You cant beat Dokki for the price. The rooms are by no means luxury, but if you're paying $25 a night for a hotel in the middle of Cairo, you arent shopping for luxury. The TV is essentially useless and the beds are small, but the place is clean, safe, and if you tip your cleaning ladies -like you should-, theyll take extra special care of you, even leaving little towel sculptures for you as a thank you.
Its not the Ritz, but it is absolutely adequate.
I did my homework before going, so my experience was overall positive, but Ill reiterate for those of you who are studying up for your trip:
The taxi ride from the hotel should be 75 Egyptian Pounds. (The pound is basically .20 USD, so figure $15.) Make sure the price is set up front, leave the driver a tip, but dont believe their "pregnant wife" or "sick kid" story. *DO NOT PUT YOUR BAG IN THE TRUNK* Its a rookie mistake every new world traveler makes (I learned the hard way in China), and it's basically a blank check for a greedy cab driver. If you cant access your bags, they own you. Ride with your gear.
Do take the time to learn the Egyptian number symbols from the license plates of cars you nearly collide with on the roller coaster ride that is Cairo driving, theyll come in handy later on.
Do not book cabs or tours with the front desk at Dokki, it sounds cheap at the start, but theyll get you before the trip is over, and you arent gonna like how you get got. There is a tour place just outside and to the left of the hotel called Rosetta. Go there and ask for Emad, he is the extremely friendly brother of the two who own the shop. They arent cheap, but they wont rip you off or sneak in hidden charges either, the price will be set upfront and competitive, the guides are friendly and helpful, and the advice is good. Honesty is a rare commodity in a city like Cairo. Be sure and let Emad know you found his place because of his reputation on Tripadvisor, it never hurts to encourage people in their positive actions.
If you want to eat, go left out of the hotel to the road next to the gas station, go left down that road and you will find an Alfa market with good prices and a nice, clean restaurant called Tikka with some quality meat dishes. Neither of these establishments will try to rip you off or pressure sell you, their prices are fixed. If you need to change money, there is a (Hilton?) hotel at the round-about to the left of Dokki with a bank on the ground floor. Youll get a fair rate there.
At the sites, don't let any native Egyptian take your picture unless you are willing to pay for it. Dont let them give you a "gift" unless you are ready to pay for it. Frankly, dont talk to them unless you are ready to pay for it. I personally carry headphones and MP3 player with me and wear them whenever I go out, it helps alot, even if the music isnt actually on.
If your guide takes you to a shop, buy what you want at a price you want. If you dont want it, or you dont like the price, dont be afraid to walk away. They might drop the price, they might not, either way, be ready and willing to say "no". They're salesmen, not your new best pals. You wont ever see them again, and you wont ever see that money again either.
Cairo can be a fun place. Just do your homework beforehand, and dont let your cab drivers pressure you into leaving them a huge tip. Be fair, but be firm.
Note: You cant sleep anywhere in Cairo without the sounds of car horns, just be prepared for it. It never stops. Cairenes use the horn to let other cars know they are passing them or that they are present in the blind spot. They use it every time this is true, so imagine how frequent that is and multiply it by millions.
Well, I hope this helped. Have a good trip.
And Emad, Cheers from Prague, buddy.
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- Also Known As:
- Concorde Hotel Cairo