Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One ‘Suite’ Stay in Cairo

We didn’t sleep in tents. Nor did we burn camel dung to stay warm at night.

P1010221
Camels are a reason to visit the Middle East and North Africa
Yet, when we talk of our desires to return to Cairo, Egypt, we often get the furrowed-brow, less-than-enthused response, 'You really liked it there?'  The kind that we know was prompted by images of us sitting in a tent with sand blowing about. . .roughing it in a barren landscape a la Lawrence of Arabia.

While I hate to burst the worry-bubble of well-meaning friends, let me just say, ‘Au contraire. . .

P1030778
Hotel chandelier - Cairo, Egypt
The reality is that we’ve had a rather ‘suite’ time in Cairo on both of our visits to the city. As result of their drop in tourism in recent years, very nice hotels come at very nice prices.

P1030793
Athens is but a short flight from Cairo

Those of you regulars here know that since we’ve begun ‘commuting’ between Seattle and Athens, we have found that flying from that side of the Atlantic is much less expensive than starting in Seattle. That means 'Somewhere-Seattle-Somewhere' is cheaper than 'Seattle-Somewhere-Seattle'.  And one of the best departure cities we’ve found is Cairo, because it is inexpensive, its exciting and it is only a short flight away from Athens. Even with that short flight, we’ve saved big bucks by using Cairo as a hub city.

P1030749
Morning traffic Cairo en route to our hotel there
But Cairo, with a population of more than 9 million, is so large a city that you want to stay near the airport if you have an early morning flight. (Or set out for the airport at 3 a.m.)

P1000029
A welcome on our room's television screen in Cairo (it was promoting Kuwait City)
That’s why we’ve spent our night-before-the-flight from Cairo at the five-star J. W. Marriott, near the airport. The cost for a night there isn’t much more than we are paying this summer at the decidedly more basic Fairfield Inn and Suites here in Washington State.

PicMonkey Collage
J.W. Marriott - Cairo, Egypt
A plus of the J.W. is its free shuttle to and from the airport. A hotel representative met us in baggage claim and ushered us through the immigration/visa checkpoints.  A most welcome service after 20+ hours of flights and layovers.

While the entry and hotel exterior is rather plain looking, it is what awaits inside that makes for the treat! It simply feels like entering a palace.

P1030766
Lobby J.W. Marriott - December 2015
P1030767
In fairness, I must mention hotel security. Many of the large hotels we’ve stayed at on the other side of the Atlantic (not just in Cairo) do have strict security measures in place.

Often before the taxi or shuttle pulls onto the hotel grounds armed guards check the vehicle with the assistance of bomb-sniffing dogs. They open trunks and look under the vehicle. 

They also have x-ray machines for hand carry bags at the lobby entry.  At the J.W. Cairo our large suitcases were run through a separate x-ray machine. 

Early on in our travels, I’ll admit I found it a bit unnerving, but now – especially now -- I see it as rather comforting and mention it only because it is part of the reality of today’s travel, no matter how luxurious the hotel might be.

The Suite Life

PicMonkey Collage
Our 'suite' J.W. Marriott - Cairo, Egypt - December 2015
We booked ‘a room with a king bed’ on each of our stays. In December we arrived at our room and found we'd be staying in a suite with a bathroom alone as big as a hotel room!

P1030759
Marble elevators - J.W. Marriott, Cairo, Egypt
And did I mention the interior of the hotel elevators were marble from top to bottom?

Our return leg of our round-trip ticket (Cairo-Seattle-Cairo) brought us back in March. We’d had a flight delay in Paris – one of their annoying hour-long airport strikes – which made our arrival in Cairo very late. We figured we’d be lucky to get any room and didn’t expect another ‘suite’ stay. 

PicMonkey Collage

Once again, that genie must have rubbed the magic lamp because this time not only did we have a suite, we had a two-story suite! (I didn’t know they even had such accommodations in hotels!) It was so late and we were so jet-lagged tired that we didn’t get a chance to luxuriate for very long. Early the next morning we were up and off to Athens.

Still, our stays there make for 'suite' memories. . .

P1030781
You would sit here to get your shoes shined at the J.W. - Cairo, Egypt
As I said last week, we are in the midst of travel planning season so it is time to think about booking flights back to the States, even though we haven't yet headed back to Greece.

And I’ll bet it wouldn’t surprise you, if I said Cairo is tempting us again. . .of course, there’ll be that matter of getting there from Abu Dhabi, but I’m leaving those details up to The Scout.  I’ll just tell you about them after he figures them out!

That’s it for this week.  Hope your summer has been filled with adventures and fun travels.  Tell us about them in the comments below.  And hope to see you next week – bring some friends along! As always, thanks for joining us~we appreciate your time and hope we are inspiring you to stretch the comfort zone a bit, just as we’ve been doing.

I suppose I should add a disclaimer to this one: We pay the same prices at the hotels as you would, we are not 'comp’ed' for these stays nor are we paid for writing reviews of them. We are members of Marriott's rewards/loyalty program and therefore qualify for room upgrades if available -- a pretty 'suite' perk!

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

35 comments:

  1. I did not realize that Cairo was a good transit city. I will look into this next time I pass through the area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make sure you allow a few days to experience its charms if you do use it as a transit hub - with your love of travel, I think you'd really enjoy it!

