nabil Kahil
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

I spent the last weekend with my daughter at the Cecil hotel Alexandria and as always exceeded my expectations. We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the hotel and the staff who did not save any effort to make us feel comfortable. The room was clean and spacious. Breakfast was great, there was a variety of fresh juice and pastry in addition to omelette prepared according to your preferences. The view of the sea from our rooms was awesome. Going for a walk by the sea was a very splendid experience. I was right about choosing this great historic hotel for spending a great and relaxing weekend and would definitely go back again. Thank you to all the staff.

Room Tip: We were staying on the 3rd floor sea view
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MagdaKhorshid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nabil_Kahil, Manager at Steigenberger Cecil Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2013

Dear Ms. Magda,
Bonjour, I would like to thank you most sincerely sharing your thoughts of Sofitel Alexandria Cecil with other guests on Tripadvisor.

It is always our great pleasure to receive such compliments, as it truly serves as a motivational factor in striving to achieve excellence

Looking forward to the pleasure of welcoming you once again at Sofitel Alexandria Cecil in the very near future.

Cordially;

Nabil Kahil
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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