17 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Hustlers and Scammers
"While this hotel is very beautiful, the service is an absolute nightmare. We booked a tour of the pyramids through them specifically because we wanted to be safe from scammers and locals harassing us for money. We were quoted $100 for the entire day (all-inclusive w/ driver and tour guide) and although we knew this was more than it should be, we thought we were paying a premium for the high quality of service typically associated with Marriott. Well…whether it was the fault of Marriott or the people working for them, we don’t know, but the entire thing ended up being a HUGE SCAM and money grab. Our day went like this:
~ Our driver/tour guide picked us up and drove us to the pyramids. He said we just needed to pay for our tickets to get in and he’d meet us inside. We paid $60 for our tickets (even though we were told the tour was all inclusive).
~ Upon getting inside, our Marriott “tour guide” handed us off to his “friend” who barley spoke English to tour us around the pyramids… of course he harassed us nonstop for more tips.
~ We met back up with our Marriott “tour guide”, who walked us to an isolated corner, where he left us ISOLATED with his camel “friend” ... Of course, we thought this was included in our tour (we specifically asked at the very beginning and were told it was) so we hopped on and only after we were on the camels did the camel guy tell us it would be $120 usd EACH! I told him I’d seen signs saying 50 LE (~$3 usd) per half hour, but he pretended not to speak English well and continued hustling us. We managed to get the price down to $80/each, but our bargaining power was limited since our Marriott “tour guide” had strategically isolated us with his scammer camel friend. We didn’t really have any way out because of how they’d set us up and it was a really uncomfortable situation and we felt unsafe so we agreed to the insane price of $80/each. Again, this was supposed to be included but they literally and figuratively had us pinned in the corner to take more money from us.
~ The camel guy brought us to all his friends who harassed us into paying insane prices for water and other random stuff we said we didn’t want.
~ After the camel ride we were reunited with our Marriott tour guide.
~ He said he was bringing us to a “papyrus museum”, which really ended up just being a souvenir shop so his friends could once again hustle us for money.
~ It was supposed to be a full day’s trip but we’d had such a bad experience at that point we ended up going back way early because we knew the Marriott tour guide was just going to bring us from place to place so his friends could continue bleeding us dry.
~ Other than the tour, we really got the vibe that even some of the employees in the hotel were just trying to hustle us, just not as blatantly. We feel like we can’t trust anyone here, which is a really bad feeling to have at a hotel.
All in all, it really ruined the whole Egypt experience for us. We expected so much more from Marriott, a name we thought we could trust, but apparently not here. I suggest Marriott either check their staff and put them back in line or dissociate their name from the hotel. This place is honestly an embarrassment."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of August 2018
Mena House watching the pyramids
"Arrived at this fabulous hotel and was greeted very warmly. Our room had a pyramid view and was large, clean and very comfortable. The staff went out of their way to help us. The Indian meal we had was fabulous and there were items on the menu we didn't know so the staff gave us samples to try and this was all delicious. The food was plentiful, and delicious with a wide choice and variety. It is really clean and friendly with nothing to much trouble for the staff. The pool was spotlessly clean and the area around well kept and relaxing. Pools staff were there if you needed anything but not pushy but would help you with anything you required, in fact this sums up all the staff. If you needed anything they would help you get it otherwise they did not intrude. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would not hesitate to recommend to one and all."
- Travel date: Sun 1st of July 2012
A big thanks to Orbital Travel
"well what can I say this hotel was recommended by Orbital Travel and it can only be described as fantastic, the staff were courteous, helpful and always attentive to our needs no matter what time of day and the views over looking the pyramids or gardens are superb, i would recommend this hotel to anyone without hesitation"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of April 2011
What can i say... this hotel is absolute...
"What can i say... this hotel is absolutely fabulous, i have never been so sad to leave a hotel as i was leaving this one.
The staff at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel are so helpful, they cant do enough for you, when i say the staff, i mean every single staff member.
The staff by the pool are so lovely they even had time to help me and my friend learn to speak arabic, i must say their English was great!
The staff in all the bars and restaurants bend over backwards to make sure you have everything you want, they simply cant do enough for you, such lovely people. Even down to the staff that help to keep your room clean and tidy, (and i mean spotless), are so lovely, they again, will do anything for you.
When you walk into the hotel it takes your breath away, it's so beautiful, just how you would imagine a palace to look. The outside is just as lovley, the pool, the gardens, just everything!
I dont know what else to to say about this great hotel, just book it and see for yourself!
For a more in-depth review, read my Husband's below.....
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of September 2008
We visited Mena House Hotel in September...
