Mena House Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Mena House Hotel Giza
A Magical Place
I was somewhat worried after checking out this site but no need. We booked this hotel as we were intrigued by its history and it did not disappoint.
Garden rooms seem to be an issue. My opinion is that the Garden Rooms at Mena House are a very cheap option and I don't know what others were expecting for the price. Suppose it depends on what you usually pay for a holiday. For us this was a 6 night cheap break between other very much more expensive holidays in Mauritius, Caribbean, Italy etc. We were more than happy. I find it laughable that some would think that they would receive the top of the range rooms shown in the internet site for the price of the Garden Room! Our room was larger than average, seating area with big sofa, 2 armchairs. Plush carpet & drapes etc, Egyptian cotton sheets changed daily, robes, slippers, basket of fruit on arrival. Everything spotless. Nothing broken or worn. Furniture solid wood. Housekeeping twice a day. Problem with toiletries mentioned? Well I always take my own brands everywhere, fussy female! Those in the room seemed OK. Our room appeared to have been refurbished so maybe we were lucky.
An earlier reviewer found the reception decor 1970s which amused us when we were there. It is not even 1870s but 1860s - the golden ceiling is breathtaking. The public areas are fabulously beautiful and so atmospheric.
Food is good and ridiculously cheap compared with European prices. Al Rubyat is excellent. Service everywhere cannot be faulted, as mentioned before, the ratio of staff to guests is very high as is usual in African top end hotels. And the staff are charming, in a short time your usual drinks order is remembered, you feel like a 'regular'. On the subject of drink, many thanks to the kind person from LA who put us onto the Alexandrian wine. The red is extremely drinkable and of course the imported is exorbitant, again usual in Africa. Local beer (Stella) is light and enjoyable.
Another good hint from an earlier reviewer is to book a car & your own Egyptologist at the hotel at a very good price.
If you ask and they will show you round the Montgomery & Churchill suites and they are amazing. My personal favourite was the Montgomery, indicitive of that charismatic man.
Our stay was wonderful, peaceful and romantic. So we are returning next year - can't wait!
Beautiful, romantic, and unbelievable experience.
The Mena house was superlative in every way. I spent
New Year's 2005 ringing in the year while looking at
the sublime Pyramids from my balcony. The staff was on
the top of their game. I booked a day tour with their travel
office and was grant an incredible, very professional, kind
guide that gave me one of my favorite days in Cairo.
The breakfasts were wonderful. And while there, please try
the scrumptious wine from Alexandria.
My wife and I visited at the end of November 04. There is no doubt that the view of the Pyramids is breathtaking - but the truth is it would be breathtaking if viewed from the back of a garden shed! We wanted a great hotel with a wonderful location - you spend time in the hotel, you only look at the location! We got fairly good hotel in a wonderful location.
The room we were allocated was in a prime position with a perfect view of the Great Pyramid so no complaints at all! The room however was worn and tired - they had been upgrading them apparently, but I guess they hadn't reached ours. For a hotel that is supposed to be "high quality" it was not one of our better experiences. The staff were pleasant but nothing more.
The food was very variable according to which restaurant you went to. The Indian Restaurant had great food and ambience but lousy service, and on the two evenings we went there we felt hurried even in the selection of our food. Everyone appeared to be treated as though we were all ignorant of the "intricacies" of Indian food and the menu was opened to the set meal page to avoid any discussion. Our attempt to change this was met with irritation and obstruction. I was very surprised. The Al Rubiyaat had good food but I found a button in my ice cream! The waiter's response was to look at his shirt and confidently assert that it "wasn't his" - but no apology was given. Breakfast was flat and uninspiring at the outdoor restuarant.
All in all a disappointing experience. We expected more for the money but discovered that money is no guarantee of quality. Try one of the other hotels if you want quality as well as an (almost) equally good location
Beautiful hotel, good for a solitude holiday
The hotel is as beautiful as viewed in the brochures; stunning decor and the Palace building is very elegant and certainly measures up to a 5 star resort. The service is 5 star and the Egyptian people are extremely friendly and will not allow you to lift a finger - ideal for a relaxing luxurious get away. This includes perfect room/ pool service - you really do feel pampered by the staff.
