“A colonial-style country house in a peaceful neighbourhood with great staff, a cool pool and a gorgeous garden”
A clipped country-house elegance runs throughout the hotel from the polished stair rods on the staircase, via the art on the walls (especially the early 20th-century black-and-white photographs on the upper floors) to the crisp white linen of your ultra-comfortable bed (there are twin, queen and kingsize options).
Each air-conditioned room is different, though common threads emerge and you will probably find some of the following wherever you end up: fancy wallpaper, begère beds, rugs on parquet flooring, a sofa if there’s room. Several rooms have original pitched pine ceilings, some of which are painted white. The feel is warm, airy and spacious and while some rooms are bigger than others, none are small.
On the ground floor, 2 rooms (Fayoum and Ismailia) open onto the garden, while two first-floor queen rooms (Alexandria and Minya) have a daybed which can be an extra bed for a child or adult.
The second floor has two sections with two rooms in each, which can be given to families or friends for their own private quarters, as no other guests come up here. All four have balconies with wicker chairs and garden views. You need to ask for twin bedded Damietta and kingsized Cairo (Damietta also has a daybed which allows a third person); or twin Suez and king Rosetta.
All come with flat-screen TVs, bowls of fruit, chocolates from the kitchen, an interesting selection of books and good art on the walls. You'll find bathrobes and a good range of toiletries - including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bath foam, loofa, shower cap and body lotion plus hand-made olive oil soaps - in compact bathrooms which have both shower and bath (apart from Ismailia which has a shower only). Best of all, head out to dinner and return to find your bed turned down, not an experience you will come across often in Egypt. There are minibars, too, should the thirst get to you in the night.
You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner here and there’s room service, too, so don’t expect to go hungry.
You eat in the conservatory overlooking the garden and pool and although you can decamp onto the terraces outside for breakfast, most people stay inside as that’s where the buffet is laid out. Expect plates of ham and cheese, small croissant and Danish pastries, fruit salad, hard-boiled eggs and toast that is made in batches (thus sometimes cold). You can help yourself to coffee and tea, while there’s orange juice, too, though not freshly squeezed.
Lunch and dinner are more sophisticated with menus mixing Egyptian and western food, so you can bounce from one to the other. At lunch you could try hot and sour chicken soup, stir-fried shrimps, pan-fried duck with jasmine rice or penne arrabbiata. At dinner, you might find a seafood chowder served with a basket of wonderful home-made breads, a rather good Nubian lamb stew, an excellent walnut tart. Wine and beer are both available.
If you fancy learning some traditional Egyptian dishes, cooking lessons can be arranged in the kitchen with Chef Sayed (main dishes) and Chef Mrs Souad Zaki (desserts and pastries).
If you want to eat out, Maadi offers some excellent restaurants, all a short stroll. Several are on Road 9 (where you pick up the metro). Try Abu El Sid for good Egyptian, Asian Corner for Thai and Chinese, or Cellar Door for the best food in the area (sea scallops with spring onions and ginger, Moroccan chicken with a raisin risotto, white chocolate mousse). If you want to eat overlooking the Nile, head to the Grand Café and find a mixed menu that will keep you happy.
Children are welcome and will love the swimming pool, you’ll need to keep an eye on them if staying in a room with a balcony.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Three rooms have an added daybed which can be turned into an extra bed for a child. The second floor has two rooms only on it, and this is often given to families so that they have their own private quarters.
Can be arranged on request.
High chair in the restaurant.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
No special menu but children's meals can be prepared on request.