Windsor Hotel Cairo
11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"The Windsor is a study in contrasts - the worst beds I have ever slept in, but a wonderful location. Great elevator, fabulous building. Yes, old, creaky, dingy in parts, but a slice of real Cairo. Staff wonderful. Bar very neat, and you can't beat the history."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of August 2008
Anywhere else is "just a hotel"
"So...it all depends on what you are actually looking for. I just spent the last two nights there and I thought it was great. In fact, the old bar on the second floor is so cool and pleasant, and reasonable in price...and has INTERNET....that you find yourself wanting to stay ensconced in the place.
It is like staying at a movie set. (Or maybe a stage set for a decent junior college.) If you are looking for the same "experience" that you get at a Ramada Inn in Ceder Rapids, Iowa....then you probably are not prepared to even be in this part of the world.
Here is the update, so you skip the older reviews:
1) Yes it is hard to find. It does not really look like the photo in the website. It opens on the back of the block, but you and your driver will think it is some small alley.
2) I got my pricing from the website and it was the same price I was charged upon checking out. Breakfast (continental) was included with as much coffee as I wanted. The menu states the cost of any additional items you may want to order.
3) The Staff was fantastic. You order your drink or food and you pay when you feel like leaving the bar or dining area. No hassles. No pressure. The front desk staff arranged a taxi for me on my last morning in which I gave them no advance warning.
4) It is an older hotel. Once again, it is like visiting a museum of old world charm. My room had a good air conditioner. My shower worked. My television picked up one station that had english speaking news. (And you shouldn't be here to watch television.)
If you are over 65 years old and you are staying in Cairo for one night then you should stay at an airport hotel. If you want to stay in the heart of a city with 18 million people and feel like you visited Cairo, then come to the Windsor Hotel."
- Travel date: Tue 5th of August 2008
Best Deal in Town
"This charming 19th century hotel combines a charming historical air and the comforts of modernity. From the manually-operated lift to the wireless internet access in the bar, the Windsor is a distinct, centrally-located and extremely welcoming place to stay. The Doss family has owned and run the hotel for over 40 years. They are on site around the clock, making sure their guests feel as comfortable as possible. The staff is extremely warm and welcoming. The complementary breakfast leaves a bit meagre, but the restaurant has an array of excellent Egyptian and western dishes at very reasonable prices for lunch and dinner.
Why spend 5x as much on a standard, western hotel that lacks all the charm and history of the Windsor? This is a no-brainer. Stay here or hope you get lucky and choose the second-best option in Cairo among the thousands of other, utterly indistinguishable hotels in Cairo."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of July 2008
Avoid the Windsor
"The location was so obscure that each and every cab got lost and ended up circling around it. This was especially awful because of the heat and humidity in the cabs.
The hotel was recommended by the nytimes.com as 'old world charm,' but in reality it was dingy, and the rooms are in urgent need of renovation. The bathrooms are tiny and their plumbing needs attention. Rooms are filled with mosquitos at night.
There are a few creepy cafes outside where local men drink tea and smoke sheesha and make inappropriate comments as you pass by.
Watch out for the staff at the hotel, they'll try and sell you tours and deals that might not be the best value.
The restaurant/bar was one good part of the experience. They have free internet and good customer service."
- Travel date: Sun 27th of July 2008
Dark, dismal, dirty and depressing
"There are decades of layers of dirt on virtually every surface of the Windsor in Cairo. The main light fixture in the lobby is broken. The place as a whole is cloaked in darkness on virtually every floor. I stayed in a total of three different rooms, over the course of two weeks, each of which was in varying states of advanced decrepitude, with peeling paint and wallpaper, uncleaned carpet, dust-caked furniture and toilets that kept breaking. There were no useable electrical outlets in the rooms and the beds varied widely in comfort. I did, however, find my rooms to be quiet, the air conditioning worked well, and the shower acceptable. The continental breakfast that was served consisted of a dry piece of toast, coffee and a dry croissant. It is hard to see the colonial charm people find evoked by this shambles of a hotel; it felt more like a mortuary. One very positive aspect of the hotel: one of the desk clerks, a young man named Hassan, was among the friendliest and most helpful people I found in Egypt. it was a pleasure to get to know him. I too experienced their reluctance to take a credit card, but as I had pre-booked in U.S. dollars through Booking.com, they simply could not put up too big a fight. My observation is that credit cards are not widely accepted in Egypt, but this hotel, having entries in Lonely Planet and other guides, and having been mentioned in a New York Times article earlier this year, cannot really not afford not to take credit cards."
