Semiramis InterContinental, Cairo
By Jimmy Dunn
The Semiramis Inter Continental in Cairo, like the Hiltons, Sheratons and Marriotts, was one of the first Western chain hotels built in Egypt. And like the Hiltons and Sheratons, but unlike the Marriotts, it is very Western, a place that tourists from the West will find comfortable, but lacking in any real Oriental style. As such, it is one of the nicest hotels in Cairo, with a good location central to most attractions, and highly regarded by frequent travelers with a five star budget.
It is also a popular meeting place among elite locals. On my very first trip to Egypt some years ago, my Egyptian hosts made a point of taking me to lunch in the hotel, perhaps to impress me with the view of Cairo which the hotel offers, and its well known dining facilities. I was impressed, and even amused. As a Texan, I discovered the first Tex-Mex restaurant in Cairo (not yet open at that point).
Inter Continental hotels are known throughout the world for their first class service and facilities, and the Cairo facility is no different. While the hotel may lack oriental detail, it certainly has all the comforts one expects of western hotels. All 840 air conditioned rooms and suites have balconies either overlooking either the city or the Nile river. Rooms are equipped with two international direct dial telephones, and all have internet connections allowing guests to get on-line from their rooms. There is also an entire non-smoking floor, which is very unusual for Egyptian hotels.
One of the aspects of the hotel, and perhaps the reason it is so well liked by locals, is the numerous and high quality restaurants. Tourists may spend over a week in the hotel, never having dinner in the same restaurant twice. Restaurant facilities include the Italian Spaghetteria, the Far Eastern Bird Cage, the International Felucca Brasserie, the Grill, which features French cuisine, Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant, Cafe Corniche with pastries and Night and Day, for 24 hour casual dining.
For entertainment, the Ambassadors club provides Jazz, as well as drinks and snacks and Los Amigos also serves as a Mexican bar. For more formal entertainment, there is also the Haroun Al Rashid nightclub, which offers some of Cairo's top entertainers, and for those with a desire to gamble, the hotel even has its own, popular casino.
Other facilities include a large swimming pool, children's pool, a very complete fitness center and health club, with a gymnasium, massage center, sauna, solarium as well as a Turkish bath. Aerobics classes are also available. There is also a large shopping arcade, with a drugstore, florist beauty salon, gift shop, bookstore, art gallery, jewelry store as well as lady's and gentleman's boutiques.
Additional services include a doctor on call 24 hours a day, and a baby-sitting facility.
The Inter Continental's banquet facilities are also worth mentioning. While many hotels in Cairo have meeting facilities, few have as large of capacity as this hotel. People planning meetings have a choice of over a dozen halls and grand ballrooms, with capacities from 30 guests to 2,700 in the Nefertiti ballroom. Of course, state of the art technology in audio-visual equipment is also available.
The Semiramis Inter Continental, Cairo today remains one of Egypt's finest hotels and, as with other of the chain's facilities throughout the world, truly first class in service. With its central location and pure quantity of facilities, one will not go wrong making the hotel their choice for a stay in Cairo.
Semiramis Inter Continental, Cairo
Cornich el Nil, P.O. Box 60, Cairo, Egypt