Windsor Hotel Cairo
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TravelPod Member ReviewsWindsor Hotel Cairo
Our group all agreed that we love the Windsor. The staff is so friendly and helpful. We were in Egypt during a very difficult time and even the owner stayed in his hotel with his guests and helped us all keep in touch with our families. If I get back to Egypt I will certainly go straight to the Windsor again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Windsor Hotel Cairo
The Only Place I Stay In Cairo
The Windsor is one of those charming little hotels that only gets better with time: the longer you stay, the more it becomes like a home away from home.
I'm one of those who first stayed there after I saw it featured on Michael Palin's Around The World In 80 Days. It looked like one of those great places with "a past" that set it apart from the usual Hilton or Marriott property. I mean, if I wanted to wake up in my hotel room and for all intents and purposes be back home in Florida, I wouldn't bother coming to Egypt. I want to wake up and KNOW I'm in Egypt. And that's just one of the great things about this hotel. It looks like Egypt; it feels like Egypt; it sounds like Egypt.
Everyone who works here from the housekeeping staff to the desk clerks, to the waiters and bartenders, to the owners just could not be nicer or more helpful. Most recently I had the pleasure of visiting with William Doss the patriarch of the family who still, at the age of 92, comes to the hotel everyday and graciously shares the history of the hotel with interested guests.
On a practical note, I'm always amazed at people who come to three star hotels, spend less than 50 USD a night, and then seem shocked that they don't have all the features of five star hotels that charge 500 USD a night! If the Mena House is what you're looking for, please stay there, and leave the Windsor for those of us who appreciate it's wonderful people, fascinating history, and yes, all of the quirky features that some people choose to complain about, but the rest of us recognize as part of it's charm.
Very old and therefore, very charming. Good bar and good staff. Good restaurant, more importantly, with Egyptian food.
Located bang in the centre of the city. Shopping and eatiing all a walk away.
We arrived there after midnight and from the outside, it looked terrible. We were very apprehensive, but, the hotel grew on us.
We were traveling with two children aged 5 and 2 and still found it to be a good experience.
This place is really very charming, I saw all the rooms there as business seemed to be quiet and all doors were open and thought all looked very clean. The small balcony you can sit out on is a lovely feature on many rooms, and all have beautiful old style shutters. The bed was like something from a 30's hospital in truth with poles falling off the bedhead in in the middle of the night! Pefectly adequate night's sleep though. It's true the rooms are fairly bare and basic but I was very pleasantly surprised after reading reviews here, which almost put me off. there is hot water as I discovered after a few cold showers, if you leave it running for a good 10 mins or so.. terrible waste of water really and forgot to say this to them so if you ever go there point this out!! I also note our sheets were changed almost every day which was nice and what I hadn't expect in truth.
They very kindly allowed my Egyptian friend (male) to stay with me in the room which is of course against the law in Egypt as he is unmarried!! They allowing me to book two rooms but just pay for one. Many hotels said 'no way' when I asked this because it is 'the law'. I greatly appreciated the understanding of the manager in this regard.
They are a lovely, non-pushy easy going crowd who work there, the barrel bar is very nice, can't comment on the breakfast as was never up in time (I was on holidays !) and I would be very happy to stay here again.
A downtown hotel with lots of character
This hotel was used by a group of ex-army blokes as the start and finish of a tour exploring North African battefields and considering our background the standard of accommodation was not of prime importance.
The rooms are fitted out with basic furniture and you do get a good nights sleep. The bathroom is a divided off area of the room and consists of a toilet bowl and a shower- Both were clean, the toilet worked and the shower provided hot water.
The meals are also very basic and the menu limited. Sometimes the service was lacking but the staff were always friendly. The bar is the focal area of the hotel and no doubt could tell some stories from over the years.
The overall decor is from the 40-50's and appears not to have had any maintenance since ( use the stairs and avoid the old lift).
If you are hoping for some place thats cheap and does the job without the frills then the Windor is ideal.
I'd stay there again.
Characterful, it grew on us.
When we first got to the hotel we wanted to leave immediately. It looked shabby, dark and scary and as we had 9 nights in Cairo (the travel agent got dates of our cruise wrong)we were planning on changing hotels. Glad we didn't! The hotel is shabby and desperately needs updating, but it has got character, especially the staff.
The first 'deluxe' room we had was on the second floor, it was an original room from the 1930s, which was noisy as it was close to the ground floor and the smoke from the late night cafes outside the hotel just drifted into the room, there was no natural light either as the shutters had been nailed shut. It was grubby and we changed rooms the very next morning. Definately ask for a room as high up as possible, they are much better, even if it's just for the natural lighting. The top floor is the best as it's the modern 1960s extention so the bathroom is nicer and the beds better and it's far less noisy.
