I spent 4 nights at the Talisman Hotel during the Easter weekend in 2009. The hotel is in Downtown Cairo, which is a very specific neighbourhood of this huge city, developed around 1900 following the European (Parisian) model. The European influence (and associated prestige) has apparently declined drastically in the last 50 years, but the buildings are still there and it is still where a lot of people go shopping; it is really busy in the evenings which I enjoyed. The hotel itself occupies the 5th floor of one of those European style buildings just off the main shopping street, Talaat Harb, and was tricky to find: there a sign outside the building but it is small and burried among many others. It is not well known locally whereas everyone knows the Marriott, Hilton, etc. It is within easy walking distance of the Egyptian Museum (if you don't mind crossing a huge boulevard by foot) and a 10 -minute taxi ride of Khan El-Khalili, the famous market (alternatively, one can walk to the market in around 35 minutes, but there a few big roads to cross on the way; it allows you to see the Western part of the market, which not many tourists see). Despite the very busy neighbourhhod, none of the city noise (not even the prayer calls) reached my room, which was 'court side' rather than street side. The hotel decor, which is mostly achieved by paint, has a slightly exotic and dramatic Mediterranean feel designed to appeal to Western tourists (at least in my mind). I had a single room, which had a small bed, desk and relatively large bathroom and air conditioning, which I only had to use one evening but was quite noisy. There was also a bit of electrical noise coming from the courtyard. The furniture is of good standard but it's definitely not 5* level. The breakfast is a european-style buffet, which was ok (and surprisingly quiet!). There was one free-access PC with internet in the hotel's 'library'. There are no other services: it's basically a place to sleep, a base from which to explore the city centre. Payment is in Euro currency only (no cards, etc): Egyptian pounds are definitely accepted and others too possibly, but everything is calculated in Euros. I paid in Egyptian pounds, at a rate that I think favoured the hotel, so I paid two currency exchange fees: from GBP to Egyptian pound when I took money out of my UK bank account and the hotel's Egyptian pound to Euro fee. So if you do not come from the Euro zone, my advice is to get enough Euros at the best rate you can before leaving your own country and give it to the hotel!
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- Also Known As:
- Talisman Hotel Cairo