When you first arrive at Cario airport you will probably be approached by a registered taxi driver; beware as he will then take you to a tour operator before your cab to organise your week (1 day tour around £40 each). This is not a bad price as you will have a private car and tour guide yet Mena hotel will also give you a car and driver who will also take you wherever you require and wait for you too (this does work out cheaper).
All restaurants on the resort are reasonably priced and the food is generally good. If you buy alcohol stick to the local brands as you wont buy an imported bottle of wine for less than £40.
As for nightlife; this really isn't the place to stay. They do have a nightclub - though because of the general age group that stays here; its always empty. You can see belly dancing while eating and abit of Egyptian music but not much else. Even Cario itself (30 mins central by car) hasn't much to offer by night.
You can eat also on a floating restaurant on the Nile; personally food was bad and not a very exciting experience. Maybe better by day.
All in all a place to stay to be pampered and view the sites. Not a 5 star resort with regards to entertainment and children facilities.
2 Hotels in one - but not in a good way....
Your experience here totally depends on which room you are allocated.
The majority of rooms are in a "Garden Wing" which was built in the 1970's and seems not to have been refurbished since. It seems that if you are booked on any kind of package deal or book your room through a consolidator, you will be given a Garden Room.
That was where I started off. The furniture is tired, the decor is dated, bathrooms are worn out - the rooms are generally grotty - no more than 3 star standard. Plus none of the balcony doors have a proper lock - only a security chain which is totally inadequate, especially as there are no safes in these rooms.
Also, they try and charge you US$20pppn to upgrade to a "Pyramid View", but beware that the view is partially blocked by the main hotel building, and few rooms have views that don't require leaning round the balcony.
Having checked out 3 other Garden Wing rooms, and discovering that all are in a similar poor state, I was finally offered a room in the "Palace" at a supplement. It didn't have a balcony (so no problems with un-secure balcony doors!) or a Pyramid view, but much more classy and was more like a 5 star. Felt like a totally different hotel altogether so settled on that and had an enjoyable 6 night stay.
Maid service was twice a day, including a turn down service with a fresh rose placed on your pillow - nice touch. Bath towels were huge and fluffy, waffle robes and slippers were good, but don't get excited about 5* toiletries - they are quite basic, so I'd take your own. The mini bar is reasonably priced at the same rate as the other hotel bars and room service. Its good to see a hotel not try and rip guests off, especially with mineral water which was LE10 a 1.5 litre bottle (approx UK£1).
What sets this hotel apart though is the service and attention to detail. Staff addressed me by name, and without exception could not do enough to help (always with the aim of receving a little "baksheesh" (tips) though.) By western standards, there seems to be about twice as many staff as needed, but that does mean you are made a fuss of.
Alcohol is expensive, especially spirits and and wine (cheapest about UK£40 a bottle.) We stuck to the local beer - Meister which was reasonably priced and very drinkable.
A good choice of restaurants at very reasonable prices. Our favourite was The Moghul Room which is an Indian restaurant (the hotel is run by an Indian hotel chain) and is renowned as the best in Cairo. The food and service was excellent, with a live Indian band each night. Also good was the Oasis restaurant by the pool, where you should try the freshly baked Egyptian bread - baked in the restaurant itself. A delicious choice for lunch is the Lamb Shawarma, which is a kind of donner kebab, but much better quality meat in a couple of the Egyptian flat breads.
A previous poster mentions the poor breakfast in the Greenery restaurant - if you have breakfast included, you can have breakfast in your room for a minimal charge. Did this every day, and am glad I did.
Hotel facilties are generally good, never very busy by the pool, so no problems getting a sunbed. They could do with replacing some of the sunbeds which had seen better days. The pool was nice, but did look like it needed a deep clean around the edge - water was crystal clear though.
Don't get excited by the Casino - it's now closed down.
Top tip about buying you tickets for the Sound and Light show from the Cashier's deak at the hotel - the front row seats really make a difference. Price was LE105 per person (about UK£10).
If you are arriving privately at Cairo airport, let the hotel know and they will send a driver to pick you up. The driver will meet you before Immigration and help you get a Visa and quickly through the Immigration queues. This cost only LE90 for the car for the 45 minute trip to the hotel.
