Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Fab Hotel but disappointing view from deluxe room
"We stayed at The Four Seasons for three nights as part of a Kuoni Egypt package, the Hotel must be one of the best in Cairo, the service was second to none and the food in the restaurants was excellent. We booked a deluxe room which was fantastic, the bed was heaven...the only negative was the view from our room which was supposed to be a nile view, you could see the nile okay but it was tucked away to the side of the massive other wing of the hotel, what we really had was a pool view room which at the time we were there was having a new Lebanese restaurant being buit next to it right under our window. To be fair we never heard any noise from the workmen and we never had time to ask for another room so all in all no complaints really.
Only one thing if you are doing this hotel as part of Kuoni's Cairo +Aswan+Cruise package think again, you are supposed to have a three night stay in the hotel but as you don't arrive on the first night until 10.45pm and get a wake up call at 1am!!!! on the last night, you really only have one whole night in Cairo, the reason for the early wake up call is the flight time to Abu Simbel was changed after we booked the holiday from 6am to 4.15am which meant checking out at 2am. Needless to say after a three our flight to Abu Simbel (via Aswan) we arrived at Abu Simbel at 7am shattered. I realise this is obviously nothing to do with the Hotel but just beware if you have booked it as part of a package."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of October 2007
A peaceful sanctuary to look forward to at the end of the day!
"I stayed at both the Four Seasons Nile Plaza and Four Seasons First Residence in Cairo back in January with my family. I'd been meaning to write a review, but never got a chance until now as I am back on Tripadvisor to plan another vacation. Thought I'd put in my 2 cents.
First off, comparing the 2, the Nile Plaza has a much better location, and the lobby is absolutely stunning. We were told by our driver (not affiliated with the hotel) that the Nile Plaza was thought of as the best hotel in all of Africa. While I haven't been to the other hotels in it's class in Africa, I have to say, the Nile Plaza was a top notch hotel, with all the trimmings you'd expect in a 5 star hotel in any modern city. At the Nile Plaza, we had tea and cake in the lobby and there was a to-die-for chocolate fondue fountain! The First Residence, meanwhile, has a much smaller lobby. The hotel itself is very strangely laid out. Upon arriving, I had the impression that the hotel was very small, but in actuality, the farther you go back, the larger it becomes. Both hotels had the most beautiful flower arrangements I have ever seen! Even better than the flower arrangements at The Burj Al Arab in Dubai, where I also had the pleasure of staying. What the First Residence lacks in grandeur upon arriving, it makes up for in service. From the moment we arrived, we were served refreshing fruit drinks, asked to sit down and relax. We had a little problem with our passports (it was misplaced on the counter, but it was our fault) and despite all of my panicking, the hotel staff remained calm and said that if worse came to worse and we did happen to lose it, they would call the Embassy and get us temporary passports the next day. They did everything they could in that type of situation to calm us down and make us feel taken care of. In the end, we were able to find our passports, but even if we hadn't, I know that the hotel would have bent over backwards to make the rest of our trip as wonderful and as smooth as possible.
The hotel rooms do not have as nice a view as the ones at the Nile River, but the rooms are much bigger. The bed was very comfortable and quite large (King). They gave us very comfortable robes and slippers. The bathroom was BEAUTIFUL! All marble, sunken tub, separate shower, everything you could possibly want in a bathroom. All cream, and gold coloring. Gorgeous! There was a very nice walk-in closet as well with lots of built in selfs and a safe. Our room had a partial view of the water and the zoo. There was internet connection in the room, but at a small fee.
The best part of the hotel, besides the service, is that it is connected a very upscale mall. There is even a Tiffany's in the mall. The mall was nice to wander around in after a busy day of sight seeing. There is a bank, which was very convenient and some Western restaurants for those who are craving American style food. The outside pool is very beautiful with views of the Nile River. Also, there is a casino attached to the hotel. They offered free cigaretttes (whole packs), and free alcohol. I don't smoke, but I am sure smokers would appreciate a free pack of their brand name cigarettes. The minimum bet was $5 USD.
The hotel breakfast wasn't that great (not a huge selection, but great views of the Nile River), but I have to say, the Thai restaurant in the hotel was beyond delicious! It was very authentic, and at a very reasonable price. I live in New York City, so I have had my fair share of Thai food, and I have to say, this was one of the best! If you are there, please give it a try. You won't be disappointed!
Also, the hotel can make sight seeing arrangments for you and they will drive you around with your own driver, and guide in a new BMW. Price was a little bit higher than the average tour guide, but it was a nice luxury especially if you don't want to ride with other tourists."
