Major tourist destinations offer a wide range of accommodation options, from the opulent palaces we know from films like Death on the Nile and cozy guesthouses to flea-infested dens. Even in high season in Cairo, the Sinai Peninsula or the Nile Valley, you will find something suitable. Elsewhere, the choice is more limited, with most desert oases offering only standard accommodation.
Hotels in Egypt are not very strictly classified according to the number of stars, from luxury five-star to one-star. There are also hotels that are not included in the classification, as well as boarding houses; some of them are filled with foreigners traveling "savages", others - mostly Egyptians. Standards vary within any given category or price - and from room to room. Classification usually matters in more expensive hotels. Once you descend to one or two stars, the difference is almost imperceptible.
Luxury hotels are almost exclusively modern and usually part of a hotel chain (Sofitel, Moven-pick, Hilton, etc.), have swimming pools, bars, restaurants, air conditioning and familiar international amenities ... Four-star hotels are not so faceless. Some are famous (and renovated) and date back to the early days of Egyptian tourism, such as the Old Cataract in Aswan and the Winter Palace in Luxor.
All hotels of this class are equipped with air conditioning, there are swimming pools, a cafe and a restaurant, etc. Then there are three-star hotels, among which there are again pearls, although most are towers in the style of the 1970s, already somewhat dilapidated. Plumbing and air conditioning in such places are much less reliable.
Below, at two and one stars, you rarely find air conditioners, although better places will have fans, and old-fashioned buildings with balconies, high ceilings and louvered windows are designed to fight the heat. With another On the other hand, in such places it is rather cold in winter, since they are rarely equipped with heating. Some of the cheaper hotels are designated as guesthouses. Nothing changes in terms of amenities, but these are usually family-run hotels and have a friendlier atmosphere. Cairo, in particular, has excellent guesthouses.
If you look at the cheaper categories, in most of the popular tourist cities like Luxor and Hurghada, you will find “student hostels” (hostels) especially for “savage” tourists. These are often well run and well equipped, albeit a little cramped. In the cheapest places, cleanliness standards are questionable, and bed linen is one sheet and a blanket.
Reservations in four and five star hotels are best done through the central office of the chain that owns the hotel, or by fax. If you just come to an expensive hotel, even if you call in advance, it is quite possible that they will not want to accommodate you, the staff will even say that it is overcrowded. Many hotels rely on tour groups and have little interest in individual tourists.
Alternatively, the hotel is booked as part of the stay, through one of the travel companies. Prices included in the vouchers have been greatly reduced. Some discounts are also available for individual travelers booking from abroad.
Mid-range hotels should be booked in advance if you want to stay in a specific location in Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan or Luxor. In other places - and in all cheap hotels - people just come. Calling in advance is usually unsuccessful. Most hotels will charge a percentage of services (12%) and local taxes (2-15%) on top of their stated prices.
Breakfast is often required and may or may not be included in the room rate. Usually there is nothing to be happy about. Most often, the need for additional payment pops up in mid-range hotels, where they throw a couple of pounds for an air conditioner or a TV that does not work or only shows Egyptian channels.
Accommodation Rate Codes
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