This is Part 5 in my series on Cairo. Continue reading via the links below!
After sitting in Cairo’s maddening traffic for a couple of hours on my way into town from the airport, I couldn’t get to Mena House soon enough. I’d read numerous reports of the chaotic traffic that has always plagued Cairo, and indeed, it was all of that and more. Rickshaws, donkeys, and all types of traffic veered onto the road at random intervals, and having a stoplight at an intersection appeared to be a luxury rather than a requirement. As one can imagine, gridlock is an epidemic in Cairo – it’s right on par with Jakarta, which in my book has the worst traffic in Asia.
Upon arriving at Mena House, though, all that stress melted away as I passed through the 5 (!) security checkpoints and into an oasis that felt so far away from the madness of central Cairo. Mena House is located in New Giza City, on the outskirts of Cairo – in fact, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Pyramids, with a view to match.
I was excited to be staying at Mena House, as it’s arguably the most historic hotel in all of Egypt. Originally built in 1869 as a hunting lodge for a member of Egypt’s royalty, and since then it’s been expanded multiple times into a luxury hotel. Guests have ranged from Winston Churchill to Will Smith, and it’s frequently booked out for international conferences as well (it was also the site of landmark peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1977).
The entire hotel is decorated in the traditional Egyptian style, and as I walked the grounds, I truly felt like I was going back in time. I had booked a standard suite facing the Pyramids, and woke up each day to a beautiful view of Mena House’s beautiful garden, and the Pyramids in the background. Not a bad place to have one’s morning coffee!
Service at Mena House was world-class, and it’s clear that each of the staff members really take pride in this hotel – as they should! The amazing service extended all the way from the hotel managers, down to the janitors (one of whom came to fix a pipe in our room at one point, and told me all about the history of the hotel in the meantime – amazing!)
The hotel facilities are well-appointed too. In addition to a number of dining options, Mena House has an expansive outdoor pool, a large gym, and even a luxury spa onsite. I didn’t have a chance to try these out during my stay, but they all looked to be kept up well – the pool looked particularly inviting, but unfortunately it was too cold to take a dip!
Each of Mena House’s restaurants are fantastic as well. There’s an open-air Egyptian restaurant that’s open for three meals a day, a gourmet Egyptian restaurant inside (Khan El-Khalili, which I mentioned in my overview of Egyptian cuisine), a fine dining Indian restaurant, and even an Italian restaurant. I tried them all, and each were outstanding. I’d particularly recommend Khan El-Khalili, as the atmosphere and food are both top-of-the line. At the same time, prices are reasonable – if you went to any of these restaurants and absolutely stuffed yourself, I doubt you’d spend more than $40 USD.
Mena House turned out to be the perfect refuge to retreat to after long days of exploring Cairo and the surrounding area. When you visit Cairo, I’d highly recommend staying here as it has luxurious accommodations, a rich history, and impeccable service at a reasonable price point.
Headed to Cairo soon? Book your stay at Mena House here!