      Delete
  2. Great shots.
    Thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-little-dab-of-color.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - always a pleasure to do some 'image-in-ing'!

      Delete
  3. Okay - I'm truly wowed - although a night in a tent burning camel dung has some appeal too! :D You've lit a travel fire in us to visit Egypt, however and we are still talking about making a visit in the next few months. I have visions of floating down the Nile ... seeing the sphinx ... and now staying at the Cairo Marriott!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I still want to stay in a Bedouin tent in Jordan, just have to convince The Scout! I will look up some of the emails we've received about the Nile River cruising as we are considering it as the finale to this fall's time on that side of the pond!

      Delete
  4. We were just talking about Cairo this morning, wondering if it might not be a good time to visit. Your post has allayed some of my doubts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were there last December for five nights and again for the overnight stay this spring and are seriously considering a return (and expanding our explorations in Egypt) for later this year.

      Delete
  5. I like the idea of saving money on these round trips. Do you consider staying in Cairo for a few days layover?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did last December Gaelyn - five nights in Cairo. In the spring we were so eager to get back to Greece that we just overnighted in Cairo. This year the airfares are showing Istanbul to be much cheaper, so will monitor until later to come up with a route back to the US.

      Delete
  6. That's great that you have found a budget transit between your two homes. The accommodation looks stunning and because you visit when a lot of others aren't you reap the savings. Excellent. :) I will be interested to read posts about Egypt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We loved our time in Egypt last December, Jan. And found Cairo even more amazing than we had imagined it to be. We will be expanding our horizons the next time and venturing further out and about!

      Delete
  7. Well, I guess some people's understanding of certain places is a little bit (or totally) skewed. I remember being taken to this mega luxurious hotel in Cairo for money exchange. One of the folks in our group asked if the hotel was 5 stars and an attendant said: "No, this is a 7 start hotel." Our minds blew up. We couldn't believe we stepped in a 7 star hotel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is amazing luxury and opulence to be found in Cairo - no doubt about it! Thanks for the visit, Ruth!

      Delete
  8. A very nice hotel to stay in and I like the idea of the security from the time you arrive.
    I imagine once you travel a fair bit, adventure and a bit of a risk are always factors. However, I don't like the 'terror' word and related thoughts from your last post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, sadly 'terror' has come to be quite a descriptor in this day and age and equally as sad is the fact it can -- and has been -- striking any where at any time and therefore can't be used as a reason not to travel (although common sense and a bit of research should certainly be factored into travel planning these days.) Thanks for the visit, Judith. Happy week ahead to you.

      Delete
  9. Such a gorgeous hotel! Thanks for sharing!
    http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2016/08/olympics-and-back-to-school-dinner.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. I also would definitely go back to Egypt. But still so many places to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so many to see within Egypt that we must get back and expand our travels there. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie.

      Delete
  11. Very interesting - I've heard lots of negative reports about Cairo but your experience seems rather different. And a two-storey suite sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've flown in and out twice and made a cruise stop there within the last year; our experiences have been good ones. . .so much so that we can hardly wait to return!

      Delete
  12. It was really reassuring to read about the security measures. Especially in Egypt with everything happening, I would be more inclined to visit knowing hotels are doing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the otherside of the Atlantic we've found many hotels do use this security measure - that includes checking the bags of those just dropping by for lunch. So different from here, but somehow a bit reassuring.

      Delete
  13. Love those marble elevators at the Marble J.W. Marriott in Cairo. They are reason enough to stay there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Carole, those elevators are pretty darn amazing and I am not fond of elevators or other small enclosed places. Thanks for the visit.

      Delete
  14. Very nice and incredible at a "Fairfield Inn price." I really like that marble elevator, and I would love to see a 2 story suite for myself. These are definitely a far cry from a sand-blown tent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either that or the Fairfield Inn price is pretty high ($160 a night in Central Washington State). But certainly a reasonable price for a JW Marriott!! Thanks for the visit Michele.

      Delete
  15. One of the best hotels we ever stayed in was in Egypt - not in Cairo but in Luxor - and even back many years ago it was reasonably priced compared to other five star hotels around the world. I would love to go back to Egypt but I must confess, safety concerns tends to raise its scary head every time we think seriously about booking a return trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had that same uneasiness last year when we planned our first trip (fear of the unknown, I guess) but since then with all the attacks so randomly spaced throughout the world I figure I could be as unsafe in an American city as on the streets of Cairo or Luxor. Thanks for the comment Lyn!

      Delete
  16. My friend had different experiences in Egypt, not so nice as yours. But your accommodation was 1000 times better then my friends was. Thank you for linking in with "Through My Lens"

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone does judge a place based on their experiences. I am sorry your friend had a bad one in Egypt. I have a good friend who had such a bad experience in Greece that she's vowed never to return, and ours was so good that we've bought a home there and spend as much time as possible. All in one's perspective, I guess.

      Delete
  17. Wow, quite the luxurious accommodations! One might even say fit for a pharaoh. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow. the hotel is pretty impressive, especially for a very good price. Not sure you've won me over to a visit to Cairo just yet though...

    ReplyDelete
  19. The JW Marriott in Cairo looks lovely...but the elevators are drop-dead gorgeous:-)

    ReplyDelete

So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...