- Travel date: Thu 10th of July 2008
A dissapointing experience
"I booked this hotel after reading reviews which varied from excellent to lousy, so my expectations were not to high. However the hotel was a dissapointment, especially compared to where I stayed (in Luxor) before I came to Cairo. Windsor is living up to its own description of faded grandeur. It certainly is faded and but the grandeur is not so obvious. My room was looked like a snapshot from an Agatha Christie movie, which would not be so bad if the items in the room would have been updated since the beginning of last century. The bed was horrible, the air condition poor and the shower was not nice. The room was not clean at all. I have travelled to many parts of the world, including poor countries with very low facilities, so I do not consider my self very demanding. But given the price I paid at Windsor, compared to the general price level in Egypt, the hotel did not meet my expectations. The location is good though, if you are looking for a central location with its busy surrondings. My room on the third floor (actually on the fourth level) was not particulary noisy as some reviews are complaining about.
P.S: As other reviews states, paying with a card is not welcomed, even though they claim to accept most types of cards (there is even a big sign in the lobby!). The price when you book through websites is often given in US$. When the hotel calculated a price in Egyptian pounds they gave a very poor currency rate, which meant that my stay was even more expensive than expected."
- Travel date: Sat 14th of June 2008
The Windsor is a rare gem
"The Windsor is a former British officers club in central Cairo, located in a leafy enclave behind the busy 26th July street. It's not just an architectural jewel in the dusty crown of colonialism, though the forties decoration and ambience are utterly charming - a nostalgic blend of lovely iron bedsteads, dark polished furniture and deep armchairs reminiscent of the professor's house if you've seen the film of the chronicles of Narnia. There are huge double bedrooms and a plentiful supply of hot water in the showers at all times (something by no means guaranteed at many Cairo hotels!) The 40s style lounge or Barrel Bar is delightful, with its candy coloured red and white striped sofas, deer's antler lamps and chairs made from old oak casks.
But by far the most special thing about the Windsor is the staff. I was taken severely ill shortly after arrival, and their response was amazing. From the manager of the hotel, to the bar staff, to the maids, everyone did their best to make sure I was looked after, moving me to a more suitable room, making me special soup for dinner, offering advice and help....way beyond what I would normally expect at a hotel, which is why I'm writing this review. I really did love the hotel apart from this though - it is incredible value especially considering its prices are close to budget. if you're looking for a period hotel, reasonably priced, in central downtown Cairo, airport pickup and the nicest staff ever, I would happily recommend the Windsor."