"We visited Mena House Hotel in September with our friends (who had stayed at the hotel in 2007). What can I say about this hotel, an exceptional hotel without doubt. All the staff are extremely helpful and cannot do enough for you. The decor of the hotel is fabulous, it literally is like staying at a "palace".
The food was wounderful, I cannot put into words how "mouth watering" the food was.
This was our first visit to Cairo and it was a remarkable holiday, the Mena Hotel is the best hotel you could stay at in Cairo at the base of the Pyramids, they really do treat you like royalty.
Thank you Mena for a magnificant, memorable holiday.
See you in 2009."
- Travel date: Mon 22nd of September 2008
Well, I did it again and went back to Th...
"Well, I did it again and went back to The Mena House Oberoi again this year and I have only two regrets:
1 - It was only for one week.
2 - I had to leave.
Usually when you check into a hotel, as we all know, you go to the reception, tell them who you are, they look you up and you are given your room keys. Not here. Upon arrival - way past midnight - we were greeted at the door and by name, by the Night Manager and his staff and shown to the Sultan Bar for a welcome drink while our suitcases were attended to. Whilst in the Sultan Bar we were given our room keys and were told that as we had brought friends with us we had been allocated adjacent rooms. We booked a garden view room in the palace section, which was perfect as expected. We were welcomed into our air-conditioned room by a bowl of fresh fruit, biscuits and mineral water. On the table was a welcome note signed by Mr Sanjiv Malhotra - The hotel General Manager and Vice President of Oberoi in Egypt.
Mr Malhotra insists on an individual and personal welcome for all guests.
The bathroom was stocked with the best quality products for our use, which made us wonder why we bothered bringing our own cheap brands all the way from England. Everything worked the way it should and an obvious attention to cleanliness was apparent. Although it was now around 2AM we couldn't resist a walk around the beautiful gardens and didn't get to bed until 4AM. After all, why would you want to close your eyes when you are in paradise?
Breakfast is served in the Al Khediva dining room where a variety of choice is available to every guest no matter where in the world they have travelled from. The quality of the food is of an excellent standard and the Chef is always on hand tending to the display and ready to answer any questions. The staff are always attentive and welcoming and, for some strange and un-known reason, always seem to be one step ahead of the guests - They seem to know what you need before you do. Try it if you go, when you are pouring the last drop of your coffee from your pot into your cup a member of staff will just appear next to you offering you another pot.
As a westerner, with a belly that hits the 'auto-eject' button at the mere thought of taking the chance of eating at local restaurants outside, day-time and evening dining - apart from one night on a Nile Cruise - was restricted to the hotel.
But you're not stuck for choice here; Whatever your taste it is catered for from light Chinese snacks in the Sultan Bar, a vast menu serving local and North African dishes in the Khan El Khalili room to authentic Indian dishes in the Moghul Room. The Indian menu was created by a Chef who was brought from Oberoi in India and his stamp remains on the menu to this day. In fact, The Moghul Room is famous in Cairo for the Indian Cuisine.
Most of our dwell-time was spent in the gold decorated Sultan Bar laughing and joking with the brilliant staff. Try this for a bit of fun: When you have finished your drinks try to bring your empty glasses back to the bar instead of leaving them on the table and watch the staff react - I bet you 1000 EGP you won't make it to the bar with the empty glasses.
Again, as a westerner, ten minutes in the sun makes my entire head peel off and my bones disappear leaving me just a blob on the floor doing my impersonation of a jellyfish. So what can I do while my Wife cooks in the sun next to the pool?...Golf.
The Mena house has it's own golf course so my friend and I pretty much booked a round every day. On the first day we were greeted by the Manager and an array of smiling fellas in yellow t-shirts who all shook our hands and welcomed us. We paid for our golf and, as we had never played the course before and had no desire to carry a bag of clubs in the Sahara sun, opted for a Caddy each. I must admit that the mornings we spent playing golf were the most enjoyable I have played anywhere I have been. Our caddy's were two lovely men who introduced themselves as 'Bombha' and 'Jackson'. I had Jackson and my Friend had Bombha who pretty much turned out to be excellent players and fantastic teachers as well as being 2 of the funniest men I have met. After the game a freezing cold beer is available in the air-conditioned club-house or on the porch where you can watch the other players coming back. My best mornings in Cairo were spent here chatting to Bombha, Jackson and Saeed, who had all been with the hotel for over 20 years each. Drinks were served by Osama who is one of the most gentle and friendliest men I have ever met. I can't remember the names of everyone we met here but all of the staff were excellent.
One person I met here deserves a special mention though, not only because of his attitude and gentle nature, but because of his outlook on how he wants his life to turn out as he approaches adult-hood.
