Hotel Review: Cairo Marriott Hotel and Casino
Hotel: Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Room: Executive Room with private balcony
Perfect for: City break
Category: Luxury, 5 star
Did you know that Cairo is the home to the only remaining ancient wonder of the world? That’s right, those pointy stone objects in the desert!
The Pyramids would be one of the most incredible sights I have seen, the size of the pyramids are unimaginable, it truly is something you need to see to believe!! Aside from the Pyramids, there are plenty of things to see and do In Cairo, such as the Egyptian Museum, Mosque of Muhammed Ali and The Hanging Church just to name a few.
If you’re looking for something a little out of the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre, look no further than Zamalek Island. It is centrally located in terms of daily tour pick-ups and ease of getting everywhere, yet completely set away from the busyness and chaotic lifestyle of the rest of Cairo.
We stayed at the Cairo Marriott & Omar Khayyam Casino Hotel for 4 nights during our stay in Cairo.
When looking for hotels in Cairo, we wanted to be fairly central for convenience for our day tours and have enough amenities that we could spend some time at the hotel in our down time.
Having travelled a bit, we built up a small war chest of loyalty points we needed (wanted) to use. The two hotel groups we were considering was either Accor Hotels or Marriott and we were instantly intrigued by the Marriott’s description.
The resort is massive, the hotel is advertised as having been originally built in 1869 as a Palace by Khedive Ismail. The description continues to say there are 1,087 room and 15 onsite restaurants, offering everything from casual Middle Eastern cuisine to fresh sushi. Well before getting to the review, you can believe me when I say this place is by far the largest hotel we have stayed in. You even receive a map of the hotel grounds.
We booked an Executive Room at the Marriott which included access to the Executive Lounge. The lounge has a good breakfast, complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day as well as a small buffet where you are able to enjoy some alcoholic beverages in the evening. I’ll get back to this a little later!!
Our welcome experience…
This was a bit mixed, to be honest.
The good – walking into the reception, we were greeted by very friendly porters who directed us to the check in desks where guests were offered refreshing raspberry lemonades to enjoy during the check in process. Our front desk receptionist, Sally provided a warm welcome, spoke good English, and most importantly, efficient.
The not so good – having enjoyed our refreshing drink and the warm welcome, we went to the concierge desk to get a map and to inquire about available tours. We had a couple in mind and just needed to find out which of these may have had availability or if they had any specific recommendations. The employees English was significantly below average and to be frank, did not understand our question at all, we left completely unsure what the employee was able to help us with (key given the role!). We ended up doing quite a bit of research ourselves which is not what you want to do on your holidays.
Spacious, large balcony, slightly outdated bathroom for a 5-star luxury hotel
The room (1420) was spacious, large balcony which opens up to spectacular views of the Nile river, the resort grounds and pool area.
It is always nice when you arrive after a long flight, to check in to your room and have a surprise waiting for you!! This was no exception, we received a fresh fruit platter as well as complimentary bottled water waiting for us in our room.
The bed was super comfortable, the pillows (all 4 of them!) were great. It was perfect after a long day exploring the pyramids.
The bathroom was spacious, but not a fan, and certainly did not expect to find a dated shower curtain! Luckily the bathtub was wide and the curtain rail was designed in a way that the curtain did not touch your skin.
Who doesn’t love a nice shampoo and body lotion?? The amenities were plentiful and even included mouth wash!
In the evening, the housekeeping staff provide a turndown service. This, of course, is not complete without an after dinner mint!
Being a bit particular, given we were two guests in the room, I always find it a bit frustrating when they only provide one robe and a set of slippers (I mean really?). This was quickly fixed up when we called reception, but it’s the small touches that really make the difference.
Restaurants: The hotel features many restaurants to choose from. These include a mixture of a steak house, Italian, Egyptian and various snack bars just to name a few! We took a look inside a few of the restaurants and they were all tastefully decorated and the staff on duty were informative and very friendly.
Casino: There is a casino located within the hotel grounds. You must present your passport before entering as Egyptians are not allowed to enter the gaming area.
Pool Area: The pool area is central within the hotel grounds, although depending on your room, can take a while to get to as the hotel is so large!
The area is fairly standard with deck chairs and umbrellas available for use as well as towels from the towel station. There is also a section which is under cover to allow guests to escape the summer sun.
I should mention that in the 4 hours we spent by the pool, only one pool attendant came by to see if we would like to order any food or drinks.
Health and fitness…
If you like to stay fit and healthy while on holidays, you would love this fitness centre!
The gym area within the hotel would probably have to be the most well-appointed gym I have seen at a hotel. It had several cardio machines to choose from where most hotels only have a couple at most. The weight section included just about every weight machine that a regular gym would have as well as free weights and mats as well. It is very well air conditioned, has two TV’s on the walls and they provide you with towels and cold water.
The Executive Club on the 18th floor. We enjoyed breakfast here without the hustle of the main breakfast restaurant without limiting our options. There are snacks (pictured below) available throughout the day including tea, coffee, fruits, cakes and so forth.
For dinner, a hot buffet (4 dishes which varied each night) was served along with salads, cheeses, breads and desserts from 5.30pm – 8 pm each night. The wines kept flowing and our water continually topped up. It was a great place to unwind in the evening, and go through photos from your holiday!
A special mention goes to Medhat who was by far the most helpful waiter we had throughout our stay. His English was perfect and he always went above and beyond his duty to make sure we were well looked after. Medhat insisted that we try a freshly baked traditional Egyptian dessert called Oum Ali. Directly translated, it means mother of Ali, and is the most traditional and famous of the Egyptian desserts. Served warm, it is the equivalent to bread and butter pudding and is usually made with puff pastry, combined with cream, nuts and dried fruit. Medhat brought us one of these each night!
Good to know…
You can hire taxi drivers through the hotel concierge desk for the day. It is a fixed rate and the driver will take you to several points of interest as agreed. This is a good way to see the sights if you don’t want to use a tour company and have a bit more flexibility.
Check out for us was very early as our flight departed at 7.20am. Check out was very efficient and the staff helpful and friendly. We had pre-arranged a car to take us to the airport, and unfortunately, there was a communication issue in that the staff didn’t let us know our driver had arrived. Security sent him out of the complex as there is a time limit on how long cars can stay in the driveway. We had no way of contacting our driver so we had to wait around 20 minutes for our driver to arrive back at the hotel. Luckily, being so early there was no traffic so we made it to the airport on time!
Above and beyond…
As mentioned above, Medhat provided exceptional service during our stay and experience in the Executive Club.
- Friendly welcome staff
- Several restaurant options
- Executive Club (for executive rooms only) and friendly staff who go above and beyond their duty (Medhat in particular!)
- large fitness centre with a variety of machines
The not so good….
- The hotel concierge didn’t understand our basic questions
- Staff servicing the pool area seemed to enjoy avoiding the sun as much as the guests and we were not well looked after
- The room had only 1 pair of slippers and 1 robe when there were two of us checking in to the hotel
Overall, the hotel is well-appointed and if you’re using local taxi services, they are easy to come by at the hotel.
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“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” Aldous Huxley