Talisman Hotel de Charme
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Historical Traveler Reviews Talisman Hotel de Charme Cairo
Beautiful rooms, difficult to find
The hotel is small and very well run, but incredibly difficult to find when you arrive in Cairo. At 4.30AM it took our taxi driver nearly an hour to find it.... Best advice is to get it's name/ address in Arabic to show a taxi and then look out for the Americano Cafe.
However the hotel was a perfect oasis from the bustle of downtown Cairo, and as a boutique hotel it gets a big thumbs up for it's individual rooms and beautiful communal areas.
The Talisman did everything it said it would
We arrived at the Hotel having had the problem of finding it. Visitors really need to know that it is down an alley near the corner of 26 July Street and opposite the Americaine takeaway. Even the taxis do not know it. First impressions are not good - the downstairs shared lobby is dirty and dingy ( but with a cute "lift" cat.). Once you get to the Hotel entrance on the fifth floor all changes. The staff cannot do enough for you and the common rooms are lovely, as are the bedrooms. The only problem ( for those who like being able to get a tincture or two) is that there is no bar. However, there is a licquor store just around the corner and there is no problem bringing it in to the hotel.
Good, but priced to be better
I had heard about this hotel and decided to stay there for a night while I was in Cairo. My initial impression was not very good as, upon entering the small lobby, there was no one to be found. In fact, though a couple of people in the kitchen saw me come in and wait, I finally had to venture through the hotel to even find someone to check me in.
This hotel is well appointed. There are nothing wrong with the rooms at all, having all the necessities and then some. However, it is also priced that way. Though it is a two star hotel, it is actually priced more like a four star. That is really the problem. Four star hotels have pools, bars, full restaurants and most frequently good rounded breakfast buffets. Though the rooms are a bit smaller than one might expect in a four star hotel, they are almost as well equipped, excluding perhaps a minifrig, which my room lacked.
Its other shortcomings are indeed the part of town where it is located. This is not an upscale part of Cairo, and particularly not at night or first thing in the morning. Also, unlike many hotels in Cairo, there are no outside terraces. I understand that one room may have a balcony, but otherwise one feels pretty much sealed inside.
Frankly, at $20 to $30 dollars less per night, this hotel would be much better, though it would not improve the part of Cairo where it is located. But I think that, at the price they charge, there are a lot of much better choices.
Charm and genuine friendliness abound
We were looking for an "authentic", charming hotel and we found it! The staff couldn't be any nicer. We arrived at 2:00 a.m., were greeted with subperb warmth. We were hungry so one of the staff members readily offered and accompanied us through the streets to not only find a restaurant but spoke to the locals for us, ensured we were taken care of at the restaurant and ordered our food, even got water for us from a local street market.
Everything from the breafast linens, freshly squeezed orange juice (literally), authentic furnishings, high ceilings, library, service, everything was lovely. Yes, the staff is like family after one day! Yes, it is true, it is hard to find (it took the taxi driver an hour to find it) but it was worth it! Talisman is actually on Mamar El Central (an alleyway that is not drivable but has a street sign.) The map on the Talisman website reads Sherif but we never saw Sherif. Mamar El Central is just south of 26th of July. If you can find McDonalds on Talaat Harb, El Central is almost immediately across the street from it.
Also, it is true about thinking, "Where are we staying?" when you see the dark alley but it all unfolds nicely once you arrive at the old elevator carriage inside the building. Be ready to be immediately in the middle of downtown Cairo - hustle and bustle abounds but that's one of the resons we wanted to stay here - to be in the middle of everything.
We can't say enough abou the hospitality of the staff here and the charm of the hotel. We will be checking into the Four Seasons (Nile) after this. The Talisman wil be a hard act to follow!
The pictures on hotels.com don't lie, this hotel is BEAUTIFUL! It is in the heart of Cairo on a loud, dirty street. But when you rise up the elevator to the fourth floor you have escaped it all and are in an ancient Egyptian dream.
The rooms all have a unique charm, the decorations are amazing, the the staff is very friendly. The beds are soft and comfortable, the showers are hot, and the breakfast is adequate.
This hotel is a bit hard to find. But once you've found it you feel like you are in on a great secret!
The Talisman and Cairo were fabulous beyond all expectation!
We were welcomed by charming staff and shown to our picture-book rooms with great consideration. The hotel is indeed an Arabian Nights vision of lush reds and golds, soft hangings, unusual curios, and modern paintings that fit in well. Every question we had about the local area and daytrip advice was ansered with alacrity, including very useful advice on taxi fares. The street that the Talisman sides onto is the busiest shopping street for ordinary Cairenes to buy shoes, clothes, pastries, etc, and after dark one could simply stroll and (discreetly) peoplewatch to one's heart's content. Being female, I wore a fairly obvious "I am not a Muslim, just a tourist trying to be respectful" headscarf, and the result was not only did I not get "groped" as some of the guidebooks warn about, the men went to all sorts of slightly comedic gyrations to avoid even the merest brushing of an arm in the crowded streets - which I found charming. The Cairenes are absolutely lovely, tales of touts and harrassment very overstated, and even with a considerable language barrier everyone seemed intent on having a laugh. Our trip to the Pyramids, despite being the ultimate tourist destination, seemed unique and singular...I cannot recommend the Talisman or Cairo enough! Can't wait to go back!
A hidden Jewel
After exiting the taxi and being led down a dark alleyway and into what looked like a deserted building we couldn't stop laughing. We thought "where in the hell are we staying?". However, after entering the ancient lift and going up 5 flights all we could say was "oh my God". This is a true hidden treasure. Once inside the door you think you've stepped back in time 100 years. The colors are so vibrant and the decor is stunning. Walking the streets in the area is 100% safe and couldn't be more enjoyable. You get to meet the "real" Egyptians. Cairo doesn't come alive until at least 11:00pm and it's something most tourists don't get to see.
The staff here become family by the second day. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world.
A very different lovely place to stay in central Cairo. The hotel is very well decorated, the rooms are spacious and beautiful, With very friendly and helpful staff. Everything was really nice. I really enjoyed my stay and would stay there again without a shadow of a doubt!!.
I highly recommend this hotel!!
Cozy & Charming Hotel
We've stayed at this hotel for 4 nights and we've loved everything!
Very well located (downtown), good restaurants nearby and Cairo Museum is just a 10-minute walking.
Staff is friendly and helpful, room is confortable, library and lounge areas really pleasant and the decoration is beautiful. The only downside is that it is a bit noisy until 11pm, but that was not a big issue for us!
Great place and we would definitely stay there again!
Loved the Talisman
This was a charming hotle in the middle of chaotic Cairo, it felt like a safe cocoon to come back to at the end of a long hot day negotiating the hustle and bustle of the city. Spotlessly clean, beautifully decorated and helpful non-pushy staff made our stay very enjoyable. The breakfast was continental due to being French-run, and could have benefitted from a bit more dairy, but otherwise nice enough. It is on the 5th floor of a building that must have been beautiful at one time, with a quaint 1920's style lift. Although difficult to find as it is down a side alley (opposite the cafe a la Americaine), we highly recommend you stay here!!
TripAdvisor Reviews Talisman Hotel de Charme Cairo
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