- Travel date: Sat 20th of October 2007
"My husband and I were expecting this to be equally as good as other Four Seasons Hotels but were sorely disappointed. We checked in without a problem and were taken part way to our room and then directed there - in contrast to other Four Seasons where the door is courteously opened for you and you are asked if you are happy with the room. This may seem minor but you are paying a fortune to stay here unless your company is footing the bill.
Since we were quite thirsty after our journey and there didn't appear to be any complimentary water in the room, we asked the porter who came with our luggage if the tap water was ok to drink. (Sharm el Sheikh Four Seasons has a high tech reverse osmosis water filtration system which makes the tap water very safe so we hoped the same system would be in place). Instead of a simple 'yes' or 'no', we got a discouse about all Cairo tap water being fine and how the man was happy for his wife and children to drink it and to prove it, (though we protested it was unnecessary) he went and took a glass from the mini bar, filled it with water from the bathroom and proceded to drink it in front of us. Quite touching in a way but not what you'd call professional.
Our first impression was that the room was quite spacious and attractively though not luxuriously decorated. The layout did not quite work and the space was ill used. For example, the wardrobes on one side opposite the bathroom by the entrance, formed a corridor which made it difficult to find a space to lay your case nearby for unpacking. This meant long trips to and from the main part of the room with clothes to hang up. Not very practical really.
The bathroom was initially quite impressive and full of beautiful marble but the lighting was very glaring and unrelaxing with no settings to change it. The basin was set at an uncomfortable height with so much marble surface between it and where you could stand, it was difficult to wash without straining your back. You really needed to be at least 6" tall to use it comfortably.
Being a girly female, I needed somewhere to do my make up and hair. I struggled with the light in the bathroom and since the room was devoid of a dressing table, decided to ask the hotel if I could borrow a small make up mirror to stand on the desk. The standard of English is not brilliant but after repeating the request a few times, a mirror finally arrived - a great big thing designed to hang on the wall; its poor bearer struggled to prop it up at an intriguing angle. We said this wasn't what we asked for and please could we just have a small mirror for the desk. A while later a magnified shaving mirror arrived - great for my husband but no use to me!
After a bit of dodgy makeup application guess work (for any poor onlookers probably much akin to my halloween get up!), I suggested we have some dinner. We ate at the Thai restaurant where the food was very good but where the waitresses struggled to conceal their perturbation when my husband, after a few beers, forgot they were Thai and spoke to them in Arabic. A word of warning - don't expect to order any wine here unless you are prepared to pay through the nose, for although the tax on imported wine is very high (200-300% we were told), by the time Four Seasons have added on their premium, you really need a king's ransom! It is interesting that other hotels, notably The Marriott, offer decently priced imported wine, albeit boxed, which is far more palatable to both the mouth and pocket than either the local pig swill or the extortionate Four Seasons imports.
On returning to our room and starting to retire as we were tired from our travelling that day, we received a call from housekeeping asking about our mirror request. We said it didn't matter as by then we didn't want to be disturbed. Next thing the Assistant Manager for housekeeping was at the door telling us they didn't have a mirror. Surely they could have said that on the phone.
After an unrefreshing night's sleep disturbed by the very loud beeping of traffic which seemed to penetrate right through the windows even though we were ten floors up, we decided we were not happy staying there, particularly not for the amount we were paying.
My husband went to confirm that if we checked out we could stay in the room until early afternoon on the basis that this would be long enough for us to find another hotel. They were ok with this but it was shocking to find that they didn't even flinch (we had originally booked for 4 nights), let alone bother to ask why we were disppointed enough to leave. Surely even if you do nothing to appease an unhappy customer, the basis of good business practice is at the very least to ask what was wrong, otherwise how can there ever be any improvements?
When we did eventually check out and pay for our 1 night, the staff member asked mechanically if we'd enjoyed our stay! To this my husband replied "Well no, that's why we're leaving" and was met with a complete blank, not even the faintest glimmer of concern. This shows a very poor level of training which does not match the calibre we have come to expect of Four Seasons.
We decided to give the hotel one last chance and have a quick lunch in the highly decorated tea lounge before we left for the Marriott. I had great difficulty getting the waiter to understand my request for a turkey sandwich. He was totally uncomprehending until I asked for the club sandwich without the ham, or the egg, etc. After saying we were in a bit of a hurry as we had a car waiting, we then waited 45 minutes for a barely edible dried out toasted sandwhich and a passable but unimpressive plate of slightly stale pitta and Egyptian salads.
