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Take a dip in Cairo’s pools

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Summer is here; take refuge at the pool

There is no denying that the world is getting warmer, and while there is little one can do to prevent global warming, there is a lot you can do to get yourself a bit cooler. It is nearly mid-April and following Egyptian standards, summer is here. Forget spring, it does not exist in our book; here it is all about heat, stickiness and wishing you could spend all your time in water. Hotels around the city know that from the beginning of April they are in hot demand and, therefore, offer many packages to suit your daily or even monthly use of the pool.

Here is a list of a few hotels that open their pools to the public. Get you towel and flip flops ready.

Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino

7-1The antique hotel was originally a palace built in 1869 by Khedive Ismail for Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon. It was built in a similar fashion as Versailles so the empress would be comfortable when she came to stay in Egypt. It is situated by the Nile in the posh Zamalek area and boasts neoclassical architecture. The place is worth a visit just to walk around and get a feel of how royal life was in the 19th century.

The hotel has both an indoor and an outdoor pool, which are connected to one another. The pools are usually heated if the weather is chilly and towels are provided. The day use rate for the pool is EGP 380 per person. If you get hungry and you don’t want to spend a fortune on food and drink at the hotel, the hotel’s central location gives you easy access to hoards of restaurants and cafes.

Four Seasons Nile Plaza

7-2For those who are obsessed with luxury and five-star service, the Four Seasons is definitely the right choice to make. It is right in the middle of Garden City, one of the quieter and more sophisticated neighbourhoods of the city, and has great views of the Nile. The Four Seasons is also known for its high-class service and exclusive clientele.

Keeping with the theme of exclusivity, the hotel rates are on the pricier side and quoted in US Dollars. A day pass for the sauna, pools (both indoor and outdoor), steam room and Jacuzzi will set you back $100, around EGP 700. You will be assuredly treated like the king or queen you aspire to be, however, and at this price, you won’t have to fight to find an available chaise longue.

Hilton Zamalek Residence

7-3The Hilton is blessed with a great location on the tiny island of Zamalek that means, even on the hottest of days, guests are bound to feel the light breeze of the Nile. The pool itself has a great view of the neighbouring Cairo skyline and offers a wonderful chance to lounge about all day, drinking cocktails and making the most out of the Cairo sun.

Although it is right in the middle of one of the main streets of Zamalek, the way the hotel is built means that once you step in, you are completely transferred to another state of being. The traffic and noise start dwindling as you make your way into the wide and long marble hallways of the chic hotel. The pool is situated at the other side of the hotel, right by the Nile.

Despite its central location, the rate is quite affordable when compared to other hotels in the area. A day pass to use the swimming pool, not including a room or food and drink, is EGP 200 per person. The pool is open from 7am until sundown. Children under 6 years of age are admitted for free, while those aged 6 to 12 cost EGP 125 per child.

Fairmont Nile City

7-4On the other side of the Nile, also near downtown, are the Nile City Towers, which feature a mall as well as the Fairmont hotel. The hotel has a great rooftop pool that overlooks the city and offers panoramic views of both the Nile and neighbouring districts. The pool is also part of the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa, which means if you get any treatment at the spa, you can automatically use the pool for free.

They have a day use package which allows guests to stay in a Nile view room and hence have access to all hotel services and amenities, including the pool for EGP 800. The check-in time is 10am and the check-out time is 7pm. There is also a spa package that enables guests to use the pool, gym, Jacuzzi and sauna for EGP400 from 10am until 7pm.

Mena House Hotel

7-5hotel was originally a hunting lodge constructed under the supervision of Khedive Ismail in 1869, and it retains its historical feel. The hotel was first opened to guests in 1886. In 1914, Winston Churchill stayed at the hotel, so now there’s a suite named after him. It is said that part of the peace settlement talks between Egypt and Israel took place at the hotel in 1977.

The hotel is quite close to the pyramids, and the pool overlooks the pharaonic architectural masterpieces. This means that, as you pamper yourself, you can gaze at the pyramids and imagine yourself as a pharaoh for a day.