In summary, it is a hotel with excellent service, but trading on it's past reputation to try and get away with using the substandard Garden Wing rooms.
I'd recommend staying here if you have a room in the Palace itself, otherwise you are likely to be disappointed.
This hotel is the most luxurious thing you'll ever experience. It used to be a Palace, so you can imagine. Its best feature is that it's right beside the pyramids. You can see them from everywhere. The food wasn't that great. And we didn't get a room like the ones seen on the pictures. Ours was quite austere and dirty. But maybe they have changed. Anyway, it's a great place to stay at.
Disappointing garden rooms
My wife and I stayed here for five nights in Sep 2004 and cannot express how disappointing it has been. Had we not already prepaid everything under a flight and hotel package, we would certainly have packed up and left for another hotel.
On approaching the hotel, we were greeted by the awesome sight of the great pyramid of Cheops towering directly opposite. But sadly the awe stopped there.
The lobby looked jaded with its 1970s décor and the many bright glass bulbs made the area look no better than a cheesy resort. All in all, the hotel gives the impression that it has seen better days but apparently still clinging fast on to its glory days, like an old person desperately trying to be hip.
Do not be deceived by all the beautiful pictures of the rooms that you see on the hotel's website, which were what I was expecting. What the website publishes are pictures of the SUITES, which clearly have tons more character and significantly better furnishing than the majority of the normal rooms that are located in the garden annex. Unless you are prepared to shell out for a suite, garden annex rooms - like the one I was given - are very ordinary, with slightly worn out furniture, drab curtains and carpets that are old and frayed in many areas. The first room I was given had a marble wash area that looked as if it had been hastily glued back together, and a bathroom that smelt of a stale, sour odour. Curtains hung limply from their hooks. The following day, we requested for a room change and this time, we were given a room with a bathtub that had hundreds of chips and scratch marks, and a coffee table that I am sure whose legs had given way at least once but were hastily nailed back with a few crude nails only to give way again towards the end of our stay.
Our toiletries were not replenished automatically throughout our stay - we had to walk up to the cleaning ladies numerous times and ask for more whenever we ran out of shampoo and shower gels.
The swimming pool was pleasant but there was a toilet cum shower facility at the entrance that looks like it has been abandoned long ago, with rusty lockers, no water, a stuck front door and a locker key cupboard with no keys left in them.
Because our package included breakfast, which was only served at the Greenery restaurant, my family and I were again disappointed every morning at the selection. Somehow the hotel manages to make an otherwise acceptable breakfast spread look greasy and tired, only to be washed down with tepid coffee.
Probably the only aspect of this hotel that I would recommend is dinner at the Al Rubayyat restaurant, where the food is of fine quality and there is an Egyptian cultural dance show every evening. I was particularly impressed with how the waiting staff prepared a flambé with crepes and bananas right beside my table.
It is worth noting that hotel's main reception sells tickets to the Sound and Light show where prime seats at the front row have been reserved for its guests. This information is not displayed anywhere, so ask at the main reception. The price includes transportation from the hotel to the venue and back.
Stayed for 5 nights in October 2003, in a Suite in the Palace section that opened into the gardens right next to the pyramids. The view was fantastic, spoiled slightly by the busy road leading up to the pyramids. The service was first class and the food exceptionally cheap and delicious. The pool area is spotless as is the rest of the hotel. Would definately recommend this hotel and would advise lots of change for tipping the very eager to please staff.
Stayed here in July 2004 as part of a Trafalgar Best of Egypt Tour. Everything about this hotel is first rate and you are literally a stone's throw from the pyramids. The rooms are large and well appointed, the grounds are beautiful and all other facilities cannot be faulted. Just be prepared to pay through the nose for alcohol. You might get a rude shock if you don't ask the price first. Food, however is very reasonably priced and there are a number of restaurants to choose from. Highly recommended!
My wife and I stayed at the Mena House Oberoi for one night as part of our 3 day cruise to egypt from cyprus.
This certainly is a top drawer hotel.
The rooms are gorgeous and the service 2nd to none.Our room ahd a balcony looking out at the pyramids,it was a breathtaking view.
We ate 2 meals there and the food was excellent never got to try the pool or other amenites but it is a fantastic place to stay.
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