The Longchamps Hotel Review
by Jimmy Dunn
See also, the
Hotel Longchamps, Revisited, and updated review.
Before I begin this review, I wish to point out that our reviews are not ads for hotels. They are reviews. If the review of the Longchamps Hotel appears very positive, it is because I am beginning with one of my favorite hotels in Egypt. Future reviews may not be so kind.
Lobby and Check in Area
On the other hand, I would also like to point out that the Longchamps Hotel is a three star hotel. It lacks fancy restaurants, swimming pools, tennis courts and other amenities of a luxury resort. All of our readers, at one time or another, have received glorious reports of some movie, built up to such an extent that only disappointment could follow. The Longchamps is basic accommodations, and I would not wish that visitors to the hotel be disappointed by expecting more than the hotel is. That said, I consider the Longchamps to be the Jewel of Zamalek. While it may lack the appointments of a five star hotel, at around $35.00 per night including taxes and breakfast, I have seen no better value in Egypt.
Ismail Mohamed Street
The Longchamps is one of those hotels which share a building with another hotel on the floor below, and apartments below that. It is located on the 5th and 6th floors at 21, Ismail Mohamed Street in upscale Zamalek surrounded by embassies, consulates, private schools and gardens. The area it is located in is a real plus. It is a quiet garden district, with many nearby restaurants and fast food establishments. The hotel is located about two blocks from the more noisy Nile, a few blocks from an AUC bookstore and has a good photo shop just next door in one direction and a small grocer in the other. Good shopping is all around with upscale stores and even a nearby mall.
The hotel is bright, freshly renewed and renovated with special touches one might expect from a loving owner. And the owner is a bit unusual. Hebba Bakri, a feisty meticulous Egyptian was the daughter of a well-know theater actress from whom she inherited the hotel. Her elderly mother had allowed the hotel to become somewhat rundown, so when Hebba took control of the hotel, she immediately began a restoration process which included importing many of the shiny brass and chrome fixtures from Germany, her second home. Her husband and Vice President of the Hotel is Chris, a German, and between the two of them, I can only say that the hotel is spotlessly clean. Golfers will find good conversation with Chris, who lives for the game, while watching Hebba dash to and fro making sure everything about the hotel is just slightly better than perfect.
Hebba and Chris
All rooms have private baths with showers, air conditioning, modern televisions, a sitting area and new style phones (most phones in the three star hotels I stayed in were very antiquated, except for the Longchamps). The beds are comfortable, the walls are brightly enameled, and curtains and bedding are new. In fact, I found the rooms to be better than some of the five star hotels I stayed in while in Egypt!
A Typical Room
Little amenities not found in other three star hotels abound. For example, many of the three star hotels I visited or stayed in while in Egypt had only a bar of soap in the bathrooms, while some had none at all. The Longchamps had everything I needed and more than I found in many four star hotels. In fact, the bathrooms were elegant, with ruffled shower curtains, brass fixtures, and again, spotlessly clean.
Inlaid detail in the bathrooms
But undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the Longchamps Hotel are the terraces, located at either end of the hallway. These are very pleasant areas to have afternoon tea, or an evening drink.
The Front Terrace
View from the front Terrace
I had afternoon tea on the terrace with Towheed Ramy, a founder of multimedia in Egypt who's father was one of Egypt's most famous poets and lyrics writer. Towheed created one of the first multimedia presentations of the Sound and Light shows which are so popular in Egypt, and continues to be a driving force and much in demand in Egyptian media Just inside the rear terrace is the small bar and restaurant, where breakfast is served as part of the room price, and other meals are available. They make a mean screwdriver here with fresh orange juice.
Indoor Restaurant Area
The small bar demonstrates the details which one finds throughout the hotel. Everything is stylish, tasteful and well done. These details are one of the things which make this hotel so special and one of the reasons we refer to the hotel as the Jewel of Zamalek. One may enjoy a quiet drink either indoors or out on the terrace, undisturbed by the noise of hotels in the downtown district. And unlike many of the five star hotels, drinks are reasonably priced.
One cannot help but notice the splendid and loving attention to detail throughout the hotel. Yet one of the wonderful aspects of this hotel are three star pricing throughout. Unlike many three star hotels which try to compensate for their room prices by charging high prices for everything else, here one finds good phone rates, good restaurant pricing, and a good chewing out of taxi drivers if the owners find that a customer has been overcharged. In summary, the Longchamps Hotel is the best three star hotel I have found in Egypt for a variety of reasons, including clean, modern and stylish facilities, good overall pricing, a great
location and a friendly staff.
The Longchamps Hotel
21 Ismail Mohamed Street The Longchamps Hotel, Revisited 21, Ismail Mohamed St., Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt
Telephone: +20 2 735 2311-12
Fax: +20 2 735 9644
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Last Updated: June 22nd, 2011
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