You can rent a room from 10am to 7pm for EGP 400, outside of any official holidays. During Easter, the hotel offers a one-night package for a double occupancy room for EGP 1100, which includes breakfast and lunch.

Concorde El Salam

7-6This hotel guarantees you will never feel like a tourist with its location right in the heart of residential Heliopolis. The Concorde El Salam takes home the prize for its diverse range of facilities and proximity to a bustling, upscale area of the city, which means you will not be dependent on hotel services. The facilities include tennis and squash courts, horse riding stables, and a three screen cinema with the latest offerings in Egypt, all within hotel grounds.

The hotel has two swimming pools, one especially for children, and a children’s playing area, as well as signature restaurants that have been part of the dining scene in Heliopolis for quite some time (We recommend the Italian, which has a homey feel, and the Pizzeria by the pool for some pizza in the sun.). The Concorde El Salam offers rooms for day use from 12pm until 8pm for EGP 500, which gives you access to their swimming pools, health centre and spa, including sauna, jacuzzi, steam room and massage treatments.

JW Marriott

7-7Situated on the Ring Road next to the posh gated compounds and villas of New Cairo, this hotel was not only designed with scenic golf courses to break the monotony of the surrounding yellow desert, it also includes a clubhouse that is popular with the area’s elite, ensuring you will be rubbing shoulders with the right people. The hotel offers many options for recreation, chief among them is an outdoors theme park called The Beach, as well as a jogging/fitness trail, rock climbing, tennis and volleyball.

JW Marriott offers cabanas for day use that fit two adults, from 11am to 7pm for EGP 1031. Renting a cabana gives you access to the swimming pools, including towels, and the fully equipped 24-hour health centre. There are also facilities made especially for kids, including a club that features bumper cars, arcade games, play stations and an internet café.

If you have a little cash for some extra pampering, check out the JW Marriott’s Mandara Spa, which is not included in the package. It includes body scrub, body wrap, facials, therapy baths, massages, foot baths and more.

Fairmont Heliopolis

7-8Situated on Cairo’s exclusive Orouba street, in the quiet Sheraton area of Heliopolis, the Fairmont was built to be as close as possible to the airport, without sacrificing being part of the city. It includes excellent options for dining, including an exceptional Asian fusion restaurant with inventive sushi recipes, a worthy Indian restaurant and a charming patisserie with fresh pastries and desserts.

The hotel has three swimming pools, including a heated pool and a kids’ pool with a playground area, as well as three clay tennis courts, two air-conditioned squash courts, available from 8am till 10pm, and a fully-equipped fitness centre that offers Jacuzzis, pools, sauna rooms and state-of-the-art gym machines, open from 6am till 11pm.

The Fairmont Heliopolis offers day use from 10am till 7pm for EGP 700, which includes access to its gym and spa.

Dusit Thani LakeView

7-9Offering some of the largest rooms in Cairo, and beds we can personally attest to being some of the most comfortable in town, this hotel is situated next to the American University in Cairo in a suburban New Cairo setting. The hotel has a particularly serene atmosphere and is not built like anything you will find in the city. Instead, it is built like a resort, with lush greenery and the reception overlooks the pool and has plenty of sunlight.

Dining choices include the hotel’s Thai restaurant Ruen Thai, the international Branzino restaurant for all-day dining, the Blue Rose lounge and bar, the open air oriental Tajine,  the IZUMI Sushi Bar which includes a Lobby Terrace and the Dusit Gourmet, which also has an outdoor terrace and offers an array of pastries.

Unfortunately for now this Thai hotel does not yet have a spa; it is planned to be included in the third phase which has not yet been executed. It does offer a fully equipped gym and day use for its pools from 12pm till 6pm for EGP 999. Because of its remote location from the city, but close proximity to the airport, its facilities are rarely overcrowded and it is not rare to have the jacuzzi and pool for you and your company; a huge plus in a city like Cairo.

Note: All prices are subject to change according to the time of the year and hotel’s policy.


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