One of the things one should do before heading to Cairo is booking in a good hotels. This is a lesson that I had to learn by myself.
On our way back from Alexandria to Cairo and while stucking in the traffic at the entrance of the city, we started looking into the city guide my lebanese friend has with her for a good hostel to stay in the night. We started with budget-cost ones, calling one by one myself didn’t work – all places near the downtown were full. We then tried some mid-range and even 5 stars hotel, all said fully-booked! Finally, I asked my lebanese friend to call herself one of the mid-range hostels, I thought that in an Arabic country, a lebanese female voice may get us better results, don’t you agree? Actually that is exactly what happened! She only called once, and that’s it, we got a 3 rooms in a hostel in the downtown. Whether it was a pure luck from her side or not, we’ll never know.
Anyway, we dragged our bags around 8:00PM at the crowded midtown of Cairo to Carlton Hotel which lies at the top of an old building. It costed us around 20$ per night including breakfast and dinner. The rooms were clean, but a little bit smelly. We didn’t have the dinner but went down for the breakfast.
Here goes the best part about this post.
While sitting there on our breakfast table, the waiter, which is an egyptian old man wearing a tarboosh and doshdasheh, with a very grumpy look on his face, brought us a cup with tea and nescafe bags. He then asked us firmly: Tea or Coffe? We said: Tea. He picked up the nescafe bag and went away!
We, on the other hand, started our research for a 5 stars hotel and ended up paying 220$ for a night at Shepard Hotel at the nile which actually didn’t really have that much better service. The rate didn’t include breakfast, and when we went down to have ours, a female waiter, with full red face (make-up!), approached us. What is your room number? We gave it to her. She checked. In an angry voice she said: Your rate doesn’t include breakfast! “Yes, we know” we told her. “Ok, you’ll pay 210 pounds (around 30$)” She said and left!
and we complain about service in Jordan!
Man, service in Jordan is one of the greatest in the area when we compare it to its pudget and size!
I have bad memories with cairo! I know some people who were runned over by cars there 😦 Allah yr7amhom
btw man! I started a blog of my own! I wish to see u there some time =) (msh 5awa bs =) )
Wow, that is pretty bad, lol. But at least it makes for an interesting story. I had booked a vacation for November before I got laid off and the room was dirty. The didn’t clean out the coffee pot, and some of the dishes that were in the cabinets had stains on them because they weren’t cleaned. But it made for interesting conversation. What part of Egypt are you headed to next?
Genki Dama, :S allah yer7amhom, i checked out your blog, congratulations again 🙂
Tina, it sure made for interesting conversation. I left Egypt last friday, now back home in Amman 🙂
and what about the food? was it good? (ya3ni ma fi tasammom 😛 ??)
I know a few Europeans and North Americans who visited both Jordan and Egypt and all of them agreed that the service in Jordan is much better and as a result their experience was more enjoyable. This just means we have to compete with countries known for even better service, Lebanon comes to mind.
kharabish, well the Swedish Institute took a good care of us in terms of food. They have a really great chef.
And I tried to be careful what to eat outside the SI.
Zait o Za3tar, sure lebanese know how to handle service. Jordan is not bad, but sure there is always room for improvement.
Egypt and Turkey are the worst!!! Syria and Iran are great!!! Jordan and Israel are tied–so-so, depending on where you go I guess.
although Tunisia receives 5 million tourists every year, I thought that their service style was really disappointing. Slow, nervous and without proper communication but still they get the visitors. Thanks to the cheap travel from Europe.
Yes, it's really hard to find hotels in Egypt, so book it in advance..