A young lad called Abd El Rahman lives in a Country where it is easier to work on the streets selling post cards to Tourists and offer services as a 'guide' but this is not his dream. This 14 year old boy aspires to become a professional golfer and from what I have seen, he will. All of his spare time is spent on the hotel golf course where he offers his services as a caddy, makes the guests feel welcome and appreciated and practices his game. In my opinion, Mr Sanjiv Malhotra should personally congratulate this young lad for the path he has taken to make his life the best it can possibly be. Knowing how much Mr Malhotra cares about The Mena House and the staff who work there to make it so successful, he probably will take the short walk across the Pyramids Road to do just that.
Overall there is not much that I can add to this review that I didn't write last year. Nothing has changed here but why should it?....It's perfect.
The hotel asks guests to complete a comment card upon departure. On this card it asks you to mention any staff you feel should be personally recognised for their service. This is totally impossible. The space they leave is around 2 inches long and there is no way anyone could write down the names of everyone who works there.
And it would be everyone who works there.
From the moment you arrive to the sad time of your departure all of the staff are pure quality, the lobby staff, the reception staff, the room service staff, the catering staff, maintenance staff, the Sultan Bar staff, Khan El khalili garden staff, Khan El Khalili restaurant staff, the lads at the golf course, the pool side staff and the Management in every section. I would love to know where and how the Mena House Oberoi finds staff with such excellent qualities that you never find in other hotels.
The Mena House staff make you feel like a truly valued guest and not just a person who has booked a room for the week. Not just because as a guest because you bring in revenue - Kings, Presidents and household names stay at the Mena House and everyone is treated the same.
Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott or whoever dare call themselves a 5 star hotel should spend a week at The Mena House Oberoi in Cairo and see how a real 5 star hotel operates. I am sure you would feel very humbled upon your departure because you will never be able to match an MS Oberoi hotel, especially the hotel that has now become very dear to my heart - The mena House, Pyramids Road, Cairo.
See you next year, my good friends.
Declan Keegan - Room 1103
- Travel date: Mon 22nd of September 2008
I never thought about writing a review o...
"I never thought about writing a review on this hotel when I came back from Cairo in 2007 and only thought about doing so when I booked to go back a second time this year. So here goes.
The Mena House is absolute pure quality.
Situated at the foot of the Great Pyramids it offers everything you could possibly need whilst staying in this remarkable country. After strolling around the Pyramids a quick 5 minute walk along the dusty Pyramids road, through the organised chaos, camels and horses running and the locals trying to grab your attention you find yourself walking into tranquility. The beautiful entrance to the palace on your left and well-kept gardens all around you. A path leads to the excellent pool.
The staff welcome you everytime you return to the hotel after a day out and wish you a good day everytime you leave. They can never do enough for you.
Me and my Wife took a break from the sun to sit in the pool bar on a few occasions, on our first visit we ordered a couple of cold beers and were greeted with a massive plate of the finest fresh fruits at no cost. We couldn't finish it so and the barman took the plate, placed the entire contents into a juicer and insisted that we finished it as a cocktail as it was 'healthy'. It was delicious and not a one-off. He did it everytime!!. The Mangager and all of the staff in this bar were excellent and a credit to the hotel.
Inside the main hotel there is a small bar on the left swaythed in gold. After being greeted again by the foyer staff you are greeted by the staff in the bar. Again, excellent staff in this section.
During the evening you are treated to Egyptian music and belly dancing, which is fantastic. How they fit all those musicians on that stage i will never know. Outside near the pool they set up tables with the finest cutlery and you can have a meal under the stars while listening to the resident crooner singing live. Very romantic. Trust me fellas it works wonders.
Overall i would recommend this hotel to anyone and am going again this month taking friends with us however, not everything can be perfect.
Behind the pool area there is a little row of shops selling basics you may need and souvenirs. My Wife had a slight headache so we wandered into one of the shops to look for pain-killers and found a box of 12 paracetomol priced at, i think, 20 Egyptian pounds. I asked the shop owner for them and gave him the money at which point he opened that box, took out one tablet and tried to hand me a single tablet for my money. Needless to say he kept the tablets and i kept my money. The Client services girl inside the foyer gave us asprin at no cost so no harm done but i think people need to be warned of this practice, albeit only a miniscule problem.
Another thing i noticed is that the Security and Police on the gate tend to look at you as if you have done something wrong. Not a big problem but it could be pointed out by the management that us westerners are not used to be stared at by men with semi-automatic weapons.
On my first visit to Cairo i stayed at a hotel recommended by my Travel Agent and only noticed the Mena House on a trip to the Pyramids and decided that i would stay there if ever i returned. I am glad i did and am over the moon that i could book it for this year.
