By Jimmy Dunn
It is in fact interesting that we have taken so long to review this well known Cairo landmark. It was the first western style hotel built in Cairo and undoubtedly many readers who have been to Egypt spent a bit of time in this facility. I may be counted among them.
The Nile Hilton is no longer the brightest five star hotel around. Perhaps some renovation could be thought of, mostly in the rooms, though that is not to imply that there is anything particularly wrong with them. They could just use a little renewal. Beyond that, this is really a great place to spend a few days in Cairo, and for any number of reasons.
The hotel is very centrally located. Just out the back door, literally, is the Egyptian museum, and in this general area are all manner of shops and restaurants. But you really don't have to even go walking at all, as the hotel itself as a respectably sized mall attached, along with a number of shops in the hotel proper. Other attractions such as Islamic Cairo, the Khan el-Khalili market and Old Cairo are just minutes away. The hotel is located right on the Nile River, with other large tourist hotels to either side.
To me, the real fun aspect of this hotel is what goes on inside. It would seem that every country on earth has tourists staying here at any particular moment. But you will also find Arab diplomats from throughout the region, and one may even chance upon a celebrity or two. And then there are the weddings, sometimes going on every night of the week during some seasons. I enjoy these spectaculars, and guests are often invited to join into the celebrations.
Favorite spots of mine within the hotel include the lobby coffee shop, sitting just inside the back door, where one may taste pastries and have a coffee while watching the varied and various tourists come and go. I also enjoy the pub. Sitting at the bar, it is not unusual to have an Englishman on one site, someone from the Netherlands on the other, and down the row an Australian, a Kuwaiti and a Frenchmen. It really makes for some lively conversation. The pool area is also lovely, set in a garden environment where often as not there are more people at the pool bar then in the pool.
The Nile Hilton is also a mature hotel, having just about every feature one might imagine. It was one of the first in Egypt with a business center that included internet access. Recreational facilities include a large pool, tennis and squash courts, a fitness center, pool tables and paddle tennis.
All standard rooms are comfortable, and have alarms, private baths with amenities such as telephones, minibars, cable television, individually controlled air conditioning and balconies. Executive rooms also come with bathrobes, hairdryers and a safe. Suites also have kitchens, video cassette players, faxes, a Jacuzzi, and other amenities. Everyone from celebrates to sheiks stay here, so there are little in the way of amenities which may not be found in one room or another.
One need not exit the hotel grounds to find any number of restaurants either in the hotel itself or the attached mall. Along with the Ibis Coffee Shop mentioned above, there is also Da Mario, an italian restaurant with great food, Abou Aly Oriental terrace cafe, Rotisserie Belvedere, the roof level dining room with a grand view of Cairo, and the BBQ Garden, an open air grill located next to the swimming pool and open only during the summers. In the mall, there is a large food court where a variety of different international food is available, and Cafe Ole, which serves lighter snacks and breakfast.
For entertainment, there is the Casino, the Tavern Du Champ Des Mars, which is the pub style bar mentioned above, Jackie's Joint, a disco and restaurant and the Pyramids Bar and Terrace for roof top cocktails and live piano music.
As a final note, rooms at the Nile Hilton are often discounted and there are always specials available. This grand old hotel may be feeling some of the pressure from a few of the more recently built five star mega hotels and so look for good deals when booking, and have a great time!
The Cairo Nile Hotel
Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt
Phone +20 2 22578044 or +20 2 225780666
Last Updated: June 5th, 2011