Fairmont Nile City
Nile City Towers - 2005 B, Corniche El Nil, Ramlet Beaulac
TEL + 20 22 461 9494
My Rating: 82%
Price Rating: $$$$
Summary of Stay: Egypt is one of those exotic locations I wanted to visit since I was a little boy. It’s a country with fascinating history and culture that I think it is a must for all travellers to visit. That being said, I still wanted to visit Egypt with comfort as my priority. I booked with the Fairmont Nile City because of it’s location and luxury.
I began my correspondence with the hotel several weeks before arriving and they arranged transportation from the airport: Sir - please let us know which Mercedes in our fleet you’d like us to pick you up in. Nice start. Beyond that, they also arranged for VIP arrival service which allowed a local authority to look after my customs declaration and visa as I sat my jet-lagged self down in an air conditioned lounge with my bottle of water. They also informed me that my driver was waiting for me and he came into introduce himself. As I waited in the lounge, the driver came back to tell me that my Mercedes was blocking the Egyptian President’s motorcade and security was asking us to move. I thought it was best to agree to their request. Moments late the VIP host came back with my passport and said I was all finished. So as I walked out to the Benz, I walked past the Egyptian President and we said hello. Yes - I felt like a big deal.
The driver whisked us through Cairo - which is a huge city - in luxury. It was midnight and traffic moved quickly, apart from a camel or two. Upon arrival, my luggage and self were ran through a metal detector/x-ray machine and then taken over to the check-in. Days later I would learn that metal detectors are commonplace in Cairo. The lobby is impressive with statutes and massive arrangements of white roses that look sharp against the art deco marble flooring. Check-in was a breeze and I was asleep after a quick shower.
The Fairmont Gold room was beautifully appointed and I had a full view of the city. The room was spectacularly cleaned twice daily and I can’t think of one single flaw with the room. I sent several pieces of clothing for laundering and pressing and they were returned to me in pristine condition. The bathroom had a full glass window that looked into the bedroom which could have been been sexy if not traveling alone - but don’t fret, there were also shutters to it for those with less exhibitionist tendencies.
I also checked out the Willow Stream Spa at the hotel. The facilities are top notch and include a full gym and separate areas for men and women. I booked the 90 minute Hammam Heaven treatment which I thought was only satisfactory. I’ve had hammams before and I usually love them but this was pretty basic and I had far better spa services at other hotels in Cairo.
Highlight of the Hotel: The hotel boasts a few exceptional dining experiences. To begin with I was staying in a Fairmont Gold room and therefore had access to the Fairmont Gold lounge. Many of the large international brands have club floor lounges but they really need to take notes from the Fairmont Nile City. From the buffet breakfast and the attentiveness of the staff to the afternoon tea, to the evening cocktails, the Fairmont Gold lounge was exceptional and worth every extra penny I paid for the upgrade. The Champagne Bar and Onyx lounge were a great place to end or begin a night. Their bartenders were creative with cocktails and extremely knowledge about champagne, wine and spirits. On my last night of my stay, I went to Bab El Nil - the hotel’s trendy shisha bar and restaurant. It has a very young club lounge vibe and the food was among the best I had in Egypt. I ordered a variety of dishes and each was better than the next. Finally, their shisha menu was impressive and I highly recommend the jasmine flavour.
Highlight of the Stay: The concierge team assisted with all my travel needs within Egypt. They were honest and forthright when it came to security in certain regions of Egypt and strongly advised I change my plans. They arranged a guide for me for one day - the guide was so exceptional that I ended up hiring her for 2 additional days to show me around the city. She was an excellent suggestion. The concierge team was full of thoughtful suggestions that really made my stay in Cairo memorable. But I think it was their sincere concern for my safety that was impressive. It should also be stated that I believe Egypt is very tourist friendly but I was visiting at time of political instability and the staff clearly wanted to ensure I had a safe and enjoyable experience.
Drawbacks: The hotel has a rooftop pool with decent view of the Nile. However, the pool itself was just decent. It was too small for a hotel of this size and lacked being stylish or luxurious. The service at the pool was almost non-existent. Secondly, I suffered food poisoning from something I ordered from a room service hamburger (well done). However, when I notified the hotel they sent a doctor up to my room almost immediately to check on me. He prescribed me a few tablets which I was able to get at a pharmacy in the Nile City Corporate Complex which is connected to the hotel. Within 24 hours, I was back to normal.