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The Nile Ritz Carlton
Visiting Egypt, especially Cairo, has been on my bucket list, scratch that, my family’s bucket list, for as long as I can remember. Security issues have been a major factor in visiting, and in fact, was the reason my fiancee and I canceled our trip to Cairo this past New Years after a roadside bomb exploded outside the pyramids near Giza. We kept a close eye on things as this trip neared, and everyone was super excited to visit. The Nile Ritz Carlton made our stay quite perfect.
Selecting a hotel was paramount in our decision, as we wanted something that would prioritize security, provide tasty food, and be relatively close to the US embassy in case something were to happen ( it’s a 10-15 min walk or 0.6 miles ). We landed on The Nile Ritz Carlton and couldn’t have been happier.
In addition to staying at the Nile Ritz Carlton, we also were introduced to Mohamed at Experience Egypt Tours through Fabio at www.passageirodeprimeira.com and, while I’ll have an entire post dedicated to the tour, it was nothing short of fantastic.
A view of the Nile Ritz Carlton from the Egyptian Museum which is next door.
- When: May 2019
- Where: Cairo, Egypt
- Loyalty: Marriott Bonvoy ( Gold + Titanium )
- Booked with: One room STARS rate + one room points
- Points = 35k/night
- Cash = ~$225/night
- Upgrade: To a Nile View Room
Booking with STARS
My parents were sitting on a load of Marriott points so they opted to redeem points vs paying; however my buddy and I decided to split the room and go with a STARS rate booked with Josh King. Here’s a peek at what we got from roughly $225 a night. As a comparison, this was the same price as the Best Available Rate Marriott publishes on its site.
The Nile Ritz Carlton is located across the street from the Nile with amazing views, especially at night, and to the back of the hotel you’ll find The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, and to the other side, Tahrir Square.
The location is very central and roughly 45 minutes from Giza where you’ll find the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Arrival and check-in
I don’t have photographs of security, but you’ll be stopped on the road prior to entering the facility. Armed guards will escort you onto the property while your vehicle is inspected with bomb sniffing dogs. After clearing this check point you’ll proceed to the main lobby where you and your bags will go through a metal detector. If you’ve never gone through such heavy security at a hotel, then you may be alarmed, but for us, it was reassuring they were taking security seriously. Porters then collect your bags while you are free to check in.
The biggest negative, which is unavoidable, is the faint smell of smoke. For those of us from countries where smoking indoors is generally prohibited, it’s a turn off. The Ritz has done its best to tamp down the smell, but it is quite faint, and I’d guess this way at all hotels in Egypt as smoking is allowed.
The lobby is grand and you’ll be immediately greeted by a large, fresh floral display and marble everywhere. Check in is immediately to your left. We checked in simultaneously for both rooms, and were told that both had been upgraded to Nile View.
Both rooms felt very fresh and offered floor to ceiling views of the Nile. During the day, the Nile really looks like any other working river. In fact, it reminded me of the Chao Phraya in Bangkok – muddy, buildings dilapidated or abandoned, lots of barges, etc. At night, it’s a different story. Most of the hotels light up with neon lights, you’ll see river boats cruising for sunset, and the city feels very much alive. If I were to visit again, I’d prefer a Nile view for sure – it’s really an out of body experience to sit at night and stare off at the Nile. It feels surreal.
As for the room itself…it’s fresh, luxurious, and on par with any modern Ritz in the world. In fact, it was appointed better than most that haven’t been refreshed in the last 5 years.
A nice desk with international plus and built in closet, tv, with safe, mini bar etc.
All of the normal mini bar items along with a shoe caddy and safe.
The room was also equipped with a Illy espresso machine and comped water.
The bathroom was large and featured dual vanities, soaker tub, and stand alone shower. The toilet was also separated, and a large swath of Asprey amenities were provided. One thing I love about Asian and Middle Eastern properties is the vast amount of toiletries. Everything from tooth brushes to nail files are included.
Breakfast was included for both rooms. Ours was a perk of STARS whereas my parents received breakfast as a result of their Titanium status. It was served in Culina, buffet style. It included a full array of international cuisine with omelette station, Asian specialities, and Middle Eastern fare.
We also indulged in an Afternoon Tea the day we arrived in the Lobby Lounge – it’s only done on Saturdays so we lucked out. Since 3 of us were pescatarians they altered the normal fare and curated the presentation to our eating restrictions. It was very well done and featured Wedgwood china and is an absolutely steal at 300 Egyptian Pounds ( $18 ).
We also had a couple of drinks at Aqua, out by the pool, as the sun set. While I didn’t photograph our dinner, we also had Middle Eastern fare our second night at Bab Al-Sharq which was delicious.
The gym is located on the 2nd floor overlooking the pool and is accessible by either entering from the outside, or through the spa. There is a separate elevator bank to access the spa which can be found at the end of the hall on each floor. As far as hotel gyms go, I’d say it offers about anything you could need to get in a good workout on the road, plus ample supply of water and ice cold towels.
Shopping in the hotel
I ended up picking up a few things at the lobby jewelry store. Prices were competitive and it offered a wide array of antiques, and as they said, genuine Egyptian gold and silver pieces.
I’ll be coming back to Egypt sooner than later. Mohamed provided an amazing private tour, and the Ritz treated us incredibly well. My fiancee is eager to see Giza herself, and until the St Regis opens, I’m not sure there is another spot I’d choose over the Ritz. We drove past both Four Seasons properties and while I’m sure they’re nice, I’d prefer the location of the Ritz to it, plus you can earn points and rates generally seem to be better here.
If you’re thinking of staying at the Marriott Mena House, word is it’s going to be converted to a JW Marriott. I had heavily considered staying there, and, in fact, our New Years trip had us staying there, but after seeing it from the outside, I’d wait until it’s been remodeled. Looks very dated. Personally I’d have dinner there and stay where we did.
Aside from the faint smell of smoke, which I think is unavoidable in Cairo, it was a flawless stay.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
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Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.