- Travel date: Mon 12th of May 2008
Price is NOT around $40 - those are 2007 rates
"I booked with the hotel directly, and my husband and I stayed in a "deluxe" room. When you go to their website to check the room rates, please note that at the bottom it says they are only valid until September 2007. We paid $78 and change for a deluxe room that they have listed at $56. Beware! I heard other guests arguing about this, and the reception person said it was a "mistake" but I just checked, and this certainly hasn't been updated on their site. The location is decent--downtown and a couple of subway stops from the Egyptian Museum. There is also some major shopping very nearby--lots of clothes, and a cute carless street with lots of places to eat. Our room was number 6. I was impressed with the room at first, until I saw other rooms. Number 5 looked a lot nicer. Our room was huge and had high ceilings and many huge windows. Also--very importantly--the air conditioner was amazing and could chill the entire room in no time. The "cable" television is actually aerial, and nothing came in clearly, and there were no English channels. I must mention that the place isn't very clean. My feet were BLACK after just a few barefoot steps across the carpeting, and everything is very old and creaky, especially the floors and beds, which are uncomfortable--just matresses over tired-out springs. Very saggy in the middle which is awful after a long day of walking. The shower was pretty good, in a tub, but also not very clean. My biggest complaint is the noise factor. You can cleary hear loud traffic (the endless honks!) until after midnight, and they start up again around 6am. Earplugs are totally necessary. The real thing this place has going for it is atmosphere. Neat old furniture and we liked the lounge for an evening Stella to cool us down. The included breakfast is a cup of tea, a glass of Tang, and toast. The wait staff are charming--both at breakfast and in the lounge. They arranged a pick-up from the airport for us ($10), as well as a taxi to the Giza Station at the end of our stay (70LE)."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of April 2008
The Egyptian Fawlty Towers
"This is an amusing hotel. Do not have high expectations about the rooms, the location or the service and you will not be disappointed. The rooms vary enormously - some are old, some are new, most are a bit of a disappointment, but then this is a relatively cheap hotel. The 'best' rooms that you pay a premium for have a proper modern bathroom and are situated on the top floors but are very small and soulless. The cheaper rooms are the older ones. These are noisier, with showers rather than baths but are older and more traditional. Noise is a problem - take your earplugs. Cairo is a 24 hour city and the area where the hotel is is always noisy. The TV was a waste of time - very few channels and few if any English programmes. The shower in my room was also pretty disgusting. I met a friend there who kindly offered to let me use her bathroom that was on a higher floor. Breakfast consisted of a basket of a combination of bread rolls / cold toast and a cup of coffee. The staff were extremely friendly though. The bar was one of the best bits - very chilled out! Beware, we had problems when we came to pay. Using credit cards seemed to be a big deal. Also, despite the fact that the price was quoted in pounds / dollars it was changed into local currency at an extremely poor rate. They said that if we'd had dollars they would have accepted that. Finally, we booked via Expedia which said that it was a special rate, but were disappointed to see on the bedroom doors that the rate there was cheaper than the rate that we were paying."
- Travel date: Thu 24th of April 2008
Wonderful experience at the Windsor
"If you want to directly experience Cairo, the Windsor is the perfect spot. It is right in the heart of the city but not on a busy street, just blocks from both subway lines. Chock full of charm, not big chain amenities. The hotel bar is the perfect spot for breaks. Make sure to ask for a deluxe room and you'll be very comfortable. The other rooms are great for young couples or singles. All the rooms are good value. Most of all, the entire staff, from the owners down, gives personal and personable service. You'll leave feeling like you made friends! I'd recommend the Windsor to my best friends and hope to return one day myself."
- Travel date: Tue 1st of April 2008
"I stayed at the Windsor for a week last winter and will never forget the tremendous experience. I ran though Egypt alone for a few weeks and mark my stay there as a highlight. I can not imagine my trip to Egypt without it. If you dare stay there, you will step back to 1950 at least as you are treated as well as possible by its small but totally dedicated staff all of whom, I later learned, had been in the service of the hotel for many years, more family than staff. The rooms were basic but spotless, the foyer needed paint but wish I could sit in it again. Im at a loss as I write this. Some travelers will do whatever it takes to bask in luxury and bring everything from home to the hotel experience. I always say that if I needed a great place to sleep, Id stay home. How do you beat the 1940's black phone in the room that is tied to the black box in the lobby where the staff is pulling plugs to make connections? Can any hotel in the world boast a breakfast room featuring a scorched painting that survived the 1952 revolution? Enough, I guess, if you need to hear more, my email is [email protected], Dan. If you have the desire to live Egypt, not just see it, you have to stay at the Windsor Hotel."
- Travel date: Fri 24th of January 2014