The breakfast is basically 2 bits of toast and a bread roll and some tea or coffee in a restaurant that's not very good for lunch or dinner. There is a great Chinese restuarant (I know it's not Egyptian but after 4 days of kebabs and hummous I was glad for the change) which is reliable and reasonable close to the hotel called Peking (out of the hotel entrance go right then left towards the main road and then first right again down what looks like a large alley before you get to the main road. It's very clean and although not comparable with Chinese restuarants in London, does the job well). The bar is really as good as everyone says, full of character and a great place to relax and get a tipple before bed.
The lift is great, we didn't think it would take the weight of 3 people as it was ancient and on a pully system, but we grew to love it and operate it ourselves. The phone system is just as anicent, you tell the operator what number you want to dial and it sounds like you're talking through tin cans - it was hillarious!
The staff are all great characters, very friendly, provided lots of laughs and were the main reason why we decided to stay for all 9 nights in the end, despite one boy who was so infatuated with my friend that he kept knocking on our door one morning shouting "good morning ..." When we complained it was dealt with well by Mohammed, who seems to be the main person in charge and we didn't feel unsafe, just annoyed by the wake up calls.
All in all, we had a great time and I think that if you stay here for 1 or 2 nights you won't like it as it is a bit shabby and takes time to get used to especially if you're used to hotels in Western countries but if you like character and are not bothered by not having the small luxuries (like a regular lift and telephone system) then you'll love it, just talk to the staff, they're the best bit.
All the owners need to do is spend some money
on staff salaries
on room rehab - one at a time
- Think Emerson's and Greens of Stonetown, Zanzibar, or Kan Zeman in Amman, Jordan, or the Al Hawta palace in Seyun, Yemen, and you have the idea of what some investment could do here.
The hotel has character in bucketfulls, and (in mid november 2005) enjoys a very good occupancy rate of over 80%.
The staff are super-friendly and very knowledgeable
Many thanks to you all!
This hotel rests on its laurels with photos of Michael Palin's 1980's visit here and there. The rooms are shabby, plumbing poor, beds uncomfortable. It is well over-priced and the restaurant food is poor. The management will try to sell you tours and grill you if you decline. On the up side, the waiting staff are lovely, the lift is a laugh but the real plus point is the bar which is one of Cairo's finest. Nice bar shame aboout the rest. Decent location. Noise is endemic in Cairo and it is not quiet but not overly noisy.
Ever see the Great Muppet Caper where they stay in the Happiness Hotel that is falling apart & all run-down? This was like that. It was an experience, and something to look back on, but it was not worth it when there are reputable hotels for just a bit more money.
The hotel itself is tricky for some cab drivers to find, and it is in a very busy location, so try to get a room on the top floors. But, then you have to take the 5 flights of stairs of take a chance on the scary lift that never quite makes it all the way down the the floor, so you have to hop up into it.
The front desk person will try to take your passports & say he'll give them back the next day, but don't fall for it. Tell him that he can copy your info down while you wait (it'll only take about 10 minutes) right down there with him.
A "deluxe" room just means you'll pay more & have the bathroom not in a separate room, just a partially walled-off area in the bedroom with a tub & toilet. A normal room is a little better, with the shower & toilet separate (but still private to your room).
If you do end up here & get a room with no light fixtures, etc... ask to switch. Some are better than others. But all have wallpaper falling off & are pretty dirty, so don't expect much. And the beds are hard as rocks. Bring earplugs to try to drown out street noise.
Enjoy All You Like
We stayed here briefly in early and mid December 2004. The first stay was two nights, and the second stay was one night. We're not sorry we stayed here at all. It's always good to have a nightmarish hotel experience to share with friends and fellow travellers. However, we could never in good conscience recommend the place.
Although the physical location was fine, the traffic noise outside the hotel was remarkably loud. If we had kept the windows closed, that might have helped, but we were afraid of breathing too much of the pesticide that was sprinkled around the room. And we were afraid to use the heat or aircon to block out the noise because of the sparks that came out of the outlet everytime we tried to turn on the unit. Total firetrap.
Also, don't count on the breakfast, which consisted of watery coffee and burned toast, with additional charges for juice, eggs, and other "extras." (They actually seemed surprised when we asked for a taxi to take us to the Mena House for breakfast on day two.)
Worst of all was the constant pressure to sign up for one of their tours or the insistance that we pay the front desk in advance whenever they called us a taxi. We felt that everyone we encountered here was trying to skim a few pounds for themself at every opportunity, and that's not something you should have to expect from your hotel staff.
Also remarkable was the fact that we never saw the same person at the front desk twice: we got the impression that they were just pulling people off the street to watch the place for a while. (So think twice about the babysitting services.)
But the bar was charming in a sordid, run down sort of way, and we did enjoy sitting there drinking our gin.
Note: if you need anything, you'll have to find it yourself. The toilet paper is in the storage cabinet on the 2nd floor.
Nothing like you see on the photos on the internet. Old, dusty, dirty . Aircon does not work on most rooms.
Needs renovation to look like what it is on the photos. We were very very disappointed with the quality. Not worth your $50 at all.
TripAdvisor Reviews Windsor Hotel Cairo
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