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Cairo is crowded, hot, often dirty and not always safe. It's also a seductive city that encapsulates the heartbeat of Egypt, with thousands of years of history, endless culture and a teeming population that represents every walk of Egyptian life. Staying and exploring the city's sights for a few days is recommended - but even those that are planning to head straight to the Red Sea coast or to the country's ancient sights will likely spend at least one night in transit.
To make your stay as enjoyable as possible, we've created a list of our favorite Cairo hotels, ranging from the most expensive to the most affordable. Regardless of price, each one has been chosen for its value, location, style and cleanliness. Because Cairo accommodation rates fluctuate considerably depending on the season, exact prices are not listed. When you're ready to book your trip, check with the hotel and/or your travel agent for the best rate.
This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on May 23rd 2018.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Central Cairo
With views of the Citadel and the mighty Nile River, this Four Seasons hotel offers the last word in urban luxury. Enjoy dim sum whille watching the feluccas ply the river, or cool off after a dusty day of sightseeing with a glass of wine by the hotel's indoor or outdoor pools. Rooms are large, modern and well-appointed, while the staff are attentive and welcoming. There are countless shopping opportunities nearby - whether you prefer upscale malls or traditional souks. If you don't feel like navigating Cairo's frenetic streets in search of dinner, the hotel boasts no fewer than six restaurants and two lounges.
Marriott Mena House, Giza
Marriott Mena House is a palatial hotel situated just 700 meters from the UNESCO-listed Pyramids of Giza. It's surrounded by 40 acres of lush gardens and from the swimming pool, you can enjoy unparalleled views of Egypt's most iconic ancient site. The building itself is over 100 years old and has hosted celebrities, kings and emperors. All rooms and suites pamper with a marble bathroom and private balcony. There's a health club, a spa and several dining outlets; including an acclaimed Middle Eastern restaurant. The only drawback is that you will need a taxi to reach Cairo's other sights.
Cairo Marriott Hotel, Zamalek
The Cairo Marriott Hotel is a 20-story hotel located in Zamalek, one of the city's nicest suburbs. Situated on an island in the middle of the Nile, it affords beautiful views and was originally a palace, built in 1869. Now, it is modern and light with over 1,000 rooms. There are several restaurants to choose from, although this is also a great neighborhood for exploring local dining options. Attached to the hotel is the Omar Khayyam Casino, a brand new spa, a pool and well-maintained gardens. Book an Executive Level room for access to a private lounge complete with complimentary breakfast, midday snacks and afternoon tea.
Talisman Hotel, Central Cairo
The Talisman Hotel is a 3-star boutique with 24 charming rooms. Each room is unique, tastefully furnished and decorated with antiques. If you want to be in the heart of Cairo and a 20 minute walk from the Egyptian Museum and the Islamic center, this is a great option. Breakfast and internet are included in your room rate, while the hotel offers tours at reasonable prices. The hotel is on the fourth floor of a traditional building on a small, relatively quiet street lined with local shops - affording you an authentic insight into Cairo life. Rooms have a TV, mini fridge and large bathrooms.
Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa, Giza
Le Meridien is located 20 minutes from the city center in Giza, and also offers incredible views of the pyramids. It's a luxury resort, with swimming pools, tennis courts, a sauna, international restaurants, a shopping arcade and more. You don't have to leave the property except to take a tour or taxi to see Cairo's many sights. It's perfect for families with children and tourists who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday Cairo. The pyramids can be seen from anywhere on the property, including the swim-up bar. Service is excellent and the restaurants get good reviews as well.
Hotel Longchamps, Zamalek
Hotel Longchamps is a favorite mid-range hotel with those who know Cairo well and return often. The hotel is in Zamalek, an upper-class, leafy suburb situated on an island in the Nile River. It's close to central Cairo and just a few blocks away from the river banks. A member of TripAdvisor's Hall of Fame, the hotel was recognized with an Award of Excellence from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism in 2009. All rooms have air-conditioning, cable TV, a private bathroom and Wi-Fi and each one has been individually decorated by the hotel owner.
Windsor Hotel, Central Cairo
The Windsor Hotel is a lovely mid-range hotel in central Cairo that exudes period charm. The hotel was originally built in 1899 as the Royal Baths and later used as a British Officers Club during the Second World War. Each of the 55 rooms has unique furnishings and high ceilings, while the bar boasts original decor and is the perfect spot for a cool beer at the end of a hot day. The hotel also has a restaurant and free Wi-Fi. It is within walking distance of major sights like the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel and the bazaars - and the metro line, which offers a safe and easy way to get around town.
Isis Hotel, Central Cairo
The Isis Hotel is a clean, budget-friendly 2-star option located close to Midan Talaat Harb in central Cairo. Its location on the 15th floor gets you away from the heat and noise of the city. It also allows for some scenic Nile views. It's very close to the Egyptian Museum - which is handy, because you'll need to make several return visits to see everything. Isis Hotel offers great value for money, with breakfast included and options for shared or private bathrooms. Higher-end rooms include a TV and air-conditioning. The hotel also offers some good value tours, but you are not obliged to take them.