I stayed in this hotel for 4 nights recently (Nov 2011), with several colleagues. The hotel looks very nice from the outside and in the lobby (and is on a nice, tree-lined street in Heliopolis area outside Cairo, near the airport) in a very military-run area (we looked down on a military compound, and I watched the soldiers outside doing their marching and exercises each morning on the small street next to the hotel). The hotel is ok, but the rooms really need some work. The main negatives are (with level of cleanliness the most serious):
• Filthy floors in the room and on the balcony (apparently never vacuumed, the maid doesn’t even have a vacuum cleaner)
• Hairs in the tub and sink
• Loud doors that screech on opening and closing
• Loud hallways (all tile, so you can hear every coming and going). There were multiple weddings on my first nights in the hotel, with much coming and going, loud singing and ululating in the halls (wedding parties were using rooms on hall to get changed).
• Strange placement of LAN cable for the (excellent) internet – connection is in between the beds, across the room from the desk area. The only electrical outlet was in the opposite corner of the room, making for quite a stretch and juggling act to have the computer plugged in and on line at the same time. Ridiculous.
The breakfast buffet was ok, not great, with the same things on offer each day. The coffee was absolutely shocking (sitting in a pot that seems to have water added repeatedly to the old coffee), which we complained about repeatedly (and had special cups made for us by the waiters who gave us quizzical, amused looks, wondering why we were so picky, apparently). Service was pretty bad, with a lot of staff standing around joking/talking with each other and not paying attention to the guests.
The Heliopolis location is ok for the airport (15 mins drive, depending on traffic), on a nice relatively green street. The outdoor café off of the hotel’s (smoky) coffee shop is a pretty nice place to sit, and I had an (excellent) shish kebab and veg with rice and tea there one evening. But a large screen TV in this outdoor area blasts soccer matches, etc, so it’s not quiet and it’s hard to carry on a conversation there. It is a gathering spot for locals especially on weekends, with lots of people doing shisha (hooka pipe), smoking, etc. There is no alcohol served in the hotel at all. This is reportedly a former military hotel, which used to be owned and run by the military, for their use to entertain foreign delegations, etc. However, staff would benefit from both some military training (for discipline, quality control, etc) and hospitality training (for customer service, standards, cleanliness, how to treat guests, etc). Most staff were friendly and eager to please, but most just didn’t have the training or tools (like a vaccum cleaner and cleaning supplies!) to carry through. As with many hotels in Egypt, a little effort (and cleaning) would go a long way here.
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