If this is your first trip to Cairo and you are looking for the perfect place to base yourself the Mena House Oberoi is it.
Wonderful staff, excellently managed, fantastically decorated, perfect enetertainment, wonderful gardens and the best tasting food you could wish for. Trust me, book it and see for yourself.
- Travel date: Tue 19th of August 2008
"We chose to stay at the Mena House before our Nile Cruise because we thought it would be quieter and more peaceful than staying in Cairo, proper. We were so right. Our garden room had a lovely patio (ground floor) that faced the pyramids as well as the lovely flowers in the garden and the very beautiful swimming pool. Although the traffic is terrible going to and from Cairo, there is as much if not more to see in Giza and beyond than in Cairo proper so that you cannot avoid this either way. We spent the last night in Cairo after the cruise and the car traffic is awful and non-stop. You avoid this at Mena. The room was perfectly fine, not luxurious but more than adequate. The management offers four restaurants from simple coffee shop to deluxe continental and Indian. While it is not fabulous by European or New York standards, it is certainly fine. European wines are marked up horribly but local beer is excellent and makes a good substitute if you are on a budget. There is a poolside restaurant that is open for lunch and afternoon snacks which looked lovely but we were never at the hotel during the afternoon being out and about with our wonderful expert Egyptologist and private car. My husband and I definitely would recommend this hotel to everyone going to Cairo"
- Travel date: Sun 19th of February 2006
"Stayed at the Mena House after doing a Nile cruise. Location cant be faulted. We stayed in a garden room with no Pyramid view but good views of them from the lovely gardens and breakfast room. Breakfast buffet very good. Moghul Room Indian restaurent good - but no better than a good Indian in the UK. Al Rubaiyyat (spelling?) main dining room has fabulous decor - food was OK. Wine lists exorbitant for imported French. Ask for the local wine list. Safe deposit boxes only at main reception not in rooms. This is a pain as you have to trek over to the main building to get something out of the safe. We didnt bother and carried everything with us. Garden rooms a bit tired and are being renovated."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of February 2006
It was okay.
"We were really excited to stay at the Mena House considering the rave reviews we read from this site and the beautiful pictures but it's sad to say that our stay there was a huge disappointment. We had booked a pyramid view room in the Garden section and when we arrived to check in, they gave us a room on the ground floor that had the beds separated. When we told them about this, (after tipping the man) he changed our rooms to a king bed but then our view was obstructed by a tree. The man that was bringing us to our room had the nerve to tell us to tip the man that carried our luggage down three STEPS. Not three flights of stairs, but three steps. The fact that he told us to tip him bothered us greatly since we had already tipped the man. Overall, this place is overrated (just smoke and mirrors) and if it wasn't because of the proximity to the pyramids - it would suck. If you do choose to stay here, stay for a couple of days - no more - to see the pyramids and visit Sakkara, Dashur, Memphis then check out and go to another hotel, preferably in Cairo so you will be near the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili and other sites. However, I highly recommend dining at The Moghul Room, their Indian cuisine was delicious. We checked out and checked into the Nile Hilton - (which is also a 5 star hotel) in Cairo, got a Nile view room - great service, friendly and when we tipped (since we got accustomed to tipping at the Mena House) the people there were so surprised and not expecting it. At the Mena House, we felt like we were handing out money every second. I understand the people in this country relies heavily on baksheesh (tips) but the experience at the Mena House and then the Nile Hilton was day and night. FYI - If you are going on a guided tour and the tour guide takes you to Luxor Jewellery (elsharawy tower from pyramids st.), do not buy anything from there. Apparently they do not like to bargain and when we asked if we can get an item we had liked for cheaper, about $6 USD cheaper - he replied, this is Egypt not Taiwan or China. We were appalled. And this place is suppose to be tourist friendly. If you don't mind paying for overpriced souvenirs, go ahead and buy from there. We ended up finding the same item in a shop in the Nile Hilton for $12 USD cheaper and that place is just as legitimate as the Luxor shop."
- Travel date: Mon 13th of February 2006
"Loved it. We stayed in a prime palace room with two beautiful balconies overlooking the pyramids. Bags of character, lovely staff. Everything a palace hotel should be. Wish we'd stayed longer."
- Travel date: Fri 10th of February 2006
"We were disappointed in this hotel - after greatly looking forward to staying there. If it wasn't for it's historic interest and the location, right at the Pyramids, it would have little going for it.
Bathrooms are like a 70's motel, staff are less than helpful."
- Travel date: Sat 21st of January 2006