I was surprised to hear the raving reviews of this hotel because I found it to be less than desirable, in terms of cleanliness and the professionalism of the staff.
The hostel is situated in on Sharia Sharif, right in the heart of downtown. The location is amazing ( if you want to do shopping and city sightseeing ) for it is in the heart of a busy street. Sharif is a long and huge street, lined with shops galore. It might be a bit difficult to find the hotel by foot, unless you have gained your bearings in the city of Cairo. You can use the Egyptian museum as your starting point and get a cab from there. The cab ride should NOT cost more than 5 Egyptian pounds ( as it is really that close, with traffic and all ). The hostel is on the 3rd floor of a dilapidated old building.
2) THE LOBBY
The hostel itself occupies the entire 3rd floor and thus, it is a very small hostel. The lobby serves as the dining, communal reading lounge and office for the staff. Hence, this is where the entertainment ( i.e. fraternizing, socialising with the staff and guests take place ). The hostel only has 5 rooms but most of them are fairly big, newly renovated and airy, which is one big plus for the hostel.
3) THE STAFF
The staff is made up of very young, twenty-something year olds men. There are three of them who are very friendly, cool and casual. The hostel is run more like a youth hostel rather than a hostel, for the staff tend to fraternize, hang out and chill with the guests. Now, due to the friendliness and the casualness of the staff, it can cross into unprofessional territories. Some of the staff tend to be on the internet for all hours of the day. Also, the staff usually brings in friends at the hostel, so you can hear them laugh, joke around during late hours into the night. At 3 am, once, I heard laughter, music and a party going on in the lobby. Sometimes, the kitchen and rooms are left untended and uncleaned, long after the previous guests have checked out. I believe that the staff, although very friendly and accomodating, do need to freshen up on professionalism, for this can be a reflection of the hostel on guests who are not necessarily young and may actually be reviewers for big guide books. Apparently, according to other guests, a few cops have come into the hostel to check up on the ` going ons ` of the hostel....such as illegal prostitution. This might be a common practice in Cairo hostels and not necessarily restricted to Jasmine Hotel.
3) THE ROOMS
The rooms themselves are nice and decent. The walls have been painted fresh with flower designs. The beds are done up neatly with fresh sheets ( only once when you check in and it gets changed after you check out for the new guests ). Each room has a built in shower room with toilet, in the corner. Some of the rooms have balconies and some do not. The only qualms I have about the room is that some of the furniture and doors are broken. For example, one room has a window with broken glass. Another room has a door that is difficult to open and close, and you would have to kick the door at the bottom. The air cons in each room are very old and loud, which do not give off cool air. The hostel itself is surprisingly filled with mosquitoes and repellent needs to be slathered on before you go to sleep. Some of the dressers in the rooms do not have mirrors or are wobbly.
4) THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is HIDEOUS, in terms of cleanliness. Sometimes, when you pass by, you see piles and piles of dirty dishes on the sink, with mucky floors that need mopping on an hourly basis! Guests are allowed to bring in their own cooking ingredients and cook meals in the kitchen....which allow for the disarray of things on a daily basis. However, I believe that not only guests, but staff should be militant about kitchen cleanliness. The cabinet under the sink, when opened, is filled with odd looking dead bugs, dust and grime. The staff should really clean that part up!
5) GENERAL CLEANLINESS
The hostel needs A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT on the cleanliness factor. For example, staff needs to change sheets or at least, sweep and mop the rooms after every guest leaves or when they check out. Rooms should not be left UNCLEANED for hours after the guests have checked out. Many guests usually had to wait in lobbies for their rooms to be ready, because the staff decided to clean it at the last minute. Shower rooms need to be scrubbed better because you can see grime on the sides. Garbage in rooms and bathrooms have to be emptied out everyday as well. The kitchen needs to be cleaned at least a good three times a day. Mosquito problems have to be dealt with as well.
The hostel charges 140 Egyptian pounds a night, which is roughly $ 25 US / night. Yes, it is very cheap and one should expect what they pay for. However, being that this is Egypt, that would be considered a mid-level on the budget scale, which means that to local Egyptians, it would be considered a fairly decent hotel with a somewhat steep price. So, you have to think of it in relative terms. The value is not as great as I expected or read about in previous reviews. It is an OK hostel at best. It is bordering on the youth hostel category, unless they do something about the cleanliness and professionalism of the staff. For the type of service and rooms I got, I expect it to be around the 70 - 100 Egyptian pounds range / per night, but alas, it docked at 140 Egyptian pounds per night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are an inexpensive property located in the heart of downtown Cairo, Egypt. We offer free breakfast, and free wireless internet. Our beautiful and clean property is perfect for all types of travelers including, backpackers, families, and students. We invite you to stay with us and consider us your home away from home in Cairo. Our goal is to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. ... more less
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