Choosing a hotel in Egypt

This is the English version of my blog GDAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). I'm still working on it. English is not my native language.

A hotel room door
“Room privilege”: this room in Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx Hotel delights guests with a jaw-dropping view of the Great Pyramids.

My readers usually ask privately for help when choosing a hotel in Egypt. I give them some general instructions. I believe this is the moment to respond to everyone, at once, through an article.


Time to choose a hotel in Egypt

Beware of the official ratings

When we think about hotels in Egypt, there’s a problem that affects many cities here in Europe, especially in Prague, Rome, Madrid and Paris. There might be a discrepancy between the real quality of the hotel and its official rating in stars.

In general, remove one star from what is advertised about a hotel in Egypt. Is it a four-star hotel? Well, you should expect it to offer the structure of a three-star hotel. By being prepared for this, you avoid frustration.

Notice that I said “in general.” There are some rare exceptions among five-star hotels. Standard five-star units are majority and will be perceived by guests as four-star category. But we also find some premium five-star hotels that deserve this magical number five. Four Seasons, in Cairo, and Old Cataract, in Aswan, are good examples of this premium version.

Three-star hotels are more problematic. You may discover — too late — that the hotel is more like a hostel. Probably, a dirty place.

Also, be very careful when booking your hotel through a big travel agency, especially if it is an online company. For some of them, you’re just a number. There is no custom, transparent advice for the traveller. Sometimes the proper word to use is dishonesty. They may induce a client to think that a hostel is a three star hotel.

Avoid hotels that do not show photos of its dependencies on web sites. This is suspicious, right? What do they need to hide? In such cases, to deceive tourists, they usually publish photos highlighting things from outside the hotel. They show pictures of the Great Pyramids, emphasizing that the view from the room is magnificent. Okay, wonderful view… but what about the room itself?

You worry too much, Glauco. I do not care. I will choose a three-star hotel. No problem if its quality is comparable with a two-star hotel or a hostel!

This leads us to an ALERT.



I invite you to reflect on the matter. There is a safety issue here.

The Egyptian government cares about the tourists. They tightened security procedures almost everywhere. We are checked countless times at airports, famous sights, hotels. That’s right, even in hotels.

The tourist police check each person before he or she enters the hotel. All cars that approach the building are inspected. Security guards use mirrors to look under the vehicle. Sometimes they use a sniffer dog. At the entrance, we pass through a metal detector and have our bags inspected. That’s really good. It’s for our safety. It is something that Europe should do in countries threatened by terrorism.

The point is, these security measures occur only in 4 and 5 star hotels. So, I recommend you ignore hotels classified as three stars or below.

A hotel in Cairo
These vehicles in front of Hotel Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx have already been inspected.
A hotel in Egypt.
Right after crossing this entrance, we are checked by a security force.


Find your hotel

Now what? It’s time to find your hotel.

Want to check something online? This blog has partnered with Booking. They usually have great offers. Search here… but don’t forget all what I said above.

I live in the Algarve (South of Portugal). My first fiction book, for young adults, was published in 2001 in Portuguese language — a time travel adventure that won thousands of readers. I also wrote some travel and tech books and manuals.
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