What a relief when we finally got in the car and drove off to the Marriott where we wished we'd stayed from the start. We were especially sad as we had lost a day of our already short stay in Cairo as a result of the Four Seasons debacle.
Our advice is only stay here if money is no object for you, your company is paying, you have a particular penchant for utterly kitsch neo-classical decor of disproportionate scale, and your expectations are very low indeed!"
- Travel date: Thu 11th of October 2007
Sublime luxury and service
"The Four Seasons at the First Residence in Giza is absolutely fabulous. Nothing seemed too much trouble for the staff and the service was out of this world.
We had booked a deluxe room and had a 'pyramid' view. You could only see the pyramids in the afternoon when the sky was clearer, but the view over the botanic gardens and zoo was lovely. I would recommend requesting a nile view, if available. Our room was extremely large and comfortable and had a small blacony. It also had a corner window so the effect was one of space and air.
The breakfast in the Four Seasons restaurant was absolutely gorgeous, and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful.
Some work was being done building a Lebanese Restaurant next to the pool area, so things were a bit noisy there, but the pool was lovely and extremely welcoming after a day trotting around the museums etc.
The spa was absolutely fabulous and very relaxing. I can recommend the Nefertiti Facial, which was absolutely wonderful. The jacuzzi and steam room were free for hotel guests.
The staff were extremely attentive, but didn't tout constantly for tips. Security was top rate.
This is a lovely hotel. I can recommend upgrading to a deluxe room."
- Travel date: Mon 8th of October 2007
Not up to the usual Four Seasons standards
"Having stayed at the Four Seasons Sharm the week before, we were expecting similar excellent standards from the First Residence. Sadly this was not the case. After one night we checked out and moved to the much cheaper (and more pleasant) Marriott Hotel on Zamalek. No one even bothered to ask us why we were leaving one night into a planned four night stay.
The hotel itself didn't feel right. It seemed to be built to fit around a shopping centre rather than as a building in its own right. As a result there were endless corridors and the public spaces didn't work. The rooms themselves were also oddly designed. Even on the 10th floor the traffic noise was incessant throughout the night - a problem we didn't experience at the Marriott.
I would recommend either the Four Seasons Nile Plaza or a good room at the Marriott for less than half the cost!"
- Travel date: Wed 26th of September 2007
Heaven on the Nile
"This was our second stay there in recent years, and I'm already scheming to get back. In town for a conference, we extended a few days in order to be in Cairo for the start of Ramadan, which meant more time to enjoy this remarkable hotel.
From the moment of arrival, there is no question that you are at a first-rate hotel - it was something less than five minutes from our taxi (and what a ride that was - more than an hour in Cairo traffic! If you don't know the city, do make sure you have transport booked before getting there) to our spectacular room - a corner view overlooking the Nile, with a hall/dressing area that could almost have been a separate sitting room and a bathroom as large as some studio apartments.
Service in Egypt in general tends toward the friendly but slapdash; the Four Seasons isn't absolutely 100% immune from this, but is far and away better than anywhere else I know in Cairo, and the friendliness far outweighs the very occasional glitch.
While we didn't have the opportunity try the Thai restaurant, both breakfast and other meal service in the main dining room, Flavours, was lovely. Try the strawberry juice for a sweet morning treat!
The spa is one of the hotel's highlights. The Pharaonic Massage is a joy after a day at the Pyramids, and the facilities - fauna, steam, whirlpool, rest area, and more - are serene and infinitely relaxing.
The proximity to Cairo's First Mall is also a plus - it's the home of dozens of marvelous shops (including a good bookstore with a nice selection of English titles) and an excellent cafÃ© on the ground floor.
As for Ramadan, i was surprised at how little the hotel's normal operations were affected - all beverages were still available throughout the day including poolside, and even the adjoining casino was open (as with all Egyptian casinos throughout the year, to foreigners only). I love the Four Seasons Library Bar - a real taste of Old Cairo, and the last time we were there, Omar Sharif was one of a large party of Egyptian film notables hanging out there.
As for comparing this Four Seasons with the newer Nile Plaza edition - to me it's like comparing a grand old hotel (the Crillon? The Dorchester? the Pierre?) with a Philippe Starck version - the latter is slick and shiny, but, to me at last, lacks warmth and polish by comparison."
