Mena House Hotel
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
"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
"I had a ground level room with views across the gardens and on to the pyramids, lovely place to sit and watch the sun go down with a drink. The room itself, and to an extent the building it was in was showing signs of age, but fine really. Main building very impressive, staff lovely, food lovely though expensive if you ate a la carte, and the pool was just great, so deep it was odd, lovely to float in and stare up at the Pyramids which are so close they almost appear to be within the same complex. The only issue I would say is that although it couldn't be much closer to the Pyramids short of actually being inside, it is slightly inconvenient for exploring Cairo itself as is a bit of a way out, but then the larger hotels in the city would get very hot I would imagine anyway, so deserving of its number one spot I would say."
- Travel date: Sun 15th of January 2006
The Master of Hotels
"I was stay 6 weks in this hotel and ewerythings was perfect.
I want to say thanks to Mr. Sultan -food and beverage manager , to Gigi and the man who play an quitar.
- Travel date: Sun 8th of January 2006
Great view of the pyramids from the room
"We spent three nights at the Mena House Operoi. It was clean and very comfortable. The old palace is beautiful. Most of the rooms are facing a garden below the palace. The breakfast room was busy but the food was good and service fast. We had an excellent dinner with an interesting floor show at the high-end dining room. The regular dining room was good but no floor show and lower prices. The view from the balcony of our room revealed from 0 to 2 pyramids depending on the smog or dust level (see photo). On clear days the view was spectacular. Some balconies had furniture while ours did not which made relaxing on the balcony and admiring the view difficult. It apppeared that balcony furniture was being added several rooms at a time. This hotel is right at the pyramids and sphinx but away from the city center. It is a good location for trips to Memphis and the Fayoum because it avoids the city traffic which is hectic. I would not recomend driving in Cairo. (I have driven in Rome and Palermo--Cairo is much worse.) Egypt felt very safe at all times. There are thousands of Tourist Police, many with machine guns. Security is high."
- Travel date: Tue 20th of December 2005
"Stayed for 7 days at the Mena House. We had booked a Palace room. The first room we were given the main window was like a bathroom window, ie could not see out, when I opened the tiny side window our view was of a concrete wall. Spoke to the reception and the next day we moved to a palace room with balcony and views of a garden and in the distance city. Be warned if you want Pyramid views book the garden rooms with pyramid views.
Apart from that a fantastic hotel, breakfast was always very, very nice. We had a lunch at a few hotels but our favourite lunches were at Fel-a-fal near the hotel. Fresh, tasty, good value, used by locals and the best desserts ever ( creme caramel, rice pudding and om ali) if you have a sweet tooth do try."
- Travel date: Sat 17th of December 2005
nice, but overrated
"The Mena House is a pleasant place to stay with a spectacular view of the pyramids. However, the buildings themselves and the rooms are nothing much to brag about . . . like a 1970s apartment building in Los Angeles. Also, if there's a problem, don't count on timely assistance to fix it. My air conditioning was broken and it was 80+ degrees in the room. I asked for a room change and was told "absolutely not" and that the AC would be repaired by 2000 hrs. I then unpacked, took a cool shower and ordered room service to make the most of it. With room service knocking on the door and me in my skivvies with dripping wet hair I got a call telling me I could pack up everything and they would now give me a new room in another building. Now? Yeah, I'd love to trek across the expansive grounds in my Calvin Kleins with bellhops dragging my luggage in tow and food service rolling the dinner cart after us like a little caboose . . . maybe we could add a brass band? Not impressed."
- Travel date: Wed 14th of December 2005
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