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The Truth About Five Star Hotels In Egypt

May 15th, 2007 · No Comments

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Everyone in Egypt is extremely generous, most notably, the Minister of Tourism and his 5-star hotel rating system.

From my experience in some of the highest rated hotels throughout Egypt, I’m going to hazard a guess that most were built and furnished during the 1970s. How sumptuous that wafer-thin bright green and yellow-flowered bedspread must have seemed back then. Especially if you can imagine what it looked like without all the stains.

Even our tour operator from Egypt 7000 admitted that her country’s 5-star is nowhere near the same as 5-star in Europe or the U.S. When we had let her know at the end of our trip that we’d wished some of our accommodations had been more centrally located in the cities we were visiting, her response was that because of this quality gap, she could not in good conscience book us at more convenient locations if they were anything less than 4-star. And even that was pushing it.

Now, before you get turned off completely, not every hotel room looks like a Mork and Mindy episode. But you need to know going in that your five-star deluxe accommodations are going to be roughly on par with the American equivalent of a Motel 6 with maybe a few more amenities. Especially if you’re paying discounted prices. Face it Betties, even in a poor country, you’re not going to get Four Seasons luxury on a backpacker’s budget. If you want true luxury, you have to pay for it.

Egyptians are some of the savviest business people I’ve seen in action and they’ve been hosting tourists for millennia. You will certainly find good deals in comparison to the U.S. prices you’re used to, but ultimately, as it is in Vegas, the house always wins.

For me, once I was better able to manage my expectations I could appreciate each place for what it was.

Travel Betty Basics

The following hotels are the ones I was happy with during our stay.

Movenpick Cairo-Pyramids
Close to the Pyramids, but not downtown. If you’d rather have a view of the pyramids during your whole stay this place has good service and amenities. Otherwise find something closer in to Cairo.

Seti Abu Simbel Hotel
This place was gorgeous with beautiful Nubian style domed rooms overlooking Lake Nasser. The grounds and pool are also quite lovely, although the place was almost totally deserted. We wished we’d spent more than one night here.

Pyramisa Isis Island Resort & Spa Aswan
The rooms here are hit or miss, but the views of the famous Old Cataract Hotel and the Nile are spectacular if you can get a good room with a view. The other thing I liked about this place is that even though it was on an island a little far from the corniche, the shuttle boats ran frequently and it was a great way to get free Nile river rides. Aswan is a place where you want to be on the water as much as possible.

Jolie Ville Movenpick Luxor Resort
I obviously have a soft spot for this place since it’s where Travel Boyfriend and I got engaged, but regardless, the cabana-style rooms were spacious and there was a shuttle to drive you into town. It didn’t run as frequently as I’d like at night, but cabs are cheap. The pools were perfect. One was an infinity pool with waterfalls and a small kid’s park. I found it all a pleasant reprieve from the hectic hustle of Luxor.

Tags: Egypt · Lodging

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