Recommended place to stay:
Marriott Mena House
Cairo, Cairo Governate, Egypt|www.marriott.com|
Official star rating:
This former 19th-century hunting lodge turned 5-star Marriot hotel is the ideal staging post for an early visit to the Pyramids before the crowds; it sits right beside the Great Pyramid of Giza. The magical views of the pyramid and desert and unrivalled.
It’s also one of the best-preserved examples in Cairo of the Moorish/Arabesque style of interior design, and has an elegance that makes it stand out. There’s rich history too. A long procession of rulers and dignitaries have stayed here; Churchill and Roosevelt met here to plan the D-Day invasions.
Rooms are fairly uninspired and functional, but some have views of the pyramids. From pyramid-view rooms you can have breakfast on your balcony with the world’s greatest ancient wonder as a backdrop.
There’s good in-house dining and spacious public areas and gardens – a rarity in Cairo.
However, it is located on the city’s western edge, so inconvenient for exploring the city’s other attractions.
When the Mena House was built, its only neighbours were the Pyramids and Sphinx. The city has now crept up onto its doorstep and every coach heading for the monuments passes its gates.
The plateau has been preserved mostly intact, although a number of carts, camels and horses patrol its base touting for business.
The hotel backs onto other developments, but the front view, particularly at night, remains that magical one of monument and desert.
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