For our stay in Cairo, we choose the Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City. We wanted some relaxing time so we decided to use some of the AMEX points we cultivated to stay here. Let me tell you, it was completely worth it. When we really want to relax, we always go with AMEX’s Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection, where you receive supplementary benefits along with better dollar to point ratio.
With the points, certain hotels, this one included, we received $100 credit towards food and beverage (sometimes other hotels offer spa credit). In addition, you receive a 4:00 PM checkout and 12:00 PM check in. One of the reasons we chose this hotel was the location in the city. The Kempinski Nile Hotel had an awesome rooftop pool with great views directly overlooking the Nile. It was close to all the sites in the downtown area and not too far from some good restaurants we had been recommended!
We had one day to spare so we figured we would take a trip to the Egyptian Museum. Sadly, it was a tad underwhelming. The collection of artifacts was massive, but there were random items everywhere with barely any descriptions, some had none at all. It was a bit frustrating to see these interesting pieces and have no idea of their significance. Some of the rooms were more storage with statues crated getting ready for their new home. Apparently there is a new museum, The Grand Egyptian Museum, that they are almost finished construction, which should be significantly better. I do recommend seeing the museum, however just temper your expectations.
Besides seeing the historical items, we had multiple people come up to us trying to practice their English. They were on a field trip with their peers and all were determined to try and have a simple conversation. It was endearing and funny all the same.
After the museum, we took advantage of the hotel’s rooftop pool. It was the ultimate spot to sit back with a drink, watch the sun set over the city buildings and gaze at the evening Felucca boats sailing back and forth; making the scene picture perfect!
After a few drinks, we headed to Abou El Sid. It was recommended to us by one of Stephen’s friends that went to Thunderbird with him. He was local to the Cairo area. I felt really lucky that we had that resource in an unknown city. We ended up walking into a packed restaurant mixed of locals and tourists. We were both pleasantly surprised because it was not an easy place to find; the entrance was on the offside of the building with a tiny sign above this massive door.
Thankfully getting around the city of Giza and Cairo was extremely easy – uber worked in this country! The costs were minimal due to the dollar being strong. One of the little convenient things we had missed in Morocco!
We did have a couple of regrets about Egypt. There is so much to see and we only went to Cairo, but we had made that decision based on timing and other cities that were a priority for this trip. We would love to go back someday and visit the north and the south. Unfortunately, Egypt realistically did not feel very safe. It was the only city on our entire trip where we did not feel safe casually exploring, getting lost in the city. Thankfully no one bothered us too much as we were with tour guides when we were out exploring for 1/2 days. We were more strategic on what we did for the second day. Next time, Rainier wants to hire a tour guide or go with a tour group for the duration of the trip. We both think the experience will be even better!
There is so much to see. The history and the culture are very unique. Stephen’s only criticism is the level of safety traveling in small groups or possibly even solo. Overall the trip to Egypt was truly incredible.