- Travel date: Tue 25th of September 2007
Finish in comfort
"We finished our whistle stop tour of Cairo and the Nile with a final night at the Four Seasons. After the craziness and noise of Cairo this was a wonderful haven. I retreated to the Spa and enjoyed a hot tub with a view over the Nile. My husband retreated to a sunbed by the pool The room was classic four seasons elegance with a beautiful bathroom. We were given an upgrade to a high floor with a Nile view.
The pool restaurant is under renovation but we were able to order a snack and enjoyed an Italian meal in the somewhat ambience lacking Seasons restaurant. Excellent concierge facilitities. All that you would expect from Four Seasons. This really is five star."
- Travel date: Fri 21st of September 2007
An excellent hotel.
"Desperate to get into a good hotel after two nights in one of the kind your prefer not to remember, I phoned the Four Seasons and from that moment life in Cairo improved. As usual with this chain the staff are well trained (very attentive and anticipate your needs) the rooms are comfortable and the food is excellent. I also enjoyed a facial, manicure and massage with a most experienced Indinesian lady. at the spa and this was also of the highest standard. A very pampered stay. If the new museum ever gets completed I will return to this hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of August 2007
fantastic four seasons
"i stayed for 2 nights @ fourseasons folowing an exhausting 2 week tour of egypt.i was in much need of pampering,as i had backpacked my way through egypt. i had a very glam car pick me up from the finishing hotel of my tour, to take me straight to the four seasons. when i arrived, there was a team of people waiting for me, had to say i felt like a celebrity, haha!! they just took my bags, and i was escorted to my room, you d'ont even have to check yourself in,they do it for you! how cool is that? the staff were very welcoming, the pools are cool, there is also a shopping mall attached to the hotel, that is pretty fab, take your credit card though!! as most of the shops are designer!!and you must visit the spa!!! amazing!! i had a massage and indian head!! was soo relaxing, but the most amazing thing was having a pedicure with a veiw of the nile, was pretty exciting!! the food is yummy too,all in all this hotel is fit for a princess! like myself,haha, if you want luxury ,you c'ant go wrong with the four seasons, is an amazing hotel,amazing staff, amazing service. would definately stay there again."
- Travel date: Fri 29th of June 2007
Lovely hotel in Giza
"My husband and I recently had a 3 night stay here. We thought the hotel was lovely and would definitely stay again if we're in town. Check-in was speedy and efficient with some refreshing orange juice brought over. We had a premier double room on the 15th Floor. The room was very large and comfortable with a large closet and bathroom stocked with L'Occitane products. It was close to the elevator but wasn't noisy for that reason. The city of Cairo really never sleeps and you can hear constant traffic noise and honking all throughout the night. I would suggest requesting a high floor facing the Nile like we had to help minimize the noise. But if you need a quieter atmosphere in order to fall asleep then I wouldn't recommend staying here as the noise never dies down.
We were so busy touring that we didn't visit the pool or the shops in the complex so I cannot comment much. But it is a very large pool with lots of chairs for laying out and the mall contains the nicest shops in all of Cairo apparently.
We ate most of our meals in the hotel to make sure that we wouldn't end up with Egyptain tummy. The room service was so-so but we enjoyed our meals in the restaurants downstairs. They have an Italian and Thai restaurant as well as snacks in the tea lounge area. The restaurants have a great view over the Nile River and very attentive service along with tasty food. There is also a tea lounge for afternoon tea and snacks; a nice place to relax after a long day of touring.
The hotel's location is fine if you're willing to take transport. I don't think there are many places that you could walk to. But I think that is just as well since most Westerners would probably be pretty intimidate by Cairo traffic. The airport is about 40 minutes away, Egyptian museum 15 minutes, Pyramids/Old Cairo/Islamic Cairo 30 minutes. It all sounds quite far but it just gives you more time to soak up the chaotic atmosphere of Cairo so I did not mind. But if you really wish to walk around, then the First Residence probably isn't the best choice.
I'd highly recommend taking a tour if you're in Cairo for a short amount of time or if you just want to keep the harrassment level down. You will be constantly approached by people wanting to help you do this or that or sell you something. Your tour guide can act as a buffer. But the main reason I got a tour guide was to get the most out of the experience. A tour book can only tell you so much versus someone who lives in Egypt. I'm not a big fan of being led around like cattle so I found Karen from Heart of Egypt who is a one woman show and provides personalised tours of Cairo and she goes down to Luxor as well. Highly recommend her! Please check out her website [--].
We had a great time in Cairo and stay at the First Residence."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of June 2007